Enraptured like a butterfly
Drawing deep on nectar,
In the sweat from a sudden halt
Of wind, time, and the current of dreams.
Your room’s oppressive fracture,
Suffused with the skin-glow
Of a cobra, its hood aloft
You twist and tug at the thick rope that rolls
The sun along into the room.
Ecstatic from the blood of life
Coursing through your body,
You light the furnace of dreams. Not one to mind
The rising smoke, you kept blowing, and found
The first line of blazing verse.
You recalled the nubile girl, who,
Alone in a room, shamelessly strains
As if to breathe in the air with her whole body.
The soothing coolness of an elephant
Worrying the water with its trunk to let even
The last drop of pain’s pus fall and scatter,
Entered ‘the depths of your heart.
It’s but the yearning for life
That will lever the rock
With a plough’s sharp edge; make
The spring of life gush forth; and write
The song of another season
In the scream of the hurricane’s howl
Between the windpipe’s branches.
I long for you too to witness
The splendour of these falling golden flakes, this dawn.
ANGELS WE ARE NOT
Trees stand upright, devoid of airs
Birds roam aimlessly
Clouds, one of their species,
Are afloat without wings
It was certain now that the time of rain’s begun
Horses were deep in their practice run,
With magic a-whirl in their eyes
Like vines, the colour of rain had spread
On their drenched backs and streaked down
Unknown even to the rain, the scavenger was sinking
Along with the rain’s damage
There was no better season in which
To weave the body’s history:
When the snow-body, molten
In the heat of breath
Met the eye,
Life’s fount opened its lips and flowed
In the evening, when another time called,
The body wore, and wore again, those garlands
Of fire; was gutted
In the morning that greeted and spun you around
In the zones of breath, love itself
Was Death’s scented pollen
In the hard rain that lops your head off
And flings it on the ground,
As wheels turning within a wheel,
Life’s eye shrinks to its essence
It was in that city deficient
In sperm count, where
Laden nights passed, that I met her.
In the groves that beckoned me to understand
The loneliness she made familiar,
Sounds of falling fruit that birds chewed and spat out
Would stun me, like someone following furtively behind.
Lean cats prowling for dried fish
And snakes racing now and again across the courtyard
Would drag her house bereft of electricity’s hues
Towards realms of magical fiction.
Trimming the lamp’s wick, and casting
On the wall a gigantic shadow of her bare body,
She would tell me shadow tales spiked
With the milk of my forefathers.
Only buds that are yet to flower
Wouldn’t have heard or known such tales.
She who obsessed over the body
Started a trade for its sale;
After scraping clean the body’s slush
From her underclothes, and
Making the body whole,
She carried it, as in a lamp-lit
Procession at the temple festival.
Wearing a radiance beyond the oppressive heat,
Everyone followed her
Like wet clothes hung up to dry,
They were worn out by lust’s torments
By and by. They stoned her
Carrying her lamp, she fled down those streets
The city itself caught fire, burned.
We now look on piteously
At the tents coated with the body’s ash,
Firemen are still at their task
Of rescuing the body.
As seedlings, several centuries ago,
Breasts sprouted in her body’s black soil
She forgets them sometimes, as they quiver
Among the straining bodies.
As the sun goes down, they boom like conches
Very close to her heart.
A thread of rain enters in her and unravels; then
Lust’s teeth rise all over her body
If those conches were to open their mouths,
They might speak of her body’s travails.
The day destroys the night’s holy processions
In the torment of being pregnant with a word
Untouched yet by anyone’s heart, finger and lip,
Her body yearns. Yearning is what it must do.
In this rainy season of lakes filled
With ashes falling from the sky, it lives
Like a virgin-seed battened with its own fruit.
Patterns drawn by a child’s fingers, distinguishing
By touch, the eyes, hair
And other organs of a flower,
Have strung her body together,
As the roots of a plant grip the soil tight.
In the dimples of fleshy organs sits,
Cowering, her endless hurt
We who together sip our sweet drinks
From different glasses, savour
Our separate memories alone.
Standing alone in the woods and writhing
At the touch of the finger that stalks
That continues still.
When I return by the same path,
It lies there limp
Like a noose-rope broken.
Flowers of the night
Are awake, like the lidless eyes
In the din of the body sprouting machines all over,
A child’s smile weakly sputters
In the lash of the season’s rain,
The eye’s flame is dimmed; goes out.
We are not angels, after all.