Or Yours

a world framed in binaries,
with us or against us,
my word or yours,
my gun or yours,
my god or yours-
I climb higher to see,
climb a tree of bleeding ether,
growing between love and hate,
standing between will and fate,
to see an earth and a sky,
neither far nor near,
neither there nor here,
an earth and a sky,
impaled on the purple horizon,
like two silent wings
of a broken butterfly,
my life or yours,
my world or yours.

It is.

it is the interlude between winter and spring,
not warm enough for green,
not cold enough for grey,
an amorphous pearl hanging motionless
from the soft neck of infinity,
this is a separate season,
layers of cold huddling round trees
pretending to be warm,
the tepid light falling like snow
from the eye of a desultory sun,
it is the entr’acte between love and everything else,
not long enough for a ballad of ache,
not wrong enough for a masquerade,
a blemished poem sighing wordless
in the broken arms of complexity,
there is a separate reason,
for dissonance can grow to fill
any space between yes and no,
for distrust can paint green as grey
till the fog can shift no more,

it is the punctuated quiet,
it is the staccato scream,
it is this purgatory between now and
ever after.

How will I know?

I wake against the tepid heart
of a noncommittal day,
a colourless haze
swathes its drooping shoulders,
not a furrow on its brow,
not a flicker, nothing to tell me
if the sum of those nights
weighs heavy upon its arm,
if the guilt of promises made
is numb upon its palm,
if the stitches we counted have come undone,
the needle of moon dragging a thread
of stolen crimson light,
that line of unwinding blood from a
broken spool of right,
how will I know if this day stays silent,
how will I know
if this energy
trapped in a stream of flowing thought
is me,
if this waiting thought
lost in the scream of energy
is me,
not a word escapes its lips,
not a tear relieves its eye,
how will I know,
if this day will only stretch
across one dimension,
cutting infinity,
swallowing the sky,
disallowing time,
disavowing dreams,
denying me.

how will you know.

Star Anise

no star anise, he said,
tasting the bubbling korma,
you forgot,
the girl shivered, watching lips
curl in pungent disapproval,
star anise is a butterfly, she sang in her
dream that night,
her voice the colour of powdered nutmeg,
without it, flowers open for no reason,
in the floating garden,
bird winged blossoms congealed

into clumps of leftover rice,
her dream burst through a dam
a torrent of fresh curd that split into
a roiling sea,
there were boxes in the hold
of the big wooden ship,
pepper, bullion and cardamom,
and two oak trunks, unmarked,
like children’s coffins,
star anise, a young man said,
a man who smelt of opium pipes
and caligraphed silks,
the sea rose in his ancient eyes
and rolled in salty rivers down her cheeks
a strange flavour flooding her open lips,

you still taste of star anise, he laughed,
pulling the moon into the room,
sniffing the purple flecked air,
must be that korma
we had.

Inside Out

that burgundy washed dusk
when the sea switched places with the sky,
warm clouds washed stars over our feet,
far above, old ghosts floated on their backs,
while we turned the pockets of the earth
inside out
looking for things we should have said.


Quadrille: a 44 word poem
Linked to the Dverse Poets (Prompt: Ghost)

A Boundary Too Far

there is a roar from the television on the far wall,
deafening chants urge the ball as it rides the skies,
time bites a lip, gravity weighs the crowd,
and makes bargains with the wind,
she pours another cup of tea,
brewed long with sugar and milk,
and ginger, the cold still bothers her,
he is berating the commentator
in his finest Cambridge tones,
from Kunderan to Tendulkar,
from Cowdrey to Hussain, he knows his statistics,
applause erupts on the street, and whistles,
what was once the imperial office block,
is now a street full of tiny shops,
the boys are huddled in front of the electronics store,
watching the game,
no one will shoo them away now,
the home side is winning and Eden Gardens is aflame,
eight year olds in torn shirts
are dancing between hand carts peddling
fresh greens and orange flowers,
a slow train grumbles in the distance,
soon it will be time for the evening prayer,
women stop to check the score
their bright plastic baskets heavy with tomorrow’s cooking,
their hearts light with smiling gods and soaring sixes,
a lone man weaves through the throng,
his tie askew, in his bag parathas and chicken
from the Punjabi diner downtown,
a phone glued to his ear as he calls home,
there it is still noon,
from the small flat they bought last year,
his wife sometimes watches the sun
sink into the Thames,
he shakes his head as the next ball crashes into the fence,
no one notices him,
at the intersection,
standing alone,
for the lights to change.