Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lopamudra


The tides washed away everything but not the foaming mouths of her wounds.


The yawning of her legs is the subject of my poesy. My unspeakable loneliness mingles with the blood running down her thighs; escaping into the turbulent distortions of that which doesn’t exist. Ripples of ecstasy erupt into piteous cries stifled in my presence as I feel her screams burning the back of my throat. She will not speak to me. We who were joined at birth are now separated by a taboo hemisphere of identities. But I must speak.


Who am I?


Poesy will not satiate the void of this utterance. Must I then slither into the seductive coils of prosaic nothingness?


I am the centre of the circle. The coiled serpent that cleft the heaving ocean and milked ambrosia from poison is now twisting and transforming into a fountain sprouting new meanings –words for which are yet to be conceived. Simply put, I am that which is not.


And she is my beloved.


How can I tell you of the night when I spoke to her underneath that ancient tree in her courtyard? Our whispers permeated the thick moonlight that hovered over the leaves and burdened them with a million drops of dew. The sound of water splashing on the cold floor disturbed her sleep and she woke in my anxious arms with a yearning for conversation. We spoke, as we still speak now, in that language of gestures and emotions that so perplexes our eyes. Soft stealthy words are meaningless when that which is corrosive inside you demands oration. I was spitting venom and she was gathering flowers and we were together for such a long time that one cannot remember when the dream ended and the day began as I opened my eyes to see him at his window with a cup of coffee in his hand. And yet she sleeps besides me now. She is draped in the flesh of my imagination but her unblemished form was forged elsewhere in some celestial catastrophe. She speaks my voice and sees my blindness; she breathes my oxygen. She is besides me, around me, away from me and yet inside me. She is me and I am her; I am Lopamudra and she is nobody.




*******

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Coughing up Blood

Fear not, my love, for my love still breathes with me;
Far have I walked these crowded streets
And far have I felt the solitary sun.
A thousand fevers shiver in raging torrents
But the blood will not come.

The sweet acid poured down my throat
The last time we made love
Still lingers as an orgasm stuck in my throat.
Feather wishes are few and far between;
but I wish the nymphs gave me Icarus' wings.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Six Seconds (in the life of a streetcar not named)

Drowning in music

the highway stripper

turns the stereo up

unhooking his bra from the windshield


Take me for a ride

oh baby take me high; high

Let me make you rise; rise

make it last all night.


...and the teenage mustang

going from 60 to 80 over the highway

-arizona; the landscape of my dreams-

rolling, ever rolling

disappearing over the horizon

merging with the sexual landscape of clouds.


Underneath it all

the lonely old man

holding his starry skies up to the unrelenting sun

muses salvation.


Signposting barren nothingness

flashing thongs on widow sides

(our nameless adventurer

stares into the depths

of sandy clothes lying abandoned)


stripped clean of his flesh

(his heart racing; in his skin tight jeans?)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Confessions on Camera

-An Ode to Dorothy Parker

Standing at the edge; a blur of blue,
leaning over
adjusting her hair;
she is squinting at the setting sun.
One awkward hand on the railing
and a knee slightly bent
betray her purpose here.

You and me, oh Dorothy,
have been here a little too long;
you flick some ash, I look at my watch
and the camera just pans over us.

She is speaking words-
pre-rehearsed and incoherent,
alienating you and me further away.
A script lies open on the tabletop
-off focus; and a pair of eyes
contradict a moving mouth.

I want to tell you Dorothy,
that the tree behind you has new green leaves,
and then perhaps begin to speak.
But your eyes are fixed elsewhere,
on this ensemble of everyday unreality
reflecting your exasperation.
I look at my watch, you flick some ash,
and the camera just pans over us.

You make to leave- then hesitate-
and your eyes linger on me.
A stray thought erupts, teeters on speech,
but its only a moment of unbecoming,
swallowed in the crunch of a cigarette stub.

You and me, oh Dorothy,
were here far too long;
though I did want to tell you something,
before the onset of our cinematic erasure.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chaap Tilak

As all such frivolous metro chases end in tragedy and much heartache, I decided against giving in to this one. He was sitting there, in the seat opposite mine, wearing a red kurta and a grey-brown bandi with a thin shawl wrapped around his neck, reading a book whose name I was too distracted to notice. I don’t usually read in the metro. Words are often inadequate to express the intensity of the deathly pangs of boredom that one suffers in a metro ride alone. I had to consciously stop a full-scale colourful and extravagant hallucination of Khusrau and Nizaam’s love affair from playing out in the space between us. Thankfully just then a large crowd entered the train and snatched this moment away as their jostling limbs veiled him from my gaze.

Chaap tilak sab cheeni mosay naina milaikay;
Chaap tilak sab cheeni mosay naina milaikay…

Outside the cloudless windless day had changed. No nothing to do with the weather; the sun was still as bleak as ever. A certain something buckled under the guise of this ordinary day as I made my way through Mandi House. Meera bai was perhaps musing something similar, sitting under a tree outside NSD. I heard my name called out; I turned; and there she was. Cars were rushing past us and I was trying to escape. I didn’t want to be seen and there she was calling out my full three-piece name. I had come alone here because I was running away…

I was there, just as I am here now. I am here in the little crevices beneath flyovers where a pan-wallah is doubled-over in laughter. I am here waiting to cross busy roads on my endless path to nowhere. I am here underneath the leaking roof of my one room house half colonized by lizards and spiders. And I am still here, besides the fountain of wine sprouting violet ecstasy in the frenzied twilight of my youth.

