Montage 2

The air gathers the passing
From where I left the bus behind, it’s red body flashed
By torn adverts tearing into the city
Chapped and aged

The cafe opens – a cup
filled like a proud schoolboy
Carries freshness, the round tip
Meeting and vanishing all together
…a photographer walks by

His love hanging around his neck,
The pictures uncaged freely circle him, continue

To mesmerise the old chap with a splattered sole
Scratching the floor, rowing along
Carrying the falling leaves with him
Into an apartment with a locked cupboard,
Two teacups, a bus ticket
And a box of negatives
Undeveloped
Kept for later, the very end

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Waiting

You shouldn’t have left your books back there
You shouldn’t have made fake promises to them before leaving
As you parade across the world they wait for you
To open the door, pet them, smell them
Narrate tales of your voyages and romances
With each passing day they watch the ceiling and the empty bed
Missing your fingers and longing for your eyes
Everyone likes to be looked at once a while

Serenade

Was last night’s serenade a dream?
The incandescence of aged tungsten warming the bridge
whose ends welcomed dead poets singing
songs from forgotten years, their lyrics translating
into one another like a stew mixing
While your scarf waved gloriously, the seagulls
arising from an aligned sleep dashed in vivid numbers
and fishermen who threw their caps into an indigo sky
lost them in a maze of flaps
Across the bridge a town hummed with the pages
you left half-read as a child, now
they were soiled posters talking of a future
You showed me around the lanes and carts
like a child running across her ancestral home, the
flags in the square, the market of unused footwear,
the roads fluid with passing spirits carrying little joys
You flew me across the circle into the town of lakes
where every boat carried your favourite food into floating homes
asking me silly questions, you trapped my reflection in a picture
calling it a painting – you said – this will mean much more later
You rowed into and across brittle homes soaked in black water
calling out to former friends, all asleep, never to wake up to see you smile
Just then a sea appeared, the very end of the creek
you shed a tear, watching an orange moon descend
and make love to a tired ocean, ‘this is where I come
to talk to myself’, you confessed
as I watched the sea age,
you wrinkled and became quieter

The Sorrowful Heart of a Nineteen Year Old Girl

I met her with an ice cream licking friend
Amidst a crowd where she wore a floral skirt
And rickety shoes, her eyes lacking an eyeliner
Her skin storyless and pure
She called me an unusual scientist with weird ears
And said my nose was like a rocky hill
Even my hair wasn’t spared, she thought of it
To be worse than the mane of an old mare
Later that month I’d find her
Strolling across the race course
Staring at horses speed past her morose eyes

Her morose eyes

The wintry tears and snowfall of regrets
Her perfect face cancelled by her imperfect self, even
The teenagers from the suburb
Felt she was too smart
But she was just a stupid girl
With a sorrowful heart

For days I’d let her talk, not just
The usual hormonal rants but even
Lyrics of favorite songs, oh for that matter
Plans to travel to Rome and back
We even booked our trains to China
But it fell apart once the phone cut

The phone cut

Years later I met her in a mall, she
Dragged around a cart filled
With discounted flour and tea, it even had
Vegetables and frozen meat, she looked
the same except for her skin

Dark in places, pale in some,
Her eyes slow to blink and her hair overdone
She stood in a line with
A heap of worries and despair, the winter
in her eyes colder, sparked
At the cash counter
When they touched a travel magazine
That made promises of blue seas
And islands with beautiful men,
She thought of picking it up, but then though,
Life’s a lie, and at 28, 
its rather better to look elsewhere

Dawn

5.15 am. I love touching the scar
on your right cheek. The whistle
Of a faraway train. Distant city. Your fingers
crawl into mine

What is with you today?
Your whispers dense, alluring
releasing primal images, clutching
Onto my lips and flowering. 5.17, the ceiling fan
creaks in unison with a passing cycle.

Half closed eyes. Your hair smells
of love and longing. The pillow absorbs
half-dreams and stores fantasies. I spend
the last few blinks in blue air
opening to your touch
every breath is a scene, dissolving
into a growing stream

Incomplete

How could you, how would you
Just come up with random things, on the spur
The prank of the refrigerator, the thought
Of having glowing star stickers
On the bedroom ceiling, signing
Your emails with a Buddha quote –
Stories, nightmares, dreams,
Wicked jokes and shower screams
In each room you left behind signs of you,
The good and the mad
The dirty and the sad
A garden that reeks of bad cutting
A sink that is tired of drowning
A toothpaste unclosed and hanging
Like most things, you too, left incomplete
Either too fast or either too early, for which
In a corner crying
without a battery change
Without the reflection
of your childish face
Even the clocks remember you

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