Monday, November 9, 2015

The blue stretches on.

[For Natalia Molchanova]

The blue stretches on
like air, only heavier.

The blue stretches on
like language, the soul's anchorage.

The blue stretches on
like home, a vast starless womb.

The blue stretches on
in silence, bellowing through the veins.

The blue stretches on
into the awakening, pearly bubbles ascending

into the beyond.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Cergy Pontoise

A March evening.
Sunlight uncoils in the horizon,
darkness delicately devouring the day's wall of light.

Leaps of blue by the riverside
green tree tops, foamy white clouds
brown contemplative earth
and an enormous silence

pierced by a distant seagull's cry
as if from memory,
from a different evening, a different time.

One of those moments
life accumulates
like the bellows of an accordion
and the music rises up in your throat
like an ancestral song.

Others have dreamt this before you.
You are but a page
in a library of infinite pages.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Cassette

There was no embrace at the end,
no gawky display of brotherly affection

just a turn of your head at the bend,
a brief glance before you disappeared
into the vast machinery of adulthood.

On my way home in the cab
I watched your departure streak through the sky
like a shooting star.

Back in the shade of my living room,
I muted the lights, shut the blinds
and gave in to the plain charity of sleep.

I dreamt of the time you cried as a little boy
when your favourite movie tape got tangled up
and stopped playing.

Nine years old, I was the only adult in the room
and your grief flew at me
like a flock of frightened birds.
I did not know what to do.

I snap awake.
This is a different room, a different time
and I am no longer the only adult between us

if I could gather that tangled tape,
somehow piece it all back together
and play that movie for you one more time,
I would. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015


[For Mark Strand]

Reading early this morning
I stumbled upon your death in the pages
like an old bill I'd forgotten to pay.

April 11, 1934 – November 29, 2014.
It has been nine months.
("Enough time for a new life",
I can almost hear you say.)

I confess I always felt
I would meet you someday.
No reason, just a whimsy
but I believed in it all the same.
Clearly, I underestimated death.
(Don't we all?)

You are gone now,
and we are separated
by this great dark ocean called life.

[27th August 2015 | New Delhi]

Monday, June 8, 2015

Cuddapah, 1995

The long corridor of life
is still at its beginning.
The darkness at the back looms large
but life, like time,
only knows linearity.

The road is paved with choices,
curious coincidences
and the distant sweetness of youth
but he can't see it yet.

Life's sly deceits,
the transparent burdens of adulthood,
they are yet to come.

No one has warned him
what he does not do
will matter
as much as what he does do.

Nor has he been advised
what he is and what he wants to be
will forever be opposite sides of a coin.

Perhaps he will learn to tell apart
dreams from memory,
guilt from regret, patience from cowardice
and pride from self-deception.

Someday he may grow old
and behold his fate in the intricacy of stars
with the happiness that comes
from having loved once.

But not yet.

the five year old
has bigger things on his mind.
Life's unwavering linearity
is lost on him.

Watched over by startled air
as the fifty foot drop yawns below
he stands at the edge of the roof
grasping at the fluttering pigeon

hand outstretched into an inchoate future
unblinking glee on his face, naive as sunrise.