One whistle for the city

I’m falling in love with cities sooner than I’ve fallen in love with people. 

What is this fascination that won’t go away?

My grinning childhood might be stuck here or is it my heavy, remorseful body wading through teasing memories of slow afternoons? 

I see my mother’s smiling face in all these cities – her body younger than mine, her energy – more reckless than your grandfather’s. 

But what do I have to do with blackened buildings and curving streets? 

What do I have to do with yawning dogs and blinking lights?

I can only say this – R.L Stevenson once wrote a poem on trains. Painted stations whistle by.

And sitting simply, long after I’ve abandoned the city, that line from the poem will come and bite my armpit.

What to do? 

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In that small room with purple walls

In that small room with purple walls

In that small room with purple walls

You sat on the bed, giggling like water in a moving jug.

When I tried to touch you, you slapped my hands away and giggled some more.

 

In the bathroom, my water was ready –

The door locked – the lights, dim.

You banged on the door with a thousand fists and twelve fingers-

I don’t remember opening the door –

But you ran in – all thousand fists and twelve fingers and fell into the tub, into my water.

When the water jumped up and fell down — one-two-three of my eyelashes drowned in it too.

In that small room with purple walls.

Featured Image Credits: iStock

Tipping the Velvet

Tipping the Velvet

It begins slowly

at first.

And then, there is a slithering pause

after which

only an explosion

up the thighs,

and then behind the ears.

Nobody dares to leave the neck behind –

that’s why it was made in the first place–

to feel goosebumps of velvet,

tipping the eyelids into a well-

now closing,

now opening.

 

Alive

always always

there is that fleeting moment

when you are writing;

when you suddenly become aware

of time,

and how much you didn’t listen to its ticking before –

such an irony no?

that it is in these moments when we feel no time

we come out alive, like dead people out of coffins.

useless

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in my mother’s cupboard

there is the smell of naphthalene

that’s only a little stronger than

all the smells of all the houses we have lived in


my former best friend loved me very much

but sometimes she didn’t like the chappals i wore

and this she told me clearly

her long eyelashes now falling, now staying


sometimes i think you don’t like me

but that’s ok because today

i have found the courage to tell myself

that i don’t like you more


today she dropped her brand new i pad

and withdrew into a corner, shaken and dismayed

i picked it up and hugged her warmly in my mind

it’s ok, i told her — suddenly wanting to cry.

DULL HOLE

My bad day is a young male sitting anywhere in the classroom – his eyelashes thick with disapproval and his demeanour aching to break open in a string of loud and menacing laughter.

My bad day is an unwelcome pause that struts in between the beginning and the end of a sentence that I have forgotten midway. The pause blinks twice in the darkness behind my eyes before taking off.

My bad day is a tongue that hangs mutely in sandpapery devotion to a mind that can only see scratches.

When I walk out of a bad class, my dejection follows me around wearing a black hood. Its hisses are meaner than the many rejections in my mail box.

I seek the company of my alone table and here I fall back on the many assurances I can afford to believe in.

Then I open my laptop and drown in the many miseries of a dull admin life.