Life

Gardening 


How do I find time?

I left it under the potted plant

Where my neighbor bends upon to smell a flower

And asks me about the full moon. 

He says 

There is glory in the gardens of the others

But here, the slugs ate away all the bloom

And made it seven words shorter

From a love poem

You were willing to write. 

I fight the winds

And grasp his hand

I tell him, I am a gardener of words

–Often other than the unkempt personal pronouns–

I collate 

A bag of off-shoots

Till they look like they have eaten time 

Over which my neighbor once bent upon, sorry,

Right before I unmade him

And went to sleep. 

Image source: hiveminer

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Law of attraction 


Of a neon glow

Traveling throug a space-tunneled gullet

Into a bloated starry sky

Where to each eye

Her own reality.
Billions of stars looking down from the sky.

Billions of eyes looking up to the sky.

 

Because she is never stationary

And always moving about like Van Gogh’s winds

Whenever I stretch out my finger into the cold dark night

She stretches in a great cosmic yawn

To caress my arms

Until we melt in our atomic marriage

Of neither star

Nor human.

 

The dragon’s tail

When Freya was little, her mother was always upset because she knew she would not get to be a part of her future. Not because of any physical ailment, but simply because she knew she would try and she would not be allowed to do so. Like swimming an up-tide.

Of her marriage, her mother could not even picture her own drawing room. It was her aunt’s. An opening hallway. Some guests passing around turmeric-colored rice. Rhythmic plate music. An audience of irregular desert dunes sitting at every piece of flat surface they could find. And whenever she saw herself in this place of future, her sadness was rather pictorial—her mouth turned in an upside-down U, at the sheer in-credulousness of strangeness of her daughter. Of people suddenly deciding to wear their clothes the other way around one day; as if Freya came out of some communal womb, up from the discolored sky. Do babies just fall after all?

She thinks about the word ‘daughter’ that the world created for her mouth to take up. She had not even remotely contributed to its invention. A daughter, because the world says so. But if the world gave it to her, the world can take it back too.

Freya married a painter anyway, in a place with mules circling around the leaking smell of the City trying to push in. Freya’s mother was upset. But then, she was already upset before.

It was as if the mother lived in a non-linear sad-time. Of knowing. Then, living. Of introspecting whether her knowing caused the living. And at last, if it was worth an ounce to give a shit about Freya at all.

She could have gone to business school.

*

In November, it snowed with a smell of woolen hats, florescent lights and falling men.

Trekkahum was a village of smiling eyes. Every second week of November, they stood at the other side of bridge (or whatever was left of it after the yearly slaps of winter-storms), cheering in their brown-velvet clothes and caps. It was a work of art—the whole view around the village—making me wish I was a painter rather than a writer. But here I am your writer in any case, and at the other side of the bridge stood a row of old men with some very rigid shoulder lines. Their silhouettes were dark against the white of snowy winds that blushed white at the normal symmetry of landscapes. It was as if someone had chafed the bridge with the lick of their wet thumb like rainy skies do to the autumn moon. 

Those who stood at the left, their dark contours roughly overlapped upon the distant village-night, in a much more humane bloom. A faint remote planet, it was as I f night was a phenomenon created by spaces between the people. A domestic darkness where snow is ceremoniously cleaned off. But that was the village. Where it was not, an ominous silent stood at the other side of the bridge. It was inconsiderate of human divisions of both night and day, hour or seconds. If you could be here–where I stand, you would have believed  me. The wind was louder than a village full of people.

They fought in the war. Old men of the ‘November Ceremony’ (termed thus for you and me because translations are often appalling) But none of them really understood what it meant. But then, did they knew what war itself meant? Ah, I cannot possibly answer that.  As far as they care, it is the general’s command. A school rhyme.

‘Old men cross the bridge/ Old men cross the bridge when the winter is nigh.’

