Poem of the week: Week Twenty Nine.

And I’m bang on time posting the first poem of August! This month’s poet is Mustansir Dalvi and poems are from his first collection of poems Brouhahas of Cocks.

Friday mosque in New Bombay
Mustansir Dalvi

Knees of derelict faithful stained
by the morning’s papers. Pink,
the Economic Times pages
are prayer mats: global stock indices
all face due West.

Half a practice specialized
for those who abjure usury,
the Chartered Accountant
thrusts duties on a greenhorn
doing articleship, rushes out
with a bottle of mineral water
for ablutions.

Neither taps nor electricity. No
Building Completion Certificate -
an old mosque in a new town,
its incomplete frame still exudes
semantic meaning.

The writer of apps for Android
with a heart-shaped goatee,
rad with the pack he runs with,
outsourced like himself
has the approval of an Imam

well versed in the semiotics
of the wary glance,
the throwaway remark, ha ha,
who knows excessive deference
that borders on dread.

The Imam puts his day job first.
But once a week, to everyone’s
dissatisfaction, dismisses his M. Lit. Class
with some sense of urgency,
not to be late for orisons.

At dusk, he raises the call for good work,
punched out on an SMS, and waits
for his diasporic jamaat to come together.

The New Bombay sun does not set, it fades.
The Imam (a Ph.D on Dylan Thomas) prays
against the dying of the light.

***

 

Aside

Poem of the week: Week Twenty Eight.

And the final July poem from the poetry book Twentyfour Poems by Indrajit Hazra.

Hollowness
- Indrajit Hazra

Stare aghast
You blank wall face
And see me spin in oblivion.
What dreams I had
Melt in melting pot of reality
And sand.

That you may clap
My misdeeds past
And see my body bare
And seek refuge in my eyes
Crater twins of doomsday domes
Blinking
Drinking the world afraid
Yet not afraid to die.

Childhood cooks up bloating wants
white wishes
And pink desires.
All that seems a faded froth
Too ill to wade,
Too sick to bathe
Still unable to succumb
To plastic deaths in pillar box
So still,
Too still to lie.

The use of knowledge
Grows bankrupt
With every skipping time ahead.
What news can there be for me?
Which blind man’s point
That I appoint
Will make me choose my life
Tumble,
Lose my balance fall
And wait to hit the ground?

The hibiscus dies in the painted pot,
The headless chicken runs
The night sky
With its false window panes
Slowly pales the sun.

***

Aside

Poem of the week: Week Twenty Seven.

The third poem for the month of July from Indrajit Hazra’s poetry book Twentyfour Poems. This one is my favourite from the collection mostly because I can relate to it.

Diary Entry, 28th June
- Indrajit Hazra

When I think on what is to come,
An ant ponders over my neck.
When I feel it with my spider fingers
It becomes a spider.
I smell impending doom
Like perpetual cigarette smoke
With all my screwed up courage,
I cannot tell myself, life is a bad joke
For I am reminded constantly
Of the bitter tragedy
Dogging at its heels.
But self-pity sincerely nauseates me,
And all I can do
Is hope
In a very canine manner.

There is nothing in the world
As uncomfortable as irrational hope
But then
Hope is irrational.

My head pains in the middle.

I sit amidst flowers and trees
Here in the Subhash Sarobar park
Thinking unhurriedly about my future.
In the shade
I may be the poet,
But in the glare of the spotlit world,
I am the successful failure.

A motorcycle staccatos
With the birds,
The bicycle chains
And men’s voices in the background.
Even I have become a background
In my ears
And in my eyes.

There are butterflies.
There are spiders around me.
For a moment the sun is silent.

There.
It laments again.

I leave this garden
While sweethearts roam this beautiful territory.
Living a decent life
Is no laughing matter.

***

 

 

Aside

Poem of the week: Week Twenty Six.

Here’s the second July poem from Indrajit Hazra’s poetry collection Twentyfour Poems.

Mumbles
Indrajit Hazra

In the crooked bent world
With asphalt tar-coat road
At times I sense embrace
Sweet perfume sinful rattle,
To nudge you by my side.
But wicked devil hell cloud
Go soft like glacier, fjord;
The death wish
No death can wish for,
Life,
The living cannot afford.

And when the twilight shrugs away
And night falls like heavy lid,
At times I see a hollowness;
Imagining I fill
Fingers interlocked to grip
False fantasy,
False palm to palm.
My body lies
My mind stays true
Like pain after a whip.

***

Aside

Poem of the week: Week Twenty Five.

And finally, I’m posting poems for July in the right month – well, almost. The poet for the month is Indrajit Hazra and poems will be from his poetry book Twentyfour Poems. 

And I think I’ve found the perfect first poem:

Monsoon
Indrajit Hazra

A monsoon drips through the picked sky.
Warm July can rest on its back now
And let the saline drips patter.
“Rise Lazarus,”
In wet hushed tones
Comparable to silence
With bullfrogs butting in.

The streets inch up
Rising garbage water lake.
Tomorrow be born
In showered night
Not ready yet
Still far too shy.
Wading through the city slime
Half-opened buttons let in the drops,
Those slanting rains
Of prancing clouds
Of dancing pools
Of puddled sounds.

