From many places, speaking truth
and making magic happen. Celebrating language.
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SANDEEP KALATHIMEKKAD - Page 2
|Identification Leading to Isolation||Moving Train, Nila and My Heart Too||Not Any Fairy-tale, This is Past, and Memories Past|
|Equality of open and closed eyes||What Is (not) Red||Misplaced in Timeline|
|Why My Mind on Which to Perch||At the Station||Killing the Earth, and Earthworm|
|Lie Down On the Bed of Lies||My Late Husband's Dog||Regional Express 4971|
|Daily Weather Report||Allegory of the Chariot||No Stick is Trivial|
|Conversation with Misapprehension||Whom Are You Searching For?||Inhale Insanity and Hail the Hero|
|Head Above Hair||Gnomes of an Idle Mind||Why Here?|
|In the Tunnel to South Kensington Station||Underground||When You Wake Up Early|
|At a Lunchtime Concert||I am a half-completed painting||Barcarolles to Images Book|
|Snowy Stimulus||Self-Cannibalising||From Urban Contempt to Wild Desire|
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Identification Leading to IsolationIn a less frequented area of the busy town
There is a garden resembling an old artist
Who in his prime painted grand works before
He shifted to portraits, for stomach's ale.
These days even his portraits lack likenesses.
The garden too has lost its fragrant flowers;
Wild ones and feral weeds have taken their place.
The grass has grown high, in place of the lawn
Like the aged artist's unshaven beard.
In the past, many love affairs bloomed here,
Young boys came to play and rejoice,
Maidens felt joy when looking in their mirrors.
Families chose the garden as their favourite picnic spot,
So did the old man, once hailed as a wizard.
He used to draw pictures that oozed rich life.
His palette has lost those vibrant colours now;
Some left, unable to stick to the brush
And those which stuck no longer got onto his canvas.
The smile that rested on his lips and in his work
Has completely disappeared; now there's a gloomy face.
The fragrance of the flowers too has gone.
A gardener lived here, flowers were his children;
He kept the lawn and slept on it on starry nights.
The painter had a lady love who looked after him well
Until a fatal illness took her life, leaving him alone.
The gardener left the garden too for some reason.
The buds that had a lot of promise drooped.
The creativity of the painter died in a similar way;
Still some old art-lovers bought his portraits
And an old couple or two visited the garden.
Is that garden in this present world without a gardener?
Then I am that painter who has lost his artistry.
I open my eyes leisurely after a brief doze in the seat,
The fine morning has ended all mourning over lost sleep.
Through the windowpane I see nature fast running back,
The engine blows its horn for the name dearest has given it.
Now, here lies Nila, her curves narrowed by sandbanks.
She may seem shallow; her lengthy past is her real depth.
Every time I behold this majestic brook
She soothes my soul with grand splendor.
As the train speeds to Thirunnavaya, my mind fills with adulation.
On these grimy sandbanks countless erudite men have lived.
They laid their backs on these sand dunes at night,
Looked with wonder at the heavens; inside them
Were born supreme theorems of math and astronomy
And myriad verses in perfect meter with mellow metaphors.
Who can avert a gentle gush of emotions in admiring her?
She can turn an absolute illiterate into a real rhymester.
Some environmentalist may write on her lost virginity,
On her decreasing depth and width, or at large on pollution;
But no matter how hard it is attempted, who can take her sanctity?
They bathed their buffalos here, washed their clothes here,
Robbed the earth beneath the water for paltry earnings;
Yet the life left is enough to make me more imaginative.
Her lost glory will not force me to write an elegy.
I keep hope, as she hopes to end up in the sea one day.
Let her flow slowly for the hectic men in this compartment;
I wish the train, too, to shed speed - for them to look out
And expel the breath of despair from their restless rushing,
Maybe learn a lesson of slowness and steadiness winning
From the measured flow of water and the luxury of the sand.
No race is won if you pull the man in your front; cheats lose.
On the banks are grasses with long white heads held towering,
The gentle wind never fails to bid them bye as it passes on;
Grass never forgets to bow before the wind, giving due respect;
It is the river that has taught her grass children how to behave.
That stretch of water is past, now come the meadows,
Lush green varied carpets that are tonic to the appetite;
They inspire the beholder, though not as much as the watercourse.
A crane yonder that has been acting the role of a white hermit
Realizes that and takes off, parting his meditation with the jade,
Flies rearward, maybe to Nila to find fish, or at least a poem.
Not Any Fairy-tale, This is Past, and Memories PastI remember very well that immense flare-up when it all began.
