On Dark Nights Like This

a sallow-faced wind patrols the yard this morning
eyes narrowed, hands deep in its grey long coat
like those dour spies from old black and white movies,
there has been little rain
just the odd gust driving ashen clouds
wary of its own incontinence,
we let the silence mark a path through the living room
back and forth, as if talking about him
would change something,
the air or the colour of the light
and we could never enter the room again,
you’re trying not to look at the picture in the corner
as if seeing it would change nothing,
it would never walk in from the kitchen again,
clothes following in metered rhyme,
down the street, the moon slips into a letterbox,
the night sets up a vigil for dawn,
the wind stops to ruffle the head of the neem he planted,
on dark nights like this
who knows if the memories come first
or the tears?

On the Edge of Cabo da Roca

sitting where the land ends
the Atlantic sloshing beneath our feet
liquid possibility in a bottomless cup
swapping myths about love struck queens
half maiden half snake
about cities built on seven hills
half devout knee half exalted head
and the first ships that found their way
to a place you call my home;

the sea here is a different blue
mixed with the light from another sky
we measure distance in two languages
physics tangles with etymology
on the edge of Cabo da Roca
and unreason flattens the smiling curve
of your far horizon;

this is why we journey
so the sea can sink and the earth
can join its hands for a moment
saluting the sun
so the ocean starts or ends
depending on where I sit
the brine blue in my veins
depending on how the tail of the sky
coils around its golden throne
depending on where I come from
a place you call my home

Cabo da Roca, Portugal: Western edge of mainland Europe.  So interesting that the word for boat/ship in Portuguese is nao and in Hindi, naav. 

I Sing Along

from salt and pepper photographs
sprinkled on strange brick walls

my memories make up their own memories

filling the quiet of the never spoken
with familiar music

I watch my feet remember the rhythm
I feel my lips hum the tune

I sing along

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

Waiting for Sunshine

it is our stubborn reluctance
to stir the heavy air
who, like an aging lover,
thinks he can still tell
hidden yearning from unspoken boundaries,
a book lies unread on my lap
someone’s impassioned words
that conjure a false arrhythmia
begging for motion, for emotion
as if waving at the sky
will make it forfeit a single monsoon cloud;

it is the false propaganda of the rain
masking the odour of parched throats
with a fleeting waft of petrichor
that precludes dissent,
its clammy fingers proclaiming life
as if eternity rides down
on pregnant clouds
to backfill the emptiness;

but we have learnt to wait
until the sun deigns to love us again
until shadows that slunk away
return to the hollows of our patient curves,
we have soft umbrellas of inertia
to deafen the mystic drumming of the rain
the grey shroud will drop
from his bent shoulders
the revelation
is only a few yards
of nothingness away.

I am no aesthete

I am no aesthete
these pitiless streets and sagging alleys
weave ennui instead of song
the air here is a different colour
even the rose who sees herself
in the filthy puddles from yesterday’s rain
thinks she was born a dirty sepia

oh I have sat across the room
and admired the strong jaw of your feral words
the stubble on the face of your poems
as if they had overslept
too harrowed by the insincerity of the long night
their long fingers shredding old sensibilities
brown nails scraping away the wet earth to find a lost path

but I am tethered to this obsolescent air
scavenging for metaphors in ripe refuse
yesterday as we walked I picked up
a mango seed sucked dry
as if someone had consumed the sun
and thrown away its wan core
you laughed and showed me the sky
a plump cloud with one yellow stain on its cheek

I make do, my grey unwashed sun
shines dark on things I don’t want to see
the rose falls apart in the angry rain
and we walk through the unseen
making poems that rise with bloodshot eyes
reeking of discarded wine
holding their heads on the torn sheets of my notebook

I am no aesthete
but sometimes I have seen my sobbing poems
tender eyed, faking smiles
as they wake up next to yours.