Dear Tomorrow

so, dear tomorrow,

can’t you see how earth
prepares herself for that inevitable end?

I worry about you –
what will you be when there’s no one left
to measure time?

****

A cherita for earthweal, the place for poetry on the climate crisis. So many parts of the world are already reeling under the impact. Sherry talks of the atmospheric river systems lining up in Canada, while here in the south of India, the North-East monsoon season seems to have gone completely, devastatingly mad. Go to Earthweal.com to read/ learn/ contribute. 

#RIP – my friend

I try to piece together the life
he must have lived
how long it has been, how little I know
how little everybody seems to know:
puzzle bits scattered on the table
too many that don’t fit
so many misplaced
how many no one knows are lost —
a freeze frame in the continuum
a picture unfinished forever
#RIP my friend

we need witnesses for our being
for our enduring
not for the parts we share but
for what we speak with the moon at
two in the morning
for what has broken and healed and
broken and healed
scar tissue plump with unwritten stories
for the falling, for the failing,
for the days we built ourselves
calloused hands shoring up our souls
an old sweater stuffed into the hollow
left by a missing brick
#RIP my friend

a goodbye needs to be accountable
if it knows there won’t be another
it should become sky, bell, memorial:
who said goodbye first when we met last
what did you say before you left
did I turn away
did you not hear
now I hold the wind and the rain
and a blur of may-may-not-have-beens
memory does not keep well if we don’t
retrieve and cajole and embellish:
remember, I want to say, remember the time…
but a piece falls unnoticed at the far
end of the table
and all that hums is the silence of
too many, too many years gone by

go gently, go in grace, go to that place
where dreams do not end
#RIP my friend

At the end of the story

At the end of the story, he asked her, like he always did. “And what am I in this story?” And she answered, like she always did, “what do you want to be?”

The story was about a butterfly and a thunder cloud that were in a fierce race to the end of the world. He thought about it. It was a trick question and she always had a better answer. This was definitely another trap, so he tried to reason. “What could I be? The thunder cloud had only one way to go, the butterfly could both rise and fall.”

She looked at him, “you are the clear blue sky on the morning after.” It was their ritual. He could be anything. She could make him anything. The two were always different things.

He remembered another night. Last year, after the rains. Another story. This one was about light and sound in a bitter fight. Light wanted to be heard. Sound wanted to be seen. They couldn’t decide who could be greater. Who would end up stronger.

“Who am I in this story?”

“Who do you want to be?”

He wondered if silence was more awful than darkness. Or if an endless night could be made more bearable by a whisper.

“Who should I be? Wouldn’t you know me even if you couldn’t see me? Hear me?”

“You are time.”

Her breath was warm against his face. Today, it was a tragic story. The moon had a child as bright as the sun. When the child was awake, night turned to day and the moon disappeared. Only when the child was asleep, the moon could appear. They could never be together in the same sky. He frowned. Her breath grew warmer. He frowned harder.

“Who am I in this story?”

“Who do you want to be?”

Whose grief was greater? Who could bear it better –  moon-mother or sun-child? He didn’t want to know the answer.

“What can I be?”

“When creation is flawed, you must become greater than the mistake.”

He held her closer. She was burning. Who was he? Who was she? Why?

“I want to be god.”

#flash #fiction 5

Without an inside or outside

it wasn’t much of a home:
maybe it was just a window,
without a room, without a wall,
without an inside or outside,
without end
keeping things apart
slicing through sentences, consequences,
a window that could have been opened
but never was
because no one wanted to

it was the time I made things up:
purple shadows and obstinate light
sounds like memories of fragrance after
the garden is emptied of flowers
things that walked without ever moving
things that talked without ever speaking
they said not having so much wasn’t having so little —
need recalibrated itself every night
they said what you really want depends
on how far you really want to see

it was the time I made up a name for longing:
a name that has no tongue or has two
a name that dips and swells like night air
on bodies watching sleep
like strangers on a late train
a name that gurgles in the throat
like a last breath, like the whisper
that never left despairing lips,
they said it was nothing because
it was also anything

it was the time I made up a sky:
with stars the taste of quiet
black stars for day, an orange moon
to unsettle the dusk,
they said having so little light
wasn’t having so much dark
and though the window could be opened,
it never was, the window
that could divide though it was nothing
the window that had lost its wall
lost the home that wasn’t much of a home –
everytime I looked through the glass
I saw myself, looking back, from the other side

*****

I had to step away from this poem after writing it, it came together almost in a rush but I refused to go back to it for more than a week… and today, all I changed was a word or two and some alignment. Sometimes, a poem is what it is… despite the poet. You know what I mean, don’t you?