Everything that had happened before was deliberately forgotten,
It was my mind that blew up with the big batter;
That which was inside was lost, but I'll try to recollect.
A story told with mathematics would be easier to narrate
But will not suffice; hence I take the bitter route with verse.
Before the explosion there was, I believe, a collapsing mass;
It imploded to perpetuity and space-time curvature followed.
Of one thing I am sure -- it was geodesically incomplete; I'll elucidate:
He who is below the horizon of the dark pit falls into his heart hub;
Time stands finite, then all laws sully and there are no more prophecies.
The panorama holds the creation and the end of deficient spectators.
Then it emerges, all out of nothing, like a limerick from a bard;
His memoirs, though diminishing, add to the mystical self.
The lesser physicists may call it the pragmatic point of time,
Where the opening out of these heavens began, but only a part.
The prevalent evocative astral parable explicating the awesome basis
And expansion of this universe was all on paper long before.
It was no myth in the antique texts that had hymns and chants,
Picturesque metaphors and elusive explanations carved in them.
He who called himself the priest of the highest God in the nature book
Gazed copiously into the sinister night firmament to argue in support.
Then a rhymester also projected a universe unfolding from a primal particle,
Expanding out from divine volition; all having a good degree of legitimacy.
Distant galaxies with the crimson tide and the milieu rays add to its faith,
The 'cuspy-halo problem' to that of the cold dark matter still poses qualms.
But how can I distrust my past; you can believe me or not, it is up to you.
I may have lost key-pieces in my tale, but I have added no spare tints, for sure.
Equality of open and closed eyesIt's pitch black; walking without a torch,
Stepping on some rope or root, I cry "Snake"!
Other men walk in darkness, like me,
In obscure ignorance, doubting every rope.
Snakes do not normally come onto their paths,
Those creatures have other jobs to attend to.
Still, men are afraid of that venomous lot;
They should fear the rancor inside them
Which is the child of sin and ignorance.
They cry aloud, stepping on each rope,
Take it as luck to have escaped the bites.
They know not there are snakes on their paths.
In dark forgetfulness, anything can terrify,
Mere thought of threat is enough sometimes.
Even a narrow shriek can freeze and shatter ears,
A small stone can make big men fall, petrified.
Danger can falsely comfort, too, as when
Man wishes for another flash of lighting,
Unaware that it could turn him into ashes.
When wicked company seems better than being alone,
The problem is the ignorant mind, ruled by darkness.
Blind to signs of danger and deaf to warning bells,
He enjoys caresses without feeling the piercing nails.
How to get over his quandary? A candle will do,
At least trusting that someday radiance will come.
What Is (not) RedIt was a competition; the question was, "What is Red?"
It is an equidistant point from white,
The same distance as between a chili and a sugarcane,
The same distance as between happiness and anger.
It is the colour of someone who knows to laugh when glad,
Not for the one who doesn't know to cry when sad.
Like Polaroid glasses that cut out only the colour red,
Similar to the behavior of an old tap in my house,
It never gives a good gush of water, however you open it.
You can never stop water coming out of it; however, you close it,
But that tap can be fixed with the expertise of a plumber.
The colour that oozes out when a butcher cuts the throat of an animal,
The colour that sprays when you cut your neighbour's throat, too.
Of all the colours the sky puts on for various occasions,
The most gorgeous dawn or dusk is clad in red.
This is the colour of the flag, which waves like a glimmer of hope
For the ones who believe their future will be brightened one day.
Once, all the labouring classes held that flag high,
They thought it would finally kill the hunger of their children.
Now it flies only in a very few places, and the pole is often not straight.
Somewhere else, its colour has faded into pale saffron; such a pathetic plight.
But still, if someone dreams of liberty, if someone pleads for fraternity,
If someone fights for equality, the colour of the flag they hold is still red.
A group of passionate spectators call themselves 'red-devils',
Red is the colour of their favourite team, who are ever united.
They reside in the 'Theatre of Dreams' and there they chant.
Week in, week out, with one voice, no matter they win or lose.
This is the colour of a sweet fruit, the cherry,
Which is put on top of a scoop of ice cream
Which melts after a minute or so.
Then the fruit is buried inside the ice cream,
Red inside white.
This is the colour of the rose that teenage lovers
Exchange to show their passion for each other.
This is also the colour used for danger signs
Because it can be seen from such a great distance.
When I was about to hand over my paper about Red
One of the organizers came to my desk:
"We regret to communicate this information -- due to
Sustained pressure from the panel of judges, there has been a slight change
In the topic we gave you; it is actually, 'what is not Red?'"
