The box. The other side.

Put me also in a box, label me. Lead me to the grass. There must be safety in herds. I once saw wildebeest line up for miles to cross the Mara. A group devices the geometry of survival.

All Groups. Bastards. Lovers. Those with the universe strapped to their thighs. Breath and voice and visage fading into one. Jumping into the river. One by one. Together.

But you leave me unnamed. Leave me alone in the rain. My skin drinking sky after sky till it is neither me nor cloud nor rain.

This is what you mean. The not fitting. The not belonging. The not standing in line. The not jumping together. But the outside is cold. I ask you again. AGAIN.

You unwrinkle me on a table and try to understand the words but the ink is smudged into a language you cannot read. This is what you mean. The calligraphy of incomprehension. Meterless. Wordless. Endless.

A grave is a box. Death, a label. We must ultimately be nothing and everything and be labelled when we are not left to call. The herd of the dead in rows for the final migration.

This is what you mean. The inevitability of sameness. The primal stereotype. Beyond the pretence of resistance. The line. The blue river. The danger. The other side.


A sudden urge to write prose-poetry. Do share links to prose-poetry you have written. Would love to read your work. 

Thirteen ways of looking at the abyss

I flip into the dark
eyes buried in my pillow:
when we dream
face down
which way is up


water and burn and bones
something determines
everything –
how long it takes to fall
how long it will take to rise


what if
where I was
was the mountain top
and the bottom is level ground
where I belong, you belong


notes soar
notes fall
in music as in dissonance:
some birds, they say,
can fly upside down


still in my bed
the sun still in the sky
the abyss is a room with no windows
breaking is building
building is breaking


only one me
descended into the dark
what if the rest of me
is still suspended from
that light beam


there are others down there
there are nine shades of night
slowly, slowly,
my eyes adjust
to the dark


again they say this is the abyss
again and again I disagree
it cannot swallow me
I contain this abyss
every abyss


the rabbit hole has rules:
some things will make me grow
some things will make me shrink
do I have to go back
the same way I came


what you call climbing
I call ‘not falling’
will you understand
how staying still
is also a victory


the blood in my veins
isn’t green-blue —
nothing is what it seems
even in the light
even right under my skin


what can I leave behind
in the abyss:
what is mine
what will be mine when I return
who will I be if I return


the morning is a paper cut
night wraps itself around my finger,
blood turns black, the night turns red
colour of beginnings
colour of endings

(Salute to the eternal inspiration:‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’ by Wallace Stevens)

This is what

I watch three stalks of white tuberose in a vase
four feet away. Their heady scent, blocking
thought, covering my eyes, floating little boats
down my restless bloodstream. I cannot move,
much less write, outside day turns to night,
perhaps with a clash of cymbals or to the breath
of an old sitar, the beyond teases music into
my silence. Somewhere else, there must be an
entire field of white flowers puckering, just as
the farmer lays his earth-roughened hands on
her pulsing belly, a million buds opening, the gods
hanging upside down from the clouds reaching
for the fragrance. This is what we were made
of, soft skin and paradise and the bouquet
of unbearable desire. This is what we can make
of soil and water and endless sky. This is what
bubbles in the orange shaft of light that falls
upon my empty couch. I watch, I inhale, I
shiver, I hide, inside a perfumed shadow.

Interlude (20)

Sharing the reading of Part 20 of “A story in many unequal parts, some missing”. (To read the poem, click here.)

This is the last of the readings, for a while. So check it out and if you’ve been listening, drop me a line! Reading the poems aloud connected me to them in a totally different way, I hope you too enjoy a different side, a different shade of the poem as you listen to it!

A story in many unequal parts, some missing – 28

Always watching myself — from behind doors,
from across the room, in a dream — my own
stalker. Cursing when I falter, cursing…

Hard to believe I’ve been writing this series since July 22, we’re into month #7 and a brand new year. And freshly posted today is Part 28. Read the poem here.

I get feedback from many of you via comments, email etc. But if you’ve been following this or read any part of it, I’d love to hear from you. Say hello, drop a line!