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!

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.

Duplicity

Duplicity, my second book of poetry, published by Notion Press, is now available.

Duplicity contains poems that look at love and life, through the prism of a big city, before and during the pandemic. There is a mix of regular freeverse and micropoetry, around the central theme, so I hope you will find it interesting to read.

Currently available on:

Amazon India

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Flipkart India

Notion Press

Also on Goodreads for your feedback and comments.

Hope you get your copy soon! I look forward to your response. Do let me know if you can’t get the book in your region.

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

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

A connection between soles

All the inversions: friday night and I set a
memory on a skin of spilt beer, feet touching
feet, head two body lengths away, unseen,

suddenly truth is a connection between soles.
Every morning for twenty years, mama took
three buses to work. The radius of childhood,

measured by wheel on wheel on a clouded film
of yesterday’s rain. Which wheel is real when
we talk of the past? Later, putting me to sleep,

the night reflected in her tears: two formless
skies collapsing into one. A false singularity.
Darkness, a perfect mirror of darkness.

 

VV-Feb-2020-Omid-Armin

Image by Omid Armin (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
First published on Visual Verse (Vol 07, Chapter 4)

 

Finally sent something out this year and am glad it found a home. Visual Verse has great picture prompts and I love ekphrastic poetry but it also pulls together a gorgeous contributor page ! Just realized I’ve had 14 poems published there!

The shape of hope

Bush fires, an almost-war, an impeachment trial, more hate, more weird weather, more inaction – could this year have got off to a worse start? Here in India, led by the young, people are out on the streets protesting a divisive, communal citizenship law. They tell us, in no uncertain terms, that however bad it gets, there will be people who will resist, who will dissent and who will fight for what is right and just and beautiful. They are our shape of hope.

Poetry is another matter altogether. 2019 was a great year, personally – I was lucky to publish a collection and to get a pushcart nomination. They were the shape of my hope. But January brought the cold and thick grey walls that words cannot penetrate. Instead, I have been working on a new chapbook. The compilation plays grave tricks on my mind – screaming at the pointlessness of the effort, even as I soullessly move words around the page. But that’s the thing- it has to be whipped into a shape that even hope will acquiesce to wear. Right now, it is all formless and uphill.

So, it is with no surprise that I found that another publication that carried my work, shut shop at the end of 2019. Haibun Today, that published a little Tanka prose I wrote has gone off the air and am only glad its archives are still accessible. Here’s the piece they carried:

Inevitable

Perhaps your leaving was meant to be. One day there was the crunch of our footsteps on splashes of colour and the next the white expanse of a winter that mandates a quick indrawn breath even though the snow had been foretold. Even though the emptiness had been sung. Even though the last chinar leaf had danced through the space between us as if farewell is not a broken word but a private ritual of bough and dusk and wind that we watch from the bedroom window. Safe. Warm. For a while.

drop by drop
a hesitant light
fills the monk’s bowl—
night withers
into a small shadow

 

 

If you remember, a few weeks ago, I told you that another publication, Calamus Journal, had wound down as well. How many more, I wonder. Now, I hope your year has had a better start. If you have inspiration to share in the form of a new poem you wrote or just kind words to cajole the muse, bring them here, they are much needed and very welcome.

 

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