What happens next?

As the exhilaration of bringing forth a new book begins to settle, it presents the writer with another empty page. The writing has to being again and the poet, like a child, stares out at a freshly scrubbed world, learning anew, words and meanings, tasting phrases and metaphors, slowly, as if the morning is a foreign language, strange and tempting yet utterly incomprehensible.

I started writing what I had tagged #citypoems in the pre-virus era but only sometime after the debilitating second wave, when I had a stack of pandemic poetry, written in the silence and despair of the endless lockdowns, did I start putting “Duplicity” together. But all that seems like a long time ago.

What happens next? What happens on the morning-after-the-month-after-the-book? Today, I sat at my table for a long time. There are thoughts, there are mandates, there is an unbidden force like running through a field that has no end. But I could write nothing. Instead, I read poetry on Instagram, hours of it. Will books give way to “insta-poetry”? Will poetry give way to “posts”? Will poets give way to “influencers”?

What curled around my synapses like an early mist, was a flash fiction piece, that might never be converted to actual words. Something real, current, sharp, acidic, brutal. As if the dream-like hold of poetry was loosening around my wrist. As if there is no more, not a verse, not a line, not a single metaphor left. As if that field fell away and the path turned rocky, slitting skin, the hot ocean air stinging my feet. The zillion parts of the universe roaring in unison. The universe itself slapping against a shore I could not see.

There are journeys, transformational journeys, in which the writer is both the starting point and the destination, both the traveller and the road travelled, both the runner and the field.

Both the empty page and the poem.

Duplicity

Duplicity, my second book of poetry, published by Notion Press, is now available.

Duplicity contains poems that look at love and life, through the prism of a big city, before and during the pandemic. There is a mix of regular freeverse and micropoetry, around the central theme, so I hope you will find it interesting to read.

Currently available on:

Amazon India

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Flipkart India

Notion Press

Also on Goodreads for your feedback and comments.

Hope you get your copy soon! I look forward to your response. Do let me know if you can’t get the book in your region.

New Book… Soon!

Happy to share that my new book duplicity will be out this month! More on the backstory, the poems, the cover art and the listing schedule in the next few days… hope you’ll give the book a warm welcome!

Broken World

broken world –
monsoon clouds like Band-aid strips
on an ebbing sky

 

Alternating between banal work and the feverish dystopia of my newsfeed, it does feel, sometimes, like the world is coming apart in an insane hurry, everywhere. In the middle of war and hate and climate change and the pandemic, if there is a safe place, it seems like it is getting smaller and smaller or fading away in the fog. Meanwhile, there’s poetry, rare but still able to say that, once, there was a time, somewhere, safe enough so a poet could, for a while, put pen to paper. 

Hold it up to the light

it says nothing, it says everything
hold it up to the light again,
some days, you’ll see a poem

An abating second wave (really?), an enraged monsoon (climate change?), a monday-friday grind that mocks attempts at writing, a shrinking world of poetry suddenly made beautiful by an unexpected poem that drops into my timeline – how’re things in your world? What have you been writing? 

This poem

even in a parallel universe –
is there this longing,
this poem?

 

 

I’ve been an infrequent visitor to my blog. Sometimes I write and some of it finds its way to Instagram, the blog, however, is languishing… and nothing, it appears, can do away with Covid or create the mindspace for focused blogging, focused writing, focused anything. But, in the middle of pandemic listlessness, absent inspiration, disappeared muse and a time-devouring day job, I’m compiling a book. More on that, when the path stops being so utterly uphill. Hope to read all your posts this week and write more-post more-read more…think I miss this space… more than I realized. Stay safe all…the planet of the variants is not a friendly place. 

10 steps to a new poetry book

1. Compile a rough draft of a draft of a draft manuscript.
2. Slash and burn – round 1/n. Doubt spelling, suspect grammar, hate most lines.
3. Cold acceptance that this is crap but maybe it is marginally better than other crap. No? Probably not.
4. Idea! Write new poems. Abandon idea.
5. Existential question: To book or not to book?
6. Practical question: What to do with all these poems then? Panic.
7. Let’s try one more time – Deep dive edit 1/n: add an em dash and change a line break. Or two.
8. Five stages of grief – Edit, Edit again, Edit yet again, Delete the manuscript. Edit one more time.
9. OK WTF. That’s it. Can never ever read the stuff again.
10. Regret. Panic. Release into poor unsuspecting world. Remember that apostrophe you didn’t change?

That kind of year! Which step are you at? And how’s it going? 

It is war

It is war
and the unarmed cower in living rooms —
trenches that are not safe
from the unseen enemy.

But we’ve won before.
It will take more than a virus.
We will take down more than a virus.
We’ve won before.
We have a recurring tryst with destiny,
even in a world askew,
even where there is no time to grieve
even when there is too much grief
We’ve won before.
We know how to gather our loss,
know how to console our hearts,
know when the next dawn will come.

Yesterday an old woman almost died,
it took thirty-seven people
it took two hundred and fourteen messages
to get her to a hospital bed.
But she will be home in a week.
It will start with her.
We know.
We’ve won before.
It always starts with one person.
It always starts with one battle.
It always starts with one victory.
It always starts when the first person says no.

On the Rough Road

On the Rough Road is a collection of haiku that I first put together in 2016 following a series of prompts on ‘Carpe Diem Haiku Kai’ based on Matsuo Basho’s ‘Oku no hosimichi’ (Narrow road to the Deep North)

Recently, I redesigned and edited the chapbook and though it seemed to take forever, it was a nostalgic walk through old haiku and haibun I had written, giving me fresh insight into my state of mind and writing style, then – and now.

Over the years, I’ve surely learnt a thing or two, but also lost something. I don’t entirely know what that is, but I believe some of my best haiku are in this little chapbook. For more details, check this link.

I chose one haiku to leave here today:

here, finally

i open my book of regrets

to the rain