March 4, 2007
(this was written as an exercise in writing around a word, and when it was redrafted it became something entirely different. however, i thought i would record this version too. i will, of course, not spoil the fun of the reader discovering what the rewrite became.)
since you cannot be there
since you want to face it
since all are watching the awards shows
since he is drinking more than he should
since venkat kept his word
since you think there is a stranger in your backyard
since you cannot tell anyone
the alphabets that are yours alone
you turn in your sleep
virga, i will leave now.
(Coincidentally written the day Kurt died.)
She was tired. So was he, but the work had to get done.
The rocks of central
The sandal dripping with sweat in the warm afternoon sun.
These hills are sacred, one doesn’t be common when in them.
All evening, you looked me in the eye and drew me up
Drew, erased, drew again, rearranged, decimated, redacted
Beyond reward or reprise, this is what was promised, now I learn
Now I am learning.
What revolution meant, and still means, echoing
Off the walls of the stifling desk and bed at Shivajinagar with its
Newspaper tablecloth and drunken beatings.
Are you going to marry that Bengali fellow?
The one with snakes and who smells of liquor at all hours?
Is that why you are home late every night and smelling of cigarettes?
He was tired. So was she, but the work had to get done.
Our lion cub will be called Parth or Pathik or why not
Persecution or Precocity if a daughter. We dreamt of a statesman
For the potholed and ill lit roads of
Vallabh, Nichiren, Socrates, Rama, Mohammed, Jishu, each promised.
We live that promise, sharpened by the times, brandishing our swords
Through the urban overgrowth of work, commute, finances, the arts.
Now I am learning.
Watercolors, easycare wash runs, names of masalas in the local tongue
The rot that is food corporation of
Land prices at the suburbs, I think we should stop for a cup of tea at a tea shop.
Soon summer will melt into the grey clouds and wet mango leaves under which birds will shelter from the storm. We will have a cup of tea. Come.