Saturday, 21 July 2012

Bank your love

Banks: thank-you places
‘thanks for taking my bucks,
thanks for the interest,
for-giving thanks for what is mine';
like owners of our hearts,
they take
and we say ‘Thank you,
so much!’


Friday, 20 July 2012

A bliss-note

‘What’s bliss? they ask
and I wonder.
I don’t know
but there are days and nights
waterways and dryness
tea gone cold
and sudden rain
fragrance of anonymity
ignorance-birthed hope;
and there are tight-lipped faces
with unleashable eyes
and half smiles that slip
to full-bloom and back,
when first word is not ‘hello’
but ‘goodbye’;
I bliss them all
and they bliss me.

Thursday, 19 July 2012


It’s skin and bone and plastic
flesh, blood and digital
name, number and heart
it’s curriculum vitae
written and unwritten,
but identity is clothed
layers and layers and layers
colour-mix and eye-fool texture
dissectible by hour of day
slottable by location
lipstiked and mustached
creamed and shaved
identity is for strut
and bullet
it is another word
for hide. 


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

That other country I’ve left

I left a young man in Peradeniya years ago.

Can’t remember date
can’t remember place.

Perhaps it was not Peradeniya
but Dumbara
mist-laden memory land
first-hurt-place of sorts
first-death too
valley of robbery
and loss
untraceable now. 

I left behind a young man
in the Sarachchandra ‘Wala’
playing to an empty theatre,
left him
in a circle of death
seventeen severed heads
around the Alwis Pond
1988 or was it 89?
I left him in the gymnasium
balanced on a badminton net
bested by weights
lost in a dribble,
left him
on the rugger field
after a single-match season,
collapsed on the cinder track
5000 meters after the starter’s gun,
among conversations
without beginning or end
and voices crushed
by ear-drum bursting
ball-point pens.

I left him
in a mountain of love letters
in heartache’s undeliverable pulp,
kisses blown away
by death and distancing
the heart-smouldering nights
in the giraya
of have-to-do and no-escape.

I left him on the Akbar Bridge
and the lines of a song
lost among the reeds
and broken cadences
in the going waters
of an upstream time.
I left a young man in Peradeniya
a century ago;
and I am told
his is a laughing ghost
smiling at dawn
chuckling all day long,
and I am told
that on certain nights
he recites the story of his time
in Iambic Pentameter
in a voice so clear
that it goes unheard
at Marcus and Ramanathan
stopping now and then
to sigh the sigh
that ought to melt mountain,
but does not.


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Another option

My poetry  you can turn around,
and fling back;
is no less perfect
and is as pure
and you can claim
that I was 'reverse'
and you the original and righteous 
weaver of tale and tear.  
time saw this, as they say,
and that is all that can be said
or needs saying.

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

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Shoe flower mornings

Life is a seed and a flower,
petalled and coloured,
tiny and amazing
ebullient and pitiful
made for bloom and withering
but shoe-flower is all this
and none of this
and earth-bed for dew drop
refrigerator for butterfly and bee
subject for photographer
inspiration for poet
offering for the altar
eye-widener for child;
it’s a pollen-life tale
it is love-peel if you will
made of chapter and verse
of all grand narratives
that count;
the morning glory we no longer see
for having lived and seen so much
the so much that blinds,
but this is redness un-ignorable
it is tap root of tenderness
the call to prayer
and weeping,
uncontrollable laughter
is scripted here
and so too
the half-smile
of a girl sworn to silence
in the cross-fire
of insecurities;
show-flower tortures
in many way
and in many ways
it is yours
to read as you will. 

[inspired by the poetry of Rukshan Abeywansha and published in 'The Nation']