poetry, prose & snapshot-inspired reflections

I Want to Look Like the Girls in the Mail-Order Catalogue

It’s winter, and people are putting their bins out early.
The plastic wheels make their suburban trundle predictable—
as the car of an unwanted guest pulling into our driveway—
though, as I walk Pip past, it’s my ears that prick, aghast.

Al-lah! once my neighbourhood sound was the musical tring
of rickshaw bells; the sabjiwalah matching the crows in his call-out
of pyaj, pyaj—high-pitched, humorous, knowing that the
misti-fed thighs of middle-class ladies would not deign to throbble
from the heights of their flats, but the bag of bones servant would be sent down to haggle.

The wheelie bin is, likewise, an outrage. It should be put to sleep.
The method of the madness—trundling them out for collection, trundling them back in—
all the with pretence that we are not sheep led by the council garbologists.
Shouldn’t we rebel? Lay down all our rubbish on the TV room floor
and get some hipster photographer to snap us swimming through it?
Should we not intone: ‘I deny bin night! I deny bin night!’ and stamp
mud on the tricolor (blue, yellow, green) and instead, eat our garbage?


Yes. Yes.
The trundling will continue in the morrow
when, thankfully, I am asleep
with putty in my ears
to dampen the noises blowing in from the West.

To Ishmael

There is the same something about the train
as there is about your country:
the warmth and isolation of journey,
avoiding eyes and taking rest
as you are dragged on,
no need for an effortful life.
There is an entropy that permits your laziness.

The only beauty of the day is intangible,
contemporary
and some would say the death of our race:
connection wrought through gadgets.
But then that voice
that sonorous voice
of yours, so far be it distant
—the memory of its poetry
peals close in my private ear.

Mrs Ferlinghetti

The worst thing about missing goodbye
is that you did not want it from me.
& the worst thing about an absent friend
previously present, often vividly foreground,
exasperated bully, spontaneous sympathiser,
lover where I’m a hater, secret reader
and keeper of poetry, is this:

Any tribute now will not mean as much to you
as when you told me never to stop writing
or you’d have to track me down.
Maybe we’ve both been taught some tricks
by coming to rest in this place of
empty promises, fast fucks & treachery for trust.
I hope the end is/was not like that for us.

Yet the proper respect should be paid,
even if it does not exist in the same way.
For you I won’t write of dumplings or fruitcake.
Let’s be present. Let’s be good.
Let me give the love that lost its way,
scatter it between Dhaka and your New World
which is brave and peopled by those who
better comprehend and complement.

We all develop in our own ways.
Regrettably, some of us like mushrooms
under shit-smelling turf.     Still,
we learn not to degrade our memories.
Mrs Ferlinghetti, I deeply regret
never learning how not to irritate you,
or how to recapture what friends we were.
& more: I never got to write upon your wall.

i suppose she could be a lady with a high hat and slanting back„,there is nothing that suggests she would wear shoes, though there is a line running along her side to point to where the arrows should be shot. people have left her alone for years but now the modern dance begins and all her boundaries and careful pilings of dust are invaded. people take pictures of what she is like now, with cladding around her and organic produce sold from her gutters. i think of her as i have seen her for years, though we were never that close„,never really friends. she comes as near a landscape to a home as a homeless one could get„,so i look for her still.

i suppose she could be a lady with a high hat and slanting back„,there is nothing that suggests she would wear shoes, though there is a line running along her side to point to where the arrows should be shot. people have left her alone for years but now the modern dance begins and all her boundaries and careful pilings of dust are invaded. people take pictures of what she is like now, with cladding around her and organic produce sold from her gutters. i think of her as i have seen her for years, though we were never that close„,never really friends. she comes as near a landscape to a home as a homeless one could get„,so i look for her still.

To the well-matched couple, Hyderabad.

For M & V

The story of your love, discovered
after barren years of exile,
unfolds like mythology.
You might be Odysseus; the other one, Penelope,
if only we could turn blind eyes
to the antiheroism of your journey.
Off guard and unarmed,
once stumbling to defend,
I became my own broad-axe,
my own red cur.
How timely.
Revenge is but the reality of one
ganja-wizened amla popping
against the tip of a samurai sword
in a fluid exchange of envy.
Alone together in some drab room,
you’ll sing songs and draw pictures
no one will ever care to see.
While over here, in Ithaca,
we escapees will run naked
through the peace time air
and Iris will unhook
all her signs of welcome
from the palace door.