Sunday, February 24, 2013


They've misread my words for years now my dear,
And exchanged my face for a mask.
So I juggle through my roles and lie through my ears
And stage others' stories till dark.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Butterfly Dreams

The cerulean sky has oozed in her eyes
With sunshine of winter unfurled.

And even as I bask in the shimmers of her gaze
I'm caught in the tangles of glowing copper locks
That ensnare my dream-dappled heart.

My truant eyes curl on stripes of her coat
And glide towards buttons full of mesmerized hope
And latch onto that necklace with despairing claws
As a drowner would cling to his straws.

Here among days full of academic bore
Such be the visions that'll shine through my nights
Even as I shiver to my bones.

And even as I lapse into familiar fuss,
With veins being stilled as if stoned,
These summer wonders will streak through my dark
With blossoms that'll sprout through the rocks.

Braced for the whiplash of shame through my days
I save through these words the petals that'll rain
And change our pebbles into cotton-flower clouds
That float beyond deadline and deals to a home
Where bluebirds and butterflies roam.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

For Salman Rushdie: An Elegy from Kolkata

[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.