Poem of the week: Week Thirty Two.

The last and my favourite poem from Mustansir Dalvi’s Brouhahas of Cocks.

a saint prays for rain
– Mustansir Dalvi

You are gone these many seasons,
anamnesis shed like miniatures
lost in the dunes west of Sam,
and I am left white, anaemic.

I paint my breasts saffron
with pastes of sandalwood
for to anoint You, my Lord,
but they dry and cake.
I scratch myself, scrape
Your names on my skin,
bring blood simmering
to the surface to keep
Your tongue interested.

This world is anathema,
conjoint of meat and material,
a malediction of the mind
keeping You from me
and my heart, a four-chambered
reef knot, another piece of flesh.

Answer my prayers, Lord,
but get Your aim right.
The archers of Your approbation
are way off mark. The leaden barbs
from your forge should pitch
their sights to a lower eye
for my faith is my clitoris
between the teeth of my Lord.
You bite down with felicity
midsummer showers
redden the earth, and the musk
of my fertile mud is released.

*** 

Poem of the week: Week Thirty One.

The third poem from Mustansir Dalvi’s poetry collection Brouhahas of Cocks. Also, the second last poem for this month.

choosing trains
 Mustansir Dalvi

It’s those bloody slumwallahs again
my father curses, wet from the rain;
they’re back, throwing rocks at trains
so,so heartless, so totally insane.

I peek out from behind exhaust shaft
at the mob that destroys, burns and laughs;
duck just in time as a spinning half-
bat crashes through our grimy pane. 

The old man rushes to take us in
two sons, one wife, no next of kin
into the backroom store, on its roof of tin
skeletons dance to staccato strains.

I turn the back handle, quick, scurry out
onto rain swept rails, heart thudding, father shouts.
I turn left, then right, and finally, head south
to pick my rocks, to choose my trains.

***

Poem of the week: Week Thirty.

Here’s the second poem of August from Mustansir Dalvi’s poetry book Brouhahas of Cocks. I find this one very relatable!

hardback awakening
– Mustansir Dalvi

The air is thick, and has revived
my books, anticipating the first spell
of a Bombay monsoon.

Ambient moisture has slaked pages
that shuffle and twist, arise
to a wakefulness, unleaving.

Feeling the discomfort of nearness, they push
like Harbour Line commuters in rush hour,
to complain I have neglected them too long.

At night, I am shaken by a poltergeist
Thud! snapping me out of a dream state.
I pull on my glasses, feel my way to the bookshelves.

The hardbacks wait for me, annoyed.
They fall on their sides, open wide
and like Gabriel, call upon me: ‘Read!’
they cry, ‘Read!’

***

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.

***