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

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

Grey Season, circa 2011

my fingers draw patterns on fogged glass, downstairs
the street smudged by a slippery season clogging
the quaint town with the stench of puffed wood and
occasional touches of passerbys whispering taunts
that get replaced by smoke from tobacco pipes
– vintage

while the lonely houses fixate their gaze
towards the hazy peaks troubled by clouds the
greyness of noon is plucked by that one colourfully
dressed lady carrying a large bag, crossing the street
and stopping over to buy some vegetables,
her pink scarf becoming a colourful star

later she cooked me for and I thanked her for everything
the beef stew seasoned with mountain salt and pepper
the scarf- I asked whether I could have it, she smiled
and let me carry home an old teacup
on which colours mixed like moody rainbows, curtailed
by the discipline of patterns

Aziz

the noon sun carpeted the floor inside, spilling
onto the stairs like water
eventually reaching his feet as shadows
Aziz

stood leaning against the windows, stressed
sorrowing the death of his kitten
whose name flushed his mind in regret, even
his mother wasn’t spared

noon became dusk, the calls of prayer
echoing across the square pulled him
his heart languishing on the road, wondering
why this pain pierces suddenly, hoping
that the day would become better –

– fast broken, the evening clanked with tea
and dates poised with bees, he looked
in the corner and found an old cat, licking
rotting wounds, its eyes
asking
for an end

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

Reply

I started writing to you last night, but stopped
Not on ink and paper but a bland touchscreen,
it auto-saved itself, this
mongrel string of words
Clogging a virtual space of nothings.
To be honest, I couldn’t
hear my thoughts like before
If instead were you gazing into me
in person, from a real door
I could’ve heard your voice, broken it
with mine, argued. I really
meant to write to you and say something
It clouded and clouded and then slowly
vanished like a mist you can never catch
I then saw you age backwards and
tear my page neatly, take it on the floor
under the robust ceiling fan, folding
the edges to make a paper plane
At the window you stood, tantalising
The pigeons, excited to know their temporary
Fake friend
You let it go and watched me condense
Into a memory aged into
a fading relation
Dissolving everyday with time’s passage
How does one reply to all of that
In the space a single message

Note to an Old Poet Friend

Begin with a yes,

I write to you seeking permission
to ask you to resume writing
how I miss the flow of words from your pen
the soft curses you utter to life
arriving to us as quotes to treasure
for a lifetime of joy and sorrow
Silence spreads like an ailment, often
devouring the one who deserts art, routine
eschews the one who leaves behind passion
I wish to hear of your literature again
the images I fell in love with at sixteen
the narrations over the phone, the walks
through old settlements purposed for wandering
meaningless yet potent, the strides of your poems
walking into my soul like like fleeting deer
Shut your eyes and envision your thoughts
drop by drop, seeping into phrases that form
the lovely myriad of images that talk of lakes,
countries, the worship of time and purity, moist
feet on a rainy afternoon, your dancing childhood
you left us with so much
yet so little

I write to you asking you
to resume being yourself, I miss
flying over mountains through your verses
touching minds and meeting strangers
whose names and addresses remain unknown
the splendour of watching a season bloom
the enchanting doom of fires and battles

Let the rivers of your valley
flow through your pen. Freeze and thaw.
Again and again.