Thursday, December 30, 2004

Loper, tum kidhar ho?

Anand and I walked all the way to Frendicoes at an absurd eleven p.m. in search of Loper. No sign of him, but found dozens of all kinds of dogs curled up on brown sack cloth outside the shelter. They were obviously puzzled to have visitors at that ungodly hour: some sat up sleepily, one started a dizzy squeak-howl, and another came testily barking at us.

A recce of the neighbourhood yielded nothing. Our only hope now lies in the enigmatic Frendicoes interiors. Tomorrow, as early as we can make it.

I miss that fat lard of lump. Funny, how affections grow out of less than sufferance.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Loper gone missing

Loper's been out of the scene for the last three days. Last seen, out of our 3rd floor balcony, being pelted by a young bonehead and fleeing to take cover. Not even a pawprint since then.

Is he dead? Lying injured at Friendicoes?

Just saw a white shadowy dog from the balcony and hollered "Loper!", but when the animal lifted his head questioningly, realized his form was too graceful and streamlined to be our quasi-adoptee's.

Sleep crawling, and something else

I'm filled with stones.
So many stones, round dark scowling smooth.
All those words flitting in my head,
- sentences - thoughts
all that I wanted to think through,
have suddenly left.
I'm filled with only stones and lassitude.

Monday, December 27, 2004

To R.D.

When my poems saw you date
your poems, they clustered up

fretfully trying to remember
their history. “We’ve never felt

so abandoned before! No dates
to tack on to, no chronology

to mark our growing.” I crossly
shot their discontent down.

“Excitable mongrels! Can you
swear to the day you were born

to? You revel in your polygenous
delivery, changing shape size

color often as may please. Shall
we lose that freedom to grow?”

I won't speak

My silence has a reason.
Why must I talk?
You hear the words I say and
make them who I am
You want to know
what I do -

when I had nothing to do
nothing was the state I chose.
amidst self-promoting lunches
and people with a purpose
I stayed silent
friends struggling to explain
me to the world,
my lack of industry
condemning me to an unsaid derision
a non-involvementa distance
skipping by

So time slips out of my hand
So evenings make me cranky for company
I will be silent.
You want the smugness of industry
A sum of achievements I parrot
am I?

I create
I convince myself I create
I doodle, I daydream, I feel
I sing, I smile, I love
This is my purpose

I am not until you see me
yellow post-its flagging


I ball my fists round who I was
who can I become?
I grab or do they cling?
identities we play with
dog-eared dog-clenched

My time was mine - not
productive for the world
still I asked endlessly
who is Me?

three months out of a job
so the money runs out
and so does bravado

We skip words till they don't even rumble

And now I work everyday
Mon to Fri, 9.30 to 5.30
Let the words vanish up a vacuum,
a mediocrity of everydays
lost for words, lost for conversations
the talk not me, or all me

The itch still there
I lie down and it wants a little scratch
something crawling all over my brain
sometimes I ball it in my fist
and crush it in a shape to fit a size
a fistful of rice, a fistful of flour
eat and clean and make love

and sometimes I write.

mera blog

After blogging daily for a week, I posted nothing yesterday. It’s back to one of those existential moments:

What is the purpose of this blog? What do I want to make of it? A record of my “poems”? Or also “ramblings” and “musings”? When does a piece of writing become one or the other – especially when most of my poetry is confessional? But poetry wants to veil and hint, not bare. If this blog, then, is to contain my poems, how can it be a notebook/journal at the same time?

What prevents, you ask, from it being everything? Nothing but an inclination for stubborn puristry.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Friday, December 24, 2004


I shouldn't, possibly, use words
to bare my anger,
atomize the public.

This is a form of
I've tried in the past,
only to cut myself up writhing,
for words written are blacker
than deeds
and skin you as much as me.

But when we've just made love
and are lying drowsy
in each other's arms

And you leave
to drink
with friends you haven't invited
and pass around riotous
opinionated talk

- I'm not sure if this is
overreacting -

I get upset
enough to throw something in your face.
These words.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


We balance on an eyelash.
The swoops of pure joy
swinging free between us
without a warning.

Not even twenty four hours
to the cottonsilk clouds bobbing
between us in sheer
relief –

trust, the cold air tapering
between our teeth –

I felt a flicker of apprehension at the Distich,
(before dinner)
“When fortune smiles, beware lest some ill strike;
End and beginning often are unlike.”