No, I won’t sidestep tonight,
Nor tiptoe on,
Nor return to cover as the prodigal son.
I’ll walk on drenched
Demented
Mad
A parched piece of barren land
Smiling at each rain-beaded face,
While the beast
Carries on its swirl.

***

Aside

Poem of the week: Week Twenty Four.

And the last poem for the month of June (finally): my second favourite from Manohar Shetty’s collection of poems Personal Effects.

Sleepless
-Manohar Shetty

I’ve forgotten the function
Of alarm clocks and how
Sunrise kindles the eyes.

By five, I’ve chainsmoked
To the dawn of early
Walkers, immortal tennis

Players; the pulp and starch
Of unread newspapers.
Exotica blooms in my good

Neighbour’s garden. In my
Unwatered patch, begonias
Go to seed, passion-flowers

Wilt and marigolds
Smell of funerals. I watch
The hands of the wall-clock

Tick backwards, time a
Flatline in my heart as morning
Blinks in the kitchen.

Leftovers rankle in the bin.
Flies lie dead
On the gas ring.

***

Aside

Poem of the week: Week Twenty Three.

The third poem for the month of June from Manohar Shetty’s poetry collection Personal Effects.

Transitions
– 
Manohar Shetty

He scans all four directions
Before crossing a one-way street.

The black blurs into grey,
The smooth into the 
Edgy as he drags himself
From one week to the next
Like a stray with three
Legs.

He recalls clearly the nick
Names, the leathery crunch
Of boxing gloves, the hum
Of the swinging ball and cane,
House colours sharp as the rising
Bell,

As the B&W TV screen, the ticking
Telegram in crooked capitals,
The trunk call at midnight
On a black telephone
Caparisoned on all fours like a
Sphinx,

The toady Ambassador and her
Padmini the only two mean
Machines, carrom and rummy, the static
Of Big Ben, the matinee at New
Talkies, the net of those hurlyburly
Days.

And stoned freaks who stole
The show without trying, the generation
Gap smoking joint between
Cool and square as he made
A hash of his time in bell
Bottoms.

But blown away by Camus
Plus Neruda and on the road with
Ginsberg and Kerouac, he caught a
Glimpse of something burgeoning
In Madame Bovary, Anais Nin and their
Ilk.

Now his heartbeats are the falsetto
Of a goods train on a creaking
Bridge over a river rank with
Debris. The last ten years
Are a blur but not the first
Twenty.

He can’t place a name
To a recent face or a cover page.
The crossword crowd tramples
On, red and amber. But he’s
Frozen on the green on an empty
Street.

***

Aside

Poem of the week: Week Twenty Two.

Second poem for the week of June is the one after which the poetry collection is named: Personal Effects.

Personal Effects
– 
Manohar Shetty

A few things he’ll leave behind
To no one in particular:
A gold necklace from his mother
Melted into a wedding ring;

Two first editions with broken 
Spines that may fetch
A small fortune, but too late
To pay the bills; a box

Of expired pills; a gold-nibbed
Fountain pen he refused
To write with; an Olivetti,
Its keys the seats
Of an empty stadium;

And clothes worn thin – he
Loved the comfort of old
Things: old letters, stopped clocks,
The patina in sideboards,
Fading photographs and paintings;

And, last, musty notebooks
And diaries empty of
Mythical poems and important
Jottings. 

***

Aside

Poem of the week: Week Twenty One.

The poet for June is one of my favourites: Manohar Shetty. And the first poem for the month of June is my favourite from his poetry collection Personal Effects. 

Forgetting
– 
Manohar Shetty

I don’t remember the broken glass,
The slice of lemon lucid as a new moon,
Your frozen eye, and blood
In the iced tea as your 
Translucent knuckles tightened on a
Fragment of glass.

I don’t remember that at all.

***

Aside

Poem of the week: Week Twenty.

Catching up feels good! Here’s the last poem for the month of May – the one after which the collection is named.

Mappings
-
 Vikram Seth

Now that the windsurfers have gone, equipped
With wine, some loquats and my manuscript,
I breathe the chilled gold of late afternoon
Along the lake-pier. The breeze ebbs. A tern
Pauses and plummets. Mallards manoeuvre through
The weedclogged creek. The hills slate into blue.
I stretch my towel out upon the pier
And read the bitter lines I once wrote here.

That was a younger self. I want to touch
His shoulder, make him smile, show him how each
Sorrow and failure that lacerates his heart
Can heal or numb itself: the limb trapped hurt
Of love; the search for what remains when we
No longer animate the geography
Of cell and sense; the unassuageable urge
For ecstasy and knowledge; parting; age.

A mockingbird begins a sunset song
Patched from the passions of five birds. I’m wrong;
That was no younger counterpart but one
Of a live clutch of egos. As I scan
My mappings of these selves – despondent, witty,
Calm and uncalm, lost in self-doubt or pity…
The courtier, soldier, scholar – I check the pieces;
All are still here, the old familiar faces

In one-to-one correspondence: words and moods.
The light has lapsed. I strip and swim towards
A wooden raft. The cool enveloping lake 
Merges with all I was and am. My wake,
The wine, my breathing, the recovering stars,
Venus, bright as a plane, Jupiter. Mars,
My pulse, my vagrant selves, my poetry,
Seem here to inhere in a seamless me.

***

Aside

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