Two things

and later, when the worst has healed and you find
yourself back on the desert trail, you will know two

things instantly: 1. the shifting, sinking, whispering
sand will outlive you, absorb you and 2. with the

sky too wide and the stars too many and the land
too vast, in the sand that holds and drowns and

forgives, you will fall to your knees and no matter how
small you felt that one night, drinking spurious rum

from bootlegged bottles when everything was locked
down and no one came or cared or could, no matter

how little was left of you the next morning, you will
know you are less. And then you will rise and smile,

sadly, because a virus, even smaller, with no hands or
heart, had for a while, taken down an entire planet.

Two weeks of January

A couple of weeks into 2022, here’s what’s happening:

1. My poem ‘What to do’ found its way to the ‘Poetry Blog Digest 2022, Week 1’ on Via Negativa. Lots of  good stuff there to read, do check it out!

2. I read ‘Hello Earth’ – a compilation of prose-poems in the earthhello form, by Rosemary Nissen-Wade. These are personal reflections on self and surroundings written during the lockdown. Grab a free copy from the Smashwords site. You will find raw, engaging, healing poetry inside!

3. My detours into flash fiction continue, especially since poetry seems to wax and wane with the moon. If you haven’t read my piece from December, do give it a shot. 

4. Meanwhile, weekend curfews and night curfews are back with Omicron going nuts all over the city. Perhaps the weirdest part is how normal it all seems.

once more
voices slink into the dark
once more, quiet keeps vigil

 

How’s your January going?

What to do

on an evening like this
what to do but
swallow the sun
the whole mellow orb
just before it sets —
so the light turns
skin into glass
and the heart grows eyes
to look outside
and see what it could only feel

but watch how it learns
that the sky begins at
your feet
that distance measures
the weight of longing
that reality is designed
to disappoint even
the most tepid
imagination

what to do but
trace the hollow
of the moon
taste the air that once
held your name
and know how
one by one
inch by inch
shadows lengthen
inside you

**************

Hello 2022, I see you come with a Covid surge, night curfews, weekend restrictions and another wave of fear…  it’s like 2021 all over again… except, you are the kinder cousin… aren’t you? How are things in your neck of the woods, everyone? Stay safe!

Leave a promise

at the end of every line
leave a clue —
so festering wounds can be
wrapped in strips of twilight sky
so the world can be settled
ever so slightly, till it sits
warm and weightless
like a child on a hip —

there is often a word
that can keep one last door open
that can retrace that final step

at the end of every verse
leave a promise —
what shall we do with sleep
without a morning to wake up to
what shall we do with rain
when skin cannot endure the wet
what shall we do with all this
longing, without the grammar
of hope —

at the end of every poem
leave cause —
there is reason in the way
an afternoon hangs upon
a silence hangs upon
an unbidden thought,
the eye tracing the path of
a crow rebuilding its nest,
there is presence in the way
a twig, that was once tree,
becomes purpose
becomes home

we can reimagine the new moon
we can draw new patterns
with invisible stars

we can make beauty
if we only know how

***********************
One last poem for 2021 as this year folds into the next- this was inspired by a beautiful message sent to me by a reader and fellow poet, that he had titled “We can make beauty”- thank you so much, TioStib.
.
To everyone here, a wish for good days, good health and endless poetry.

A year that brought the devastation of the second wave, so much loss and grief… was also kind enough to give me my second book, ‘Duplicity‘… so with gratitude, memories, good and sad, and a tiny defiant sliver of hope, here’s looking ahead to 2022. Be safe and be happy, all. 😍
.

