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Showing posts from April, 2010

Poems

to some they're just words strung together that may mean something or nothing at all or mean different things at different times to some they're expressions of desperate souls entrapped in their existences conjuring shangrila elysian fields, ruritania by inked stains on paper to some they're everything truth & escape existence and fantasy being and dying the only way to live and to die

फ़ासले

ख़्वाहिश तो यही है कि तुमसे फ़ासले रखूँ पर हर राह तुम्हें ही मनज़िल बनाती है

क्योंकि

फूलों में इतनी सुगन्ध क्यों होती है? क्योंकि आपने उन्हें स्पर्ष किया| लहरें धीमे से गुनगुनाती क्यों हैं? क्योंकि आपने उनमें राग सजाया| इन्द्रधनुष मेघ में क्यों छुप जाता है? क्योंकि आपके तेजस से शर्माता है| हम प्रेमकवि क्यों बन गए हैं? क्योंकि आपकी वन्दना ही अब जीवन का लक्ष्य बन गया है|

Sleeping Beauty Awakes

One hundred years they made her sleep! One hundred years she could not weep, or skip or sing or laugh or dance, Until a prince had had his chance. One kiss of love did break the charm! He held her fondly in his arm, But she recoiled back in fear And summoned her guards to come near. For when she woke she could not tell That she had been under a spell. She thought he was an intruder And not her destined saviour. But when they had questioned the youth They came to know the bitter truth That time had moved a hundred years And then their eyes were filled with tears. The princess and her loyal maid Were very truly much dismayed. Both began then to loudly wail To hear them no one could fail. On waking from so long a sleep You too dear, would vainly weep, If you realised what you wore Was out of fashion long before!

Phone Tapping

The sound of tapping goes beep beep Good folk, switch off your black Blackberry Beware the deadly radio sweep Unless you have had too much sherry Government, Government, they tap a good man's phone Government, Government, their motives are unknown Tap: They spare not an iPhone Tap: They do it when comatose They even know your new ringtone But say they do not act on purpose Government, Government, with many a bumbling plan Government, Government, they can't end what they began! (With apologies to Edmund Blackadder)

Canto Caligulae

What wondrous miracle a human neck is! Divine, slender, lissome; a bridge to connect The heart's beating passion with analysis, From the cold, calculating brain; a perfect Feature of Paris, Anubis, or Isis; That vulnerable, captivating effect Of David's ponderous marble poise - his veins as they stand out for a knife to transect; Does it not tempt the hand to reach out and clasp Between the palms, and feel the throat convulsing, Pulsating wildly, in its desperate gasp To break free; Or would it be deemed revulsing To gloat as slit veins leak blood and hear the rasp Of the dying, as one's own nerves are pulsing?

A variant of 'Escape'

A gunshot in my temple, tempered by cocaine; Barbiturates, so honeyed dreams shall never fade; Or seppuku and its seizing, searing pain As my tenderly nurtured flesh meets whetted blade; Plunge a dagger into my dear neck, and wailing Screeching, screaming qualis artifex pereo; Or must it be by self-immolation, flailing, Buckling, gyrating in an obscene rodeo; Fall upon my sword, or trust my loyal maiden To smuggle in an asp and to it surrender; Perhaps a ripened apple, cyanide-laden To exit without pain, and go out in splendour; Which do I adopt, the most beautiful way To pass into freedom, and escape from today?

Solomon Grundy

We're all of us Solomon Grundy Born by auspicious Caesarean on Monday Dying for 90% marks on Tuesday Demographic dividend on Wednesday Pension plans on Thursday Marrying daughters on Friday Ayah-ing grandchildren on Saturday And an urnful of ashes on Sunday We're all of us Solomon Grundy

Ninety nine

It is an interesting number 5 one short of the one that 6 (11) is held as a gold standard 6 (17) for measures of success and failure, 6 (23) the number that judges everything 5 (28) from someone's sincerity to 4 (32) the contamination in a bar of iron. 7 (39) It is a hungry number, besmirched 6 (45) by an accusation of incompleteness 5 (50) though it is so perfect in form, 7 (57) its twin members so beautifully 5 (62) illustrating its two divisors 3 (65) the first one less, the second one more 8 (73) than that other fabulous number 5 (78) which multiplied by itself yields 5 (83) that magic figure all men yearn for. 7 (90) Perfect and yet always incomplete. 5 (95) Ever hungry, ninety nine. 4 (99) (Exactly 99 words)

To Mary Anning

"She sells seashells on the seashore" Is all we remember of her. Not that she found the pterosaur Nor that she was a Dissenter. She had a talent for finding Whole skeletons of dinosaurs. She made her living by selling Ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. Wrong class, wrong sex, wrong religion - Doomed her to be a peasant woman. All the fame and recognition Went to idle wealthy gentlemen. But now we're finally giving The credit due to Mary Anning . (She deserves a far better poet; she gets me)

