Sitting at a Study Table

Both beautiful and sad, your face
Draped in a table lamp’s offering
Stares at its old versions in yellowed albums, you
Browse through former laughter trapped
In static pictures, your hair
Lush and immortal, even your eyes
Seemed larger and unexplored

Around you scribbles and poetry hangs, some
Sits and the other stands, some
Pinned against a softboard’s worn face calls
To be rewritten, you switch it all off
Over you the ceiling smeared with
The city’s long shadows, as
They move and carpet across and out, a million stars
Sparkle in the distance
You cannot see them from here, they shine
Atop your favourite mountain
That is, somewhere, ageing alone in the fog

Goa, Circa 2013 

Strolling in the drizzle one becomes green like the hills
Clotting besides the river, between you and them a bridge
Last catch of fish dissected at the creek, prawns –
Your favourite
Cooking somewhere in the breeze

Roofed red tiles, curving street, scent of sausages
Drying ignored and becoming potent like an education
A radio clicks, fuzz of signals punctuate the harbour
A ferry roams in its waves and reaches you pregnant

While I sip insipid tea from a patrao’s cart
The season brews over the river, coming with it
An ancient scent of stacked cashews

Routes

locked away into a novel, scampering around your own world
the world within the city that fell while you were unborn
tragic that you came to life as an aftermath

while boys played cricket over gravestones levelled into the earth
the rains seeped into notebooks and slushed around the words
on drying the language changed, the smell of damp nothings

a day in November you too will be much older, sorry
for forgetting your mother-tongue like the others from your groups
where-they-all-now you’ll wonder, alone in a cube cooled inside a skyscraper

synthetic coffee, planned romance, reminders will get you across.

Butterfly

catching it is impossible
ignoring it, even more
the afternoon snores, the boy
lost in chores
-but flickering, its beats dot the air
carrying the universe in a glide
in the distance the shimmering tide lowers
the boats park and let their nets sleep, gulls
crowd and behave like flying papers, flapping
…but flapping here is the butterfly
resisting any one spot, resisting
any one audience – playing its mute song
ribboning the air with cerulean and pink
sometimes yellow sometimes stopping to think
on an anaemic plant branch, tanning
under the humid sun
around her the world debates and procrastinates
trees wither and house new caterpillars
music flows in with the evening’s breath
older men at the harbour await their death
as the sun sets a butterfly tinkers before them
sometimes in silhouette sometimes revealed
making old faces move to its pace
before leaving, leaving
a smile on each wrinkled face

Camera

the evening ripens
with the sirens of creaking buses
the dim tungstens hanging over carts
skewers alight together
giving birth to one gorgeous aroma
the locale is painted

elsewhere brick walls are touched
by skimming fingers of children
returning from cycle rides and errands
the ice-cream maker, the woman selling dried berries
even the rickety coconut cart puller
all smile at you and your camera

you capture them as light and darkness
the tones which shape them lend depth
the hum of the ambience though
is a detail you preserve for daydreams