No way back

transformed matter
still ripe with unbelief,
whenever this ends, wherever thereafter begins,
we became ocean, seed, star, poem,
the dark still pumping through our veins —
no way back
no answer yet
everything, yet nothing, left behind,
nothing, yet everything, carried inside

it was convenient, even pleasant,
for a while,
till we learnt reality was the mirage,
and the mirage too real,
what about the years then?
what about being?
being and belonging?
what about moonlight and skin
and the void and the rain,
especially the rain?
what about wetness?

maybe it was only about
that moment of knowing, enduring,
of that certainty of surrender —
knowing the sun would melt our wings
knowing that falling was another
becoming,
remembering that within the clouds
we too smell of unborn lake —
but that wasn’t the plan, was it?

we rose upward on the saddest wave
and even the sky couldn’t tell
what was awake and what surely
was dreaming,
what was manifest and what
was disappearing,
what was true — this hand, that promise —
and what was just a feeling.

Dear Tomorrow

so, dear tomorrow,

can’t you see how earth
prepares herself for that inevitable end?

I worry about you –
what will you be when there’s no one left
to measure time?

****

A cherita for earthweal, the place for poetry on the climate crisis. So many parts of the world are already reeling under the impact. Sherry talks of the atmospheric river systems lining up in Canada, while here in the south of India, the North-East monsoon season seems to have gone completely, devastatingly mad. Go to Earthweal.com to read/ learn/ contribute. 

#RIP – my friend

I try to piece together the life
he must have lived
how long it has been, how little I know
how little everybody seems to know:
puzzle bits scattered on the table
too many that don’t fit
so many misplaced
how many no one knows are lost —
a freeze frame in the continuum
a picture unfinished forever
#RIP my friend

we need witnesses for our being
for our enduring
not for the parts we share but
for what we speak with the moon at
two in the morning
for what has broken and healed and
broken and healed
scar tissue plump with unwritten stories
for the falling, for the failing,
for the days we built ourselves
calloused hands shoring up our souls
an old sweater stuffed into the hollow
left by a missing brick
#RIP my friend

a goodbye needs to be accountable
if it knows there won’t be another
it should become sky, bell, memorial:
who said goodbye first when we met last
what did you say before you left
did I turn away
did you not hear
now I hold the wind and the rain
and a blur of may-may-not-have-beens
memory does not keep well if we don’t
retrieve and cajole and embellish:
remember, I want to say, remember the time…
but a piece falls unnoticed at the far
end of the table
and all that hums is the silence of
too many, too many years gone by

go gently, go in grace, go to that place
where dreams do not end
#RIP my friend

Without an inside or outside

it wasn’t much of a home:
maybe it was just a window,
without a room, without a wall,
without an inside or outside,
without end
keeping things apart
slicing through sentences, consequences,
a window that could have been opened
but never was
because no one wanted to

it was the time I made things up:
purple shadows and obstinate light
sounds like memories of fragrance after
the garden is emptied of flowers
things that walked without ever moving
things that talked without ever speaking
they said not having so much wasn’t having so little —
need recalibrated itself every night
they said what you really want depends
on how far you really want to see

it was the time I made up a name for longing:
a name that has no tongue or has two
a name that dips and swells like night air
on bodies watching sleep
like strangers on a late train
a name that gurgles in the throat
like a last breath, like the whisper
that never left despairing lips,
they said it was nothing because
it was also anything

it was the time I made up a sky:
with stars the taste of quiet
black stars for day, an orange moon
to unsettle the dusk,
they said having so little light
wasn’t having so much dark
and though the window could be opened,
it never was, the window
that could divide though it was nothing
the window that had lost its wall
lost the home that wasn’t much of a home –
everytime I looked through the glass
I saw myself, looking back, from the other side

*****

I had to step away from this poem after writing it, it came together almost in a rush but I refused to go back to it for more than a week… and today, all I changed was a word or two and some alignment. Sometimes, a poem is what it is… despite the poet. You know what I mean, don’t you?

Lockdown Notes IX

afterwards:
just waiting
for the waiting to end

************

Sharing this micropoem from my book ‘Duplicity‘, published in Sep 2021. ‘Duplicity’ contains a mix of freeverse and micropoetry – cherita and modern haiku/senryu. This one is from a series titled “Lockdown Notes” 
Both print and kindle editions are available on Amazon. Also listed on Kobo. More information and links here. You can read other poems from the book here and here.
Do grab a copy today and let me know what you think!