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.

*** 

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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 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.

***

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.

***

 

 

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.

***

Poem of the week: Week Eighteen.

Second poem (of the month of May) from Vikram Seth’s poetry book Mappings.

Home Thoughts from the Bay
 Vikram Seth

Down Highway 101 the van
Hurtles with all the speed it can
And all the passengers but one
Have jolted off to sleep. The sun
Strikes long apocalyptic lines
Of corrugated sheds, the tines
of Sutro Tower, billboards, wires,
The airport, scrap, discarded tires:
And I who must commute each day
Along the grimy-margined Bay
Dizzied by each high-octane breath
And tired of work and bored to death
And sick of home decide I ought
To check that surrogate for thought,
The Highway I-Ching – which today
States “Yield”. “Keep right”. “Go Back. Wrong Way”.
Should I fly home? Why am I here?
And yield to what? To whim? Fate? Fear?
Keep right… my eyes obey and there
Pursue a jumbo-jet to where
This afternoon high in the sky
A half moon loiters absently by,
Incognizant of why or what
Or where it ought to be or not.

***

Poem of the week: Week Eleven.

The second last to fill the random poetry week that’s lost, is from Vikram Seth’s poetry book Mappings. This copy, too, came from Writers Workshop.

Time-Zones
– Vikram Seth

I willed my love to dream of me last night
That we might lie
At peace, if not beneath, a single sheet,
Under one sky.

I dreamed of her but she could not alas
Humour my will;
It struck me suddenly that where she was
Was daylight still.

***

Alas, too, that modern-day relationships are exactly like this!

 

 

Poem of the week: Week Ten.

The month of March 2014 was a random month and therefore gets random poems. They’re beautiful, nevertheless!

This poem is from Hoshang Merchant’s poetry book Love’s Permission, a beautiful copy I ordered from Writers Workshop.

Small Poet
– Hoshang Merchant

Wearing my clothes
He got lost in the city

It was as if I lost myself
And kept looking                    for myself.

***

Stark, and it reminds me of Agha Shahid Ali.

 

The Sixteenth Rule of Love

The whole city was a Tower of Babel. Everything was constantly shifting, splitting, coming to light, transpiring, thriving, dissolving, decomposing, and dying. Amid this chaos Shams of Tabriz stood in a place of unperturbed silence and serenity, utterly indifferent to the world and yet at the same time, feeling a burning love for all the people struggling and suffering in it:

“It’s easy to love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible that He is. What is far more difficult is to love fellow human beings with all their imperfections and defects. Remember, one can only know what one is capable of loving. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God’s creation, we can neither truly love nor truly know God. ”