It only struck me what I was escaping from over a cup of coffee half an hour later in the unremarkable cafeteria at SRC. Him that I loved this month had eyes I could drown in but he was still standing at the edge of the shallow end surrounded by toddlers, fearing death. I smiled into my coffee. She that loved me had gifted me a gift of fire that had flickered out and I was to get it repaired today.

Yeh aag ka daarya hai, so you had better get your fire-proof swimwear.

Yet another tragedy awaited the end of lunch hour at the ticket counter in NSD. Tickets for all the plays that I had wanted to watch were sold out, and others were to be issued later. Blinded by unspeakable anguish I stumbled out unto the entrance. A moth-eaten sofa sat pretty under the main portico of NSD and for a moment I considered the possibility of cheeky irony in the NSD building being an imitative miniature of the much grander Rashtrapati Bhavan. A wondrous feeling of solitary self-sufficiency was sweeping over me when I ducked under the shade of the tent and saw him again. There he was, legs crossed, elbow on knee, chin resting on a carelessly upturned hand and eyes closed in an expression of pensive calm. I just stared. That was ten minutes of my life I lost forever.

Bal bal jaaon mein toray rang rajwa;
Apni see rang deeni, mosay naina milaika...

I couldn’t take the metro again. It was just too crowded and I like my melodramatic space while travelling. The walk from Mandi House to Connaught Place was unremarkable. I tried enquiring unsuccessfully if the library at ICWF was open to everyone for membership and then took a few minutes to ponder if I would have liked studying in the ‘Modern’ school on that road. I decided it was rather vain an enquiry and I liked my own school campus much better- this one was just too green and red for me.

It was a short walk back that took a long long time. I like walking, or as I told her four years ago in an unguarded moment, “I like walking in the rain.” Rain can always be imagined, and in a place like Delhi it becomes one’s second nature to do so. But walking back to Connaught Place was wearisome in its repetitive absurdity. It seemed to me in that moment that for the past four years I had done nothing but walked back to this place. The columned corridors all around me were acquiring a fresh coat of paint and I remembered how he and I had spoken of death together under these very scaffoldings a few days ago. I felt his hand on mine; I shivered; I blushed. I turned and stooped down to pick up a book that could have been any other. A strange memory of an Israeli tourist on a bus to McLeodganj suggesting that I read Rohinton Mistry led my hands to it as I skimmed the pages. Every time I have fallen in love has become a layer over another. This book (a good bargain for 150 bucks) would be yet another on it.

Khusrau Nijaam kay bal bal jayyiye;
Mohay Suhaagan keeni mosay naina milaikay.
Chaap tilak sab cheeni mosay naina milaikay…

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An afternoon affair

A space;
a long winding staircase,
up and beyond-
over the terrace
tucked to the left- a room;
inside- on the right
A single bed
standing on many rugs
-on the other shore
a brown table
shouldering a wardrobe.
-in between, a mass of books
and a chair
-tucked in, while perched
above-
a television.
Facing the big window
On the other side
Covering the wall.
Moving still further
you will find, further left
The same door we came in through
but the one we never quite left behind.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Untitled- A collage of distortions.

“You will listen to me.”

Her voice was echoing along the deserted corridor. The windows that were supposed to let the outside breeze come into these dingy caverns were bolted shut many years ago. The damp reverberations of her voice are all that I have to keep me warm. I am staring into the emptiness of everything. I really have little else to do but to listen. And I listen.

“You will listen to me.”

I am not entirely unaware of what she is saying. Me and her, she and I- we have a similar sense of humour. She is speaking of Irom Sharmila and the blood splattered streets of Manipur. She is waving her hands frantically- trying to point at the place where there had been voices. The rumble of a passing jeep, a flash of light and the screech of braking tyres. She smells death and laughs and her body shrivels in cold sweat as a peculiar silence is restored to the night. But she is still laughing- telling me to look at the walls- the blood splattered walls. How do I tell her that I can’t? Is it now that I must tell her of my blindness? I see the shadows dancing on the wall making patterns too hideous for the eyes. But she only sees red.

“You will listen to me.”

I cannot listen to her. I cannot. She is speaking of too many things and I am speaking of nothing. I am a mirror reflecting her voice and she is a mirror reflecting my silence. We are entangled in a web of lies and deceit and they are coming to take me away as I know I have sinned. There can be no forgiveness for me; I know. And I know that they are coming.

“You will listen to me.”

Her voice is growing fainter by the second. She is drifting away into that numbness that comes with the fever of amnesia in which the horrors of all genocides are but a smile painted on a counterfeit Mona Lisa. Her voice carries no distinct words. A sublime emotion of pain is all that she conveys in her song about love and death. Words are becoming harder to find, and still harder to put with other words which are of course just that much harder to find.

“You will listen to me.”

I am perhaps only just waking from a nightmare. But mornings never come without conditions and contracts –without promises of good behaviour and nutritious diets. I wish only to wake up and find her someday. She is waving her hands frantically and pointing at the place where there had been voices. But then again, she only ever sees red.







D├ęcollage, in art, is the opposite of collage; instead of an image being built up of all or parts of existing images, it is created by cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing, pieces of an original image. [Wikipedia]