Running on empty

running on empty –
the road behind me
littered with unreasonable poems

 

Found two beautiful poems today:  Dashi by Robert Okaji  and Daughter of the plains by Ryan Stone.  Just two beautiful reasons to keep loving and reading and writing poetry.  What has inspired you today? What keeps you going even when the words are hard to find?

 

Broken World

broken world –
monsoon clouds like Band-aid strips
on an ebbing sky

 

Alternating between banal work and the feverish dystopia of my newsfeed, it does feel, sometimes, like the world is coming apart in an insane hurry, everywhere. In the middle of war and hate and climate change and the pandemic, if there is a safe place, it seems like it is getting smaller and smaller or fading away in the fog. Meanwhile, there’s poetry, rare but still able to say that, once, there was a time, somewhere, safe enough so a poet could, for a while, put pen to paper. 

Hold it up to the light

it says nothing, it says everything
hold it up to the light again,
some days, you’ll see a poem

An abating second wave (really?), an enraged monsoon (climate change?), a monday-friday grind that mocks attempts at writing, a shrinking world of poetry suddenly made beautiful by an unexpected poem that drops into my timeline – how’re things in your world? What have you been writing? 

This poem

even in a parallel universe –
is there this longing,
this poem?

 

 

I’ve been an infrequent visitor to my blog. Sometimes I write and some of it finds its way to Instagram, the blog, however, is languishing… and nothing, it appears, can do away with Covid or create the mindspace for focused blogging, focused writing, focused anything. But, in the middle of pandemic listlessness, absent inspiration, disappeared muse and a time-devouring day job, I’m compiling a book. More on that, when the path stops being so utterly uphill. Hope to read all your posts this week and write more-post more-read more…think I miss this space… more than I realized. Stay safe all…the planet of the variants is not a friendly place. 

It is war

It is war
and the unarmed cower in living rooms —
trenches that are not safe
from the unseen enemy.

But we’ve won before.
It will take more than a virus.
We will take down more than a virus.
We’ve won before.
We have a recurring tryst with destiny,
even in a world askew,
even where there is no time to grieve
even when there is too much grief
We’ve won before.
We know how to gather our loss,
know how to console our hearts,
know when the next dawn will come.

Yesterday an old woman almost died,
it took thirty-seven people
it took two hundred and fourteen messages
to get her to a hospital bed.
But she will be home in a week.
It will start with her.
We know.
We’ve won before.
It always starts with one person.
It always starts with one battle.
It always starts with one victory.
It always starts when the first person says no.

On the Rough Road

On the Rough Road is a collection of haiku that I first put together in 2016 following a series of prompts on ‘Carpe Diem Haiku Kai’ based on Matsuo Basho’s ‘Oku no hosimichi’ (Narrow road to the Deep North)

Recently, I redesigned and edited the chapbook and though it seemed to take forever, it was a nostalgic walk through old haiku and haibun I had written, giving me fresh insight into my state of mind and writing style, then – and now.

Over the years, I’ve surely learnt a thing or two, but also lost something. I don’t entirely know what that is, but I believe some of my best haiku are in this little chapbook. For more details, check this link.

I chose one haiku to leave here today:

here, finally

i open my book of regrets

to the rain

The light

mid-march, the light

a feverish wound
inside my eyes

burning the end
of a story
I took all winter to write

Spring in Goscieradz: Leon Wyczolkowski

These Bangalore Nights

I fail poetry and poetry gives up on me. This is the machination
of muses and fates. The present is a documentary playing on the

back of a cloud. These Bangalore nights. The uncensored underbelly.
The filth, the loneliness, the lies, the insomniac buildings that

follow the sun, the bikes tripping on empty roads past midnight,
the feet stumbling out of overpriced pubs and seedy bars, all

dreaming the same dream, all reaching for the same exit, a
one-way street jammed from this red light to the next. An

arthouse film in monochrome. Around the haunting cliché
of a poet at her desk staring at an empty page. Writing a poem

that has no intention of being written. Ninety minutes later,
she crumples the paper and lets it fall to the floor. The floor

that falls with it. The silence that breaks with it. The poet who
flies through the window and rips up the yellow moon. The end.

Poetry of the rice fields

transplanting rice

she complains
about her heartless lover

to a scarecrow
without
a head

sweat trickling down her back

she watches him
in the rice field

a shadow lands,
then an egret
another shadow, another egret

first summer rain

the smell of want
the smell of soil

ankle-deep in water
she giggles —
covering his face

Throwback to some Cherita

In August 2017, I had six poems published on The Cherita. I couldn’t share the poems immediately because of the rules of the journal and then the display format. Later, ‘The Cherita’ released several anthologies, collecting all the poems published by them. I recently managed to get myself the kindle version of one of the books titled ‘Where the river bends‘ and can finally, have all my poems up on my blog. Cherita is a form, as you might know, created by Ai Li who is the editor of the online journal and the curator of the anthologies. (If you’ve already seen a few of them on my Instagram page, well, this is the backstory)

(1)
the horizon thickens

the sea separates
from the curdled sky

we rise like wet birds
from the water
into emptiness, into nothing

(This Cherita also appears in my book ‘Water to Water‘)
(2)
origami bird

I fold and refold
our love

hoping
one day
it will fly
(3)
the after-rain

a moon trembles
in every puddle

sleep leaves the window
and slips into
my empty bed
(4)
a door slammed

a dog barked softly
once, twice

she woke up
when she heard the wind
tiptoe into the garden
(5)
afternoon quiet

the cat sleeps
in sunshine squares

the light and I
argue about shadows
and god
(6)
the sound of temple bells

she closes her eyes
for a moment

when did she get
too old
to pray for love