Earth 2023: A poem for the new year

The water rabbit is still freshly unboxed, ribbons and
wrapping paper not yet stuffed into recycle bins, already
futility creeps up its skin like a phantom vein. People I
haven’t spoken to for months (and we are in times when
speaking itself is a metaphor for awkward texts), send
flashing rectangles, with words so corny, it would take
months to wipe off the artificial sweetness and toxic
positivity. A paradox this, in an age of over communication,
there is too little with any meaning. Like packing waste,
deleted texts find their way to a landfill, their tasteless
apathy never decaying. How do you relearn sustainable
conversation, biodegradable, returning to the earth to
bloom flowers? Somewhere in the middle of the day,
your message pings. You send me an AI generated
poem about hope for joy and prosperity and success.
I feel a dark kinship with the fish at the bottom of the
sea that has never set eyes on a human, still dying of
microplastics. Happy (and on this I insist) New Year.

** I’ve seen it being called the year of the water rabbit in some places, some others call it the year of the black rabbit, some more said both are right. Whichever it is, it’s here. Hope it is gentle and kind. 

No Starting Over

There will be no starting over, no reboot, no capitulating
to this categorization of time- January 1st, I refuse you as
a marker. I will have leftover curry and rice from Monday
afternoon, squabble with an unfinished poem about an
unresolved grief over an unnamed absence just like I
have been doing for so many nights now. I will cringe, as
one should, at the conceited adjectives and declamations
of superlative joy, and those lists and resolutions – oh,
especially the resolutions. I will remember your not being
here yet feel your voice and know your smile just like I
have for so many months now. Alright, new year, my
door is bolted, twice over, the oil lamps have been put
out, even I cannot tell myself apart from the shadows
of the last lantern rocking in the wind. The stars are the
same, the angles between them are the same, the grey
pigeons are asleep on the drain pipes, don’t wake them
up with your arrival. In your face, in your pockets, in your
vacant stare, there’s nothing they have not seen before.

Ritual of Departure

I walk this dying year slowly down to the edge. You laugh, tell
me I am holding his shrivelled arm too tight, he totters now, his

voice feeble, not that he has anything left to say. I wait for him
to crumble to ashes so I can hand him back to ocean that birthed

him, how many times have we done this here, how many times
have we stood at this door, me empty hearted, this silent Bay

of Bengal, waiting in seeming nonchalance, wave after wave,
counting down the seconds. Remember the time he was broken

before the winter solstice, I brought him in pieces, in black plastic
bags, parts missing, and once, long ago, when I did not want to

let him go- all that crusted angst has turned blue wine to salt, yet
this sea burns the fire of a new day in her belly, our ancient ritual

of departure coloured with the blood of arrival. I turn back,
cleansed, eviscerated, clutching the arm of the wind, already

filling with fragments of sunshine and sand. You laugh, tell me
I am holding on too tight, even hollowness has to let go, to fly.

Word on Word

Don’t measure us in these paroxysms of light, in the shifting
of a sky we cannot fully comprehend, what do they mean,

love, these half lived months and half dead years, as if they
were a knotted line over a chasm, that we try in vain to cross,

sometimes falling, sometimes fallen, sometimes afloat,
sometimes swallowed by a nameless river, the inevitability

of the other side, sometimes a cold promontory, sometimes
a blur. Let them wail, those that count smiles like tomorrows,

what is now but breath on breath, skin on skin and word on
word, warm in that space without boundaries, without time,

and yet you sigh for something gone, for something ahead,
as if they are something different, ask the clouds or the wind,

even the rain, if they met time in passing, now, they will answer,
now, water on water, whisper on whisper, life on everlasting life.

The First Word

on new year’s furrowed brow,
the first word,
a secret anointing,
that remembers,
that clotted ink on the silver nib
is smile residue,
but tangled lines,
like medusa’s curls
turn poetry to stone,
drip venom into its metered abscesses…
already blue veined wings flutter.

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


In the vortex
of a new year’s birth,
like cherry blossoms,
cling valiantly
to impatient boughs of
speeding time…

Perhaps only
to lose their grip,
lay a pink carpet
of withered expectations,
so reality might tread softly,
tiptoe on scattered hopes,
with a smile…

01/04/2015: Posted in Poets United