I was finally finding an answer to a difficult question.
Now that they have changed the question, what shall I do?
Maybe put a 'not' in front of everything I have written.
Misplaced in TimelineThat flower was so beautiful; wish it had been a bit smaller,
Then it may have stayed there; now it is almost crushed.
Those pretty petals, when they were intact, were quite a sight.
Now, scattered on mud they are a sight, but not of delight.
Such a pitiable loss of harmony, falling from near excellence.
If that colour had not been as attractive as it was, and the
Heady scent pervasive, the flower may have missed an eye;
Those finer qualities themselves invited their own demise.
I wish it had had sharp thorns like the red roses;
Again, our central character was a lot more frail in its nature.
In this world, where anything that doesn't bite back is eaten,
Such flimsy and subtle delicacy will not live long.
Beauty, not harming others, will turn the dagger to slay itself.
The mere possession of allure lures cruel, crushing hands.
This is neither the time for beauty, nor the time for truth, as such.
Why My Mind on Which to PerchWhy have these nightingales chosen my mind on which to perch!
There are many branches which love bearing them,
Why do they come to an unwelcoming host like me?
I have always loathed this 'sweet' music of theirs,
All the songs they sing are about love, passion and life.
I don't like the hustle and bustle they always make.
Many long for these songs to be heard inside their own;
Now, the silence inside is broken; chirps and warbles fill it.
All of a sudden, what was barren inside me is changing.
The female sings, "You are the one I was searching for,
I knew that when I first looked at you, and heard your song;
I think I heard the same song in all my previous births."
"Do you remember?" he asks, "The tone of unison?"
"How can I forget," she replies, then they sing their twosome:
"We are one, we were, and will be forever, our love so fine."
Why am I tolerating them? In the past I've never allowed
Such guests to make all this music.
Maybe it is the symphony they create that stops me from
Scaring them out of my heart, which I have kept only for myself;
Or maybe it is the purity of the love they possess, its fine form.
Or it may be the desire to experience something new
Like an audience of a Greek play, cheering for a comedy.
The grace in the colours of their feathers may be a reason too.
These birds even draw apathetic neighbours
With their melodious music.
I can smell the fragrance of buds that were never here before,
That may even now be keeping them in a vase inside me.
Now I realize the real reason I can't scare these nightingales --
All those suspicions I had are only partial causes for their stay;
The true cause I am still unable to bid them adieu
Is that one of these nightingales is, in fact, no one else but me.
At the StationMy train to the town of sanguinity is late.
Here in this station I continue my wait
At the platform, carrying the heavy weight
Of baggage, filled with fine food and my fate.
Why is it that nobody is here with me?
No fellow passengers? Let's wait and see.
This place is so crowded, normally...
Let me find comfort in this cup of tea.
It would have been nice to have had someone
Just to ask why the train is in a late-run,
Or to share a bad joke, or have some fun;
At least to whine under the heat of the sun.
Where is that beggar-girl who is always here?
Her singing is so awful, eyes full of fear.
I had given her many coins to buy some cheer,
Asked her to sing a song good to hear.
She may have left unable to find such a song.
My wait here seems to be taking so long,
I suspect something else now has gone wrong.
Has the train already gone past a furlong?
Killing the Earth, and EarthwormThe coastline of this aged village was curved like an earthworm,
The long creature had shaped its body for the land to form,
Yesterday's innocence that named a village today's town.
The earthworm remains, but the ships that arrived
From distant lands, where there were no worms desiring to survive
Put their anchors right in the middle of he earthworm's long gut,
into an almost empty hut where lived a poor ploughman's wife and children.
Starving has become habit for them; the cock and hen that fed
On earthworms once joked that hunger is a hobby.
The anchors cut the worm in two, but life only diverges.
All the anger of the ship's captain is at this new growth.
Two from one, thus four from two, and it goes on and on;
Now it is not one earthworm, but many forming the line.
That captain, in his rage, has pulled the anchor up,
Has turned it upside down, and with that blunt top
Starts pressing hard on the earthworms' woe-heads.
If these deprived beings are set aside to be crushed,
Then tomorrow's dawn will witness no worms around.
The town will be called a graveyard by new landowners.
Lie Down On the Bed of Lies(written after seeing Kurosawa's Rashomon)
Then my mother says, "Lie down."
Lies are here, there, everywhere,
Not just in the ruined gatehouse,
Not just in Rashomon,
Not because there is a rainstorm,
Not because minds are troubled;
Lies come from peaceful minds and mouths
as well, and in fine weather.
Why are they all lying?
Why don't they just lie down with truths?
