An Armless Son

missing you mama
missing you baba
both old and ill
and me just a son
too far for a hug that speaks
when words fail

I am really worried and weeping that I may not be around when all you want in the world is a warm wordless heartfilling hug as you quietly pass on, letting out the last cloud of breath in a long string of thinness on which your crystal dewdrops slide into the mist and beyond. Unwrapped by these arms still small and delicate to you, unlike those warmth and love, and the beating joy and curving smile that you once greeted me with when I came.

There is a time
once in a lifetime
when all one wants
is just an hug
and no word.

I am just words,
and no arms–
words for the mulct
arms for the dear.

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Stranger in the Town

A formal experiment in epic poetry,
with sensibilities spanning whole stretch
of known time. To come in a series.

Proetry
Fictional poetry
Epic poetry in a new form
This series will keep coming

 

When I pull into the tavern that is more a tool shed
with tables and benches like the one my grandfather had
where he taught me to wield tools as tools and weapons
a thousand years ago when the human face
was less evolved and more expressive of true emotions,
out of the long winding ways and the endless winter winds and snows,
steaming like my horse foaming at the mouth
and rubbing my unglobed hands together,
the one-eyed man taking black-blood bottles from the counter
shifts his what-should-have-been-the-left eye from me
and says in an unknown language accenting every syllable
equally as foreign tongues do and care, in a tone
that needs no language to get the message across to the mark:
“Ech dot kothari che ni det.”
Did he press a button or pull a string to soul a puppet show?
All the eyes there all at once shoot at me
like long shafts of light directed to me in an opera.

“We don’t serve sons of bitches here.” That’s from the left.
Another voice, deep as hell’s grumble under your feet, dry as a slough.
The bottle gurgles as the dry-blood wine jumps into a tall tumbler.
My steps freeze and my hands stop rubbing.
“I don’t say that.” He explains, as he turns holding the frothing tumbler by the ear
without looking at me but seeing, but revealing a face
with which evolution has stepped back—one-eyed, with the ball
protruding like an eyed probe, the left side where you would expect
another eye telling the story rather of a hole in the wall
mortared and troweled badly than something
that has anything to do with a human face, ugly though as can be.
A rather huge hagstone nose and a pair of fleshy lips under it
easily taking the shapes of the words pouring out of them.
His probably kind translation carries the breath
of an original hate and feels less like a translation,
and this and how he comes across seem to impress
on anybody who sees him the scripture of his life
whose sole commandment is to hate and hate around.

Do they have the same face? Oh! Do I look at them differently
from how they look at me? I have the same eyes?
Thoughts are invisible but they do concrete magic
like throwing yourself off the cliff or hole a breast
to traffic a soul across the border. I am often too numb
for a warrior, my war teacher told me I would better throw
my brains away to the dogs and pour wine into the skull
than momentarily stiffen in the middle of a battle
while I should be mowing heads like on a grassland.

He raises the restless crystal to his lips and empties it
in a gulp that makes a lot of noise down its course.
When the left-eyed tender walks to and stands on his left
they are more a single monster split in half on a jigsaw board.
“Tu-e pet siot kothari ata wang mal penture khrose,”1 the drinker barks
in his coolest voice as his half drops an oily leg on the table
and makes another crystal trilling with life
and chews his words like cud before he swallows the fluid,
“Ech wech khothari che det, et du pist wang.”2

The right half turns and looks at me with his well-deep eye
that would wrest the breath from a less hardy heart,
and says with a bad smile, “He says he takes sons of bitches
on a windy day.”
My two eyes ray into the only eye he has for a steady moment,
enough to roil its well and before long he blinks
and says with a less bad smile, “That’s not my word.”

My fat coins gong when they hit the hewn top
of the coarse unplaned pine counter, and that suspends
the disbelief of the one-eyed keeper for now, whose wine-stained
thinned-down fingers with the lines on the flats rubbed off
by handling coins too long falter in the drag of the emotion
before he has to gather himself to show me the way.

 

Unwanted notes:
These notes are not meant for reading.
[1] A left-eye can accept a son of a bitch at a high price on stormy days.
[2] I will accept a son of a bitch here, if you pay high.

