I can’t find stuff that Jeet Thayil has written his post-America era. I don’t think these are from then but they could be. And my copies of his books are back in India.
If you can find it, please read Shape-Shifter. It is my favourite. Read this interview and understand yourself why I lust after him. If you know me well enough, that is.
If you don’t: His “weird co-passengers answer” and this earlier post should tell you that we’d have been made for each other, had both of us been single. (In my head, of course. He probably likes really thin women with killerbones… I mean collarbones…curly hair and a shimmering nosepin, none of which I have.)
By Jeet Thayil
The Boredom Artist
Life, said Hobbes, is nasty, brutish and short.
He left out boring, as grim a condition as any.
His tigerish namesake’s epiphany,
in 20-point captions, is a Sunday slot.
Then there’s Chekov, who, a moment ago, wrote,
The earth is beautiful, as are all God’s creatures,
only one thing is not beautiful, and that is us.
Between philosopher, toy tiger, doctor, there’s
a ladder of land no man claims as his.
I’ll settle down there with old friends, familiars:
a monkey, my famous barking birds in pairs,
and defrocked Sukhvinder, the bald brahmin bear.
Dawn, like whiskey, half-lights a watery world:
all things break down to flesh, food and fear.
It’s late December in Fleetwood, downstate NY,
“glorious showers, thunderclouds continue”.
My mind unwinds as the century slows,
dribbles its years to a whining close
and defunct days peddle the news.
Listen: nothing, not even love, is true.
Slumming in Bombay, Beelzebub
found himself at home. Finally, he
had a reason for lethargy.
Inert like everybody, unable to sleep,
he blamed the humidity.
No use to say, “But B,
that’s what this city does: saps you,
leaves you spent like change,
separates the dudes from the ditties.”
He was having none of it,
a tools-down, feet-up, none of it,
and then the boss arrived, unexpected,
on a Sunday.
But his boss – now what? – had changed.
Hard as it was to believe,
she seemed kind, distracted, humorous,
The day she came to take him home
they were seen at the Hanging Gardens,
hand in hand, watching the dust bees
ride their pollen machines.
It was Christmas Day, just after dawn,
even the heat and humidity at peace,
it seemed, and Beelzebub’s boss serene.