As my mother always says:
"It is better when we lie down and think."
The woodcutter may have sold the dagger;
He had to conceal it before the court.
He said he didn't want to get involved,
But that, too, was a lie.
The bandit is known for thefts;
It is not surprising that he has lied.
But he, too, opens his bag of lies
To maintain his self-esteem; lying for pride.
The raped wife of the Samurai lies too;
Women lie, as do men.
In lying, there is equality of the sexes.
She also lies for pride that is lost.
Then why should a dead man lie?
The Samurai's spirit also lies to the court
To maintain respect for the dead.
But is that, too, pardonable?
The commoner who stole the clothes
Of the crying, abandoned baby explains,
As if it is truth: "All men are selfish,"
And further, "All men are looking out
For themselves in the end." Is he lying?
The priest alone is not lying,
Because he doesn't need to.
He may have lied often in his life.
He, too, may have lied for mere sport.
But it is his faith that is shaken
By the dishonesty and the lies;
His faith in the goodness of humanity.
But then the woodcutter's final words
Give the priest back his optimism.
The baby is taken back then with hope.
But there are many lies beyond Rashomon.
There are more lies than there are truths.
The story maybe is a lie; then Kurosawa is a big liar.
But amongst the lies he brings the truth.
As I recollect all the lies I have told,
As I bring back all the lies to my fading memory
That people have told to me -- how did I know?
My mother repeats her usual words: "Lie down."
My Late Husband's DogThese are hard days for a widow,
No children to call to for help.
Maid does some household work;
Made for me, is this lazy servant.
Now I go out to buy a new cardigan,
The cold is too much for this old age.
Street is getting busier day by day
But round the turn, I can't help notice
Those same solemn, somber eyes,
That languid look and grim indolence
Of my late husband's old spaniel.
He loved those eyes more than mine,
His ugly, extensive muzzle,
His long full ears and lots of hair.
Colour of liver and white has faded,
He has lost some charm over the years.
He slowly stands up on seeing me,
His eyes are still very affectionate.
I had not noticed that much in my youth,
I used to quarrel with him for being untidy.
My husband too had such caring eyes.
They begin to speak to me in silence,
Those eyes, "Madam, how are you?
How long since we met, are you happy?
I am that same servant of your hubby.
I have no contempt for your old conduct
When you quickly drove me out of your way
Those times when my master was away.
He might have scolded you for that
After he came back; he was so nice to me.
My separation from him made me so alone
And I am still, but man too is all alone.
Man is also like me, a stray dog
In front of that grand glorious gate
Waiting for a little bit of kindness;
That small piece of meat is inner peace.
He goes on waiting for that,
Tiring legs then follow a buddy's call
Like sincere dogs ignoring their tasks,
Giving their ears to a pretending friend.
The several dogs I have played with
Were all dear friends for a short span.
Some were so valued for some period
I couldn't think of leaving them then.
Care of elder ones in our childhood,
Love of mates when a bit grown-up,
Friendship felt so deep as we grew,
Bonds and bondages seemed forever.
Always, master said, 'You have to ride
The tough tide alone at times;
All those to whom you felt so close
Will not be here, not even the masters.
But keep faith that I am alongside,
My resilience and fortitude are yours.'
Now let me leave him alone again,
Walk with my old age with his advice."
Regional Express 4971As the landscape bathes its pretty face
In the warm stream of morning sunshine
A golden line falls on the fields of maize
Waking up those houses in the line.
As clouds whisper to me, it is already dawn
The sun too peeps from behind the mountain
As valleys undress sun's cloth they've just worn;
Long ago I left it on a sweet dream's lane.
These colours I had in my sweetest reveries
Have now gone to the leaves on those trees
As yellow brings back the bright memories
Green dominates, as does the morning breeze.
As landscapes give way to factories and houses
The rhyme should also find its way to close
Pen and diary to the bag, as Nurmberg welcomes
Changing trains here; to this coach I bid adios.
Daily Weather ReportDay before yesterday she was smiling
So brightly, with her heart wide open,
Eyes had to look in to see any pain.
With blood oozing out of her open heart,
Spraying red into the morning sky,
I gave her some cotton to wipe that out
Which got absorbed into white clouds;
But she was still smiling with the sun.
Yesterday I woke up hearing her weep,
Her tears were all over my window panes,
Then she started to cry like the thunder.
The cotton I had given the previous day
Had turned dark, there were a lot of spots.
Someone else would have seen her pain,
The sky was full of dark lumps of cotton,
The pain inside her came down as rain.
I wonder why she is still crying;
In fact she is crying harder, with silent sobs.
