Sunday, November 29, 2015

What an old lady on a bus told me

What an old lady on a bus told me

This is my long ride
back to prison.

There's this man
I’ve lived with
for fifteen years.

See this little
Buddha pendant?

This is all I have.

This is my faith.
I keep with me
all the time now.

Because of him.

One day it had gone missing
from my dressing room table;
I went into the kitchen and
found him playing with it;

when I asked for it back,
he stomped on it,
on it, flunked it out
the window;

I told him
Buddha never did any harm
to him; I said,
he can curse and swear at me
all he wants but Buddha,

I said, he should leave
out of his unhappiness.

He told me to go jump
off the top floor balcony.
I told him

to go jump off
the balcony himself;

I promised him:

I’ll follow.

I am afraid.
I am not
afraid of him.
I am afraid
of what he
does to me.

Original post:: Jul 12 2007

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I wish him well.


There's no answer --

just questions and a new
padlock on the gate.

The framed picture of Blessed Mary
and baby Jesus above the door --


The wooden cross hanging
straight center above the door 

no longer there.

Just two crooked nails
against the bare white-wash;

the potted herb plants
have been taken away,
so are all the shoes
and shoe-shelf by the wall.

Neighbors behind shut-doors 
offered no help; Uncle 
is a quiet man who collected
coins, newspapers, old radios 
and cats.

No one can tell us 
when he packed it all up

      and left.


edited  6th Jan 2016 

Inspired by a true event.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Following sounds can get you lost.


Where is the waterfall?

is it up this way --
into the forest of old
silent trees


?the mist;

you try to follow
by ear

confident of discovering
a waterfall you've never seen,

so sure you'd find
a way with the sounds

of river waters rushing
          leaping edges

crashing down on granite boulders
breaking them;

the broken

ripples settling out in a pool
cool, calm

and green.        

                  But sometimes it's only 
the trees
around you; the leaves playing

with the wind playing
the trees remembering
the last monsoon.

There is no waterfall.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

The daily commute


Morning Train

Sharing air,
everyone's breaths
half breaths.


There's no escaping
the clash of perfumes:
sour flowers,
sour faces.


How many bells does it take
to tell ? everyone


Packing it in, they made room
for one more
before the train doors sigh shut.


Finally on our way
frame by frame,
the gallery moves on.


Shared at Poets United's Poetry Pantry.

updated 09 Nov 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Invisible lines along common corridors


Neighborly dispute over flower pots

It started with
harsh tones

with shouting,

soon there was

which turned

                         noises set the dogs
                         on the block

                         a parrot belonging
                         to someone on the second floor


a short scuffle
over getting out
of each other's
face somehow

send the pots

to the floor,  scattering
soil and stalks
of bright yellow sunflowers.

                        That was the last word.

They went back inside 
their apartments

                        one door slammed,
               then the other;

yellow petals break off
shattered by the aftershock.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Daydreaming while in the stairwell


Daydreaming while in the stairwell

The cadences of shadows cast by mountains
from a distance, the humid air of a hot day
wetting the roof of one's lips; taste

the phantom waterfalls, hear the waters
hit the rocks below, splitting
into a thousand rainbows over a cave.

Emerge, one leg one foot over a log,
one hand over a rock, another hand
taking root. Emerge again water-bearer,

breaking away from the chasers, leave
them behind with the chained up bicycle,
the shoes left out to dry, the plants

dying from a drought; this is concrete,
concrete and you can get out anytime, just
walk through the exit door back inside

where a smart lift waits to be summoned;
a dollar Macdonald's ice cream cone
would be so good that it caused a pause.


Watch those lunch-packers walk away,
don't raise your arms to call them back,
take another breath for the next step.


This was written in response to a prompt on "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads" blog for Sunday mini-challenge -- a poem attempting the style of Wallace Stevens or using one of his titles, or lines from his poem.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Noticing the little things

Most people in this city are too busy to notice things;

walking along, fast as they can
to catch a bus or train,
flipping between
and cell phone,

they miss things

        -- like how the wind
        sweeps in,
        shaking the dry leaves
        out of the flame tree
              showering yellow
        all over the pedestrians
        criss-crossing the roads;

all they do
is open their umbrellas;

they don't see

      the fine blue grass
      with little flowers
      sprouting in the cracks
      of a dry wall

       or a cat sleeping
           in the shadows
       under the staircase
           all stretched out;

they don't hear

       the happy hum of a bee
       finding a hibiscus in bloom

       or a mynah mimicking traffic

all they do is walk, eyes forward,
ears plugged into their own music

           completely focused

on getting to where they want to get to

           fast as they can.