Friday, 9 March 2012


It’s a train
the kind of machine
kept in reserve
in just-in-case status;
it’s not last-resort, no
our encounters
are first and foremost
first and foremost
and yet
so like those ghost trains
filling schedule-gaps
and stepping out
in break-down times
stopping the sea,
blowing out night-light
drowning traffic
a toss, a turn
and the long pause
of moonlight and wave-break. 

Thursday, 8 March 2012


And when they’ve taken the mule
taken the harp
taken fight out of body
blood out of vein
twisted the flesh
robbed a tooth or two
when they’ve had their fill
of scream and plea
when the wiping of hand
erases dust and guilt
there will be a smile;
it’s called music
a life-breath that escapes
through prison and censorship
uncontainable by bind-and-gag
and that, friends,
is how fire is born
and re-born,
and it has nothing to do with Prometheus.


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Conversations with Eduardo*

Yes, Eduardo, I understand,
the woman between my eyelids has robbed me of sleep.
This woman, Eduardo,
let me tell you,
is clothed in the finest garments,
she puts to shame the moon,
her glances, Eduardo,
are more serene than moonlight,
her tears clearer than dew.

Eduardo, you must understand,
I don't want to sleep again.
I want to undress this woman
who undresses me with so much ease

I confess:
there are times she reveals
and times when the mad logic of love

At times like that, Eduardo,
I have seen her naked,
been dazzled by that corporeal light
seen that beauty-drenched body glow,
been robbed of words.

Then there have also been times,
not very many though,
when I've undressed that divine nakedness
moved beneath the garment called skin.
breathed the air of her lungs
and seen that very human piece of flesh
that is her heart,
palpitating like yours and mine,

She's fragile, Eduardo,
like tomorrow.
and flawed like the revolution,
scarred like the map of my country
and yours too, Eduardo.

I walk endlessly in the delirium of my insomnia,
I can't forget, for my eyes are a barred gate
that refuses amnesia.
She's stuck in my throat, Eduardo,
and it is not that I want to ask her to leave,
need I even say?

*"I can't sleep. There is a woman stuck between my eyelids. I would tell her to get out if I could. But there is a woman stuck in my throat." (From "The Book of Embraces," by Eduardo Galeano)

[From the collection 'Threads', shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2007]

Monday, 5 March 2012

A love-note

Love is a single word-drop causing ripple to roll
into wave
into storm
into whirlwind;
and love’s end-note
a tear
that disappears
into a nonchalant ocean. 
And that, love
is the beginning and end
of heartbeat narratives.


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Another Dawn Song

It is the most ancient story: The long night ends,
the dawn breaks
and all equations are erased
beyond recognition
and sometimes beyond recall,
need we insist?
It is the first story of the future
the threading that heralds unraveling
and weaving
of the day’s unplanned tapestry.
It is morning here
and night there
for some ‘you’ of someone’s story,
anyone’s tale
but this neither-here-nor-there
is peak enough to see far
either into the long yesterday
or the endless tomorrow
or both.
it’s a choice-point,
immemorial and holy.

[Inspired by the photography of Hiranya Malwatta and published in 'The Nation', March 4, 2012]