Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Letter X

I'm just a matter of, maybe,
two lines crossing each other

I have nothing
you say: 'step out of yourself'

I don't understand what you mean

But, I reply:
who will rub me out?

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Where even the smell of the skin is familiar
in those arms I sleep tonight
I remember your look
your rehearsed innocence
and I love the way you hesitate
you know the rules
you play the game
I play it too
do you know it's true?
can you for tonight
try to shed that glow
come walk with me
through the door once more
lets take from each other
what we want, what we need
some flesh, a little love
with honesty and greed.

The Beginning

Was it the setting sun or the lingering shadows
did we see each other?
we met at the park and began with tea
do you remember the grass?
and the gentle breeze that had started to blow
do you remember wondering
why a moment so simple
should be so rare?
we went to the outhouse
with sleeping dogs and strewn mattresses
when I held you close to me
I saw my years of poverty
vanishing in the fading light
I thank you for offering tea
and I know you thank me
for accepting the offer.

Spring evenings

Is it the blazing sun
or your fire that devours me
my dense spring evenings
brightening suddenly
when you charge yourself
into my veins.


I know for sure
you don't see me here
where the lights are like twinkling stars
the music is shifting
the crowd is drifting
I'm lost in the smoke
that fills this club
I'm wasted in the world
you call your own
does it matter to you
that I love your smile
would you care to know
what I wouldn't give
to walk with you these empty streets
to hold your hand this lonely night


At times I find you
brutal and yourself

you are an orange flame
you rise up slowly
and touch my face

you are born there in yourself
at each of your instants

and sometimes I find you
like a moment of me
vague, hazy, distracted

I expose us to the danger
of merging us both
in the space in-between


The sky and the sun
seem a little higher today
and the river stretches before me
with a greater haze of promise.


In the late evening
beyond every shadow of the day
I came upon a tree
leafless, voiceless
and it suddenly took on meaning
through my existence.

Open sky

My vast open sky
now that you're here
I need nothing else
and no thoughts in particular
you have become
my vision, my shelter, my nights
I need nothing else
not even a shade
of my own.


This love, waiting for
whatever the day brings it

is piling up joy
in its very depths

that no strong winds
can toss into the abyss

Somewhere you are still

There's no circle of heat
where this groundless horizon glitters
a meaningless joy rises and vanishes like smoke
but like an insistent shadow
like running water
there's life, there's love
and somewhere you are still.


As love runs along this street
it passes dusty towns, dry river beds,
which appear and reappear with you
and with the distant sun dazzling
the blazing road feels like silk.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sunday mornings

Moonlight through the window
meets me in your eyes
staining us both in white ink
remember this moment
like a flash of dreams
which exposes Sunday mornings
that lead me back to you


When dreams
vanish with sleep
and the season
turns to fall
this is the little stuff
she smiled
she's sorting dry leaves
in paradise


You stare again
the early morning sun
as colors return
to the womb of darkness
you are my body
we gaze at the river
just me and you


All I need is your body
that's all I bargained for
and if you smile through those beautiful eyes
perhaps I'll consider you kind
but if I ask you your name
you'll tell me that and more
about your friends, your lovers
your days spent, forgotten
you'll let me put an arm around
that gentle heart of yours
you'll make me so aware of
the shallowness of my desires.

Before you left

Before this night
of simple things
before me
before us
you were there
in a world
that loved you
that hated you
before you left
before you changed.


My heart races to fly again
at least as this night does
at least as the ferment of spring

Time to go

As you will presently close the door
and leave
I realise
that every locked door
has a past
and every locked door
opens to the blowing ocean wind
which door will you open
when you find yourself today
which key will you turn
I know loving yourself is not enough
just like nothing ever is.

City streets

Woke-up this morning
on a hill next to you
sat down still on lost ground
cleared my eyes
on the same street
where you and me
are still having
so much fun together.

Last spring

Spring's tentative blossom
beats with a Lazarus heart
and in darkness, with the earth
turns the street of a mad lover
watching her now
is its own freedom
I'll sleep by her side tonight
and wait
where she blooms tomorrow

Flood chasers

What matters she's art
or life's lame duck

if she can pirouette like a ravine

never the flood-chaser
of famine

not the cell-mate of narrow
she is, not tomorrow.


Love is the only eye
which doesn't turn to stone

even when ears become secret corners
of unfortunate truths.


Come unnoticed
on faintly muted wings

last of the breeze

and remind my body's fading distress
my adversary and comforter both

show me what is possible
not at the day's dim frontier

but now

when my face is still sprinkled
with the glitter
of your lament.


Today she is

the color of her own intent

no more sedition's red
her hands of henna
a growing trace of bloom

bright tonight the silver beach
building for the sea
with cans of paint

countless rafts
between love dreamt and love lived.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Music's Veil

She stares the song
his music's veil

weaving notes to salve her wound
an unfinished
for his drunken feet

unaware his broken tune
her ear-less-ness
is frankly spoken
her rhymes shiver like winters moon

she knows this season, her smeared verses
will seek
the light
her month of June.

What the body remembers

She wonders
what price
the body she lives in
the days spent deaf
to hear his heart beat
what cost her laughter
the teeth of his street
and her stumble
at his fate-line
weighing on her back
a mountain of years
to find and lose
to lose and find
her voice.

Blue Birds

She separates from her body
when time returns
a flight of soul-birds
knocking quietly her skin
every passing day
the wind enters
fusing heart with bone
eyes with silent mouth
time passes
she sleeps
never lets go
his hand.

Raking the garden

She came around
like the earth
to water every stalk
to rake the garden
ground and below

she also called the breeze
in his heart's
waste places
with love
gathering strength
at dawn, called to grow.