Her face is dark and gloomy, all colour lost,
Now I can't even see her tears rolling down,
Those lively cheeks have turned so gray.
In only a few days she has become old,
Wrinkles on her face all due to that pain
That is this rain on my windowpane.
Allegory of the ChariotI was mounting the old, golden chariot
Which once flew ahead like an arrow;
And checking if it was still alive
Found Its pulse had been weakened.
The horses stood up and began to walk
Slowly toward its front, then lay down.
For a moment they thought of the past,
Flashing back to a memory of their youth.
I haven't forgotten to feed them each day.
Food, for us both now, is to wait --
Wait for the day I can stop feeding them
As they chew the cud of our prime:
In countless battles we led the way to the front;
The cart, the steeds and myself, all as a unit
We fought together, blowing my war horn,
Followed by my horses' loud, proud neighs.
I remember the day the wheels stopped, when
We fought the hard battle against invasion.
They got buried in the swamp of morality,
Formed by mixing the slow-moving blood
Of the ones I killed with that from my own veins.
The mixture of my blood with that of my foes
Stopped my golden chariot forever.
In its wheels, I still see the stain of that day.
No Stick is TrivialIn his hands was just a tiny piece of wood
Whose grandfathers helped men prepare food.
This stick may seem worthless in your eyes
But its story may be much larger than its size.
If I start telling of its life, it may agree or disagree;
It may have been a twig or the branch of a tree.
Once when a parrot flew and sat on that branch
It had a faint red mark on one side of its paunch
For it had had some small quarrel with its lover.
The disturbed mind caused the branch to hover
And a piece of twig broke and fell down.
Now I can see on the stick's face a little frown;
It thinks how insignificant all its life has been.
Then that piece is thrown into a nearby trash bin
But misses, and falls into a muddy pool of water.
A drowning ant is saved, that is nature's rule.
When you feel your life was worthy to no one
Then of a sudden you save the life of someone.
Conversation with MisapprehensionThe path ahead was lit by a faint street light,
Even the moon was hidden behind some dark clouds.
I saw in front of me the corpse of a white dove
In a small pool of blood, its soul just departing.
I asked the flying soul of the unfortunate bird,
"Who did this to you, who was that heartless beast?"
The soul flapped its wings and started to talk:
"My story is not worth more than few tear drops
But still I will tell it to you if it is of interest.
I was the symbol of peace on a distant region's flag --
It was a happy life just being there as a picture.
One day I grew ambitious and flew from the flag
And flew up high, up into the vast blue sky.
I met small birds like me, some larger ones,
I wanted to talk with each and every one of them.
Some chatted with me for some time, some not,
Many among them advised me to build a nest.
I was too lazy to lead such a normal life,
I made it my routine to go flying from place to place.
After a few days, I felt something really new,
A feeling which I'd never been through."
I interrupted, "Did you fall in love with someone?"
After a laugh came the reply, "Oh! It was not love,
Not the first time someone had this same confusion,
But that feeling was not romantic, it was a hunger.
For all that while I had been a mere picture on a flag
I had never felt hungry; this was the first time.
I flew a bit lower, and to my eyes' delight
I saw down there a lady feeding grains to birds.
She looked like an angel, clad in snow-white,
She wore dark eyeglasses, so I didn't see her eyes.
I thought she had the most compassionate eyes.
I flew again, further down to eat the offered food,
I fed on those grains and tried to kill my hunger.
While eating, I looked up to have a glance at her;
By then she had removed her dark glasses
And I saw two very fierce eyes, glowing fireballs.
Suddenly she took out a gun and fired a shot at me.
With life departing, I somehow flew here.
I couldn't fly any longer and fell down.
Thus my body, without life, lies just beside you."
Saying this to me, the soul flew high up and away.
I once again looked at that poor dead body below,
But what I saw there nearly startled me to death.
In the place of the corpse of the unfortunate dove
I found there was nothing there but my own heart.
Whom Are You Searching ForWhom are you searching for?
Whom are you searching for in every corner?
Whom have you been going after all this time?
Are you blind, have you lost your senses?
Like the ocean searching for a wave,
Desert searching for a grain of earth,
Flowers searching for a fragrance,
A musk deer too searches for its smell,
Goes sniffing behind its friend's rear
Thinking the scent is coming from there,
Unaware that it is from its own back.
Thus you are also searching for that -
Which is inside you, deep inside.
The one whom you are searching for
Is all over the path you tread
Is inside you, deep inside your bosom.