The bridge was not rickety, as most people are force-fed to imagine. It was a long rock solid boulder. Cement. Originally a pathway for a pipeline. The snow reigned it now. Little hills of snow dunes conspiring to push away the bag of flours that men had lain to let this ceremony pass without any death. Under it, a raging height. Most people think of the heights as empty. Stagnant. But the air at heights have veins, they pop like an athlete’s leg. Each man who stepped on the bridge, stepped on the wind too. It had its cheeks full of ice. Fingers crick. Eyes bat.

And so the men cross.

Cheered by a crowd of people that sounded like a blown-away candle against the magnanimity of mountains that towered above their village.

And so the men cross.

A Ritual.  

After gulping down sips of some rice-wine, they joke. They joke about each other’s death. Cracked skull. Funny shaped limbs. Blood on ice. Winter crackling upon their bald heads. And when some of them do die, they drink some more and wait for the next November to come.

A Gamble.

*

May. Trekkahum. Freya and her painter. It had to be May; Painters color well in a writer’s writing in the summer season.

They sit under the dark cavern. It’s ugly as if full of blisters and bird-shit. Yet ‘they’ wouldn’t be the right term to use. They are divided at the moment. She sings at the opening of the cave like an ancient bird. He sits right in front of her, cross-legged, with his papers and paints hungry for the slanting rays of the giant sun that almost burns his hand. Naturally, he is employing more reds today.

She loves the smell of the damp. She thinks it gives her the tangy-ness of an acoustic song, much more than the bubble-like stomach of the cave that cannot taste her music as she does. It is so very dark, she muses…it could be anything. A wolf’s eye. Endless dark fur of a giant black bear. A star in its deathbed. The viper’s widening jaw. Time.

She senses some movement. She stares and stares. The painter looks up and is irritated by all the staring. He goes back to his work, his hands should not cease.

A man in a grey suit and a woolen fedora hat comes out of the dark of the cave as if it is the most normal thing in the world.

He has a crooked smile. He pays no attention to the painter and sits near the girl. The painter hates his presence but he keeps sitting nonetheless, like a little child who does not know what to do when his mother stops near the billing counter to converse with her neighborhood friend. He puts on his disinterested demeanor and continues to toy with his paints.

The fedora hat man claims to be a magician.Freya is charmed like a little red-cheeked girl. He praises her music and gives her a coin. It is not a roadside-tip. The coin is magnificently worked upon. The painter looks up. It is silver. Moon. It also looks like a dragon that is trying to eat his own tail. The painter had never seen something like this ever before. And he was certain, what he saw, only he could see.

For days, the painter tries to copy this design; he is so obsessed with it. His hands are rummaged with all the stress. His fingers don’t bend well anymore. And one final day it starts, the dragon starts appearing all over the village. Every hut. Under a tree’s rolling chin. In the moon. In the sky. It is beautiful but it is not what the Fedora hat man showed her. The villagers do not like it. But he keeps painting it. He has abandoned all the mountains. The bridge. The falling men. Her eyes. Everything but the fedora hat man’s design.

Somewhere in the mind of some reader appears the caricature of poor Sisyphus. Is it me? Is it you?

And they say, every day he sits in the black-blistered cave and paint one dragon on each blister of this dark space. If you happen to pass by Trekkahum, you will find him closer to the original than I did. He is turning blind but it is no harm because colors come like instinct to him now. His hands move on their own accord. But even still, he cannot perfect the original. And I suspect he already knows that.

A dragon eating his own tail.

*

 

Ebb

 

My father sleeps at the edge of the bed adjacent to a chair. Upon that chair, there sits a man with a dark horse-shoe jawline. His collars have little lilies, scattered across the cloth in some harmony. Whenever I visit the room to take out one cold water-bottle from the fridge—cool water is the lady of the night—I see this man with his inhuman straight back, staring right at me. I freeze for a second and then look at his unblinking eyes in the shimmering yellow light of the fridge. You may ask, what is new here? If you were to sleep next to an old shoddy window; sure you’ll see the nearby tree growing out a hand in the beating wind, too.

