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A River Splits The City and other poems

A River Splits The City and other poems

A River Splits The City


Rivers rarely care for Providence
It dawns on me in a Paris of summer crackle
As dreams swallow thoroughfare and cobble
Such these streets, which your fragrance still owns

Each second is a questionable epitaph
In this tapestry of life and belief
You don’t temper me by holding on
Such these scarlet eyes, which kiss conversation away

Why must lovers bequeath their footsteps?
Each step wet with longing
The damp frisson of limbs and light
Such this desire, the rampant riposte to an equable Seine

The transparence of a fable hovers
The desirability of lack blossoms
These notions of something resembling God whisper
Such this light, skipping past desire and her ways

Confessions swallow themselves in seconds
Bloodied, beneath the gaze of spires
Annulled, beneath these hearts of spades
Such this echo, quoting Baudelaire in prose and waves

I follow each flood, each flow
Through the tremors in your hair
Brief bursts of blonde and bleed
Such this evening, caressing those yesterdays

We memorise each other’s sighs
As a portent of spring marries the air
Before the slow beginning of a denouement
Such this quiver, simply Paris and her lilting airs

You Haven’t


Soil writes everything down; it uses dirt,
the slaked faithfulness of water mixed with wet earth,
grains, pebbles, and a few forgotten remnants left
behind by the past. It passes these words on to roots,
who take them in via the umbilical truth of child receding womb,
memorising each word through the secular profusion of
twigs, stems, leaves, and wood. A century or so later,
the words, having grown up to become sentences, stanzas, parables,
epics, give themselves to the freedom of evaporation, rising on the
illicit pleasures of the wind and the fluttering emancipation
of gathered clouds, bathing the land in that which was nearly
buried beneath the brusque hand of rule: of how orange tried to flood
our rivers and our homes, once upon a time; of how its crescendo
of odium and frenzy tried to swallow the songbird’s lament,
woven from diversified notes; of how its putrid breath tried to
demolish the pages of history, line by sacred line. A century or so later,
the words, having grown up to become sentences, stanzas, parables,
epics, give themselves to the freedom of evaporation, rising on the
illicit pleasures of the wind and the fluttering emancipation
of gathered clouds, bathing the land in that which was saved
by the wet fortitude of braver tongues: of how mahogany and
mahua came together to form barricades; of how tiger lilies,
lotuses, delilah, and temple magnolia dissolved previous sins
in the riparian tides of rise and roar; of how heirlooms and artefacts
and the insistent pull of photographic memory resuscitated breath
and blood into the streaming canals of previously deceased lungs. 

A century or so later, the words will gather as proof of what
soil had once sowed. So if you think you’ve gotten away with it,
you haven’t.   

Seven Times One

Seven plucked strings,
And Heaven wails

The moon howls
At each precise infiltration
Of sacred truth

This isn’t hymn,
It’s Raag;
Legacy dispelling lie
From the silent folds
Of fable

This isn’t prayer,
It’s Pragya;
Melody dispelling I
From the mythical belief
Of self.

A Flirtation Or Two

There is a spark that kisses indescribable air
Things happen around the edges of a fable
This much I know to be true, draped in light linen nonchalance

Conversations zing around the table like honeymooning fireflies
Relishing the topography of these explosions between a sigh
Embarking on their voyages of discover and relinquish

I’m not quite sure how to deal with this, with this
Fractured alchemy between tongue and truth
Between the electric literature smothering words in mist
  
Someone once told me, between the hiss of sirens and waves
To trust my instincts with these strange, irrevocable currencies
When need and skin become beautifully, brutally akin

I know now why I love you; I know now why I ache
It’s as clear to me as the bartender pretending he’s Russian
Professing that Grey Goose and Stolichnaya behave just the same

Souls roar, trying to navigate these notions of flight
The eyes kiss, but fleetingly, between sangria poured cold
Evening rushes along to the thick harvest of suggest and convey

A somewhat operatic tone to conversational bloom
Chaos, noise, rhythm, as humans fall into secret synergy
I seek out your laughter in the diamond rush of last goodbyes

The potency of truth lies wedded to the thrill of not consuming
Of having your name flutter like a reckless kite in the wind
Before this next dance of shadows… sips, eyes, tongues, ache

Once Upon An Irani Café 


They used to hoard those
small striated glasses of chai,
usually three-fourths of the way
full when in use, as one
hoards see-through dreams

Were they storing away sips,
or simply faces; were they
holding on to breath, or simply
the casual urgency of a communal
urban regret?

I can still see the name clearly:
Naaz; spelt out in large alphabet,
its Urdu lineage swirling in the
rousing romance of calligraphic wink
and the neon nihilism of nights
muffled thick in poetry’s heat

Old-timers with toothless grins,
ruffians and scamps carrying
damp midnight whiskey breath,
rush in through memories of breakfast
kissed with the deep-fried arrogance
of samosas mingled with hiss 

What the mind refuses to
hold on to, though, is the 
operatic clatter of rusted green
chairs and childless tables being
replaced, one day, by the cruel
synthetic paralysis of a fucking
Barista, all perfect orange disarray

In this confluence of characters, cities,
sorrows, and fragilities, find
a place that reminds you of
the melodies you've known 

So what if home can be
crystallised down to sips, faces,
breath, or simply, the casual urgency
of a communal urban regret?

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