Neighbours: An acrostic

When we bought our flat we hoped we would Have neighbours with whom to build an Outstanding comity of trust and fraternity The family in flat 24 (we're in #23) Has never spoken to us in 9 years Except once (when they borrowed milk) Flat no. 21 and 22 have in them Unsocial folks who keep to themselves, or Compulsive obsessives who think we are Kleptomaniacs out to strip them bare I might have to admit that I'm not Such a wonderful neighbour myself A voluminous book or a lengthy Letter from a friend overseas Is my idea of diverting company; I Care not to exchange fake 'how are you?'s Even in shared elevator journeys. (From Gompie's parody of Smokie's 'Living next door to Alice')

Prime Numbers

One Photographs of a birthday I never knew Two A memory I want to visit Blank state that it is Three Pram rolling downhill In it an unwelcome sibling Five First friend across the balcony First crush in the opposite flat Seven Bedtime extends past nine into the world of adults Eleven Breasts seem to make sense Half-ticket status despised Thirteen Hot flushes burn within Red initials spatter my math book Seventeen School ends as does adolescence Nineteen ambition crystallises A hurrah the world can hear Twenty-three The dream goes sour First thoughts of suicide Twenty-nine Salaries chase deadlines As aspirations dehydrate

Mother

Mother has many names. Anak Krakatau might be one of them, Or Uttarkashi or Qinghai, Haiti certainly is. She's the mother that swallowed Maui into her womb, the mother that disarmed Karna, who led Oedipus to sin. She plays pranks too, in that cheerful way unique to her. We find strange names to give them - tsunami, hurricane. Kalki is another name we've given her, for when she will be an old woman looking for some kind of elixir of youth. Perhaps some quack will mislead her to find it in our blood. She has a heart of gold they say - pure, molten lava, that sometimes erupts on her skin like a ripe pimple. She loves nothing more than the sound of babies crying - orphaned, bloodied, hungry, dying their carcasses feeding hyaenas. But hyaenas are her children too. But she is the green mother who feeds us, clothes us, protects us from the sun's ionizing radiation, we came from her loins, which is where we go.

Over Tea

"Here's the ring and the ear-rings you gave last Diwali." "You can keep them." "No." "Tea?" "Yes." "The usual? No sugar, no milk?" "The usual." " " "Yes?" "Nothing." "Your letters." "Thanks." "Your phone." "That was a, a gift." "Give it, to her. Not me." " " "Anything?" "Nothing." "Here's my share - twenty-two rupees." "Yes." "Yes?" "Uh!" "Yes?" "Oh, no. Nothing." "Bye, then." (Reworked from Shadows )

इबादत

तल-अल-अराफ़ात पर तेरी इबादत कुफ़्र है, जो तूने ख़ुदा को दिल के मसनत पर ना बिठाया

The Panjandrum and the Apostrophe

Beware the mighty panjandrum, Who holds his court at Trivandrum! For one misplaced apostrophe Would cause a great catastrophe! Do mind your plural possessive And about it's be obsessive. Know where it goes in won't and can't And when you don't and when you shan't. About spellings he is not vain, Bad syntax does not cause him pain, Semicolons may come to grief For such matters his time is brief. But an abused apostrophe Would break his mighty heart in three; The panjandrum's benevolence Doth turn to foul malevolence. He'll punish you for such vile deeds By rubbing you with prickly weeds; You must recite a thousand times That you will not repeat your crimes. But once a most uncommon thing Did cause a lot of worrying. A grocer did cause much chagrin And so this ballad doth begin. This grocer's thick viscosity Inflicted much atrocity - What was owned by his potato Posterity would never know! His board said ten cents potato's Was it its head? Were

न आना बेसाख़तह / نا آنا بصاختہ

नस्तालीक़ में ढला नाम तेरा बेहोश करता है, क़यामत है होंठों पर ज़िक्र तेरा, न आना बेसाख़तह रू बह रू तू जो ख़्वाबों में साँसॆं रुका देती है نستالیق میں ڈھلا نام تیرا بیہوش کرتا ہے قیامت ہے ہونٹھوں پر ظکر تیرا نا آنا بصاختہ رو بہ رو تو جو زندگی میں سانسےں رکا دیتی ہے

ज़ाहिद का दर्द

शा`इर क्या जाने ज़ाहिद का दर्द, शराब की रिन्दगी मस्जिद के आब ए सफ़ा में धो जाता है, मस्जिद को कौन साफ़ करेगा?

