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

Upbringing

the chalk that rivers across the blackboard
last smudged my fingers
when I was 11 and crew cut

they anglicised our language for us
uniforms, leather,
uptight references to the weather
the use of local words
within an essay
banned like one bans dangerous drugs

how stupidly I obeyed it all
and stood first, acing
every exam like a long distance runner
at the end of the race my mind splintered
my roots cut, my feet
insulated from my own earth
as I was now ready, to conquer
the air conditioned world
ironing my new shirt every evening

28

pasted on walls are posters new and old
of movies never watched by any of us
at least not as of late, not after
we crossed 28, what a bore it is now
dipping organic tea bags in tall offices
wearing shirts like uniforms and agreeing
with people who we’d otherwise punch around
even the pigeons at the windows
smirk and agree
and then there’s always that one corner
where the cigarettes released by the tea seller
becomes a cove of regrets, don’t meet me there
i’ll be so embarrassed and so will you
we’ll awkwardly shake hands and then
formally introduce what we’re up to
with a nod, a half-smile, looking-away-eyes
buildings continue to grow taller though,
inside them, more mirrors, more
bored shits like us
walking in perfumed sadness
organised air conditioned everydayness
assigning us nicknames and email addresses
that are somehow always busy

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

Crossing Over

the train drops me, incomplete
my feet
skimming the platform
before I surrender in weight

pulled by the want to crossover, realised
that the dream is dead, I call for a taxi

whose meter rings once and then shuts up
the driver churning his wheel, his face
punctured by insomnia, like me
he reeks of mistakes

that I meet often at home, some
are people and some are poems, the ones
unwritten
ferment slowly, time not experienced
is the time
worth wondering about