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.

***

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