#12

The air smells of stones and washed clothes,
A thought scattered like an inconsolable cloud,
Shimmering like trees at dawn.

 

-CD

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#11

A stoic stasis,
bothered silence
of a warm rainy day,
the lush lustful green
pressed against the pale skies,
And solitude eroded into ennui.

The empty spaces, voids,
the cracks in your voice,
inadvertent poises,
persistent, adamant,
perineal wounds,
of a shameless vanity,
where I crawl in
in the lonesome dark,
to be.
waiting to be returned.

-CD

#10

Go ahead
Gesture a touch

Unruffled, withered, stifled
It may withdraw
Question the intrusion
Brave the surprise

Gesture a touch, and

It will be grateful
then revolt the warmth
It will dream
then slit the illusion

It will poison itself with hope
then draw out painful words
scribbled around shards of a cigarette,
it will hold it out to strangers
and amuse itself as they wince

and never expect.

#9

I saw a man having a fit in the train. He was looking into my eyes, and I met his tired, dilated & ashen gaze. I was expecting him to die. And nothing in me moved, my insides didn’t churn, my heart rate didn’t change, I felt calm. He coughed and collapsed on the floor. The song in my headphones stopped and I heard someone asking me to pick him up. I did, offered him water. He refused to drink or eat anything. He looked at me, unashamed of his age or ailment and then put his face in his palms. I sat next to him, not feeling pity or empathy. I kept thinking that if he had died, they would’ve thrown him out at the next station, the train would’ve stopped for a minute longer to mourn him and before anyone could notice, started off to keep time.

#8

Angry breaths and empty words
stoic shoe taps and wheezing lifts
whirring AC and distant train toots
anxious clicks and squeaky chair
whispered in poor signals,
to a voice which feels like home
and smells like blankets

-C

The Indian Man

I want to cut myself and bleed it out,
amputate it from my being,
it’s a hernia for my conscience,
a ripe pustule, everyone, every-fuckin-one tells you not to touch,
“It’ll leave scars”, they say;
Being polite leaves scars,
Letting it be leaves scars,
Scars you’re ashamed to wear,
and would ask your lover to caress someday.
I keep toenails by my pillow,
I need nightmares for a distraction,
I look myself in broken mirrors,
Cut hair on Mondays,
Step over exorcising lemons,
With the same fervour with which I watch
them shooing away a little boy clinging to their feet begging for food they’re eating,
young men scratching their crotches ogling girls,
an old man beat up his wife.
I sip chai, from the glass, which kissed a million lips,
Careful not to step over the intestines of a rat canvassed on the road,
thinking to myself,
when was the last time I cried because it hurt so much,
But I dismiss it, I adjust,
I’ve learnt to pee without retching,
I’ve been uncomfortable most of my life,
I’m an Indian man,
Religious, Stoic, Civil, Manly.
-C

The Satirist

When you beat a man,
kick him in the shins
then the stomach, then the face,
bash his head on a rock,
throw him wincing with pain,
in the gutter and spit on him,
Does it feel good? Do you like it?
Do you like the rush, the surge,
the rage with which your insides churn?
Do you think you taught him a lesson,
Do you think you killed a race?
You’d be a hero back home,
You’d order your children to press your feet,
bring you your whisky,
make them sing Johnny Johnny,
kiss them when they do,
make love to your wife.
You’d send crates of mangoes to your parents,
the son who moved in the city, and up in the world.
would they taste like blood?
will they notice it?
Did they beat you, because you were hungry and they had no money?
Did you resent authority, the government?
Did you aspire to be your own government,
kill, extort respect, fear?
And find respite in your children’s future,
Do you want your children to be their own government?
If you were to walk on your son raping a neighbour,
Would you hush it up, forgive him, tell him you’ve done worse?
Will he admire you?
Show you how he can set a man on fire,
and watch it melting,
If you come home to your son’s corpse,
Would you cry or curse him?
Would you cry for those people,
You thought you killed a race,
Did you kill your son?
-C

Meeting

I stifle my urge to wander off

From this deafening silence of civility

This ritual of agreeing on popular nuances

Straight-faced, stiff-collared, slick-haired

They will nod in unison, re-iterate the jargons,

Hushed hustles brewing under blushing cheeks

A battalion of angry words will be summoned,

To wield a sting,

And thus a meeting begins.

Smile

She looked at me and smiled

Right in my face!

Which was odd,

because I didn’t know her.

Could it be a face-itch?

A convulsion maybe?

Or was it what I thought it was?

A greeting

Those are getting rare nowadays,

I smiled back.

 

-CD

Spacing out

You notice the texture of your pruney fingers, notice the bones that show, trace the veins, the alien touch and the strangeness of it, notice how the fingernails blush when you make a fist, the lines off which people stir stories about themselves; have an urge to write something on your wrist, but the pen never works- it has to be pursued. It isn’t vanity maybe, but the spoils of an epiphanic solitude, or maybe a mournful fit of vacuity, when the thoughts stream listlessly and you blend in a strange silence which has alluded you, when you stare too long, breathe to deep, touch languidly, and then a sudden tick- the littlest trivial sound wakes you, and it has been just a minute or two.