Saturday, 5 November 2011


I’ve wafted on these fragrances
to temple and childhood
visited doctrine and realization-fragment
offerings and murmured resolve
the pansil we break and resolve to uphold
again and again,
I’ve immersed in the textures
of the eternal verities
the nothing to bud to blossom and decay
the colours too
sprinkled, placed on altar
for the clasping of hands and timeless gathas,
the soft yellow slipping to poya white
the purification of mornings
acknowledgment of inevitable night
from a long ago I cannot forget
to a tomorrow that will not arrive,
and this today, this moment, this now:
‘Poojemi buddhang kusumena nena….’

[inspired by the above photograph by Hiranya Malwatta]

Friday, 4 November 2011

Paper boats*

in line and fold
clarity in light-shadow constituency
the promise of plain sailing;
love is always Paradisial
and blinding in prediction,
until the touch of life
wets, weighs and breaks
the parchment of togetherness.

[Inspired by Hiranya Malwatta's photo above]


Thursday, 3 November 2011

A hundred dew drops on a leaf*

Rest-awhile is code-name
for tryst
and other indulgences;
so I’ve heard.
But dew drop and quivering,
wind-shake and showering,
the delicate of delicacy
lipping of moment
in a world of bite and rip
that’s love too:
lost in the union
of sun-drop and dew.  

[*Inspired by this photograph by Hiranya Malwatta]


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Ode to death

I’ve moved from work place to work place,
continent to continent,
friend to friend,
lover to lover,
and in that passing
I’ve intruded, wounded and scarred
out of love or its illusion,
and have likewise suffered disfigurement
blemishes that I wear lightly
for landmarks fascinate me,
for signposts sketch journeys
and help chronicle the history
of the tracing of trails.
I’ve moved also from prison to prison.
Willing incarceration and resisted captivity,
also sketch a biography,
I have learnt.
And I have used the word
to register what some call captivity,
knowing also that my prison notebooks
are also songs of liberation,
that they make rain
a celestial drizzle
that slowly dissolves
all the rocks that burden your heart.

[From the collection 'The Underside of Silence', shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2008]


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The writer's fate

There's a diaspora
made of words,
all those little nothings or trivialities
that once were gathered in particular ways,
gelled with tenderness or anger
issued with hope and prayer
let loose in a map
where they were embraced
by country and citizenry,
granted temporary visa,
sent to homeless shelter,
made resident and citizen,
given unbelievable jobs
pensioned off,
mugged, mauled, raped, robbed and
allowed to die.
And I, word-turner
reconfigurator and mendicant
taker from one and giver to another
like a fond father who loves but does not claim,
I send eye along horizon
and waiting
for children I know will never return
to burn me with anger or love
and bury my ashes
or toss them into moving waters,
as per the death-rights of the privileged.
I will go in silence.


Monday, 31 October 2011

Ode to belated birthday wishes

(for Kshanika)
they come around,
and like death
can be counted on,
one day of the year
for birthday wishes
and that's good,
but belated birthday wishes
they are all-season things

for down-days and up-days
and inconsequential ones too,
sad ones and bad ones
great and unforgettable ones too,
belated birthdays -
they are life's most unitilized wish-days,
and i am happy that they exist
364 days every year
and 365 each leap year.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Serendipity unveiled

This land
is every land there ever was
and ever will be,
this land
is not foreign
to foreign soil,
gaze upon it
and that’s all it takes
to obtain permanent residency
to love and hate
to own and disown
This land passes
from generation to generation
traveller to traveller
journal and revision,
it has moved from hand to hand
been chit-chatted about
civilized and vilified
and yet
again and again
through ownship and bombardment
lyrical rendering and misrepresentation
it rises
from cartography and cartographer
traveller and description
long nights
and blazing afternoons,
emerging in colour and storm
wave and wave-remnant
through mist and forgetting
rides on parallel lines
and wanders in impossible universes.
There are temples made of rock
and made of seaspray and yearning,
monuments from the past
as fresh as imagined tomorrows,
boats and carpets
lines and curves.
This land
is a beautiful woman,
an old woman’s recollection
a baby’s ripple of laughter,
a song sculpted without blueprint
plundered without mercy
lost without name
but always,
signatured with love.
[Inspired by Natalie Soysa's album by the same title, and used to decorate a photo essay carried in 'The Nation' of October 30, 2011]