Curfew: Day 47

Sixteen migrant workers (were run over by a freight train
as they tried to make their way home)

No matter which way our world falls, only
one side is soiled, only one side is wounded,

only one side bleeds. This inequity is favoured
by a sky that cannot tell day from night. The

illusion of a silver moon is only in eyes forced
to look up. Hands that built our cities, walk

away from them, empty handed. But death is neither
random nor foretold. We formulate methods that

compute the value of lives. Zero or one. From that
we derive the rate at which they will be forgotten.

to know darkness –
the sun must first
understand its light

For the millions of migrant workers making their way back to villages and towns in the hinterland, thousands on foot,walking hundreds of kilometres, as livelihoods are destroyed during the lockdown and hunger becomes a greater threat than disease.



Also read:
Curfew: Day 46

Curfew: Day 46

Lockdown writing: ten things about The Poem.


7. Teach The Poem to run its fingers over sharp edges.
To cry in an unknown language. To bleed until living

and dying are equal options. 8. If you already know what
you’re going to say, don’t say it. The Poem is not your

lover. No part of its body should be so familiar. The Poem
and you are always in your first meeting. 9. You are the

only reader to whom The Poem must make sense. To
everyone else, it is the magic mirror in which their

wounds fill, their scars fade, in which they look more
beautiful. The Poem is their illicit paramour. 10. You

are not the mother who birthed The Poem. You are the
god that created it. It is the being that will forever

ruin your garden of eden, then kneel before you and beg,
as if you alone have the power to forgive the desecration.

The Poem
is waiting for the poet
who is waiting for it

Also Read:
Curfew: Day 45 (Ten things about The Poem 2/3)
Curfew: Day 44 (Ten things about The Poem 1/3)

Curfew: Day 45

Lockdown writing: ten things about The Poem.


4. Let the day walk around turning off the lights,
turning off the sun, let the layered shadows become

a despairing womb. The Poem will appear as you remove
the blindfolds, one by one. Don’t be gentle. 5. Imagine

desire. Imagine satisfaction. Imagine a heart that has
forgotten longing. If The Poem comes from deprivation,

it cannot feel another’s pain. It fills its eyes and ears with
its own sorrow. 6. When you say goodnight to The Poem, don’t

tuck it in, don’t kiss it goodnight, don’t read it another poem.
Abandon it in the coldest corner, on the hardest floor, in

the darkest room. What it is, will depend on where you find
it in curled up in the morning. And if it is still sleeping.

read – the way
you read the night sky –
not seeing the darkness

Also read:
Curfew: Day 44 (Ten things about The Poem 1/3)

Curfew: Day 44

Lockdown writing: ten things about The Poem.


1. When you open the door of The Poem, anything
can walk in. But look closer, inside and outside are

now one. What about these faces, are they arriving or
leaving? Where do you think you are standing? 2. Don’t

write about love. Love, like a story, demands an ending.
Everything searches for purpose and meaning. The Poem

will end the minute it has had enough. When there is
nothing more to say. 3. When a small word falls and rolls

under the table, under the bed, under a star or disappears
under the sky, make yourself even smaller and follow it.


what did you say –
that this damp twilight
now rhymes with darkness and dawn



Also read:
Curfew: Day 43

Curfew: Day 43

I watched her, not comprehending- the way she
held her baby, the way she kept glancing at
her phone, the way she rummaged in a big

white bag embroidered with blue pigs and red
billy goats. She sat between me and the window,
a stranger, till I saw the book she wasn’t reading

and suddenly I knew her future, the future of
that sleeping child, I could see how undefined
parts would come together someday. Even with

some pieces missing. She caught my gaze. Took in
the empty chair, the coffee cup, the book on my
table that I wasn’t reading and smiled kindly,

knowing instantly my past, all the things that had
led to this moment. How often is the present contained
in two copies of the same book, closed, unread?


when the wind stops blowing
is it still
the wind

Also read:
Curfew: Day 42

Curfew: Day 41

A hundred years from now, this time will be abstracted
into a zen koan that our wise will shape into a mirror,

or a river, and find the anguish of the world returning
their perplexed gaze. Even a painting looks back at you.

Corrects your first impression, draws your eyes to shadows
that weren’t there, that aren’t there. The one on your

wall, of a hand at high tide, reaching for the moon, has
swapped stories with us for so long, we’ve had to invent

new ones. Isn’t there’s always more? If you hang a poem
in a bamboo frame, that a passer-by might read to

himself, or to a lover, the words will disappear in the
low-light, letting him make up his own. Inside every poem

there are two or three more breathing. Inside every poem is
a lifetime precised into a comma. Inside every poem, if you

know how to look, like in a mirror, or a river, there is a
love, between two denials, between three confirmations.

the sky I see
isn’t the sky you see
isn’t the sky that sees us

Also read:
Curfew: Day 40

Curfew: Day 39

When was the last time a thought ran all the way
to an exclamation mark? Disconsolate, broken strings

float in the air – existential paradoxes -somehow
deferring to gravity. This grief too was birthed from

a rib of life. Raised in a sage’s empty bowl. Who
could have foretold this stillness of the sea? The

water silenced, the skin of one shore never touching
the other. Last night the moon sank into its depths.

Last night I counted the stars from inside your eyes.
How much of the sky is bearable? Last night, a dream

started as desire, as balm to an unknown wound, and
became a river, crying because the sea was lost forever.

first this summer
then the monsoon
then will it still matter?


Also read:
Curfew: Day 38

Curfew: Day 38

The painting was an elegy in black: dystopia, with
its mouth full of night, watching, as hope was suckled

by a colossal moon. The man stood before it, silent,
the exaggerated chiaroscuro of expectation and

despair drawing him into its darkness, the light only
a device to examine his own failings. Maybe this was

how things ended. As wordless wounds on walls, as
shadows cast by a loss that had no last name and no

measure. Outside, it could be afternoon. May-flowers
like blood splatter against motionless blue skies. Or

outside it could be raining. Skin begging for a warm
touch. Or outside could be – just another painting.

masquerade –
night wants to be day
wants to be night


Also read:
Curfew: Day 37

Curfew: Day 36

This much we know: 1. That having walked this far,
we cannot take one more step together. 2. The

daylight we borrowed has to be returned to the
night. 3. Loss, like the fragrance of roses, is stronger,

close to the skin. 4. With every storm, the sky is
trying to wash more desire off its hands. 5. The

door to the past has lost its key in the future. 6.
A poem should be a hammer that cracks open

that which you didn’t know was closed. 7. A poem
should be silk sliding down hips that call your

name. 8. When it’s time to leave and you see a
sign in the sky, destroy your poems. 9. Leave on

your shelf, empty notebooks full of unwritten poems
that the future will read. 10. The future, that holds the

key, smells of roses and lightning and fills footprints
that could go no further. 11. This is all we need to know.


how bad can it be –
the darkness
that imagined a moon


Also read:
Curfew: Day 35

Curfew: Day 32

Another vicious summer hail storm. Does it
validate the emptiness outside? No one is getting

wet. No umbrellas are raised in self-defence. Rain
and death saturate the earth, at will. Yesterday,

more than fifty people died here. But, we have learnt
the alphabet of silence. We have mastered its syntax.

We craft dirges with its naked body, with its tongue,
the vowels stretching deep into indrawn breath.

Thought is louder than bird song is louder than the
deluge. We can mourn each other without naming,

without touching, without loving. Even tears come
and go like softly like hyphens, like caresses, like days.


a poem:
is an unfinished sentence
is an unconscious sigh


Also read:
Curfew: Day 31