This city as punctuation

I frame this city in untold stories. But it
wants to be a poet, fitting my life into
six rhyming couplets that soften the
consonants of its dark. Mornings, we

swap metaphors and endings. It says
love is the hyphen between its sacred
peepal trees. This is an old trick, turning to
punctuation when words are scarce. It is

the eighth lunar month. Outside every
door, oil lamps burn. The wind holds its
hands around them like safe parentheses. I
search for spaces. The space you occupied.

The space between your arms. The space
between possibility and semicolon. Between
being and full stop. Where does the
emptiness end? Where does the next sky

begin? This city strikes a bell like a tercet.
Thrice. Like an ellipsis. The silence
between us tastes of missing apostrophes.
It draws faith as three question marks.


Sharing this poem from my new book โ€˜Duplicityโ€™, published in September.ย 
Both print and kindle editions are available on Amazon. Also listed on Kobo. More information and links here.

26 thoughts on “This city as punctuation

  1. I like the idea of a city as a punctuation; something intended and necessary to bring clarity or a pause. So much can be said about cities. But deep and beautiful poetry as always, Rajani. Lovely to see you here, too. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. “This city strikes a bell like a tercet.
    Thrice. Like an ellipsis. The silence
    between us tastes of missing apostrophes.
    It draws faith as three question marks.”

    your ending is just beautiful, love the way you play with the symbolism of punctuation

    “love is the hyphen between its sacred
    peepal trees.”

    and i like the play with peepal, sounds like people, thats brilliant. very well written


  3. I like this. The world is a poetry book. Oysters are a metaphor. Fourteen spaghetti sticks are a Senryลซ which folk call a Haiku. Empty space is a longing for.


  4. I love this poem! And the whole book, which I’m glad to own. The places we know as home are so intricately interwoven with our selves. It’s fascinating to see how you elucidate that โ€“ the many ways of that โ€“ and the attendant emotions and realisations.


    1. Thanks so much, Rosemary. The lexicon and grammar of our environment seeps into our psyche … and I’ve lived in bustling cities most of my life… so maybe it’s the only way I know to think! Wonder if my poetry would change if I lived for long in the countryside!!!!


  5. โ€œI search for spaces.โ€

    I love the whole concept of this piece, but this line is my very favorite. This is how poetry speaks to me most, I think: in phrasal/clausal philosophy nuggets. I also am fed song lyric/title reminders in the same way … as in, โ€œBlank Spaceโ€ by Taylor Swift and mashed-up by Louisa Wendorff.


  6. What a unique examination of sentence structure, and punctuation. My 30+ years as a transcriptionist compel me to correct sentence structure an restore tidy order!! I’m trying to adjust, ๐Ÿ™‚


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