Inhale Insanity and Hail the HeroHe yearns to get into the universities
That can provide him wastrel expertise
He sometimes aspires to study abroad
He considers not if his father can afford it
He compels his loving father to spend
Or put the ancestral property to vend
Or approach the bank for various loans
His father begging, he never bemoans
Not because of his thirst for knowledge
But to wear the latest fashion to college
To join groups and keep on screaming
False pride in his head reigning supreme
He blinds himself to any sort of scripture
Adopts every alien foible into his culture
He lends his ears to all fanatic preachers
Incapable of distinguishing real teachers
One day puts a saffron mark on his forehead
Wraps his wrist with any coloured thread
Another day wears a round cap on his head
Shaves his moustache and wears a beard
Follows violence as the only path ahead
Bathes his hands in a brother's blood
Uses his sick wits to make brutal bombs
Conspires explosions to demolish homes
He puts on a disguise, calls himself a god
Weaves tactfully his spider webs of fraud
Places sharp swords to the necks of priests
Forces them to present human flesh to the beasts
Blends poison doctrines into naive schools
Institutes depraved morals as sacred rules
Steals the last loaf of bread from the poor
Acts as the farmers' suicide entrepreneur
Unleashes the ogre of terror everywhere
Pushes buoyant teens to the sea of despair
He vandalises every tombstone of truth
Hail him, the nation's new turbulent youth.
Head above HairMy hair is swayed in all possible directions
By all types of winds, breezes and storms
But never does it move my head, not even an inch.
Even a strong cyclone will not cause a turn,
At most it may give my hair some pretty curls.
At times my vision can be obstructed by hairs
Coming and covering my eyes due to this wind,
But at the very next moment I take them away.
Some may advise me to have a haircut, but why?
Why should I cultivate any fear of the winds?
As long as I can keep my head unchanged
I need not worry about my hair flying in the air.
One day some wind will cause my head to fall,
Then I'll be judged not for the length of my hair
But for the head that defied the tests of the winds.
Gnomes of an Idle MindClosed eyes for just a minute, sleep remaining far away,
Clattering noises come from the kitchen utensils;
Those are from tomorrow's fighting swords -
Someone whispers as in a dream, though awake.
Now opened eyes see a pit through the window,
One for keeping water for the cultivated plantains.
For an instant, it looks like a grave without a corpse;
Even the dead body has run away from hell.
Drops of sweat on the forehead due to midday sun,
Not unusual, as the summer has been a bit too hot,
But it feels like it has arrived due to heat from the fire,
Flames from those burning trees with only dry leaves.
Washing mouth after eating a meal with red spinach,
The basin turns red due to spitting and coughing.
Suspicion arises as to whether it is blood coming out;
Shadow yells out that red spinach does not exist.
The strange cry of some bird is heard from outside,
Shrill as a whistle, but it is dying down gradually;
A flash of thought -- is it a weeping old woman?
She lost her son in a war...all stupid suspicions.
Do signs and sounds have a discrete unit of sense?
Fear may be a prevailing emotion, like a nasty scent.
Awareness of the environment can be misleading;
It is hard to distinguish between instincts and prejudices.
Why Here?Give me one solid reason
To come here, to this noise.
Once there was a tree here
On which a nightingale perched
Long enough for an ode to be born.
Might still be over there.
To rest in the shade of that tree
Even if it is not there now
Is my main motive.
In that shade I'll find the song
That starts with a melody of love
And find rhythm in the beats of light."The sounds of ambush can be heard
In the paradise of tunnels." Menchu Gutiérrez
That evening I stayed a bit longer
In the reading room, was trapped
By the octopus tentacles of some text
That told me about nonlinear light.
As I walked back to the station
Through a stinky dark tunnel
The walls were shrieking,
"We haven't seen you down here before."
I used to walk the road daily,
Looking around at the rich shops,
At the busy slaves carrying ties
Like shackels round their necks,
Wrapped tightly in dark suits.
All those who have some reason
Walk through those busy streets
Listening to the Imperial noises.
A slight, chilly drizzle in the air
Was the reason I took that tunnel.
Tired of too much nonlinearity,
Burrowing took all my remaining energy.
Someone was playing on a guitar
But the music didn't help much either.
Music for pennies is often worthless,
Offering dead tones.
As I arrived about midway to an exit
Leading to the Museum of Natural History
I turned my head to have a look.
What a marvelous, romantic sight --
Lit by a heaven of lights, radiant bulbs,
as in some celestial dream.
The trees near the museum were all lit
Like tiny stars hung in garlands
And behind the lights, like a castle,
Stood the museum in all its prime
With a perfect blue backdrop of night sky.