Good Friday

Open your eyes
It's spring
close your eyes
it's gone

Open your eyes
you think you see his kingdom
close your eyes
it's gone

Now you stand at the edge of the mountain
and deep inside
you can see him clearly

The kingdom lies in your heart
The kingdom is built and destroyed
by the blinking of an eye

and it dies
when the eyes are opened.

SoWhite was theStatue/DeceptioN

So white was the statue
Obviously of goodMarble
so pale
And erotic
that I asked Them
Have they kept insideHer?

It goes on

It goes on. It always has, and it always will.


She flies at the doorway
of his house
like a ragged kite
of the wind
January is here
the silent winter
upon them
but like screams
of broken clay
she is scattered
at his gate.


Every time I look back
chase the memory, clear the throat
wash my legs
I see more, but hold something less in my hands
hey love lets go back home before dusk
but keep the water in your eyes
before the lights go out
and you feel thirsty again.


In this long and uncertain moment
of life that mimics love
he is searching and longing
for something that once died
she brings back memory
which he's unable to feel
he sees her as someone
he will remember or maybe forget
in this airless forest
where he finds nothing to hold on to
she stirs up desire
maybe he's just hoping to find
a small fragment of her
which he wants to take home
a fragment he accidentally lost
a while ago.


Life soars on her wings
like a runaway angel
she cut lose her strings
where will she rest
before she leaps
to skydive again with me.


Fireflies, when you see them
they spin and flash and crash
right in front of your eyes
streaking and dancing
like veins across the skin

you must let them fly
and wait until the sun
before the spotlight is on you
purple across your flesh

until you burn brightly
for the world to see.

Two of Hearts

almost maps
almost cities

more than passages
almost the entrance
to the person I will touch

travelling with you
I learn
what roads are
what makes our bodies

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


This is the India you've never been to. Where Ive never been often enough either. Its not just a land of sunburnt pilgrims. Its a place of generous beauty, untamed fury, simplicity and violence.

A land of deserts and lakes and cows and mountains and rivers and crows surrounding cities of contemporary blinding 
lights of Freon. 

It's everything you think it is and everything you think it should be.

Love Poem

You look so peaceful when you're sleeping
your breathing sounds like gentle rain
your hands wrap like blankets over me

and I wish that
nothing will ever change.

Commentaries on the infinite

A brick is made of earth and therefore it has no independent existence. It's existence is derived from the earth itself. The brick is therefore only conventionally a brick while in reality it remains earth. It was earth before it came into existence and it will be earth again when it is broken up. Therefore it is earth really all the time. But the reality of the earth is also limited and relative since it is divisible (into a brick) and changeable and in time and space, it has no continuous existence.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Yes I have seen every inch of your skin
at times when you weren't looking
perhaps you were counting your own scars then
your scars for other people
for someone else
but I still watched you
I never turned away


Did you learn to be art?
to display your hurt
and your dreams?
or is it that nothing could hurt you
maybe the world was
like your faraway gaze
unhurt, in a fog?


Between drags she asked nervously "lie to me again?"

without turning his head from the book he whispered "I love you"

Tattoo Artist

And I tried to tattoo my skin
to cover my scars
but they were carved into my bones too.

Holi Hai!

The traditional Indian festival of color. Here you see a snapshot of the celebrations at my workplace.

Life in the wilderness

A village in the interiors of Tamil Nadu

Monday, March 25, 2013


In a brief silent moment
after last nights dinner

you grabbed a pencil
and drew a boy
with a curly head
a ball of scribbles

you left me to flip
through the sketches

I thought-
if my poems are self portraits
with a head of scribbles too?


Give me a butterfly
a pretty yellow butterfly

so much power
in something so placid.

All about my mother

Every morning I wear her face
across my heart
during puja
I pass incense
back to her
and make wishes

There are days my head
on her belly
is home enough

and there are days
I have to train my head
to close around
her time-clock
and withstand the fallout
from her autumn

I hope some day
I will be able
to pickup her pieces
and put myself together

like her
like the woman
who can make the flawed
look so beautiful.

Old havelis

These are two 150 year old havelis in Old Delhi...gorgeous, priceless.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My city

Lutyens Delhi late evening

The dream of the jade forest

Dear R,

I felt so wonderful just lying next to you today. It reached a point I didn’t know what I should do
 to stop myself feeling as though I was rising up to the sky. I found myself with the breeze and the rain and angels who were old friends.

When bells tolled in my mind or my ears, I admit that I couldn’t tell if it
 was real, but, we all know a temple song when we hear one. I feel extremely light these days,
 like paper, gossamer silk or feather maybe.

I dreamt you handed me a purple rag, looked me square in the eye
 and said “Tie it so you’re blind”
 and I did.
 I know we drove in a rickshaw because there was wind in my hair
 and gold in my covered eyes, which I can only assume was the sunlight.
You played Art Blakey on your cellphone and we hummed along
 as best we could to his skipping songs
 of pink moons and river men and their beautiful women.

When we reached where I didn’t know, you untied the blindfold. The scent of mossy dampness drifted through gilded air.
 Before me I saw lengths and lengths of ribbon upon ribbon
 tied round the trees of the jade forest you’d brought me to.

Feathers fluttered upon the breeze
 hanging down from their trimming like hands reaching lower, to pull me off my feet.
 And there below you’d dug a hole, straight to the centre of the earth.
 You said look down and see all the loveliness of the universe. See the diamond, the amethyst, the silver and the turquoise.
 See the tall blue giraffes and the magic of love.

When I woke up, you were still lying next to me, breathing softly.


Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

I took these photographs at a primary school in an obscure rural village in North India . The nearest small town was a 2 hour drive by bus.