Building

In plain sight it seems sleepy – the lanes, the bylanes
The many wooden houses murmuring in foreign languages
Subtitled locally

While in the chowk the Chinese restaurant clinks, its door open
The wok once sterile now smothered, over and over
Fried rice and beer

I wait downstairs watching clouds serenade your roof – summer
The urge of jumping in cold water, the cart of lime soda
A passing cloud cover

Decades on you still make me stand unattended – your scooter
An ornament embedded in a brick building, whose opening
Guarded by an untitled watchman
Watching another year pass by without a whistle

Five Things I Desire From Monsoon

Drizzle. Touch me faintly, at first
then all at once, as a downpour
Dissolve me beautifully as I become
A body of rivers

At night, percussion outside
Providing me a beat to breathe with
Caressing my ears like a distant lover
Bringing soft breezes

Direct every bird in the valley, to
sing their dreams together, giving us
childhood songs to remember
later in urban summers

While others bring me troubles, you
bring me my antidote – the aroma
of your tears wetting mud

And much later, over a grey terrace
Mask my woman’s face
with yourself, as I uncover you
using touches, stay with us for longer
As we grow fond of you

The Vintage Outcasted Ice Cream Man

a quaint little repository
of frozen milk and such
was his rectangle that
he dragged over the street
summer days

orange and milk
strange combo, really
I never liked it till
the day my heart broke
and she gifted me one
for free

later I saw the guy
dismembered, a winter day
cold like a stone
clotting on the foothpath
waiting for a loved one
to tell him what I did
‘how have you been?’
FINE, he said, almost rehearsed
drew out a wet beedi
and planned his next act
the road widened, over it
fresh carts
selling branded shit

Grasp

listening to your barrage of pop rock
the exclusive smoke rings
coming to me like lucid lyrics
the window flings open for the afternoon
to sings songs of rustling leaves
who spectate carefully
moment after moment
occasionally intruding
by falling into the room

the sun slants more and more
your breath enriched by nicotine
asking to be grasped

Dream, Sikkim.

Your dream. A vision
of noiseless rivers foaming
in the distance, while
a monastery touched by calls
of ravens, lights a lantern
the moon sets

over the mountain’s shoulder. Simmering
tea pots, on them the sage’s fable
inked like a lucid memory

recited by shut eyes. The floor
cold from the season, pressed
by the music of toes. The sun rises,
its first arrows
piercing the village with joy.

Absence

Without you the city is just a city
Just another body with limbs and bones
Cavities and joints
Thoughts and histories

The squares painted by ribbons
of traffic, are dead paintings
unsold in a noisy gallery
The cafes, shutting by midnight
pour their absence onto the street
A cat crosses

Without you the buildings are
just buildings, not
the residue of our civilization
And the parks that twitter
calmly with the buzz of children
are nothing but scattered scenes
Waiting for your eyes

St. Basillica

one crosses the church slowly in traffic
building a symphony of sounds in humid weather
cut by the song of a children’s choir

one settles at the creek’s port waiting
for the ferry to arrive and empty itself
refilled by a mixed flock of migrants and locals

a bell stuns the background, you turn
a sea eagle
circles above as the bell travels
echoing the time