Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sahitya Akademi anthology, Sudeep Sen Ed.

I had two poems selected for a Sahitya Akademi anthology being edited by Sudeep Sen. Due to reasons of space, this was later cut down to one. 'Learning To Wear a Mekhala' has earlier been published in an LGBT newsletter, published from Guwahati, Assam called 'Xukia'. I will put up the text of the poem here only after the anthology is out, which it is expected to be in March 2018.

Six Seasons Review #It Will Have To Do

'It Will Have To Do' was published in Six Seasons Review, November 2017 issue

It will have to do

And perhaps it is enough to imagine you
Sitting open haired by another window
This evening, with some soft music
In the background. Perhaps it is enough
To lie languidly with a book and imagine
You similarly reading, without fixing specificities
Of what you read. Enough to know that you write
Without the urge to read each one you ever wrote.
It will have to be enough to know that you smile
That you are still sometimes as beautiful, and as
Brusque, without the need of me being there
To see. It will have to do to imagine you all alone
In the strangest of places, poking around
With that camera. It will have to do
To think that you probably have good reasons,
Because questions will have to remain unasked
Throttling my throat with their scorching dust
 no water in sight. It will have to do,
It will have to do, as I sit poring over a pile
Of assignments, to imagine you with another such bundle
With similar shrieks, with just another bunch of faces:
Curious eager bored mocking uncaring. It will have to be
Enough to know that you ARE, without knowing where
To know that you are loved, without aching to be the one
To love you. From now on, imagination and memory
Will have to suffice, unspoken apologies will have
To suffice with a prayer that you understand the wordless.
Perhaps the idea of you is larger than you, or the colour
Of your orange nailpaint or your mekhala. Perhaps the idea
Of you stretches to birds on trees outside my balcony
To the salt tears I lick with my tongue, perhaps it pervades
Objects in this room which act as reminders, perhaps
Similarly sitting, similarly reading, similarly similarly
Similarly finding connection in absence, in difference
Perhaps this migraine connects me to you, my hair,
my kohl, my dailyness connects me to you, perhaps
A poem, a sketch, a bird, a dream,
 influence, desire similarly similarly . Perhaps,
 the idea of you is here to stay. Perhaps,
it is enough to thank you and set you free.

Six Seasons Review #I Love You Better Than I Know How To Write Poems

'I Love You Better Than I Know How To Write Poems' was published in Six Seasons Review, November 2017 issue.

I love you better than I know how to write poems

I tried to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees
but I am not Neruda and when I speak
of morning suns and birds and the wind in the trees
it feels like I have marbles in my mouth
like I have three legs instead of two
the notes fall flat and tuneless and off scale like jarring clichés
but that is not the way I love you, the way I love you is not a cliché
I can think of beautiful poem endings
but no beginnings nor middles
every pore in my body has dried up longing for you
it has learnt how to ache patiently
but sometimes it forgets and it aches madly, desperately
and then I must learn to be still and more patient
I try to do with myself what spring does with the cherry trees
I love you because I know that I cannot live and not love you
I love you better than I know how to write poems
but I wanted this poem to be better than the way I love you
I could disappear and become only a voice
a voice that surrenders itself entirely to you.

Six Seasons Review #Toerings Anklets

'Toerings anklets' was published in Six Seasons Review, November 2017 issue

Toerings anklets
a bindi, kohl
hairpin earrings
and a stole.

I look pretty in the mirror.
I feel pretty in the sun.

Why do I do this? Perhaps
to show that after defilement, after shame
and scars and marks
after accuse and guilt and sorrow
I can still be beautiful.

Six Seasons Review #Rainstorms in the Mountains

1.       'Rainstorms in the Mountains' was pubished in Six Seasons Review, November 2017 issue.

        Rainstorms in the Mountains
“Rain in the Mountains” ~ Ruskin Bond
“Mountains make love to the sky” ~ John Denver

The sky goddess wears a grey skirt
The blue and white hem grazes
the tops of mountains, until
it disappears, leaving the grey skirt
its voluminous swathes enveloping all
The folds of the grey skirt then turn white
Enclosing and trapping all in its impenetrable
Mist, its hugging white clinging moist embrace
Like a lover who demands more, more, more
A sudden wind whips up, leaves us huddling
Pitifully in our sparse, bare shawls, shivering
Scared of being blown away, seeking refuge
In a tumble-down shack. The rains in the mountains
Are sudden and swift. The street lies strewn
With fallen branches of deodars and tufts of pines
The telltale remains of an extravagant revelry
as I walk back to my tiny pitch black room
wooden staircase, wooden floors,
Wooden ceilings, and a lone candle flame.

Six Seasons Review #Kasauli

'Kasauli' ( originally 'Kausali, 22nd May) was published in Six Seasons Review, November 2017 issue.

1.      Kasauli

There are things that we cannot believe
even when they happen. When wild
and crazy whims turn to fruition
we are stunned into disbelief. I have often dreamt
of going to Kasauli like you—my mind says with you
but you will excuse the Freudian slip—
but I never dreamt of doing it like this—all alone
and on your birthday.—I wandered over the hills
collecting pine cones and branches of deodars
paying little heed to stares of amazement and disbelief.
I imagined you walking over all those paths
that I walked on. I saw some birds too,
though I could not click them—having an erratic
and moody phone camera—I met
a bird photographer too but that was yesterday—
I saw two greenish birds and a tiny little one
with a red tail. I saw another tiny one
taking short flights of fancy, perhaps
longer flights of fantasy. I saw sparrows too
which are mostly extinct now. I clicked lots
of pictures but perhaps destiny did not want me
to click the birds—although I do not
believe in destiny but perhaps in signs—
The poem—and my mind—wanders
And digresses as much as I did.
It is such a quaint little town
with its pretty churches, “narrow streets of cobblestone”,
and fascinating wooden and wrought iron toys.
Though the Indian army posters
do not make it any prettier—but perhaps
they are a necessary evil.—I had beer
 and apple stew for lunch. And I missed
the last bus back because I sat watching
the sunset too long. I imagined you in buses,
with cameras and birds and people close to you.
I celebrated the day in countless tiny little ways
as I always do—but I have embarrassed you
too much already—the poem
is devoid of artifice because it is too intense
with emotion. Writing the poem, like watching
the sunset is only a way of making myself believe
that this most beautiful day is real
and so are you. I want it to stay,
but this most beautiful day, like you and the birds, is slipping away.