The difference between you and me, however, is that you get under the covers and say oh, but it is the mere wind, oh, it is the mere rain. I on the other hand, invite the monsters in. I move the refrigerator door just enough to let that tall man’s eye glint in the dark as he sit like he’s been sitting there from the beginning of time. There is an art in conjuring monsters from the nothing. After all the man in my father’s chair is nothing but my dead grandmother’s handbag—not there for sentimental purposes but mostly because things move around in my house with certain amnesia. And in the society we live in, I have become interested in things.

Either people eat them up or some nook drag them down where house-objects retire and dream till their owners are left to do the same in the graves until after all, someone new develops a fancy to these ghosts. Or worst, being munched into paper mache is one way to go. If your things are you, then you better hope you’re not getting picked up for that.

I do that sometimes. I imagine the life of objects fast forward to hundred years. What if there are more survivors than just cockroaches. All these inanimate things that have a sacred river in which they all flow, sometimes caressing each other or other times, singing campfire songs with joined hands. A blue handkerchief wiping off the sweat off a red wallet. Their masters despised each other when they were alive, but here we are.

Rivers into a sea.

A plethora of dead people’s objects. Enough to keep me awake in the dark.

In Time


The moment I was clothed in sheep-wool

And put out to bah with crowded language,

I strayed, I strayed

I dug the graves the vultures had ploughed

And made a song to amuse

The charade called joker-faced destiny

 

Marx said you are too good

In markets to run, all the stable boy parades

We ran, we ran

Inspecting the pulps found in the tomato cans

So exotic and bloody, if that be true

We thought we had seen the very last of you.

 

It is a love letter to a reluctant lover

I pray, I pray

Listening through the metallic walls

Into absence

Of history, time and space.

The mangrove older and taller than us all, 

Has never and will never say.

Sphinx’s tale of evenings 


On a bench sodden with invasion of ice

Back from the evening street’s burlesque gait, 

I step-step with a dog 

and my cup of tea drools upon the air, 

smoking light whiskers of cinnamon in its ascent. 



People like to nibble upon beautiful things, 

they munch upon red rice-cakes that drop down after sunset,

To sediment in their drunk eyes 



What is it about the evenings that conjure up bar inns in vicinity? 

Like a sleight of hand , 

the man,

 digs deep in his shoes

 and begins to grow upon a pubescent liquor counter.

 Lights begin to take his youth over

Ultra blues that dissolve the lemon pinks 

into a downward spiral of vomiting

Need a girl to hold your midnight hair

 Around the damp floral patterns of the old man’s least cliche bedroom 

‘How beautiful’ 

Is death. 



The ice cuts my tongue.

 So does tea.

 
The dog-eared evening is licked close. 

For the days, I can’t write

There lives a man inside my neck.

 

I chew out my words and feed you,

Till then he wraps himself in set of bones

And grumbles till I stop speaking.

Those days he sleeps.

 

You sleep.

He pens his eyes open

And saunters across my mouth,

Like a dog in an open field.

Those days I face my neck

And speak to him

If speaking is a time-pool of sighs and sobs

A closing tongue, a path to the highway.

 

I chide him

I long for you

 

But other days, I want to dilute myself in my own mouth

Till I could say nothing

Of what you can’t anyway, conceive.

The Crossing

 

Image result for cemetery art photography

I slip through lives

Like fingers colliding

In a handshake, meet and go

Like the tree tapping you awake in the midnight storm

Like a brain surgeon

Cutting you open in your sleep,

I too sleep

I let you go.

 

In the street, the pebble shone like rubies,

I make my own rules

I marry the sky

Birth rain

And communication

 

The water breaks

And the desert forgets to wind the clock,

I sit on the stairway, a paradox

 

Like a ceremonious cemetery,

I  let people come and go.