Lockdown Notes IX

afterwards:
just waiting
for the waiting to end

************

Sharing this micropoem from my book ‘Duplicity‘, published in Sep 2021. ‘Duplicity’ contains a mix of freeverse and micropoetry – cherita and modern haiku/senryu. This one is from a series titled “Lockdown Notes” 
Both print and kindle editions are available on Amazon. Also listed on Kobo. More information and links here. You can read other poems from the book here and here.
Do grab a copy today and let me know what you think!

Earthweal

Today I remember a poetry form called earthhello, that I learnt from Rosemary Nissen-Wade. You can read the many beautiful poems she wrote in that form on her blog. And here’s the link to the one time I made a rough attempt.

But talking of the earth and all that’s happening to it, if you’ve been keeping a keen eye on climate change and all the aspects of the ecological crises, equality, justice and wanton growth that go with it, if you’ve followed COP-26 with interest or amazement, if you’ve looked around you and felt the fingerprints of human excess – in the weather, in the soil, in the disappearance of little creatures, if all of this is translating into urgent, necessary poetry, then consider looking up Earthweal and sharing your thoughts there with other like-minded poets. Brendan, Sherry and others are doing such a great job to keep the focus on what really is the most important conversation we all need to have at this time. So please do take a look, share your work and join the discussion!!

ask her, ask her
the earth already knows
how this story ends

Dirge on the fifth morning

there is no dry in incessant rain
on the fourth night the deluge fills your stomach
skin dissolves, drowning the last barrier,
you are the edgeless lake, you are shadowless rain,
you are the mother that seeded the cloud,
the daughter orphaned to the thirst of the sea,
you are a single drop shattering in grief,
you are the dark cosmic wave on which
sails the bright lie of creation

you hover, neither on land nor in the sky —
see, sorrow has trajectory, weight,
immeasurable pain can be measured by the spoonful,
but this stillness, this suspension,
this, they tell me, is the culmination of human feeling,
to feel nothing, except breath,
or its lack,
this, they say, is mindfulness, touching time
on the inside, touching the universe
on the outside,
the moment soaked,
its belly distended,
its water fecund, birthing distortions

the monsoons overlap
the soil gags
the rocks grind against fallen sky
precipitation is a stranger’s joy
the perversion of air tells a story
of the myth of sunshine
the wet, a raging minotaur,
the light, a prince trapped in a labyrinth,
inside a moment
inside a cloud
inside a lake
weightless,
skinless,
the rain, a sinner,
a penance, a discordant lover

************

It has been raining a lot, the south-west monsoon followed by the north-east monsoon with hardly a break. But grey clouds teach you to appreciate even mellow, liquid sunshine. Or the rain brings poetry of the sort that a summer’s day can only dream of. There are silver linings, if you look long enough…or if you stop looking! Do you see more rain, more aggressive rain in your region – because of climate change?

City Cherita – XII

 

they come to the flower bazaar

for jasmine, for marigolds, for roses —
for funerals, for weddings, for worship —

at night, the unsold flowers
become this city’s story
of all that did not happen

*****
Sharing this cherita from my book ‘Duplicity‘, published in Sep 2021. ‘Duplicity’ contains a mix of freeverse and micropoetry – cherita and modern haiku/senryu. Both print and kindle editions are available on Amazon. Also listed on Kobo. More information and links here.  You can read another poem from the book here. Do grab a copy today and let me know what you think! 

Bringing home the catch

He brought them home,
the flaming sun in an orange basket
a blanket of cloud over its head,
tracing the edge of the Vembanad,
the withering day broken
into twelve gasping fish,
that flapped against his bony legs
a black arrow
leading the way,
his net still caught on the left wing
of the slowest cormorant.
In shimmering sheets,
the wind paused to watch, silent,
afraid the
saffron dusk would shatter.

Soon smells and sounds
would rush about,
would blacken the fish,
would turn on the stars,
swallow the lake,
and scatter the birds,
leaving them like macabre stains
upon the ghoulish trees,
rocking to the last hum
of his plaintive love song-
the indifferent night
with a moon-tipped pen,
sketching the outline
of tomorrow’s inert form,
taking a ragged breath
under the sleeping water.

#throwback

Found this poem in the archives from Nov 2014.  Made one or two edits, but essentially it is the same poem. Makes me think my whole process, craft, word choice – everything has evolved significantly over the last 7 years. Much has changed, much has stayed the same! What do you feel when you look back at your old work?