This Is Not A Sad Poem

Why does everything have to happen

right now? Why was the report due yesterday

why is there no time better than now,

why not do things tomorrow, why do

them at all? What if I don’t want to

seize the day or eat the bigger frog,

what if I do miss the bus and opportunity

never again knocks? Let the bubble

break, I’m not going to let it go,

what does it matter I only live

once, I just don’t want to

do it — I’ll live in another moment

and make hay when the sun isn’t shining;

I’ll hold on to the past and forget to speak

in a church wedding. Who cares if this the bird in hand

or the other in the bush, I don’t want to smell

the roses or forever hold my peace; I want to bar some holds

and what if I just want to fold?

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A Season of Exits

Dear friend,
I know you are halfway through the door
and this is just a final look over the shoulder
to check that you haven’t forgotten something important
on the bedside table. Your thoughts have gone ahead of you:
eyes already seeking guiding lights through
frosted airplane windows, your body left behind,
hand resting on the door, one last smudge of warmth
in a place you used to call home before you turn off the lights.

What does goodbye mean in this world where we only travel
in circles and not in lines; that old feeling of deja vu
I leave and you stay
I stay and you leave —
a door endlessly banging open
too old and warped to properly shut now.

What can be said when everything
that had to be said has already been said —
to the ceiling, while lying on your floor,
over a weepy phone call, at 3 AM — or is now
irrelevant because of the oppressive weight of
possibilities: what if we forget to speak
each other’s languages and are reconfigured
into two people who can only talk about that one time
when that one thing happened to someone
we once knew.

But what use is a goodbye if it doesn’t feel like a goodbye,
if it’s not for forever, but only a question
of two minutes or two years or two decades,
the door banging open again, an old feeling of deja vu
as I turn on the lights — to a new

series of entrances.

 

 

To a Younger Self

Old friend,
do not for a moment think
that you will receive a warm welcome here.
We parted on amicable terms years ago –
I thought we had an arrangement.

Life was simpler without you.
I found joy in going to bed early,
a secure income, insurance cover,
I had forgotten what a mess you are
of rage and desire; impatient
in your reminder of how swift
each contraction of the heart is;
I really want to slam the door in your face.

Crazy woman,
why did you come back?
It is my task now to
clothe you and civilise you
to not give in to your madness
to teach you to speak with words
and not claws.

It’s true that I’m not quite in form –
that I let myself go –
that it’s going to take me a while
to figure out how to tame you.
My beast.
My beloved.
Welcome back.
You have returned my story to me
Don’t leave just yet.

Kapu

The sky blushes at Kapu,
blushes for every kiss
we imagined stolen from our lips
for every kiss that was stolen
just beyond our line of vision
for every kiss the wave pressed on the shore.

The sky blushes at Kapu,
blushes as we try to squeeze words
out of the last drop of red sun
and instead collapse in laughter
holding onto the railings of the lighthouse
daring ourselves to lean a little too forward.

The sky blushes at Kapu,
blushes as the wind steals our voices
and rushes into the horizon as we lay on our backs,
the sun framed between our knees,
the roar of the ocean silencing the noise within
and the hush between wave and wave
punctuating our confessions of love and loss
and the inherent injustice of the world.

The sky blushes at Kapu,
blushes at our insolence,
trying to make the last drop last till tomorrow
As each wave pushes us one moment forward
we push back, closing our eyes,
pretending to fall asleep and ignore the sinking sun
like children who pretend the world ceases to exist
everytime they blink, we try to escape the future
by ignoring the present.

The sky blushes at Kapu,
blushes because it knows we forget;
colours always fade in memory.
The silence expands between us
on the long bus ride home
we close our eyes and surrender
and only the sky blushes at Kapu.

On a party I never went to

She told me on the morning after
the party that we are all
fat cats. Smug purring engines

vintage motorcycles thrumming
of beer, shining lazy-cat smiles
under lids heavy with second-hand
puns and damp politics.

Night after night we gather
in the shadows of empty houses
to raise our voices, caterwauling
to a moon long gone

about the words of mad men
who live no more. The air is thick
with abandoned arguments
and hash. A sharp retraction
of voices cuts

but the night surges forward
dissolving all into softness,
belly-up complaining in the dark.

Ranakpur

You, who created Ranakpur,
freed moon-white pillars of flowers and sex
from the coldness of stone,
I salute you.
When I saw your magnum opus,
the pillar to the diagonal left of the southern entrance,
I knew: here was perfection that should not be forgotten.
I stood in front of it, smiled and flashed the peace sign.

As I blinked into the pale shadows, recovering from the overdose of light,
I caught sight of Time puttering around quietly,
absorbed in his own world as all master artisans are,
and I wondered if there had been any friendship between you.
Did you have long conversations with him,
confessing your dreams of immortality,
did you hold his hand and weep?
Did you tell him about that recurrent dream,
where you saw the faces of your great great grandchildren
still with peace, lit by the coolness of marble?

Whatever it was you said,
you will be pleased to know that after all these years
he touches your work with such gentleness,
delicately running his fingertips over your coiled flowers.
You should have seen him, stepping aside,
out of the frame of my friend’s camera,
around the French couple pointing at your marble lovers,
between the Gujarati family on holiday.
The soft of his hands rubs away all the sharp edges you left behind.

First draft

Girl, descending staircase

One foot delicately suspended
between the surety of a moral upbringing
and an uncertainty gained through experience.
A hand lightly rests on the sun drenched wall
reluctant to seek support in a moment of imbalance.
Eyes pensively gaze through a glass slated window
betraying no turbulence or recognition,
only a mild amusement at the present state.
A gold earring brushes against the curve of the neck,
drawing attention to a single strand of dark hair
come loose and tucked behind the ear
with the artistry of a baited hook.
The unmarked cheek blushes,
as it feels the yearning of the world
to leave an opinion,
a scratch.