Francophone

Today the day scatters moodily, scarfs
tied against pulled back hair
embroidered with block-printed tales
wave along the smoggy air
…bus stop, white earphones
a farewell bid to unknown faces
senseless proximity with strangers
in the distance a coffee shop dead- livened
by an opening shutter
the flux of beans roasting released
a cup rinsed by black
black, and more black
french accent, african descent
a country opens its newspaper

Blue

My dreams are dark blue
So are my wavering eyes
So are the fields of dew that moisten my home
Floating through paddy fields that release birds from time to time
Staining a blue sky with murmurations

When the grey rain arrives
I melt into paint that colours the forest for four months
The sun shoots through the clouds and calls me upwards
Every house is plastered by my dreams

Inside them mothers feed fresh kittens
Poets soothe themselves over bridges wearing blue breezes
Farmers sow the future in twittering valleys
Clothes lines evaporate into cerulean dust
That travels formlessly over a blue river, touching the water now and then

I lend my indigo nights to travellers
Looking for refugee in cold villages warming a roast
I enter their dreams silently and get translated
Into new languages that voyage across the plateau
Speaking of fables that entrance faraway children
Who run happily through fields teasing bluebirds

– translated from Marathi

Bone China

mother left
the quiet house, writhes
slowly in her bed
asking to be loved well
end of monsoon

sunbirds twich outside, hibiscus
and bougainvillea spread indisciplined
even the wasps fly faster, staying
for longer
in the window sils

i broke a saucer yesterday, mom
bone china splintered over the floor
just recently mopped by you, as I stood up
regathered
a to-do list lost its adhesive
and flew outside, forever unread

Choices

shops here and there
guilt, sorrow, some joyous ones open shutters
kids strewn around whose travelling glances
choose, get mesmerised
wondering what really to gaze at
parents make the choice

a couple crosses the street

holding hands, reminiscing
browsing and browsing, window
shopping
three storey stores selling memories
on discount, rolling up posters of a sale
housewives cluster at their gates

in the by-lanes carts drag around misery
men in soiled shirts come with coins
while on buildings billboards glare
at everybody with large smiling faces
photoshopped and printed
selling an unknown future

Forever

strangers meet over zebra crossing
briefly brushing, forever departing
forever floating unknown
as masks in a crowd full of stories
in them i often pierce my gaze
my neutral scan looking for ailments
which remain untreated, only spoken of
only rewritten nicely as fairy tales
ending without an ending
forever lucid
forever floating aimlessly

I Come From

I come from a silent night
Muted by the flapping of sage owls
Skewered by the warmth of shooting stars

We sailed over the moon’s image in round shikaras
I didn’t cry after my birth, instead
I looked onward for the blue glow of our coast

I come from such silent nights
The low indigo tide filled with dreaming flamingos
I sailed through them smiling as I reached a sea
The echo of black dolphins arrived at dawn
An orange sphere touching the distant ocean, under it
A few specks of large boats

I come from a humid night
Occasionally stroked by loving breezes
They played with her hair as I smiled
Behind the creek we shared ourselves slowly
Amidst the dense silence of a million sleeping gulls
Who, at morning, grafitti-ed the sky for us
And the tiger sent her cubs as an elderly gesture

Much later, my corpse floated in a round shikara
On a new moon, its halo, created by the milky way

I came from one of the islands of seven
Today joined forcefully, linked
By trains and flyovers that sail through garbage, instead
of floating over creeks lit by glowing plankton
And the low tide, filled with a billion plastic bags
pushed aside by ships and cranes and trawlers
bury under them the once breathing poems
whose ancient words knew no country

The milky way though, is now consumed by smoke
As for the animals, look for them on the internet
While a small flock of flamingoes still stands
In black, toxic waters
Waiting for the tide to sink

Someplace Faraway

someplace faraway
there is a high school dance about to commence
rays of cyan, mauve, chrome touch young bodies
the music is from a different era but the shoes aren’t
and while some of your friends sip rum for the first time
you stand alone unaware that time is moving
a travelling yellow pierces my face, my drink falls
the music floats softly and friends start looking different
this is the dance we never attended
the floor we never scraped with polished shoes
and the ceiling whose hanging lanterns we never saw
even the slow scattering of couples evaded us
so did the long drive through a sleeping city
whose moody streetlights warmed ice-cream carts
we didn’t pass by them with half-shut eyes like we could’ve
we never met like we should’ve