Sunday, November 12, 2017


Hyphens

Tom’s teacher told Tom,
‘A hyphen connects’.

Before Tom took off
to the hills,
He mixed all his hyphens
into a glass of juice
And gave it to his friend, Roy.

This poem was written by
the very-well-connected
Roy.   

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Wrinkle


Meeting you in
The hallway of pretensions,
I notice how you look
So out of place.

You break your steps
For a drink of water
From the mud-pot in the corner.

The crow watches.

You step over the shadow of
The minaret
That creeps in from across
The road onto the floor.
It tingles as it gets
The breeze, rustled down from the folds
Of your sari.


Tell me, what did you think of all my lies
When I had told them to you?
What do you think of them
Now?

Did you ever see anything
At all
In my gray and shameful ramblings,
In the repainted tin toys that
I had kept on your doorstep
And window-sill?

As we lay, face down,
On the cold ugly mosaic floor
With mismatched tiles,
Did your heart ever keep a feather
Over one of mine?

All our kisses we never tasted,
The hands we never held,
The wrinkles we never etched
In the grey, badly-embroidered sheets.
The goodbyes said early.
The hellos whispered with hope
And hung to dry in the monsoon sun,
The touches born of a hunger that
Never left its safe dark space…
All speak to me in
Braille today.

I close my eyes, my tongue, my ears,
My skin, my nail-tip,
Saving for another rainy day that
Will never arrive.

Thursday, October 26, 2017



Flicker


In your race to the pine-trees,
Did you trample the little
Green mushroom?


You may have felt a soft squish
Beneath your boot;
A tiny crack
Like a toad’s jaw breaking.

You stepped up and away,
Your eye on the firefly
That hovered over a cannabis bush.

I,
A veil of silverfish over my head,
Just stood
And watched.


Monday, June 19, 2017





FLOTSAM

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



Foundation 

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