Tag Archives: India

Old Lovers

Old lovers, they say, go the way of old photographs
They fade away until only the outlines remain
But you, my darling, stay in photographs
And we love through words and sigh to ourselves.

What wouldn’t I do to entangle myself
In your sheets as if they were mine
In your limbs, as if they were mine
In your life as if you were mine?

All I have is your general outline
And yet, you do not fade away
I draw me your face, its shadings
Pimples, and then moles, and then you a whole.

Inspired by this quote by my Queen Margaret Atwood:

Old lovers go the way of old photographs, bleaching out gradually as in a slow bath of acid: first the moles and pimples, then the shadings. Then the faces themselves, until nothing remains but the general outlines.

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To the gods in Kathua

did the gods cry when they heard her screams?
when she thought of monsters under the bed,
did the gods feel guilty?
when she was scared, and trembling,
did they wonder how to get out of their prisons?

did the gods feel ashamed?
when the monsters rang their bells
and punished her for the ostensible crimes of her ancestors
on both sides who spread nothing but hate
in the name of fictions they believed,
did the gods feel ashamed?

did the gods feel anger?
did they rage, rage, rage
while her life faded away
in the hands of the monsters
pretending to be guardians?

did the gods care?
while a young body was annihilated
to satiate a thirst for vengeance
the fires of which their ancestors kindled
when they were gluttonous?

why did the gods not care?
why did they not start a raging tempest
an irate tornado, a turbulent hailstorm
against the pathetic, fallacious monsters
masquerading as mere mortal men?

why did the gods not care?
why did they not break their bangles
and adorn themselves in white
and walk themselves into unholy fire-

for what use of reverence,
when monsters take turns to anhilate young bodies in gods name?
when monsters exterminate,
and hate everyone who isn’t the same
when monsters laugh and feel no remorse?

why did the gods not dissolve themselves in shame?

Make believe

I live in a world of make believe
And pretense. The sky is always blue
The sun-warm as a McDonald’s hash brown
The river always flowing, the leaves jewelled with dew.

You are a blank canvas
I paint on with acrylic
My dreams tranquil
As the sound of the rain.

I wish you upon a star
And at eleven eleven
I give you my entire being
And you feel like heaven

Skin on beautiful skin
Fingers intertwined
Ghost of a smile in your eyes
And that’s how I know you’re mine.

But I live in a world of make believe
And you don’t really exist
You let my fantasies live
So how can I resist?

Untouchable- Part 7

i do not lynch
i do not kill
i do not burn
i do not hurt

i do not save
i do not stop
i do not ask
i do not touch

i am not generous enough
to not lynch
i am privileged enough
to not stop

i am not generous enough
to not kill
i am privileged enough
to never question

i am not generous enough
to participate
i am privileged enough
to let it happen

after all,
those who kindle the fire
are worse than
those who strike the matches.

Part 7/7

Untouchable- Part 6

we pluck petals
to measure love
loves me,
loves me not

we don’t pluck
pieces of people
hair, skin, blood, bones
love me,
loves me not

but why
do we pluck pieces
off you?
good
but not enough

wedding nights
you clear the bed
and the mats
and the glasses
and ashes-
remnants of the cleaning fire
loves me

a day off
when your son
takes off
on a journey
for social mobility
loves me not

a day off
your daughter’s wedding
to the love of her life
who stays
a million miles away
loves me not

a day off
when your mother
my nanny
is wheezing
loves me not

a day off
to pick up the pieces
your father has passed
i let you
i’m generous
no?
loves me not

we pluck out
pieces of your
untouchable self
loves me,
loves me not

Untouchable- Part 5

today
i heard my mother
fight with the maid
she’s asking for more
than we can afford to pay

our maid looked down,
and whispered about
her alcoholic husband
and her unemployed son
the daughter in law trying
harder and harder everyday
to provide for the grandchildren.

my mother asks me
why does she need to send her grandchildren to private school?
the fees is so high, she says
we could barely afford it.
why is our maid
hoping to get her grandchildren
into the private school we went to?

my mother
reprimands me
when i drink starbucks
but not when i
take a loan
for private school
the more you pay
the more you get back
better jobs, better life.

but my mother
asks my maid
who is begging for a higher wage
why she needs to send
her grandchildren
to private school.
Part 5/7