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,
                         spat
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
Buddha
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 --

gone.

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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Doctors are nothing but bad news

***



He has no patience with sickness

takes two more pills
than the recommended dose

and he doesn't believe in doctors;

doctors are the last resort
when over-the-counter fails.

This cannot be happening to me --

he looks hard at the deep lines
on his hands, the gnarly veins

he stares at them as if alien blood
courses through them: blue-green,

thick and lumpy. He swears he can feel
every corrupt cell in them

tumbling, bouncing off the walls
of the tunnels they travel.

He imagines the dark faceless shapes
slipping, reaching, pushing through

the walls of every capillary
whispering anarchy, turning

every cell in his body
into rebels immortal.


***
updated: 19 Feb 2017

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The little green dot on the who's-online


***

Facebook pillar-peeping


Him:

only her name matters
to me.

a hundred likes
without her 
means nothing.

hiding my presence
spying on her
status : she's is

         on.

did she see
what i just posted?

i wait

          I score!



Her:

a hundred likes i gave
today.

i'm here.
looking at you.

and you and you and you

    and you
     do you see me?



Him:

i see her, should i let her
see me?

        Here i am.

but she's gone

      
       off.

    


***

updated: 18/05/2015

updated: 10 November 2015

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


beyond 

?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
running, 
          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.

***

Friday, April 17, 2015

Had something, then not.

***


Typing and backspacing,
swallowing conceptions.

: the page remains a void.

Rubbing a dry eye
caused an explosion
of a thousand pixels

: ocular pins & needles.


***

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
"DOORS Are CLOSing"


*

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

topped
with shouting,

soon there was
gesturing

which turned
threatening,

                         noises set the dogs
                         on the block

barking,
                         a parrot belonging
                         to someone on the second floor
                         began

squawking;


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

send the pots
                      crashing

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.


***

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Predawn Findings


 ***


At the bus stop
there's a white cat
on watch
next to a whiskey bottle,

sitting
tail curled round
white front paws,

black hunter-eyes
reflecting the bright
oncoming headlights

beyond the cat
and over

that hump
near the road

lies a man
with no shirt

flat on his back
snoring

one 

thick hairy hand
on his chest

rising and falling

softly

a kind of
lullaby.


***

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.

Stop.

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.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The music of friendly banter


***

When best friends talk,
sometimes i simply
prefer to listen

that i might
enjoy the music
they create

going back and forth,

a peaceful
rhythmic playful
exchange

like ocean waves
rolling up to rocky shore
on a calm day.



***

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,
                             attention
flipping between
road
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
       noises.


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.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

This window of friends



***

This window of friends
is the light
that shines into the dark
room in my head

chases the shadows
into a corner
into the closet

     space

where a box of letters
to a best friend
that never got sent
is kept on the topmost
shelf above the coats
and dresses,

some inherited.


***

Hopefully, tomorrow, something will come out of this.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It's quite something to hear a small boy calling his mother a "Bad Mommy".

 ***

"Naughty mummy!"

a kindergartener scolds his mother
for dragging him up the bus, he

h o   w    l     s

his complaint in baby talk,
an imitation of a tough guy
an older brother or uncle,

                    almost cute
his small face
pulling a frown
until it is red.

Clearly, he is winning
making this scene
for muM is more concerned
he is not too upset;

promising him ice cream

if he would just once
be a good boy to her.


***

updated 19 Feb 2017

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Opinion: Real books with pages are better than ebooks.


***

How to pick a book


Forget about your
kindle
     or ipad,

go to a library
or bookstore

where they stack
books in piles

or display them
on open shelves
cover to cover;
pick a book:

let a title
catch your eye,

open it with care,
peer into it

and if a sentence
          grabs you and pulls you
into a paragraph,

take the book 
home with you.


***

Monday, April 6, 2015

A certain arrangement


A certain arrangement


If allowed to grow,
words bloom,

spread like leaves
of a forest canopy,

filtering the sun
into golden beams,

cutting lines
through the mist,

descend to touch
the covered earth.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Mountains are lessons in patience.


 ***

Steep
but not unkind

a mountain
waits for me

eternal,
patient,

unfazed
by my fumbling
my missteps
scraping
against her
face

as I slipped
  again
and again

trying to find
my way.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

The bullies


The bullies


Not usually acting alone
they loiter along common
corridors in twos or threes

mocking everything

especially yesterday's
disappointments

you can hear them:
      the false sympathies
      the put downs
      the blaming
      the sarcasm

the constant harassment
draining the life
and color out of you
with each foot step
in their direction.


What would it take
to shut them up?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Taking pictures of everything.




everyone
carries a camera
these days,

flipping it out
without being
asked, without
asking;

preserving moments

live, beautiful,
ugly, raw

framing strangers
in an instagramification.


***



Edited : 19 Feb 2017.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Leave him alone when he's reading the evening paper

***


A red skeleton frame
of a recliner

silently facing

a wall of obscene graffiti
with spray-painted penises
angry at the world.

This used to be a house
with a garden, with a front
gate and two servants.

            He used to sit there -- my father

home from work, smelling sour,
shaking one leg or the other
like he was sitting on a motor
that can't be turned off;

reading the evening paper,
furiously turning each page,
nearly ripping them,

raging,
cracked lips spitting vulgarities,
condemnation in beer spit
onto black&white captures
of statesmen and criminals alike;

how i wished i could've
seen how he would react
to today's digital deliveries.

What would he do if he saw that news
come with comment boxes?
Would he fill the boxes with exactly
what he thought, tell them off
in all CAPS

                  uncensored?


***


(It does feel like it's not complete.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A hole in the fence is a gateway to adventure.




Someone has broken through the fence!

made a wormhole
into a restricted zone

-- a forest reserve to be kept
preserved from curious hikers
        who only loved to walk
        the soft native earth.

They'd brush aside thorny vines that catch them,
rush through blades of grass that cut them

       just to find a way to get lost

in a patch they call 'nature',

       to breathe in the green

and bathe their heads
under the silver sunbeams
falling through the canopy.


***

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The dry season


***

close to the end of a dry season

i went to a park
sat on the grass

breath the warm breeze
that sweeps over the blue
reservoir waters, watch the waves
lap and overlap


i pulled out a notebook
and pen, trying to
catch all in words

onto an empty page that was glaringly
white

the words

        were reluctant
        having been quiet
        
left in the dark

       for so long

       i pressed the tip of the pen against
       the paper

forced out lines that brought
more regret than reflection


Nature is simpler
an ant on the grass


so i began again:
an ant on the grass.


***

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A bullfrog in a storm drain



In channels clogged with compose
under the steel-fit manhole,
a bullfrog groans bass tone moans.

Caught in last night's downpour
while out on the garden lawn,
he went with the 
 water           
                       

-- because that's all he knows
       from days of being a tadpole
before he grew legs
and things
            
                       got complicated --

went with the flow,

          and all the leaves
     that fell in heaps
    
went with him....

In channels clogged with compose
under the steel-fit manhole,
a stranded bullfrog longs
      for another great rain storm.


***

A repost from 2012 NaPoWriMo.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Nature takes back everything



Madras pea pumpkin vines entwine 
a pair of rusty shopping carts;

rainwater collect in beer bottles 
and cans; wild grass blankets
the ghost junction of railway lines
             and wind-bent signs.

At dusk, sun rays throw shadows
through rows of paperbark trees

& just before receding,touch pieces 
of broken sand glass, reflecting
lights :red :amber :green.



...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Maybe....


The meaning of Maybe

a peep of the sun

on the horizon
the clouds gather

so eager to greet 

the day with her
that everything there

becomes grey.