Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Fucking Poem

We act like it's no big deal.
You inside sleeping, and
me here, smoking.
Headphones. 5:56pm. TD for the Colts.

Yet every moment I imagine
the turn of a door knob,
and the give of wood.
I cough, practising my first line.

I could say-- "The knife broke before lunch!"
(Bad luck in love if one is Irish;
the onions just help the tears along)
Or maybe even-- "Overkill. Like too much salt!"

Perhaps the music gets louder and louder,
so that even if you did turn the knob,
did call my name,
I wouldn't have to hear. Or cough.

And thus you have me bound.
By your silence. The hope of your speech.
(For you I hold my wrists together,
my arms over my head)

I should go away, of course.
Birth this pregnant pause, only to
return-- sporting a flatter tum?
And you would be there at the station...

... Like a Jane Austen book.

Such irony though: this evil eye anger
silence guilt too much salt
has made a poem.
A fucking poem.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Her Gripe

And it was as simple for you,
as placing your lips further down the rim
and sipping with your eyes closed,
while discussing the future of Parma
and the effects of war on network tv.

you murmured out your secret easy,
like a malyalee smiles a request for tea.
It is that simple for you, as simple as taking off your
shoes, giving the girl a nickname for tonight,
or getting drunk on Old Monk at 4:30am.

Do not fool yourself, dearest, by thinking
I grip this knife harder only to make sure
the onions are sliced fine. No, do not fool yourself.
Wars have been fought and children sold
because of words spoken while swimming in rum.

Imagine the terror unleashed then,
by this woman you just declared long-hid passions to!
There's a knife at your throat for only one reason:
no woman wants to know she was put away for a rainy day
Keep your mouth shut, your bottle corked, or just-- keep away!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Message in a Bottle

you send pictures and news,
wear your life like mosquito bites
draped all over your pale skin.

You have new people in your bookshelf,
one dog-eared more than the others.
you have started smoking. I only smile.

We laugh over sex and future plans,
knowing with quiet comfort that it will
or wont happen. You'll wax your cunt anyway

and I will leave my heart open, and point at
the fireflies on the sill, rorschach undies on the floor.
What would you have done, if we kissed that night at Saarang?

for I loved you then, as much as I loved anyone else;
your light-eyed, soft-pawed grace. The way no man could ever mark you.
We both carry tattoos now. Mine are underneath the skin.

You take pictures of the night. The stories in your beaded,
red and silvered pouch sound familiar to me,
like I was there, naked in the forest inside you,
Caiman-staring at your cigarette's rising smoke.

You are beautiful now, just like you were that night-
bra-less, smiling with the grasshoppers
under amber-lit trees.

Dryad. The one old women warned them about,
only because you ate bread-jam with your left hand.
I come gladly, and with only one fear--

will you stay unhurt, tree-being, you whose hair
has grown long with moss and iguana song?
only the lack of faith ever killed a sprite;

and I have died many times over,
as I have killed, many times over.
I stare at the pictures you took:

under the night a cloud moves.
Under the green mist, a fish darts unnoticed.
This is how it will be, then--

passed over and precious,
like a cloud at night over Ecuador.
Like a fish at rest in sleeping reeds.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Code Red

She couldn't help her smile. Walking down the street, she wove her steps between demolition crews, a crying child, gliding below the iron girders that swung precariously over her head. She smiled, oblivious to the warnings, curses and surprised yells that accompanied her path.

She ran across roads, ignored 'don’t walk' signs, and didn't wait for her change. In response to words of praise and magic and prophecy from old women with cards and parrots, stones, candles and withered flowers in bunches she let 20-dollar bills rise from her palms like setting doves free. The women took one look at her face and put away their potions with a laugh.

Musicians followed her down the street, making the grand sound like it was an old time Mardi gras. Mothers held their children to her smile, eager for blessings. Young men threw phone-numbers, roses—One slid down a drain pipe and pelted after the procession, chanting like it was high mass and arsenal vs. juventus in 2001 at one and the same time.

