Saturday, 5 May 2012

Traditional homeland

What is the traditional homeland of love,
that born-free, living-free place
where gaze, compassionate or otherwise,
does not cause blush,
where the parameters of propriety
are meaningless,
where the 'you' and 'I'
can collapse into 'us',
where there is no
no what-ifs to inhibit lip,
stop caress
or freeze melting?
What is the name
of that world
where love
is an all-country visa
where there are no check-points
to arrest heartbeat
no physician willing to treat
the incurable sigh?
Is there an in-our-arms moment
outside of memory and longing,
being and becoming?
And are such things worth attention
today, now or ever
with intersection having bled into convergence?

[from the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves', shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2012]

Thursday, 3 May 2012

This hour

This is the hour of the Lion Flag,
it flies from a thousand buildings,
from houses and vehicles,
bicycles and buses,
gathering dust
and the grime of the diurnal
but fluttering nevertheless in an eternal dawn.
Morning rain
dissolves tree and city,
traffic light and the early riser
billboard and shop sign,
and city maps get smudged
in a black-river spill.
Then there is a day-start rush
school books and lunch boxes,
the ritual repeat of a timeless whine:
brush-your-teeth, I-don't-want-to,
where-are-your-shoes, I-don't-know,
where's-my-kiss, budu-saranai-chooti-doo.
The skipping of meals
the frequent tea-breaks
the anecdotal hours pass,
the daily quota of conversation
swirls around work
and dreaming.
It is all wrapped
didn't you know,
by word and memory,
image and burning,
the coolest gaze
and a voice
from yesterday and tomorrow
a voice for moment,
from moment to moment.

[from the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves,' shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2011]

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


I like to draw lines
define spaces
not in the manner of an architect
or cartographer, no
but I like to play with heart-crayon
on mind-paper
and set out flower-flanked pathways:
the forks meant to lead astray
the hidden turn that was not taken
and the strange heartbeat keys
that brought us
from unknown beginnings
through familiar charades
stumbling through word lines
tripping over innuendo and glance
to this place of no return.

[From the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves', shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2011]

Monday, 30 April 2012

Today is May Day

Yes, you are damn right it is!
May Day falls on April 29th,
on January 1st and December 31st
and everyday between,
it is the day they built the Taj Mahal
from scratch to polish
the pyramids and minarets
stupas and tanks
the nuclear reactor
and the multi-barrel gun
stretching from first stitch
to after-sales service
and disbursement of insurance
the picking of pockets
ravaging of heart
breaking of bones
and the celebration
of labour
with courtesy and redness
no apology
none given,
none asked.