Forgotten Self, Unfinished Poems

The grey curls from the ash tray
trail up like an unwilling soul
stretched from life to death.
Somewhere in the dark under the thatch rafters
they would meet with the spiral
up from the cigarette between his fingers
and the infrequent clouds from the lips.
He’s smoking away the night—
the night comes in a whirlpool into his cigarette,
mazing through that stuff of the tube,
turning into brooding smoke on the other side
in the cave that blows it back out
in clouds into where it belongs.
Bored, I had gone out time and again,
spilled my heart out in the moonless night
wide as a fisher’s net, to see
if anything in the dark interests me

I found this untitled, unfinished poem when I organize my usually messy desktop today. Too messy today. The MS Word properties say it was written on 7 January 2017. Left unfinished. Many poems. In fact most poems. Yes, I often delete unfinished poem, when I cannot finish them, when I am not in the same mood as I was in when I wrote the original piece. I don’t know why I wrote this. Not in the same mood.

Here is another piece. Left unfinished on the same day–7 January 2017. This one is titled, but certainly unfinished:

Melody at Dawn

This dawn the rain suddenly comes.
I had thrown my wishes up in the skies,
my memories too, where they’d come from.
and I’d forgotten about the rains.
Now suddenly the drops of the rain
come a long way and patter these ancients
against my doors and window panes,
on the dusty leaves in the garden
and the hard long-dry ground—
they must be kicking up the dust
the air smells of the dusty long sigh
of the earth and the vegetation
at the first rain of the season
after they have held their breath for long.
From the balcony I see the dark all around wet,
the sound all around are wet
and the strings of rain run on in the dark
and the drops of rain beat on in the wet.

January 2017. That was when I was so deeply depressed, if I remember it correctly. And when I did not want to talk with anybody or see anybody. I remember I wanted to flee Delhi, but I could not yet do so until 16 January after I had done the formalities at my university, which I wanted to run away from too. I was in no mood to see a single human being, especially the ones I have known and am familiar with.

I more often than not delete unfinished poems. I know I would not ever be able to finish them. I have not done it today. I don’t know why.

Forgotten moods. Forgotten pieces of my self. The idea of the self! How much do I know about myself, if knowledge is made of memory? I forget most about myself. So life goes on. Forgotten promises to myself. Forgotten wishes, left unattended. Pieces of life left unlived. Strange pieces of life I have rather lived, without having wished at all.

Reluctant Liberation? 😁

Hinduism. The end: the end of samskara.
How? By committing karmas without a shadow
that ties you to the ground.
Love, hate, riches, debt–they tie you to the ground.
You are a kite belly-creeping on the floor. Swimming on concrete and stone.

Ship. My achor just drags.
Love, hate, riches, debt. All mud.
Nothing holds. They just give way. Such honor.
My anchor cast like a hook. No love bites.
Mouthless. Debt. I love it, too.
Too weak to ground me by itself.
Riches and hate. Don’t give a damn.
Am I a saint? Reluctant moksha?😁

The Terminus

The winters that followed the rainy floody days at the farm
When we remained like rodents confined within the cottage–sometimes damp, sometimes warm, eating tubers, gourds and pumpkins and at times loaves of bread, and sipping at steaming-hot sweet black tea or homegrown coffee.
The smoky smell of smoldering grass mixed with mud and cold black earth
The babbling pops of the hollow and spongy stems muffled in the dewy piles
Chafing on through the foggy mornings, cloudy days and hazy evenings.

Small children, far from the civilization, we waved our lantern hands in the evenings to the thin traffic far away without them spotting us,
We waved our lantern hands to long skeins of seaguls and sang to them, and we thought they sang back to us.

Days and nights passed like the cars of a midnight tain,
Long and slow but steady, lit with fluorescent light, but the inside hardly visible or a bit too fast to see the details,
Tantalizing, and just showing the movement, the ceaseless movement
To some terminus where time will stop and rest like a fuming hot train at the end of its long service, to cool down soon, for good.