Category Archives: poem

Walking around Agara Lake

Yesterday, I walked around Agara Lake, when the sun set
Trying to retrace my footsteps
As you walked by my side on another day like this. 

We talked about… what was it, exactly?
About how we will be friends forever.
And we made fun of disapproving old men
Who looked at us as if we were about to kiss;
We laughed because we should have.

We called other people conservative,
Walking dreams trapped by the enslaving of their lifegivers.
We made excuses for their bad behaviour.

How beautiful it all was.
The full trees, the shattered-glass shroud of the lake
And the complete lack of birds. The ability to sit
Still and feel nothing, except oneness with
The dusty-pink flower that swooned as it fell from the tree.


Dancing on graves


I know a grave dancer, (by no means grave)
A man with a child’s smile
And a tongue of fish scales,
Glinting, silver, alive all the while

He steps light on the gifts
Of people’s insides
With cold horned feet,
And poison-tipped besides.

He wears a jester’s three-pointed hat
A ready joke, an even readier lie;
Has a bag of tricks, a sleight of hand
Promises to love you till you die.

The last I saw him
He was a deranged sun
Burning up several worlds. I don’t know if it was
From fear, cowardice or for maybe some fun.

Dancing on the grave
Of a microcosm that was a trick
Of light. His eyes dead, his voice
The cold of winter, sharp and thick.

I walked up to him
To ask about his terrible dance.
Between steps of murder, he asked instead,
“This is your grave, have you noticed, by chance?”




Listening to myself

I can't find my voice, I can't find my voice, 
I cried. 

A loud sound I hear, a keening, a song
An insecure blowing of a horn 
But I can't find my voice, I can't find my voice. 

The virulent music of raindrops, a yelp, a din
Three loud wishes for a somewhat depressed djinn
But I can't find my voice, I can't find my voice. 

Incantations of hate, a hummed song, a plea
A jigsaw of footsteps; they flee, they flee
But I can't find my voice, I can't find my voice. 

Nothing is quiet, a whistle, a roar 
The sounds of Hokusai's waves crashing ashore 
And I can't find my voice, I can't find my voice
I cried. 

27 Oct 2016

Hidimbi by the River

Bhimasena: lover,  keeper of secrets, healer.
How burdensome your love for
The lotus-blue Panchali
To whom the Saugandhika
and it’s quest were just another sorcery
Of dark eyes.

My skin lightens,  Bhimasena, draining
Itself of jet,  along with the memory of you
The seed grows,  Bhimasena,  and I grow big
Enough to envelope the forest in my womb
In an incestuous hope that you will enter it.

The forest, it grows dark,  Bhimasena
Dark as our love was when you chose
To walk away,  dutiful son,  loving brother
Absent father. Bhimasena

(Inspired by Bhima: Lone Warrior, the English of Randamoozham by MT Vasudevan Nair)


She drifted away with his cigarette smoke before he could catch her
Imprison her
In a green glass jar.

How long will you be gone, he asked,
Not looking up from violent but quiet scribbling in his book.
His pencil plundered a stick figure, a dead flower.

Till the silver on my anklet fades
Till black doesn’t hurt anymore
Till when the ship sails off my shoulder

Then I’ll be back for more, she said.

A knife glinted, his hand  a ready, righteous Brutus
Her skin a sheen of love, glowing, nonchalant
Till he knifed a lost ship and tainted the brown of her shoulder

“No sailing away for this one. Ever,” he said
Grabbing her snake-hair and pouring her
As she sighed in relief, into the green glass jar.




I found you dusty and unkempt, under a carpet of ordinary lives.
What should I do with you, I thought.
You, a reluctant gem, you sleeping genie.

Should I dust you off and set you in my ring?
Or should I let you be to sleep peacefully,
Happy, content, unawakened?

Could I give you hand-mirror, I thought,
Just so you saw your fire, your deep red rareness?
And then kiss that flame to life only to burn in it?


This is love, then?

This forgiving when you
Storm off to the other room
Pleading exhaustion
When I toss and turn
On an odd insomniac night,
Sorry but I need to sleep, you said.
So do I.

This is love, then?
This learning to erase
With 4 a.m. poetry and a cigarette
Under a speeding, psychedelic fan
And a tottering 40-watt bulb.

This, then, is love.
Your tender smile in the morning
Your entreaties to you tell you what’s wrong
Your switching on music of my choice.

Your taking, your giving
My insomnia, my writing.

This, then, is love!