Getting Comprehensively Drunk After Four Years 


downtown Panaji calm neon slow cooked
white rum – vinegar – coconut winds
new mate from Melbourne teaches me how to drink
on careful first pour discard old troubles into the creek
whisky – rocks – sea salt – soda – rum – gin – lager
do you even feni i ask being all polite
no let’s do shots
fine let’s
pedro who’s been too quiet now suddenly jumps
is there urak too yes of course thanks man
pour – pour
table roars
we down it and share mutual stares
holy **** this is amazing i need more
pour – pour
we down it and screams are heard all the way in Mapusa
screw you why didn’t i know of this before
soon we’re dancing outside with cats
everything’s shut but we’re alive
coffee was is was my real alcohol you know I claim
**** no alcohol is your alcohol she says
cancelled by the breeze we cross the church
swaying like two long free and independent skirts
is there any other place that still serves elixir
thus 3 a.m. we’re dancing on a karaoke floor
do you want more feni i ask being all polite
yes let’s do shots
yes let’s
francis at the bar does his thing and slaughters a lime
drink – drink
Panaji hugs Melbourne
holy fuck this is the best we should do this more

– inspired by true incidents from June and August 2019, Goa, from the time spent with dear friend Jasmin Churches who managed to convert me back to the flamboyant drinker I once was, but now, far more refined and enjoyable. The moment this lockdown ends we will get some feni. Even if it’s in Auckland I don’t care. 


Incoherent List of Reminders

She reads the screen then reads your face
mid-morning, late-afternoon, purple evening –
all these awkward times of the day when
nothing is happening, is when she remembers
unsaid prose and lets it out in non-linear fashion;
“thank you, for sharing that, I had forgotten
how much I liked poetry’, ‘I also used to
love the sound of onions crackling in oil’,
‘thank you for watering the plants, now, I
remember the romance of petrichor’, ‘will you
speak on the phone in the next room? It will
feel like this home has more people than it does”
I obliged; then on sultry nights I played synth-pop,
practiced my French, got reminded of former flames
and failed loves, still lingering like spices on fingers
post a marinade rub; then late one night, ‘don’t
speak so much when you snore, choose one’, that
was the last straw; I unfurled old photos, former
calendars where nothing was striked off,
found a pristine boy in some of them
his hair was lush and he wore my name
winking at me from another country
smirking and holding a chord in his teeth
about to sing, the choir will join in, the
street market will disperse sweets, a city shall
remember him as special, and the
monsoon breeze
blowing from that day into this
will wipe the dust off this memory

Night

12.11 am. Let it begin. Raincoats soaked,
teapots cloaked
by thick steam, the murmurs of shadows
passing in and out of their faces

Books browse the breeze, their flaps open
pages stroked and shivered
unwritten bits whispered as wants
sitting on moist ears

Like a workshop, the bed, busy and frantic
rises and falls like an ocean, whose waves
travel towards the silent coasts of windows
faraway and sleeping

Probably

I’ll probably talk about myself in bits and pieces along the way
As we river into life’s slower years with a softening memory
The glass that separates the reflection from the being will dissolve
And sorry doves alighting on grey buildings will take off

In the soothing streams of my childhood you’ll dip rough fingers
And the mountains that hold my ancestry with release scores of eagles
The horses that run into you will burst into a million butterflies
Each carrying a day of my life, hinging between now and then, flapping

And the hush of leaves that follows you windily in my city
Shall stop before the shop where I kept a tab all my life
Within each shelf are preserved secrets, some expired, pick them all
Or none, your call, you may leave anytime

I wait for you at the end of it all besides the lake
Where clouds collate over its face, the birds float over the mirror
And age stops all of a sudden like the clock on my grandfather’s wall
I still remember it, the dial mute and the hands hanging like sorrowing branches
You will sit with me and watch me become a man one last time
Awaiting entry into the sanctuary, breathing, counting every breath on its way out

– translated from Marathi

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

Roast



Friday night. Slow roast, an oven pregnant

the guest waits at your table, pouring wine, adjusting table mats
staring into the fruits and finding her childhood favourite

an untouched sweet lime

passing time
the window calls you both, you bond and chatter

wine reduces, only the residue, lingering on a future kiss

…but you miss
she watches you go blank

her eyes get filled with growing scenes 

watching them build and dissolve the breeze blows inward

the night deepens, her touch 

finds your arm



the oven ticks.

Flower

A breath, a crunch of sand under rubber soles
Running away into a vast nothing

An abyss, a forthcoming sensation of doubt
Between that and I – a wave
Of remembered stories

Without turning around I being to write
With each cursive rant
A flower is born


Drama, the Scent of Mangoes, Love 


yellow, the colour
of a summer morning’s arrival
windows disrobing one by one
letting in the season gradually
trees heavy with sweet fragrance

glowing warmly into a town
sounds born from each home, idols
uncovered and water strewn on streets
I wait for you seven years later with nervous glances
your dog, the calendar in your room, your mom’s ghost
watery tea with toast
saucers whose edges have the aftertaste of you
the yellow morning brings me to you and you
to the point of time where stories have been forgotten

in the patch of forest before the paddies
the path leads onward and finds the creek, the sun
travels in a boat and is pecked by gulls, your eyes
young and unsure, meet the sea and look into me
“which is your favourite fruit, you coward?
are you still fond of coconuts and jackfruit?”
I hear you like the ocean hears the wind
rippled, I continue to smile
another season passes

Landscapes

your hair rivers onto the bedsheet
tracing movements made by the rest of you
your eyes move nervously in a dream
viewing their own private cinema
your fingers gently tremble under a moist breeze
I plant my warmth at your feet

adrift in you earlier I discovered forested lakes
in me your voice echoed across endless mountains
eventually water-falling over my shoulder
and turning the room into its lake
then birds flew out of us one by one taking turns
as we gazed upward with closed eyes searching for a sky

collapsing onto rippled cloth you became a range of dunes

awakened by the stillness of night
I witness you take new shapes beside me
the scent of our time passing grows gradually
buttoning myself I let my palm speak to your forehead
a soft fluorescence robes you like an ocean