She walked by, and big men, dressed in sleek suits and scented with rehearsed speeches, passed bills to save children in Uganda, then donated their yachts to Bangladeshi NGOs. One man smiled and dialed a number: instantly bombs filled with cherry blossoms and iris petals exploded gently over Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and the ancestors of the people there rose up from the old tombs to share tea with the toddling dalai lama, lately discovered playing a flute on a tuna long-liner.

She climbed the stairs to her terrace, and faeries woke in Stonehenge, and played dusty pipes that had long since grown into trees, and all the Irish came out and swore by Odin, Thor and Balder that they had forgotten how to spell 'Ulster unionist'. For the first time, more Guinness than Bud was drunk; the lochness swam to Sea World and set Willy free.

Once on top of her water-tank, she danced and sang; Buddha smiled, stretched and woke. Gandhi danced the Cheraw, Harrison and Lennon sang let it be, backed by the invisible choir. Noting the sudden global warming, Wolfowitz and the CIA announced a code red, anxiously. The President announced on national television that the world was under threat from someone dangerously in love. She closed her eyes, thought of his face and kissed the night air.

On the other side of the world, he woke in that instant, and realized he had been smiling in his sleep. At that exact moment, a doctor named Patel discovered a cure for AIDS, and superman deflected an asteroid hurtling towards Iran. He sat down at his laptop:

"You won't believe this, but I think just saw you in my dream. Come online?"

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Do you know what its like

to be able to give you


For what could I give,

I who have sat in dirty robe with cigarette butt,

hearing your stories from a lifetime ago?

A lifetime ago, I would've known what to give:

sonnets, clean feet, a warm neck.

Stories, laughter, smokeless breath.

A lifetime ago, we would've had whole afternoons,

Laughed over things we wouldnt put on our blogs,

made coffee and petted the sleeping cat. Or dogs.

A lifetime ago, I wouldve ensured smooth skin

and punctuality on msn.

A lifetime ago, all the men in the stories wouldve been you.

A lifetime ago, we may not have met.

you had your happiness and I had mine.

But now they've gone and—relatively-- it's just you and me.

we met like two druggies in a dark corner.

Our understanding began when we compared scars

and laughed at the funny shapes they left.

We pointed at each other's words in silence

awknowledging the one who would not return

and the clean bandages we refused to use.

On the nights you had to howl

I waited below, paws numb even before the snow fell,

for what comfort could I offer, I whose turn was next?

Do you know what its like

to be able to give you


There are no flowers. But there is weed.

There is no fruit. Just dried lonely seed.

Two Quioxtes or two Sancho Panzas?

Im not sure at all, at all. Saddle-sore, I only know

we have cursed both windmill, and rusty 'amour'.

Now we sometimes frolic. All teeth and snarls and laughter,

like cubs in spring. Like spring, it does not last.

Night comes, and the snow hides your prints from me.

Do you know what its like

to be able to give you


No virginity. No silken locks.

No rings. No matching socks.

What love-name could I call you that she hasn't?

What part of me could you touch that he hasn't?

What could I give you?

A cig when you were out, but

You dont smoke Camels, and I dont smoke Marbs.

Perhaps a back rub?

a sandwich

a crossword


Bad yoda imitations

(love you I do)

A lifetime ago, we may not have met.

you had your happiness and I had mine.

But now they've gone and relatively,

its just you and me.

A lifetime ago we would not have met.

I hold this thought like a raindrop,

and nod an ok to

the grey sky, and sun that's set.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Plan B

Or we could pretend that we were just waiting for the same bus, and all that happened, happened only because that bus was late, and all the coffee shops were closed.

It would be easy, really.

I could for instance, claim that the tip of my boot did not scuff a gentle line against your brown shoe: that all I was doing was removing a plastered leaf from the leather. I could claim that I did not tug at the warm circle of your trouser leg with the same boot. That all I was doing was drawing your attention to the waiter who had brought the same salty noodles back to the table, inspite of you having sent it back 15 minutes earlier.

It would be easy... I could say that I have never wanted to kill you, never wanted to kiss you, never taken advantage of a sudden red light to squeeze my thighs tighter around you.