That picture appeared then like a postcard
Sent by a lover to inspire a poet.
UndergroundFlowing in the veins of this busy city
Is not blood but hectic snakes
Crawling fast, no matter what it takes.
Habitually they stop and spit venom
That slowly transforms into worms,
Snakes with a routine of rearing germs.
Worms hold the sharp dagger of time
That scratches the inside of snake gut;
They never keep their mouths shut.
Worms keep their eyes fixed on rags,
Carry news of every kiss and crime
And lack of goals, working overtime.
Revelation of a few years old murder,
Fashion evoking some guilty pleasure,
And what to do if you've leisure time --
Every time is too dry, and at every dull pause
Someone cries aloud to "mind the gap",
No one can get out of this snake's trap.
When You Wake Up EarlyThe dawn itself is waking slowly;
Deserted streets proclaim a holiday.
Out here on the platform I'm alone
Except for parts of yesterday's newspapers.
Those were read without pickiness
And forgotten for other reasons.
With nothing to read, I write.
The train is gradually approaching.
I find no passengers are in it to share a smile.
Realization that the train runs just for me
Brings confidence, a warm bed-coffee to mind...
Being early makes me lonely
But mornings can be interpreted wrongly
And from the first ray of sun to the many
Is a nice progression.
At a Lunchtime ConcertAs her violin ascended the tower
Of Prokofiev's mellow Andante
I saw the pale face of some child
Made even paler with some craving.
All the colour in her face had fled
To her violin to quench its thirst.
The colour and thirst of the violin
Were continuous, like sorrows.
The piano distinctly pronounced words,
Utterances of pleasure, cries of pain,
The faint smile of a forgotten lover.
Without emotion, music is in vain.
Although the violin did pause at times,
The child's grief was continuous.
Tears on the cute face were like pearls
On that child, Prokofiev's daughter.
Then the piano brought her a gift,
Some colourful pieces of glass,
Beautiful, but with sharp edges.
In a burst of delight, she jumped
To grab them in her tender hands.
Small spheres of ruby appeared.
More pearls ran down the cheeks
But melody blossomed into a smile.
I am a half-completed paintingI am a half-completed painting on a canvas
Born from the wild inspiration of an artist.
Authentic paintings are conceived that way;
Those forced by rich connoisseurs
Don’t meet the definition I give.
I’ll tell you how I was brought to where I am:
She coated me with a primer first,
Then she dried me in hot sun for a couple of days.
She has been using acrylic and some other paint,
And at times has ground me with coarse sand.
She poured oil on my face and it stuck,
She scratched me with her sharp finger nails,
She looked into my eyes for several hours...
I enjoyed all of it, she is a very beautiful young girl.
I am really glad that she has the knowledge,
The painting is a work in progress, like building a house.
She was complaining to me, or just to thin air,
That the last painting she worked on fell apart.
So this time she has taken extra care in preparing,
But she doesn’t know the growing soul of men.
That last work of hers that fell off the canvas
Told me just before it fell down and died
I was just an idea then in her mind’s womb.
But I heard it very clearly, that shrill scream --
His painting was not destined to survive.
It is we who decide whether to stay on or not.
As for myself, I quite like this little sweet artist.
I will not pass away even if I start hating my life,
Simply because I do not want to dissappoint her.
I realize how many hopes she has in me.
I wish all paintings understood the artist’s mind,
Although an artist rarely sees a painting’s heart.written at a concert while listening to compositions
by Gabriel Fauré and Claude Debussy
With fingers as oars, hands were floating
Over a lake of black and white piano keys.
I too swayed with the water, gently waving,
Sitting on the side of that small fine boat,
Feeling the cold water kissing my fingers.
What is the name of the boat, is it Chopin?
No, the bald boatman had said before,
‘Ladies and gentlemen, this belongs to Fauré’.
In the piano, yellow leaves were rising in pitch,
The keys may have forgotten all the greenery.
Moonlight was laying In the wake of a sleep;
This gave the land a blue and misty face.
A falling leaf suddenly stayed still in the air;
Or was it on an altar, or stones of a temple?
Debussy sat there, holding a book with images,
Engrossed in them, the leaf had forgotten to fall.written during the first snowfall
in London, 2009
The white clouds from heaven came down
Pouring in drops and staying over rooftops
Like lumps of cotton over the trees and earth,
Covering the cars and roads with its white
Like Purity settles over pilgrims and their paths.
Suddenly a dull and dreary February was bright.
Such sanctity was not here, even on Christmas;
This sparkle was absent, even on New Year’s Eve.
