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

Equilibrium

I was mourning the death of a pet goldfish
when my dad told me a story
that helped me a little bit.

It is a story that I have told several times
to friends, to a dying dog, to myself,
and once, to my dad.

The story by itself is unnecessary
you could condense it and just say
in capital letters and with no preamble,
THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

I have touched this story at its curves,
those moments when stuff explodes
and everything is less confusing.

I wonder at the yesterday I see in the sky
the stars are here and there
if there is a secret here
I do not know it.

he shows me the script

-There is but one truly serious problem, and that is suicide
announced my friend to me while we were splitting a cheap bottle of beer on the service lane off the western express highway. That service lane, you know, which all of us used to have to move into so we could go through milan subway to move to santacruz west. Now, of course, there is a flyover. My mother says milan subway is named after milan theater, which used to air movies and advertisements back when movie tickets would cost 12 rupees and 14 and a half annas. Now, of course, there is a flyover.

-that’s Sartre, right?

-worse. It is some greek story about a coal miner. It’s funny how the greeks were thinking about the same things we are thinking.

-you’re thinking about suicide.

-yeah. I’m doing this tv show, which is going on youtube. I am this character named suicide guy.

That sounded interesting.
-sounds interesting. What do you do?

-well, the director is this weird dude, okay. Thinks all kinds of weird things. He once tried to use the Upanishads to convince me that I don’t actually exist. Real fucked up. So my character – he is this brilliant guy, okay? He’s an actor. And he has a thing. At the end of every episode he commits suicide-

-oh my god they killed Kenny, you-

-but I don’t die

-yeah, Kenny doesn’t either

-no, I fail to commit suicide. Like this time, I take this gun I find in the dressing table in the bedroom of some politician. I shoot myself. But I’m not dead. The thing is, the twist to the entire episode is that the president was trying to increase his popularity with the people. So someone came up with this crazy scheme where somebody would attempt to assassinate the president. But he would miraculously survive. Apparently it happens all the time. Except that the gun would actually have blanks. So he wouldn’t actually die. And the person who is going to kill him? The same politician. Sounds weak right? I told him, the director. That sounds too convenient. It’s not realistic enough. What are the odds, right? But know. Tells me to shut up and read a book.

-what happens next?

-well. So the politician actually dislikes the president, because he’s a corrupt egomaniac. He’s an honest politician, but he’s been pushed to the brink. But the person who gives him the gun is the chief PR guy for the president. So the whole plan is killing many birds with one gun, you know. But because I get into the picture, the politician gets a scandal. It’s all very serious stuff right now, man.

-and what do you do?

-well, umm, “spoiler alert!!” but, umm, so the politician asked the PR guy to do something, okay? But the PR guy has lied to him and told him I’m dead. I’m not. The president whatsapped him and told him to kill me, but he didn’t. He gets an inquest done and everything. I get to have tea with the autopsy guy. He’s a real cool dude. Anyway, now the PR guy has imprisoned me somewhere. He’s going to blackmail the president with the whatsapp message.

-what an asshole

-yeah, like seriously. But man, I’m tired of this role. I asked the director to kill me off. He smiled and fucking noted it down. I’m so fucking pissed.

-you asked the director to kill you off?

-yeah man. The pay is good, but the role is stressing me out. Wanna go back to easier stuff, you know. This guy I know is making a movie about a guy who tries to propose to this girl, but he has this stuttering problem. He stammers when he’s nervous, and she can’t understand him, because he’s always nervous. I would nail this role. I would totally win best supporting actor in that role. But these guys have me under a contract. They’re not letting me go. Life sucks and I feel like commit suicide. How about you, dude. Who are you, anyway?

-you want to die?
he nods. He isn’t even looking at me when I say

-I’m the president.
I slit his throat with a knife. I stole the knife from the PR guy’s kitchen. It has an inscription of dancing warli figures and a goat engraved on it. The handle is so black it shines. I like this knife. I would have liked to keep this knife, but dammit. I bury it under some sand, and then leave. No one gets to blackmail the president.

***

He showed me the script.

-how can you survive that? And you didn’t even commit suicide!

-yeah, my role is now “murder victim”. But I don’t die. So what’s up is our body and brain and flesh and bones – all that is just a shell. Our consciousness is actually on the internet. So the president only killed my body. I’m still alive and-

-excuse me sir, I need your signature on these documents
some courier guy gives him three papers. Then he gives him a pen.

He picks up the pen, and then signs all three very quickly. He gives the papers to the courier guy. Then he stares at the pen. Then he looks at me with shining eyes.

-I’m really really tired, dude. I’m fucking tired of existing. She’s not answering my calls, and this fucking show on the top of it, it’s getting too much for me, man.

He picks up the pen and stabs his throat with it. Blood gushes out for a while. First it sprays out in a fifteen inch radius around him. Then it throbs out of the hole in his throat. Then it oozes out. It is almost pretty to look at. I try to help him but he won’t let me. The courier guy dropped the three sheets of paper on the dying body and ran out screaming. The blood seeped from his body onto the sheets of paper. I picked the first and tried to make out the writing.

Institute of Cryogenics

***

He showed me the script.