Monday, June 19, 2017


Lightships do not bleed,
says the old man in the
wooden boat.

As the water-crabs claw sunsets
back into their throats,
the sea reaches for a blade
to slit their unsuspecting skins.

Serene hyacinth, monk
of the monsoon waves,

drums a dirge
on the rainbow-crowned backwater drops.

Six feet into the bay,
the dolphins dream
of a lost quay.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Chef's Pick-up Line

"Are you Rosemary,
or am I
Wasting my Thyme?"

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Meerkat’s Dance 

Sift the rumours 
through the slit of the nib; 
Sing your sermons backwards. 

Wear that wet plastic raincoat 
over your bare, bruised skin 
and read that testament. 

It’s grainy and grassy at the same time. 
Fluid yet tentative, blindly turning the rings 
on the number lock. 

Bleeding an empty bleed, 
not quite red nor visible. 
Yet viscous and singeing on skin. 

Let the neurons collect 
under the porous, night-time sky 
and drop their leaden necks. 

There must be a star somewhere, 
reserved for sighting on such moments. 

Let’s look skywards.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

No, Tom 

Take your hands off the raincloud, Tom, 
God told Thomas; 
Go wring that towel you dropped into the pool. 

Leave my twilight alone, Tom, 
God told Thomas; 
Light a candle and pray. 

Don’t wipe your soles on my prairie grass, Tom, 
God told Thomas; 
Load them with grains from the sand-pit. 

Don’t eye my lotus stems, don’t chase my backwater ducks, 
don’t covet that little squirrel’s tail fur. 

Don’t play my broken reeds, Tom; 
Play the drum that you left behind.

Monday, March 2, 2015


I am a house held together with cello-tape. 

Glass panes tacked together 
with Blutac and bubblegum, 
Fused, naked light-bulbs laden with forgotten sparkle. 

I am the driveway of hairline, moss-laden cracks
 and drainpipes that believe they are not clogged. 

I am the hinges, peppered with rust, singing off-key. 

I am the rain, racing down the shingles; 
The moss, getting clingy in old age. 

I am the doorknob that has lost its turn, 
the cellar where insomnia hits the bottle 
and fans that trade stories about failed suicide attempts. 

I am the carpet, once red, threadbare, laid out for stilettos.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Grain of Sand 

There may come a time 
When you may not find me in your mind’s mirror. 

You’ll look at me, or through me, 
Like an owl may look at an old brown leaf, 
and move on. 

Thoughts of me may not fill your leisure hours; 
They may not even enter your mind at all. 
As the milkman comes, the newspaper is folded back, 
The sheets are swapped the mobiles charged, 
Your mind may let go of things 
Once deemed precious. 

A grain of sand is important 
Only when it is lodged 
Within the eyelid.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In my garden 

Within the petals of my pain 
lies a dewdrop that glistens to your light. 

The petal, its veins, its barely-there fibres, 
the oyster-white walls 
that breathe tender, baby-breath life – 
lie in wait quietly for the pink pulse 
of that precious, curving finger-tip. 

Moments, seconds, minutes, centuries rise 
and ebb gently; patiently 
as the rock that wears away for the wave 
that never comes. 

Time and tide cut hollows, hone crests, 
fill crescents as rain feeds the moss. 

Within the seeds of my pain, you lie 
as a lost heartbeat within a golden grain. 
Washed by the rains, but never washed enough 
to soak in the breath of life. 

I write in the sand, again and again, 
my dry words that drink in 
the salt 
to fill their wounds.

Photograph courtesy Nishant Shankar

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Once I wrote you a love poem - 
a little dark, a little damp, 
a little hairy. 

It was night. 

As the darkness grew, 
it merged with the rain 
and the bark and the leaves 
and slowly became still, silent. 

In the morning, there was only you, 
a monsoon sky, 
and a tree without leaves.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


The old worn tablecloth at Koshy’s 
also waits for Rohini Venkatesh Malur. 

The red squares - 
bleached by years, 
and fluorescent light 
and the weight of elbows of varying girth 
and tender coconut soup (no longer served here) 
and meandering conversations 
and silences 
and mobile radiation 
and causes 
and theories 
and insinuations - 
are now a bleating shade of pink. 

On the neighbour’s laptop, one reads, 
‘Drones will soon deliver packages’. 

Everyone waits.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


The pain in the heart is sometimes like a bark; soft, yet tough to crack. Come here now. Take your little webbed feet onto the hard tiles of my walkway. Don't slip, because I don't want you to fall and bruise those little luminous knees. Please come here.