Fields, circa 2010

in the interim, your hair disturbed
by October and its slow winds
flurrying over fields of sugarcane
your rustic accent splintering slangs, your fangs
biting into my innocence
what a fabulous season it was
the highway wasn’t built yet, storks circled
pipits danced, the mat we slept on scarred
by tense movements
muscle and bone
hair and breath
evenings and more evenings
nights without names

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

Waiting

I watched your favourite shows with you
Even the adverts, the escalating 
Crowd on the bridge 
Caressing the railings to feel the sun 
Even looked at your photo albums, telling you
That you liked nice earlier and nicer now 

And when your team lost I laughed at life 
Mocked the pigeons at your window
Made you smile and stirred iced tea, refilling 
Your eyes with great memories about yourself 
You said you wanted to fly 

Why one leaves without notice is a mystery 
I’d know only if you return and share yourself 
Again, maybe this time we’ll actually make a trip 
To your village and run across your farm 
Taking the flush of breezes into the night 
Where the moon arrives slowly, waiting 
For your silent smile to ferment 

Where Did You Learn to Write?

I don’t quite remember exactly but it was
on a slow evening in my father’s rented house
the aroma of frying fish and spiced sauce
evoked in me voices of my ancestors
I felt words from a language I hadn’t learned
They became images before I could blink
I realised that to write there was no need to think
It happened then and it often happens now
In crowded buses and trapped elevators
even before crumbling buildings and old eyes
where unsaid things become lengthy chapters
and the said things turned into eventual lyrics
merging into one another in my dreams
slowly and gradually turning into noisy streams
making me wake up and scribble in soiled notebooks
and years later looking back and wondering
when really did I learn this mad craft
I don’t quite remember exactly but it was
on a slow evening with a woman about to cry
I lied to her saying I had a job and a house
she smiled as she said
you’re a nice storyteller

Bus, circa 2009

the simmering city blurs into light and dark
like a film passing by unfocussed
its background music – the sound
of passive humans progressing
from nowhere to nowhere
like the reflections of buildings
smudging the street into watercolour works
disturbed by poor children
holding unsold balloons
wondering how the future must be

Camera

the evening ripens
with the sirens of creaking buses
the dim tungstens hanging over carts
skewers alight together
giving birth to one gorgeous aroma
the locale is painted

elsewhere brick walls are touched
by skimming fingers of children
returning from cycle rides and errands
the ice-cream maker, the woman selling dried berries
even the rickety coconut cart puller
all smile at you and your camera

you capture them as light and darkness
the tones which shape them lend depth
the hum of the ambience though
is a detail you preserve for daydreams