Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Flutter

[For C.]

The window is aflutter
with the day's newborn rays,
envoys from the heavens
thrust
at the immensity of our existence.

The room fills up
in unhurried moments,
like a schoolboy's watercolour.

The cosmos surges
in fractions of coffee cups and childhoods
as eternity pounds away like a machined heart.

We are surrounded by movement
but we,
we do not move.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Feast

They can't remember
where the evening began,
the boy
and the girl with the Russian name,

but they remember
where it ended up.

In poetry, as always.

***

Neruda offered his odes,
songs of blood, skin, earth
and the fire of youth.

Brodsky brought his friend Baryshnikov
who recreated
a dance for the ages.

Bukowski made an appearance,
doodles, half-burnt cigarettes,
typewriter and all.

Szymborska stood in the corner
gifting rhymes, nonchalant.

Armitage charmed his way in
with the nostalgia of childhood
and his butter-fingered verse.

Cavafy took them on an odyssey
on the ocean of life
with gods, monsters and wisdom.

Bolaño made an entrance in furious lyric,
strumming on the savagery of the heart.

Borges snuck in his doppelgänger,
mirrors, swords, hourglasses
and the infinite library of chance.

***

Through the pages they strolled the night,
under the high ceiling
that mimicked a constellation.

She closed her eyes,
the girl with the Russian name,
and let his voice fall on her

like rain.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Makers

Men born with humility
instead of a face
their fingers reach out across the ages
to craft miracles,
the slow song of human ingenuity.

In the quiet corridors of oblivion
they chisel, they weave, they carve

daily
arriving at the truth
that no one can own
but belongs to everyone.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Epilogue

[For S. N. R.]

That was how he
rested his argument with the world.

At the first sunrise of a new year
as the rest of the world burst with optimism
and confetti still wafted on the streets

he succumbed to silence.

Time went on without him
as he slipped into the cradle of the past.
In an instant, he was.

Relinquishing his breath,
he embraced the air's stillness
and left his song behind for others to sing.

He didn't run out of music,
he ran out of time.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Surrender

We knew so little of each other
yet I did it.

But
who said love was anything more than
a stone thrown at the stars.

The drive on the dark highway,
your playlist,
and the endless promise of that evening...

When I die,
I hope they take me back there.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Murder of Actaeon

She stands there, her silver bow drawn taut,
back arched in furious grace.
Her nakedness gleams under the sun,
beauty so savage it echoes
through the quietude of the woods.
The flimsy human must pay.

He stands there, fear rippling through his veins,
ensnared 
in the pitiless stare of the eternal virgin.

The cavernous howl of divine arrogance
pierces through the wind's innocence

as his skin quivers,
that feeble garment of mortality.

Ferocious death is at hand,
shadows of its sprinting hooves
screaming through the moist earth like wildfire.
Nostrils flared, fangs bared,
the beasts are coming.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The awkward hug

Seat-belt firmly in place,
unmade conversations populating his thoughts
with a traffic policeman bearing down
on his windshield in a no-parking space

clusters of words jostling for attention
on the tongue’s inadequacy,
the lingering sadness of a goodbye
stealthily clambering up his back

halfway through the hug,
the lad froze

like a piece of parchment
choked by the weight of its own words.

[5:49 pm | 16th August, 2009]

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Poem

It was written
in another poem's margins
by a riverside one midsummer evening
after a long day's work.

It contained love
like a carafe filled to the brim,
too meagre for its destiny.

There it lay
until this morning
I stumbled upon it again.

After all these years
it still is inadequate.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The blue stretches on.

[For Natalia Molchanova]

The blue stretches on
like air, only heavier.

The blue stretches on
like language, the soul's anchorage.

The blue stretches on
like home, a vast starless womb.

The blue stretches on
in silence, bellowing through the veins.

The blue stretches on
into the awakening, pearly bubbles ascending

into the beyond.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Cergy Pontoise

A March evening.
Sunlight uncoils in the horizon,
darkness delicately devouring the day's wall of light.

Leaps of blue by the riverside
green tree tops, foamy white clouds
brown contemplative earth
and an enormous silence

pierced by a distant seagull's cry
as if from memory,
from a different evening, a different time.

One of those moments
life accumulates
like the bellows of an accordion
and the music rises up in your throat
like an ancestral song.

Others have dreamt this before you.
You are but a page
in a library of infinite pages.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Cassette

There was no embrace at the end,
no gawky display of brotherly affection

just a turn of your head at the bend,
a brief glance before you disappeared
into the vast machinery of adulthood.

On my way home in the cab
I watched your departure streak through the sky
like a shooting star.

Back in the shade of my living room,
I muted the lights, shut the blinds
and gave in to the plain charity of sleep.

I dreamt of the time you cried as a little boy
when your favourite movie tape got tangled up
and stopped playing.

Nine years old, I was the only adult in the room
and your grief flew at me
like a flock of frightened birds.
I did not know what to do.

I snap awake.
This is a different room, a different time
and I am no longer the only adult between us

but
if I could gather that tangled tape,
somehow piece it all back together
and play that movie for you one more time,
I would. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Whimsy

[For Mark Strand]

Reading early this morning
I stumbled upon your death in the pages
like an old bill I'd forgotten to pay.

April 11, 1934 – November 29, 2014.
It has been nine months.
("Enough time for a new life",
I can almost hear you say.)

I confess I always felt
I would meet you someday.
No reason, just a whimsy
but I believed in it all the same.
Clearly, I underestimated death.
(Don't we all?)

You are gone now,
and we are separated
by this great dark ocean called life.

[27th August 2015 | New Delhi]