City Cherita – XII

 

they come to the flower bazaar

for jasmine, for marigolds, for roses —
for funerals, for weddings, for worship —

at night, the unsold flowers
become this city’s story
of all that did not happen

*****
Sharing this cherita from my book ‘Duplicity‘, published in Sep 2021. ‘Duplicity’ contains a mix of freeverse and micropoetry – cherita and modern haiku/senryu. Both print and kindle editions are available on Amazon. Also listed on Kobo. More information and links here.  You can read another poem from the book here. Do grab a copy today and let me know what you think! 

This city as punctuation

I frame this city in untold stories. But it
wants to be a poet, fitting my life into
six rhyming couplets that soften the
consonants of its dark. Mornings, we

swap metaphors and endings. It says
love is the hyphen between its sacred
peepal trees. This is an old trick, turning to
punctuation when words are scarce. It is

the eighth lunar month. Outside every
door, oil lamps burn. The wind holds its
hands around them like safe parentheses. I
search for spaces. The space you occupied.

The space between your arms. The space
between possibility and semicolon. Between
being and full stop. Where does the
emptiness end? Where does the next sky

begin? This city strikes a bell like a tercet.
Thrice. Like an ellipsis. The silence
between us tastes of missing apostrophes.
It draws faith as three question marks.

***

Sharing this poem from my new book ‘Duplicity’, published in September. 
Both print and kindle editions are available on Amazon. Also listed on Kobo. More information and links here.

10 steps to a new poetry book

1. Compile a rough draft of a draft of a draft manuscript.
2. Slash and burn – round 1/n. Doubt spelling, suspect grammar, hate most lines.
3. Cold acceptance that this is crap but maybe it is marginally better than other crap. No? Probably not.
4. Idea! Write new poems. Abandon idea.
5. Existential question: To book or not to book?
6. Practical question: What to do with all these poems then? Panic.
7. Let’s try one more time – Deep dive edit 1/n: add an em dash and change a line break. Or two.
8. Five stages of grief – Edit, Edit again, Edit yet again, Delete the manuscript. Edit one more time.
9. OK WTF. That’s it. Can never ever read the stuff again.
10. Regret. Panic. Release into poor unsuspecting world. Remember that apostrophe you didn’t change?

That kind of year! Which step are you at? And how’s it going? 

When I missed the 09:55

there were furrows
on her forehead,
disappearing like subway tracks,
lines that climbed out
from her weary dimple
like trains out of City Station;

she was softer
under the naked light bulb,
incandescent matter
poised mid-whirl,
a momentary flicker
in Rumi’s eyes,
an afterthought
caught in the maelstrom
of an incoming chant;

her face translucent,
the edges blurring
into the aura
weaving round her head;
inviting me to read
the empty pages,
words like thoughts
had pulled away
over the years;

i met her
on an empty platform,
a long way from today,
the me that i could be,
standing alone,
with a smile
and a purple umbrella;
in her bag-
the book I am writing,
weathered and lonesome;

she watched me run
towards the 09.55,
shaking off raindrops
from an imagined ache,
her wrinkled hands
held my arm
for just a moment,
not so fast,
her trembling voice said,
not so fast, my dear,
go craft me
in your own time,
one unsure step
trailing another,
just feel the lines
cross through your heart,
they will come,
for now
just slow down
and mind the gap.

Posted this poem way back on Jan 3rd, 2016. Seems like a perfect time to revisit it.

Water to Water, my first poetry collection, is now available on Amazon – US, UK and India