Languages

Comment-allez vous? Parlez vous Francais? She says them in schoolgirl French, And not particularly shyly either. I, in bastard, self-learnt tongue, Must rant, rave, show off Phrases and words half-learnt. Was she impressed by that fluent chatter? Or was it I wooing unwittingly, Chest expanded subconsciously? It's that instinct in our genes, Isn't it, that old kameena, To make a pass at whoever passes by? Later in the wisdom of night Her testosterone-stirring presence Has vanished doubts regain territory. Was she? Wasn't she? It all comes down to testosterone, That old trickster, doesn't it? To render men into fools, Is its sacred, evolutionary duty And perpetuate the genes that make them. Talk of languages, one artificially honeyed, for the sake of that other eternal nucleotide double helix.

Blue

Ray Charles. Dead babies. Greek flags. Queen Victoria's hemophiliac children. Flute-playing, demon-slaying, gopi-charmer. Films by actresses fallen from grace. The depth of oceans, the height of skies. Avatar. Krzysztof Kieslowski trilogy. Morning glory, violets, venomous toads. Naval camouflage. Police uniforms. Viagra. Prozac. The venom of cobras. David's star. The fifth throat chakra.

Untitled

Rage surges like gas in a cola bottle imagining thick red blood oozing from a turbulent child's slit throat; Pity soaks like a sponge cleaning up soaking up wails, wants, woes from a stricken pourer out of her heart; Sadness swirls a Charybdis in the head with this terrible fascination for a juicy apple soaked in cyanide; Kindness swells the Mother Teresa genes express - tending, touching, nurturing an abandoned mongrel puppy; Coldness sets The Ice Queen within passes by, merely pausing to watch a drunk roll into the gutter; Delight swings to watch a flower open hands reach out to shield it from a sudden menacing torrent; to get on with life's unfairness, misery, putting on masks upon stranger mask Gargoyles smirk Meditating upon final salvation, the soul plods, traipses towards vague ideals Angels smile

How do I described my beloved?

How do I described my beloved? Shall I say when she catches me talking to other girls she is as mad as a nauseating toad? Shall I say when she is angry with me she makes me pray like an insulted CEO? Shall I say when my apologies don't work she makes me as green as an Opera understudy? Shall I say when she does not return my calls she makes me as lonely as a queue-jumper? Shall I say when I try to make up with her she makes me as nervous as a king under siege? Shall I say when we finally meet she makes me as eager as an unpaid piper?

इन्तेज़ार

कितना सितम देता है यह तेरा इन्तेज़ार, आँखें ताकती रहती हैं राह को बेकरार, रस्ते पर न पड़ती है परछाई तेरी, न होने देती है पैमाने में ख़ुमार

न आना

न आना बेसाख़ता मेरे आशियाने में, फ़र्श को अब मेरे कदमों से ऐतराज़ है|

The young man of a place with a long name

There was a young man of Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, Since the name was so long and he could not pronounce it he migrated to the tropical Pacific island paradise of Oahu, Where he wrote horrid limericks, and raised well-bred gavericks - that escapist young man of Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu

The Cruel Love Form Either Meaning Tears Sestina

They ask me to write poems on love. They ask me not to make it cruel. But it should not be funny either. It must follow some poetic form. It must be rich and deep with meaning. It should move people, but not to tears. Why should it not move people to tears? Because they cry when they fall in love For no reason and without meaning. That's because love itself is cruel and causes grief in its every form. One cannot escape from it either. It is not even funny either. One spends all one's time shedding tears And meditating upon the form Of whatever being is one's love Who is in general very cruel And will get upset without meaning. One wastes one's time looking for meaning. One never finds it. One will either die frustrated or suffer cruel punishments. But no one spares tears for stupid people who fall in love And think it is divine in some form. It is not divine in any form. It is senseless, devoid of meaning. the rational do not fall in love They do not play with venom

To Her Who Sends Me Gloomy Poems

Your whines are all that I revere! I seek sorrow in word and deed - That's why I read your poems, dear! In every day and every year Pure misery is all I need. Your whines are all that I revere! Of boredom, love, I have no fear Your verses are my ceaseless greed - That's why I read your poems, dear! Your wails are all I want to hear Upon your gloom I seek to feed Your whines are all that I revere! Mine eye must ne'er be without tear Joy in my life is like a weed - That's why I read your poems, dear! To one principle I adhere Self-flagellation is my creed. Your whines are all that I revere! That's why I read your poems, dear!

ख़ुदा ने पूछा

ख़ुदा ने पूछा मुझसे - मैंने तुझे इसलिये धरती पर उतारा के वक़त बेवक़्त मुझसे मन्नतें माँगता रहे, के इसलिये के एक दिन तू आकर इतराकर मुझसे कहेगा - इतनी थी ख़ुदा तेरी बरकत, और इतना सारा मैंने कर दिखाया