And you could try this as well.

Pretend you didn't hold onto my hips when we all danced in the club that poured out too many large punjabis and too many dancing vodkas. Pretend you didn't...


And why not? Such dealings as ours is matter for memory. If the raven is kind, I will forever associate chocolate cigars with you. If otherwise,

You could claim that the crumpled bills are from Hutch, not from that italian place where you held my foot in your lap while he poured more ice cubes into my glass. Claim even, that my boots were dusty, my neck tepid, and that I did not know better than you what to order for lunch.

Or instead-- Pretend that we were just waiting for the same bus, and that just as you turned to me, the bus arrived. You formed a foolish grin and fingered your change, while I sipped at my takeaway latte.

It would be easy, really.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Hot Flush

Count-downs and new releases on t.v. Home food, and the old lady's reading 'the curious incident of the dog in the night time', waiting for her husband to drive home.

In a kaftan from a lifetime ago, her fingers scented with the pickle gravy that no soap made by man can ever wash off completely. Languid, like can only happen if one has recovered from a high fever, or has just fought and won an argument with a teacher.

Her thighs are as white solid and warm as they have always been. the fan's off because her nose is blocked, and she needs to breathe. Vh1 and all that is pop on television. Bad punk rock. Kylie has breast cancer, and everyone's still wishing for Jolie's eyes. Languid. So Languid. Like an old man who is tired after jiving with a younger woman and buries himself in his rum to make sure no one can hear his gasping over the loud music.

The old lady reading 'the curious incident of the dog in the night time'. Like tracing a line of wet paint on paper, she reached down between her thighs with her right hand, the remote controlling the number of ads viewed with her left hand.

This was a deep sea exploration; Cousteau seeking the anemones. Languid like one who has recovered from a high fever, or who has masturbated far too often in a day. This much at least, was the truth. What was incredible was the damp, clear warm wetness that lay there, like the moisture in the roots of a desert plant. her finger came up quietly slick, like a finger given to a baby to suck. So tired. Everything is asleep: the curtains, the shirts on hangers in the corner. Her breasts heavy and soft, mildly damp like dimsum steamed and forgotten by some harried waiter. In the folds of her soft, mildly damp body, moisture lay like the last drop of water hanging on the tassle of a cotton sari out on the line.

Languid, and so tired, but to see if one could still... after a long day of... inspite of a blocked nose...

she had never done this seated bolt upright. It was like sucking too fast and too long on a hookah. It was hanging upside down on a ferris wheel while the guy who worked the circles went to get popcorn. Her eyes glazed over, and she thought she might be sick, and then feverish, and then sick, and then...

This wasn't about a man or woman, or even many men or many women. Maybe it was the medication or the lack of oxygen, but the 1,000 invisible hands that hundreds of years and a taj mahal ago had aided Arjumand to her silken lord and hot bed suddenly found her on this languid january night, with Vh1 and Jolie's eyes running across the telelvision screen...

1,000 invisible hands. Some supporting her back, stroking the inner skin of her arms. Others touching, tracing, rubbing all murmuring

you must. You have to. It is better this way. Come.

It was every man's folly to not know the simplest secret about her. And it was this. The flowers and talk and tongue and anger had nothing to do with it. All one had to do was ask.

Please, come. It is better this way.

She gasped during the Madonna interview, clench-unclenching, feeling a single long-stemmed drip of sweat explore the curve of her back. Hot flush. The antibiotics did not help.

She hadn't moved, except to fold her right leg, the bottle green kaftan 4 inches above her solid warm thigh. She laughed aloud thinking of the picture she made-- her legs like two whales beached on some polynesian island. And the tide would come with the rising of the moon, and lift languid, tired fins up and out, back into the lapping ocean.

She relaxed back on the cotton covers, and released the mute button that had been pressed down these past six minutes.

It was not about need. But what a lonely task it is to make sure one remains languid.

She gulped down water, watching madonna while her pulse came back to normal, thrumming in her forehead and palms. Like a prayer.