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Showing posts from February, 2012

Division of Labour

The division of labour between poet and person I think, is very cumbersome: The poet is of course free - To live in a truth of his own contrivance Strewn with an abundance of roses or miseries As he sees fit; The person often has a wife and child And so the slavery of billed existence. But he is the one with the eyes and ears That the poet so parasitises on To turn sights into spectacles And sounds into symphonies Or all into a dystopic, pus-filled rant. It is in this obscene dance of words yet That the person finds freedom - However fleeting - from his personhood Entrapped in flesh, that presents him mirages To drudge on. Cumbersome indeed then, this schizophrenia Of being real and imaginary In the same fragile frame. Published in Amaravati Poetic Prism 2017 ed. Padmaja Iyengar, Cultural Centre of Vijayawada & Amaravati

Going home

Railway toilets plastered with washing soda; The rasping of nylon streamers against Fly racquets; Chinese toys beating about Before the vendor quickly bundles up And flees; Jasmine garlands and Incense-stick Boxes sharing space with Severed goats' heads — their eyes staring glassily at you to match Your startled glance; the smell of fried flour and Potatoes, and of withering cabbage stalks; Taxi smoke, gasoline and soot; Sweat — anxious Sweat —Whiffing by on hurried steps and a Quickly muttered apology on pushing You out of the way; Mysore masala Dosas frying on a street griddle — all Beetroot and carrot and tomato flakes; A promise of naked women in USB drives, and hard-bodied nude males Promising fairer skin from giant billboards; Death of course, lurking everywhere, sometimes Peering from a bier; Suburban life-forms In their TV-equipped habitats not Peering out of lit windows; and I — I just go home, as I do everyday. (Published in  Setu Bilingual Journa


Somewhere between the truth, And our world of comforting lies, Is the world we seek to live in, Half earth, half fantasy; Happiness is what we call it, Though a stagnating lack Of worry would do as well, Maybe it's a race we're running Against our own aging selves Chasing a childhood memory Always a step ahead of us: A visible phantasm, a mirage Concocted from our own imagined pasts With guilt conveniently buried In the shroud of forgetfulness And yet - there's always a yet - There is a listlessness, ennui, That we never got what we wanted And the regret, unmessianic, Of not knowing what that was Till the commas of life stop abruptly. Published in Whispers, April 2016 as Commas

Standing Guard to Kamakhya

They've seen much, these statues Standing guard to Kamakhya's Dark, mystic sanctum; There's a nose lopped off here, An ear eroded there, By wind, by time, by swords. They've been nested on by doves: Love-making, chick-rearing Guano-shedding doves. They've seen cows amble around Bestowing sacred dung While bulls bestow sacred blood. They still stand, these statues, Their medieval silence further stifled with vermilion and ash. They see the pilgrims wilt — lined in their rag-covered faith — shivering in morning drizzle Like oleander petals and mango leaves; temple offerings to an invisible goddess. They see the pandas in red bearings; unbearability writ large on their pouchy faces, Against the tall, thin trees Banana, papaya, margosa, shading a sacrificial goat. They see the Brahmaputra which is always a presence — a brooding, looming presence. And they see me, eager tourist encaging them in camera stills: Another spectacle to see.