The end comes too soon. We sink

Your words coming from cracks
in the earth

My furies without a parallel
spinning me dizzy uncontrolled –
my tongue does not know what to say
my ears, what to hear
where to find comfort
where to rest the mantle

Anger management? Are you serious?

The shock blanches me
I’m washed cold ashore
Has the mirror I hold been

It’s easy to elide my cherished wildness
into barely conscious hysterics.
You flow with more grace than I.
I’m still a thorny berry bush,
yet to grow the
vast shadow one can lie under.

You too, slip me out a hurt

In leaping,
to learn to hold steady
We must.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Abrupt as a thief

Surely he can sniff out likely suckers soon as
they move into the lane. That friendly eye, pat
on the moon, occasional crumb. Encouraging
signs. He loops into affections nudging his white

misshapen body promiscuously against promising
legs, or winks up at you with eyes pink as desire.
We named him Loper, our interloper. Prescient
of his chosen life path, for he moved quickly,

as temperatures dropped, from staircase to
verandah, blue chequered floor cushion to settee
– belying his white whale size. However do you
keep the lard, Lopster, with your comings and

goings and humble street origins? This morning
he trotted the length of the lane behind me, dutiful
as a lover, till I got in the car and left. Carrying my
smell away. I can never be trusted again.

In chasing

It's amazing how one moment passes to the next, and we live, barely aware, inside burning dreams.

How does our truest self become a dusty, shapeless mirage – a door to someone else’s Zion?

How do we forget what fiber we are made of?

It's amazing what knocks us into shape are the unpleasant decisions.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Blogger's Dilemma
from Cox & Forkum Editorial Cartoons

Friday, December 17, 2004


Of twelve days, a day barely passed
and your missing is sickness in my blood.
How do I bear the eleven remaining?

Monday, December 06, 2004


For children staying in the refugee camps of Gujarat, June 2002

The Elders' stories clang in your ears
the next morning. You are wood
a wooden wedge weighing
down your smile
you stumble into the mass of
liquid eyes pleading trust
pleading sanity
Their hands extended
tiny grubby hands
they hold together the shards of their laughter
clutching your arm
tugging your dupatta
knocking you about with the ferocity of
ingenuous needs
like disfigured dolls, like tin-plate soldiers
they slash your poise till you flee
in collapse
in impotence.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Clicking. Liminal.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

One February

such highs and lows through the day:
a day of songs
in sunshine cooked at the edges.
someone leaving and a draught of sadness.
holding yourself back.
poetry to lift the corners of your heart.
mails unsent; a book on jazz;
tears unspilt in deceitful waiting.
a discussion where you hold your own.
cryptic loving messages and a roll on the
conversations nose-high in the air
heralding love.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Pets 1

My tomcat lover with his feral need
opens his paw to me, his eyes glazed
with desire, lips parted beseechingly.

I'm dry and furry as pot-pourri and
knock down his insistent charms with
a swipe. So he holds my hands and

imagines our lovemaking, with a closed
concentration, his hand moving faster
and faster in its steady rhythm. He

bites his lip; he swallows my lips; he
swallows my hands all over his body
exposed to me in its cinnamon litheness.

And I urge him on to his release
as tensed as his beating heart.

- Dedicated to Marge Piercy

Monday, November 08, 2004

I want you

I want you
to understand all my soft spaces
all the soft parts of my body
I want
to trust you
with the soft parts of my body

I want you
to hold me

I want
to let go of my soft parts
I want you
to hold them safe for me

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Mothers and Lovers

My poems are chained to lovers
Talk of lovers spirals me
Into a land of similes and gregarious metaphors
Words flow into my cupped hands
Easy as sympathy
But when I think of mothers
Of quiet days spent on the beach
Moments gazing, together, at a violet sea
I think of a blankness flatness
No storms, no upheavals to scrawl
My mother and I
Infant child adolescent
We've been through all as one
I carry her brand
As difficult to transcribe
As love.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Idea Slob

To dip myself into ideas
To bathe in them
To clench them, roll them
crush them in my fists
A thick sticky mass of dark molasses -
To smear and gulp and swallow

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Need a Gun to Stun

8 p.m. Outside PVR. My friends are late. I have just emerged, disoriented, from Ansal Plaza, and cannot stand the thought of being closed up in yet another artificial, glutted microcosm. I decide to walk around and explore Saket. Did you know there is a Durga temple right next door?

