[This poem has a specific context. Rushdie was not allowed to enter my city for inexplicable religious and political reasons. Something that goes against our history and heritage. This is my response to that. I hope the poem stands on its own. But knowing Rushdie's novels, even the titles, certainly helps.]
Saleem will not dream in my city tonight.
Throttled and gagged, the angel that swings
And lovingly looks on from alabaster dome,
Ribbons her face with tar-dyed tapes
And sobs with the Ganges all night.
We had throbbed along expanding bridges through the land
And dipped the whole world in our cups.
Renoir and Bunuel had supped with our Ray
And Teresa was made our own.
And even as Rabindranath turned the world home,
We lounged in our cafes full of Da Vinci and Donne
With Gorky and Lorca in tow.
This was the soil on which we had grown
And flowed free with rivers to the seas.
But now our windows are slammed tight shut,
With streets full of hooded little men.
Scared of the sky full of galaxy of stars
They turn their eyes to petty little holes
And shake their fists full of rage.
Puzzled we now wonder and rattle our chains
And wait for a sigh from Florence to entrance
And lead us to a light through our shame.