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No one to wait at the Doorsteps and other poems

No one to wait at the Doorsteps and other poems
This door is a forlorn boat of nostalgia
plying lonely, with creaking sounds 
in the river that still feeds the fear —
which grips and presses me against
the hope of running back in time. 

The boat —
I could see it from the clay path
leading to my maternal village.
The screeching sounds
of the wooden planks balancing upon 
still and deep waters of memories
were voices in the wilderness 
warning me against stepping into it.
Somewhere on the other side
smells of the past 
rode on the shoulders of old strolling breezes
from the last windfall of the village mangrove.
Sleepy summer afternoon sounds
talked me out of smelling them further.

It was just two decades ago that
my life was a rhyme and
nowadays — I prefer solemn verse. 
The idea of being free had more freedom
in being locked within the mangrove, 
clay roads and waters 
of my childhood village.

They were all there — moments ago.
The moments have outgrown my hope
and now, as I stand to visit my grandpa
I can hear loos
rushing across a pair of flapping doors,
with no one to wait at the doorsteps.

Loos: Hot summer winds blowing in northern India


Bastard Borders and Flags

There cannot be any gusto
in celebrating dead animals.
The cow has already fallen.
Pigs are scattered by.
Few legs are still quivering.
Few have sprouted out
from soil — their bodies
lie as tubers below the ground.
You all have martyred the mute
and reconstructed the texts.
The dumb and inarticulate pages
were the easiest to distort 
for you demagogues
to create a rabble-rousing.
The articulation of poetry 
lies in a bemused jabberwocky.
They are all waiting —
waiting for the tears 
from the impetuous skies
which have been heavy
yet tolerant. They have 
pretended to be phlegmatic.
They have shared furtive glances
at the rapes of country borders.
A deluge will burst implacably
through the streets, 
for reasoning has already 
faded into extinction. 
The cranky heralds will then 
have to wriggle their way
out of swords and religious flags
with the snags and edges
tearing their sermons 
on the lines of bastard borders.


When my Pen Conflicts me

I don’t know why I gleam
when soldiers march.
The sounds of shelling seem
like the only symbols of valour
and a stoic heart hardens my chest,
turns my mind fascist
as I read courses of airstrikes.
The glory in fire and explosions
surfaces on my skin with a reddish hue 
and imbues me with pseudo patriotism.
 
And then, as writing is the only thing
I can do, I feel secluded, as my pen
rejects my unflagging zeal to hail 
the strikes on our neighbours.
 
Through the uplifting fog outside
my window, images start flashing —
of a civilisation punctured by bullets
in the perforated walls of Gaza,
of loath fumes trying to erase signs
of burnt children in a Syrian school,
of murdered dreams in its futile efforts 
to assimilate scattered parts 
of a shot down aeroplane,
of dead army-men 
battered by blinding rains of orders.
 
My pen revolts more often than my mind.
With each dance of a soldier
and each strike that spits on mankind,
the pen turns into a conscience —
that acts independently
unmasking the fear that lacks
a suitable bench to settle,
warning of an impulsive zeal
that can claim an ocean with tears.


Numbers and Lines

I was fussing over my addiction
to learn about figures of past wars.
A newly bought globe was rotating 
steadily in the table fan’s air.

My wits and knowledge folded in
and my dilemma was evened out 
with the answer — that number of deaths
never fascinated my reading habit;
the number of generals and tanks,
the number of countries and warheads
never intrigued my web-surfing habit.

What stoked up my reading about wars
was — the number of participants.
How could so many HUMANS involve
to wrestle out lines of territories!

Slavery hasn’t ended — 
for the very thought of it still haunts us all
and this fear has a intimate relation 
with the dense lines of the rotating globe          
that outnumbers all languages, cults 
and perhaps even the indefinite human habits. 

With numbers and lines in our eyes
we are helplessly riveted at one place
like the artificial axis of the globe in my room.

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