A bus zooms past, with a brassy “kya, chalegi re?” floating down at me.

I am suddenly all greasy and black with an impulse to punch that man’s face in – only he is far ahead on the bus as it zooms away.

8.25 p.m. I stop at a yellow-lit bus stop to check the time on my cell phone.

Two boys walk past, one of them leering at me. I lock an angry gaze with him. He, at the top of his voice: “kitni haseen thi woh.”

Too late for me to grab him by the collar and shake him up unless I run, run after them.

If only I had an immobilizing gun. I could have pointed
a white beam of hatred
a metallic beam of paralysis
at these cowards, walloping them down on the floor and keeping them pinned there, giving me the
minutes needed to march
at them.
Smack them across the face.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Playback Predator

A half-circle of five
(contingently more)
waiting, watching
our eyes on you
contemplative, greedily
We drink you in
Our meat
You fidget in your seats
slightly wary
not liking this business
of the unknown
Our eyes butt you
hungry to begin
till you rise to the occasion
accept the challenge
and speak.

Playback is a form of improvisational theatre where (usually) five actors, along with a musician and a conductor, enact stories and experiences shared by members of the audience.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

In Small Pieces

I fall in love with them
every time we share an ice
a smoke
a crazy midnight ride;
dance under smoky magenta strobes
a newborn's rapture on their faces;
travel, insulated from strangers
the two of us our only allies.
I fall in love, briefly
they're mine, my men
and I theirs
in small pieces.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

skins barely touching

we sit in enthralled intimacy
mine going up in woodsmoke
a natural perjurer, my skin
looks just as ever
its emotions screened
all the singeing, charring
below the surface
no sign of the woodsmoke fuming silver
rubbing against my neck
shoulders, mixing in my breath
hood-lidding my eyes
sitting so close to you
almost touching
it spirals - can you see it?
can you, at least, smell
the woodsmoke rising from my skin?

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Poems to a Stranger


When I let poetry go
I never realized how hard it'd be
to summon it back.
Now I want to write about you
Frame you with objectivity
A cut-out figure I can snip and
paste with a tongue-flick tongue's-lick
into lines and angles
Pry your hooded eyes open
so you see me. Not blurred, not in
this insidious rust over my pen
skin eyes…
Do you know of the time I cried
hurting, fretting, shredding
not knowing why? Fool women,
will we learn not to veil our words
our needs
Will we learn not to trust you to see through
or want to see through?
Now, stranger, when I hear of roses,
I still withdraw
to lick my wounds.
Could you figure out why?
I couldn't.


The name of two syllables,
that I had made my own
my nature-cry
native in my mouth as intimacy
howls at its dereliction -
they call you by another name
parch-dry as I rub
it between my fingers
roll it, taste it, spit it out
It's no longer strange to talk
of you with strangers
You're a stranger too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

purple silk sofas

my poetry spreads itself
comfortably lavishly
makes itself at home on my screen
these days
no thoughts of corsets or reins
no subterfuge of fancy play
my voice all mine, are I
lazy or growin' up?

Monday, September 20, 2004


If they tell me
all women love writing poems
featuring cats, I'd
hiss and spit and
scrape their tongues out
for being presumptuous fools
lumps of scrounging
lead. I have no pet cats
I dream of one
a cat there never was --
sly-eyed and whiskery
sitting heavy rolled up at my feet
as I type this, snoring gently,
trustingly --
and a warm honey glow jam butter
feeling spreads over me.

Sunday, September 19, 2004


My friend had left after a long stay. Back to her country
her discarded paintings hanging on the wall
(charcoal mouths wide with desolation) -
bed sheets and mattress lying in baffled abandon -
kettle and coffee mug fuming with injury -
the Gitas, Anitas, Mahaswetas huddling in intimate resentment --
Each awaiting the promised release
awaiting the polythene bags on the floor.

Critically, cynically I swept the room
dismantling the odds and ends of my friend.
Meticulously heaped, ruthlessly disbanded; pickings were made.
My friend says it feels strange
to hear how people have taken over
her things, bits of her.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

sleep doesn't come

all anxious thoughts
running helter and skelter without a tail in sight to catch
or string. and sleep just behind the curtain.