Shopping

funny how the same four walls
flaking paint
sweet and sour counters 
and signs written in terrible english
can cause two people to make
two different journeys
back in time
childhoods and barely adulthoods
where things in singular become
things in plural

I had to stand on my toes to peek
over the counters
reaching for the bhakar vadi and khandwi
that would come to me anyway
I never have to stand on my toes nowadays

Except to stand in front of teli gali
in front of pallavi hotel and modern stores
and that medical store dude who gave
mum discounts because she spoke
in gujarati (it seemed)
that random podar p-22 bus
lakshmi vilas bank and seth doctor
visanji school and the milk
running from the strays
and to look straight down that road
into and above the traffic
the concrete and the memory
to catch a glimpse of something
i’ve shared with people I’ve never met
are they doing the same?

thanks for the vada pav.

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Murder

I have woken up dead

with your tears still

melting my ice

more times than I care to remember

 

When it comes to killing myself

I’m a bit of an expert

I’ve casually toyed with the ghost

of my twitching body

as if it were play dough.

 

And then there are the paper-cuts

scratches and wounds I watch fester.

All these scars have left me feeling

alive, because death doesn’t hurt.

 

I guess I am a bitter man.

I will kill myself just to

see you cry.

 

This isn’t about me.

This is about the things I’ll never be.

This is about the things I’ll never know.

 

Your dream tears have sustained me for too long.

I write to explain myself to me.

But here I am, run out of time

run out of excuses.

Like my dreams, this paper stretches on,

the ink won’t run dry.

 

Here I am,

prince of my own kingdom

master of my own doom

stuck in a dream

between sunrises and sunsets.

avalanche

in the darkness, composing sonnets for
shadows, running away from your voice
and quivering feet that beat in meter
with the music of the trees

the trees, the trees
there are no trees
except the ones in my colouring book
paper trees humming silently

i shall compare thee to summer
when it sings you rain
or is it the other way around
your words are an avalanche
there’s no point in running from you
you are the sun
you shine everywhere

hiding in silence
is not a very good idea
silence is a very harsh music
for unprepared ears

 

falling_stars_by_movco-d9nf9wp1
Falling stars, by movco 

message in a bottle

The snake in your room is a little different from the snake in mine
your snake being yours
and mine being mine

stuck between home and not-quite
because they are the same in the sea
we are flotsam staying up through poetry

I’m hiding in plain sight
screaming to be seen
a message in a bottle
between Mumbai and Delhi,
between oceans of stories, not knowing
how to come or go

knowing only that I must float

visions of the future from the past

tomorrow shall do a cheerleader routine
                enunciating each word
                                embedding the digits
                                                engraving them into our heads
                                                                permanently

I

 

money did not come first
first we created the emptiness in our seconds
and then came the emptiness in our stomachs
and then the emptiness of outer space

we used to look at the sky like it was a chocolate bar
and mum, between huge bites into the sky
her teeth dipping themselves into cocoa
her tongue darting between the stars
would say:

brush your teeth after eating chocolate
it is bad for your teeth

the sky is bad for the teeth
the plaque twinkles

                ‘close your eyes, hold up your hand, and you shall see’

II

our eyes did not come first
first we touched the truth
then we wanted to know it
then we wanted to lie

we have stared at the sun for too long
it is just a comet’s flame
and those only come by once a century anyway
the sun burned our spectacles
and now we can’t see the fuzzy shapes
distractions around the shapeless
anymore

we traced faces in the sky
they danced at night to dirgesongs
as we ate ourselves
and we brushed our teeth with the toothpaste
that nine out of ten dentists recommend
because we had just eaten chocolate
and it’s bad for the teeth

and then we joined the assembly line
we smelled the coffee and we went limp
we waved at the surveillance cameras
and they waved back
and even though our taste buds were withering
we grinned and bit through

III

chocolate did not come first
first came the bitter water
then we sipped it
then we bathed in it
then we did not want to leave

you can’t not have chocolate
we’ll pour it down your throat
we’ll pinch your mouth and we’ll stab your eyes
we’ll bleed your brains and we will throttle your heart
we’ll make it so you can’t breathe
and when you open your mouth to scream
we’ll fill it with chocolate

we’ll shove it down every hole you have
we’ll give you guns and bombs
and set you on a table top
and get you to fight
and we’ll bet on your lives
we’ll make a trading card game about you

                he’s got eleven determination! but only two logic
she can level-up to eventually be president!
these queer ones on the side may be allowed to marry in two turns
and that will change everything
when they try to get loans

you’ll buy this game
you’ll download it illegally and set up forums online
discussing the potential attributes of
a rare trading card
you get one free with a purchase of seven bars of chocolate*

*conditions apply