Badly Written Homecoming Letter

I stole visuals from the Arabian Sea, songs
from the forests that let me hide, echoes from
the higher Himalayan autumn, colours
from the feathers of my favourite birds.
I stole everything from the world around me
To later label and resell as poetry
I am a stealer and I am unoriginal
my breath reeks of alcohol I haven’t tasted
my journals talk of places I haven’t visited
my body is a lie floating around scavenging leftover vibes
from used rooms, bus stops, joints, streets, gardens,
windows, buses, footpaths, temples, mosques, churches
I lent my entire present to time’s helpless passing
I let books plot inside me new routes to repeat myself
Posing as a true friend I coldly absorbed
the spoken fears of loved ones as future writing prompts
And before idols I stood faceless with hands together pretending
to be devout, honest, pure, untouched, virgin
to the ways of country liquor, beedis and the fresh aroma
of love making,
of skewers, of a woman’s breath on my face, of a farmer’s rant
that flew over my head. I am a fake.
Others lied to win or escape or crossover
I lied to let go of what could never be mine
And using napkins, papers, screens, barks, stone walls
I recorded sightings I’ve unfairly hoarded for centuries
As for those who raised me to become someone else, know
That I’ve whored myself out to life and become nobody
And I’m returning home with nothing but poetry
Come, let’s have some tea


And Older Lover’s Advice

Tea from Ceylon
Kettles from Constantinople
A lost smile from a childhood dream
All gathered in a slurring saucer

Kiss your tea, said your love, kiss

it like you kiss mangoes freshly fallen
wrap yourself in the wind like a tree
release your glow into the sea

with time the mountains grow stoic
and every footstep towards the river
turns heavy with the promise of an end

Faraway Temple

Tea. 6.16 am. Retro-pop
plays on your radio, the cat
yawning and upturned, curling
into a

corner where your quilt acts
as a heater, the spoon tinkers
the air
like a bell, you

remember the temple, don’t you?
Scent of drizzle and white flowers
the child you, becoming
medicine for sad mornings, slowly
fading away
into one page
of a new book, unwritten

but revisited. Tea, 6.19 am, brewed.
This honey though, weak and plastic,
nothing compares to the beehive, above
the temple wall

smoke rises


Cream biscuits. Butter.
A rusting toaster. Late afternoon.

4.15 pm, the light slants
into a crowded room
smelling of sleeping books.
Steam touches
a trembling forearm. White

felt by the ceiling fan. Tobaccco.
An overused pipe. A fluttering flame.
Within you, seventy years
of old bad habits. A dead son,
an estranged daughter
bits and pieces of friends
some finished and some almost there
like biscuits. Breaking.
Vanishing carefully. Apart from that
Sixty years
of unfinished poetry
waiting to see an end

Last Chai, Circa 2016

23.15. The cafe murmurs

the last of broons are sliced,
their chips meet the floor, dusted
by one trusted cleaner, who mutters
local abuses to the drunkard
wailing Bollywood songs
to an unseen lover
far away

rice, trotters
maybe some mince
are handed out to aged women
waiting to hand out
daily gratitude

my tea is done, the saucer
holds a little spillover
imprinted on the table
is the stamp of the cup’s bottom
inked by trickled chai
and twenty years of mine