RIP

Poetry is dead. Long live the poems.
Does the poet still bears the burden of dissent,
of finding new words for a retro revolution,
when there are none left?
Let the seas rise, the cities fall. Let the snow melt.
Let the last of the evil fly one-winged, out of that box.
Let the chasms widen until
there are no more rivers to run through them.
Let people be divided over and over and over again
till they fit in tiny spreadsheet cells.
Let me be gathered as a data point by a factory of
algorithms that build a bubble around me.
Wasn’t it the scriptures that said that the world is just
perception. (And that was before Facebook.)
What do you want to resist most, today?
What outrage fills your coffee cup this morning?
How many odd tweets does it take to draw an even breath.
Because I have no poem for you to declaim.
No verse for you to hang your mask on.
No couplet. (What rhymes with orange or against?)
Go stand upon your upturned crate and say to the
three-and-a-half people around you that
poetry is long dead. Gone.
RIP.
Now kneel for a minute in silence.

A poet asks if we should keep writing poetry

It’s hard. Not all of 2020 can be kneaded into grief-
shaped poems, most parts are so silent and so

alone – pages filled with punctuation marks that
have lost their words: forlorn ellipses going nowhere,

commas waiting between space and space and question
marks that know answers have been quarantined.

Not all of 2020 can be shaped into light, darkness
shifts in unexpected places, strange, defiant. On a mid-

November Diwali morning, in a year that broke in
March, I wonder what poetry is – anymore? Stepping six

feet away from a stranger, I look into his indifferent
eyes. I pretend he is smiling behind his cotton mask.

 

A flash of inspiration from Khaya’s post.  Happy Diwali! Wish you love and light and – a vaccine!

You think the moon knows

The pandemic has settled like protracted fog on the asphalt,
a needy god wanders the empty streets, faith like a cold stone

in his pocket. Here, at the traffic light, where the push carts
sold biryani and men jostled outside the tiny paan stall,

there are only insomniac shadows of dreamless sleepers.
You think the moon knows, or the birds? That something is

amiss? You think the heart now understands the birds and
the moon? Distance, the incongruity of touch, curvature,

the texture of skin as a nameless want? There is gossip in
estranged doorways about the lover who waited too long.

About a love that waited too long. We breathe in the spectre
of death. Who knows about the alchemy of absence? Between

us, this city expands. It’s funny how the jacarandas blossom
and fall and blossom and fall as if none of this really matters.

This blog is six years old today. I want to thank all my readers for their support and encouragement and the shared love for poetry. Stay safe, everyone.

The way the days pass…

Hunkered down. The inexorable wait. How does a
killer virus ask for directions? There are two of us.

One waits. One watches. Both are me. Both must
be real. The world has already contracted into a

page that updates the toll. The dead are marked in
yellow. Already, so much has been forgotten. So

much has been erased. A forsaken god has been
woken from his bed. How do you wait for peace

while you wait for death? How do you wait for love
when waiting overflows with dread? This is a silent

war – no explosions, no guns, no song, no words
that hold up the sky. The subtraction slips into the

quiet, into the dark, the way it was foretold. We
wait, we watch, one real, one masked, as the

world we know ends with a whimper, the world
we know leaves suddenly without saying goodbye.