Lines in sand are not etched in stone, though
Give it time, and stone will be sand and lines
Will form – form is not platonic, it is coeval
With time, bursting with each free act digitized
By algorithmic machinations of an irregular
Context-sensitive grammar – grammar is not absence
Of joy but its background, necessarily in opposition
But definitive in structure – structure is not
A given but follows form which seeks joy that sits
Far from the rhetoric of the pejoratively happy.
A smatter ing of words pile on
within and out: a rabbit’s foot,
an emancipated goosebump, the
loud falsifications of rhyme.
Yield word ling to the scythe, to
the dull burrowing of each wordlike
wordlie; the semantics of the bull
horn will eclipse all that is smudged.
Prime some thing out of blobs of word
forms, as if creation is honor-bound
to reveal under oath of a slipped tongue,
a fairied tooth, unfairly tooled, singed.
There is a void in the effluence of
A metaphor broken, a folktale eulogized, a
Myth taken for fact; the earth-yearning
Goddess balks in her tracks – not good.
“Fie then,” it follows. Fie then upon the
Track-stopperers, the metaphor-brokerers.
Refill the jars now, make them reek of
Praise, scream out “the goddess is thus and
Also thus.” You need a thousand and one tales
Context: This started off as a somewhat serious commentary on the darker aspects of the fallout of the modern quest for identity: when the stories, folktales and songs that have been informing us for millennia have been stultified or forgotten. But then as the poem progresses, it acquires an irreverent tone (in line with one of the functions of folklore as explained by A.K Ramanujan).
Of forgiveness for one insolence, you blasphemous
Lout, you un-carer of myth, you track stopperer
You. Counterpoint needs point, dialogue ogue.
Sloughing off inner form,
The grammar of dissent accedes
To the howl in the vowel
But only so much.
Tending to the tender build
Up of an umptious velocity
Of will, the preposition
Proposes the act
Of severing the shill, the
Bond of a trembling fever
Of anxious relief; the
Cymbals can sound
Out now, the empire stands
Naked. O root of the
Predicate, take barbs
At the conjugal noun!
“Empire follows art and not vice versa” – William Blake
ik bhikaari mazaar se thoRi door, dopehar
ki sangdaar shuaaoN se bhiRa hua
andar kisee darwesh ki boseeda haDDiyoN
ka Dher zameen me gaRa hua
beech kashkol maiN, kuChh sikkoN aur
rupoN ka ik halka raqs racha hua
ishq naheeN to na sahee, yeh raunaq-e
kashkol kisee mu’jizay se kum hai?
Flips through my passport,
The ideograms of travel flit through: stamps at every port of entry/
There is the mark of Accra, the seal of Beirut, relics
Of gods sputtering their earthly residues of approval/
Creature of bureaucracy judging creature of bureaucracy,
Fully unaware that the rules that play him/
An unquenched wanderlust reeks out to utter of the warmth
At Dar, the fear at the heart of war, the clink of glasses/
Time’s up, the gears of tic-toc dictate I make way for
The next in line; the slouch of time is yet to come/
What befits the care of day, the soothing of shine, the coughing
Up of justice? The gaping hurt might turn slowly for a tad or the
Lashed out noose harp awhile for a hallowed transplantation.
Yet cusp of night meanders to find you in hallowed light. Might
You care enough to dispel myth of right, couch of blight, sleight
Of an unsought hand? The care of day is optional for some time.
So opts the blight, you would dare to say, but the limiting silence of
Caressed speech is an advocacy that repairs itself, an intonation
Of vowels that is mouthed in proportional misery giving minimal
Relief from pragmatics and irrationals; the parchment of soul is
Once again vetted for blue matchboxes and olive leftovers: the
Symbols of dreamsong, catchment of afterdays and beforenoons.
the river does
not settle, nor does
it dribble enough color at night to
want to forget what it
was that spoke the syllable of lost nows (or lost
does not settle, nor does it
make it any easier for
the loss of spilled ink;
maggots eat leftover
adverbs for a late-ish supper, and there is a
clip-clop of yonder
lads clamoring to get ahead,
The parsing of lush adverbial oppositions
in the context of a red aftermath of post
-yesterdays and pre-tomorrows: that is the
conjunctive relief, the prepositional trophy,
the limiting of an untapped vowel slipping
off the coast of half-blitzed sploshes
of remembrances and recalcitrances, sobered
up aftermaths of a washed out couthness.
The sepulchrous howl is not a whit of wisdom
Shanked in utilitarian moss; it is given green.
To be sought as green; to match the inner lilt
Of verisimilitudinous graffiti; it likens
Hearth to the claw of day; to seek when green
Enough for the tendrils of day to unpause and
Show feigned delight; such is the green of
Moss; the musk is content to stay put till dawn.
“The musk is in the deer, but it seeks it not within itself: it wanders in quest of grass” – Kabir; translated by Rabindranath Tagore.