Tuesday, March 22, 2011

With you, my cup should overflow
its brim with ambrosia
What should I do with all that nectar
it should be sacrilege to spill
Elixir is dangerous for mortals
We should be content with remembrance and hope.

Yet, some day I shall come looking for you
like a lost puppy.
A migratory bird, you flew
down south, a river
you changed your course
a butterfly, you hunted out
blossoming flowers
I search for you in vain
in the barren emptiness of my present.

The Weft and the Warp

Snip. Snip. Click. Swish.
A whisking metallic sound
breaks silence with a tone of finality
a scissors cut cleanly through cloth.
Hearts too are torn and ripped
like cloth, mine has frayed edges
jagged threads stick out.
the knit is lost without the purl, the weft
goes in search of the warp.
A new thread can stitch them
into a reworked compromise
Poetry can sew hearts and
my warped lines
woven with doubt, hope and insecurity
the head bent in prayer
ardently long to find
the weft of yours.


Purple perfect profusions
and velvety-violets amidst
the dappled green
Dewdrops glitter like jewelled crystals
The marigolds have stolen
the yellow-gold of the sun, the orange
of the narangis. The red poppies
are crimson to the point of wicked sinfulness.
The pristine purity of the white
with their centres of blue-purple
and green-black offsets the rest.
the purple shehtoot is ready to be plucked
The February rain plays hdie and seek
with february wind and february sun
Now that spring is in the air.

On the street, the beggar counts her meagre coins
the hungry eyes of children follow me
A car speeds up, a dog limps across the road.


I was born whole, yes,
but the Fates that decreed me a gemini
split me into twin selves, split selves
The quiet, serious me and
the wicked rebel.
Freud further split me into three
the yearning in me, the stoical
reason in me, and the balancing act
of yearning and reason in me.
I inherited my mother's hair
my father's eyes, my mother's mouth
and nobody's nose. I mean, Nobody knows.
And anybody's height. and whobody's brain?
But my grandma's memory, that's for sure.
This body of mine that now lives in delhi
is part gujju-part tamil, half punjabi and
used to live in Benares. But even that
is history. Places proliferate
and multiply.
Yes, I believe in post-modernism
yes, I believe in pluralities, and liminalities
of Identities.
But sometimes, I yearn
to carve an imaginary
unified Identity.
Spirits glide above me, slide
beneath my feet, listen closely
hide in my hair, in my ears
follow at my heels, watching softly.
They try to steal my thoughts.
Are they part of me
or do they belong to you
these ghosts of memory, desire and dreams?
Or do they hang midway
carrying my secrets to you?
Do they mock me, do they
stalk me, or do they guide me
these invisible presences?
They whisper, murmur,haunt
without end, I cannot escape
these voices, you see, are inside of me
Do they know me more
than me, do you know me
like a river's meanders know its boulders?


I am an illusion
a ghostly apparition
I embody your mind,
your body and your soul
no, I am not you
no, I am not a clone
I am a doppelganger.
What's that, you ask
a pretender, an imitator
a duplicitous masquerader
a fake identity, a passport stealer?
No, I am a doppelganger.
I have holes in my body
and rings in the holes
fishes hang from my ears, a tree owl
nestles in my hair, midnight black
surrounds my eyes.
I have the slantedness of your
awkward smile, the rigidity
of your aloof body, I can
purple you to perfection.
Oh well, not quite to perfection
I told you I am not you
a spirit bound by you
yet not free from me
I walk the liminal edges of you and me
I observe with delicacy, stalk
with sensitivity, try to enter
your spirit imaginatively
and I doppelganger.
They think I can't be real
They think I am a doppelganger
But I am uncannily real
you cannot get rid of me
I am bound unto you.
I delight in doppelgangerism
it's a fascinating entrancing game.
One day, I shall stamp my body
with your indelible blue black mark
Neither here nor there, belonging nowhere
I wander like a restless spirit of longing
and incomplete desire in the air
I walk the liminal edges of you and me.

Requiem for a Dream

"Fasola is a sweet girl", the teacher said,
"and she writes lovely poems".
She flashed her a precious smile
Stars rose in her eyes that night and
gave birth to a dream.

Another day, she avoided Fasola's gaze, returned
a poorly marked paper, praised
the stout girl over there.
A sacred dream died its death and
buried itself in the classroom dust.

One day the dream will learn from Sylvia and Lady Lazarus
and rise again.