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.

***

 

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