All day children played in the snow, adults too,
Who had a child in some corner of their hearts,
Built snowmen, threw snowballs at each other.
Work halted in offices, some trains ran late;
A fine wind of energy was blowing in everyone.
At night when I was walking by Hyde Park
I saw snowmen dancing and heard them sing;
That was the leaping soul of every Londoner.
Self-CannibalisingI will eat my feet one day
When I look down upon them
For they have been walking
Since they kissed the red soil.
There were thorns in the grass
Whose sharpness has caused blood
To ooze out of my rough feet,
Once as tender as a rose.
That blood will make my meal tastier.
The stones and rocks on earth
Have made my feet tough over time,
I will not mind those crunchy bites.
You might wonder how I will walk --
I will be floating in air by then.
I will also eat up my knees one day,
Enough of kneeling before someone --
Let it be punishment for that respect.
Those scratches due to the rocks
Will add to the taste while I'm eating.
Then I will eat my thigh’s flesh
And I will devour my legs wholly,
But who cares, I will be flying by then.
Then I will eat my belly, which was always full
While men were starving; to keep it is shameful.
I will not spare my hands, either of them.
No point in considering whether one is left or right.
I will eat both left and right together
But I am sure they will not be tasty
As they were idle for such a long time.
I would best swallow them in just one go;
My fingers, my arms and shoulders too
Have never ever been of much worth.
Then I will eat my chest very gradually
As it has always swelled with such pride.
The neck has deserved to get strangled
So it will not mind getting eaten up.
My lips that never kissed with passion,
My tongue that never talked with truth,
My teeth that crushed every leaf’s skin --
I will eat my entire mouth for all its sins.
My nose which kept me awake all night
Taking in the fragrance of jasmine flowers
That bloomed high into the night sky --
I will eat my nose and give out a big sigh.
I will eat all my body, except my eyes,
Not because they are in any way special
But I need them to see what is left --
In me and about, to eat at a later time.written during a visit to
Tate Modern Gallery, London
Enter Tate, the dense jungle of fearsome art;
I fail to understand almost all its wild beasts,
Hard for me to find music amidst their roars.
Let me smell those phantom roses of Tanning --
Roses are dead, but not because this is winter.
Men love the fragrance of gunpowder now;
Roses are ghosts in these haunted galleries.
As Kiefer mocks Mao’s unkept promises
Of a hundred (or thousand) flowers to bloom
From withering revolutionary dreams to a kiss;
Where Picasso portrays a couple locking lips,
A compulsive man involved in a hard battle
Of lips and tongues with ecstatic women --
I had seen these in parks and stinky booths.
Not just lips -- mouths, tongues and intestines,
One taking all of the others to fill the stomach.
Picasso is right; few kisses here are true love.
This gallery is haunted by love's ghosts, too.
Calder has changed the whole 'picture' here
In making sculpture mobile, by hanging his art.
One day some people may start listening
To composed silence being played in concerts.
It has all turned upside down with Baselitz;
He has painted images that I can only see
If I walk with my head, look with my legs.
Schnabel has derived inspiration from Blake,
Art from poetry; here I am doing the reverse.
But all that is one cycle in between the two.
To Penck's western fissure of black and white,
Shapes, figures and symbols being symbolic,
One holding in his hand a cross and dollar sign,
Church and capital driving most of the west.
Holding the hammer and sickle fleeing
Could be the artist’s leap over the Berlin wall.
Drawn to the deep red of Paladino's comets,
The three in some outlandish devout rite;
That tail and animal skull add to the secrecy.
In Basquiat, tobacco spars with the red chief;
The American chieftain may have sold his land
For a bunch of cigars he is proudly showing.
All these untamed animals are roaring loudly,
Not just in their dens, but in and on the mountains.
In the light of the dream of Kapoor's son, Ishi,
He is offering to the viewers a basic obligation.
He may be saying that all art is not worthy
If no one is there to see it or worry about it.
Artifacts of drawing, sounds in Ferrari's Babel --
I realize those thick lines of Krasner are trees,
But not because he included them in his 'Gothic landscapes'.
Maybe time for me to look out of the window
To see real trees, but none have any leaves,
All taken away as a right ransom to winter.
But it's not just I who wants to plunge into nature --
Monet with the water lilies of his Giverny garden
Painted the surface of the water of the pond;
He too wants to dive in deep,
Into the colour and depth of nature.
I look out through the lifeless window again;
There lies the Millennium Bridge which shouted
'No' to all the smoke and noise of automobiles.
‘Let people walk over me, let them not drive.
I'll take you from Tate's art to St. Paul's serenity’.