Where my first love was the smooth lining of the CT scan, where I grew to love symmetry, the colour white and phenyl. This is the only honest room in your entire life. This room knows you, flawed and frail. This room loves you for who you are. This room is where you live for the first time. This room where fathers and cousins struggle. This room, their colloseum. This room which destroys us, this room which rebuilds us. This room to which we must return.
To watch the gardenia ripen outside, watch it rot on the stem. And savour the brief perfume.
How do I eat cake after manna?
Can I chew frog legs, escargo, biryani after this?
All the world’s flavours pale now after this –
Hand-made, hand-rolled, fed to me:
How can I savour sweetness after manna? All things have lost their tastes and I long for more;
Craving, crying out for more –
Sun-dried, fermented, home-made:
How can I enjoy hunger now when I’ll never be sated?
I turn to the skies into which you have leapt. I curse my follies. I wait for the next day of manna.
Oh, when will you come back again?
My Third World Skin. Rich in Melanin. It won’t turn against me, inspite of the UV; not yet – inspite of the threat, from the CO2 and the dents that you [ ] leave.
Abandon me to liver spots, the marks of embraces, the burrowing anger –
In the torrid summer
I smolder, I smoke,
I blow it up into the blue;
I watch those veins pulse
Under your First World skin.
I show you my forearms
Dry, scabby, mosquitoed –
This is a history of my world.
I open your clenched fists,
Linger (too long) on a layer-less love;
I smell your head, kiss it,
Hold it between my palms;
I measure your skull:
This is a history of our world.
I pause as you prepare to go.
Leave something for me here!
Take a bit of me with you!
Return it when you can.
Ah, Hussain, is he dead then ?
Have all his struggles come to this ?
Crying in the dark, covered in mud and piss ?
Is this his body then ?
Is this what becomes of men ?
Did he hold another man’s hand in fear,
The same man whom he would often jeer?
Did he pray to his God or his owner ?
As cold water slammed every corner;
And as every corner turned tomb,
He must have clawed against his doom;
But he drowned in that hell pit, screaming
While above him, all around, the world was teeming:
There’s no good times in a mine, no good times in a mine.
4 AM and outside, in the dark,
The storm slams into the street’s tar;
The gutters sing ghazals,
The ground gratefully guzzles up the water;
The winds slash at me violently
But this concrete square shelters well.
I think of all the times I’d been in love:
I think I was in love with the storms
That brewed inside of people;
I’d never been in love with any one body –
Just the flush of a few moments –
Moments which came as a delicious dream,
Moments that linger on even when
The entire body of courtship is cold.
Despite this, I still prefer this weather,
I still hope and wait for the storms:
When a positive and a negative meeting
Play out their inimitable Beauty on the skies.
Where are the wild things ?
Somewhere in a ritual or habit.
Inspite of the communal hunting.
Our nets and drumming cannot herd it.
We never kill it all.
Wild grizzly freedom is out there in the courage I never had to turn wild.
To turn tiger, jackal, no, rodent.
My heart is smaller than a mole’s. I am not half as bold.
For I fear and love the dark spots under the trees.
The same ones in broken down houses.
In unoccupied hospital rooms.
Something dwells there.
Something still dwells inside me.
And thank god, for that.
For a useless solitude.
Sarcastic take on the venerated idea of “Akor Khasi” (Khasi code of conduct)