Friday 23 September, 2011

The Sacred Cud

Some day you’ll see me

How clever I’ll seem:
Scratching, writing, sucking on the lower lip
Of freshly-awakened mind;
Biting down on the slimy grip,
Of a sentence, less than kind.

How serious I’ll look:
Chewing the sacred cud of commas best erased,
Interviewing semicolons worthy of national debate,
An accident of apostrophes and puns that must be praised,
An anecdote of little faith, a punch line far too late.

How tired I will be:
You’ll see the sweat trickling down my chin
Sweat dotting the lines of this mess I am in
Confused by words I cannot say,
Words I must write anyway:

Cinnamon, synonym, minimum, tragedy, prodigy, itinerary, abominable, ineligible!

But I am strong.
I will not be consoled by a man
Who thinks Toni Morrison
Is a man.

At night, lying next to the exhausted book,
I’m open-mouth-asleep, imitating the dead
You’re pretending to watch Nigella cook
Her Crispy Cakes are messing with your head.

The ceiling fan mutters a curse through the pages
Ruffling the feathers of writhing adages,
Not wanting to intrude, you’ll look away for ages
Then lose the resolve that man carefully cages.

Ignoring your battling guilty denial
You’ll “happen to see” my literary trial
The shocking residue of all that lip-biting,
All the ruckus over dyslexic infighting.

Today I have written a magical thing
To put your conscience forever to shame:
Seven hundred and forty nine times I’ve scrawled, the nuances of
Your name.

Satis House

Every time you step over the thin line
and commit an accidental endearment,
I hand you a balancing beam
of carefully chosen plays on words:
comic plays
tragic plays.
You bite your tongue, and
fling the expletive of a pat on my back.

Every time my mouth is on the verge
of crossing that same line
of friendship into something new,
you say something old,
something trite,
something about a former lover,
something that just won't do.
I swallow my words, and
ignore my gag reflex.

No one will chastise us
for our wimpish follies, our impish jollies.
It will be many years before we realise:
Walls in empty houses eavesdrop
only on a wary weary past.

Wednesday 24 August, 2011

Seize the Dame

Lately, I’ve spent too much time idling:
There are three dead hands on the clock
The telephone has turned into a rock
All our coffeeshops have drinker’s block.

I’m leaving now
To see if the sun will come and play.
But you–you should stay.
You’re too preoccupied with ceasing my day.

Title courtesy Kiran Mascarenhas, who says these things.

Wednesday 3 August, 2011

Tuesday Haiku: Of time travel and helplessness

This week's Tuesday Haiku, in keeping with tried-and-tested irony, is ready on Wednesday.

Comparative Haiku
In a candy store
children do not wait for crumbs
like I do for you

Bright Light Haiku
For Kiran
Disco-lit auto
every evening going home
I seek time travel

Monarch Haiku
A big butterfly
in the pit of my stomach
dying of darkness

Tuesday 31 May, 2011

Tuesday Haiku

This week's Haiku edition, miraculously on time. Inspired by a haiku non-believer.


Writing haiku is
like baking a cooker cake:
quick, delicious.


How can you complain
about meaningless haiku
when summer has died?

Tuesday Haiku

These are from last week, when I wrote but didn't post. I realise these are not haiku, but senryu. But, you know. Bite me. For the one-and-a-half readers I have on this blog, if you're more active on Twitter, you can follow me and my haiku and my cricket rants @LeftarmSpinster.

I will spend my life
looking through a window at
your face-melting mouth.

I steel myself; you
walk in afternoon light white.
I'd rather steal you.

Tuesday 10 May, 2011

Tuesday Haiku

Bob Dylan Haiku

Along the watchtower,
minutes changing into hours
is a tall order.

Remembrance Haiku

Early morning hands
try to wake sleeping pillow;
dog is in the grave.

Strange Love Haiku

The blue-grey sky weeps.
He scoffs at my shirt, I stand
under his umbrage.

Friday 6 May, 2011

Tuesday Haiku

Posting Tuesday Haiku on a Friday is totally allowed. Okay?


When dressed to the gills
in a fancy restaurant,
I can't eat the fish.


He was a good spy,
till his lovely little bride
stitched him a turncoat.

Monday 21 March, 2011

Batting Practise

Where her shin is blue,
The ball probably kept low—
Such a calculated blow.

On her burning head,
The emphatic gash of a full toss;
An indefinite period of memory loss.

On her neck
And all along her sides,
The blackened blobs of failed cover drives.

He wakes in the morning,
A gentle headache keeping him calm,
He runs his fingers down her screaming arm.

“Sorry, honey, about the batting practise.
Never again. Now give us a peck!"
She tries to turn her neck.

He leaves. Another morning
has thrown up on the bathroom floor.
She smiles, winces, closes the door.

Limps to the kitchen,
Finds her own well-hidden Bottle of Bashes
Blood has no memory; stashes win matches.

Sunday 27 February, 2011

Inherited Traits in German

Reason 1: Why I love Facebook
I wrote this poem some months back, someone told someone told someone, and here's a German translation. Hopefully, Mr.Lörner and I will collaborate further.

Translation by Karlheinz Lörner

She chopped vegetables by the window
for years,
watching her son grow.
The neighbours, his uncles, her lovers-
all the jigsaw bits of a father.

She chopped vegetables by the window
each day,
he grew taller and stronger and stranger,
in the image of his father,
forever earning, forever "abroad".

On the first day of his first job,
just for a moment nervous like the child,
he trembled at his mother.

Pulling a knot below his collar,
the stale scent of lavender sachets she put between clothes,
she looked into his eyes,
the eternal wall between them falling.
"You have your father's ties."

Vererbte Eigenschaften

Sie putzte Gemüse am Fenster
Jeden Tag.
Beobachtete das Heranwachsen des Sohnes
Die Nachbarn, die Onkel, ihre Liebhaber -
Alle Mosaikstückchen eines Vaters

Sie putzte Gemüse am Fenster

jeden Tag,
Er wuchs, wurde größer und stärker und fremder

Ein Abbild des Vaters
immer Geld, immer "draußen".

Am ersten Tag seiner ersten Arbeit,
war er einen Augenblick lang ein ängstliches Kind

fürchtete sich bei seiner Mutter.

Sie richtete ihm den Knoten

dieser Geruch nach verbrauchtem Lavendel in der Kleidung
sie sah ihm in die Augen
diese Wand aus einer Ewigkeit
"Du trägst die Krawatte wie dein Vater.“

Monday 14 February, 2011

The Rock

What happens when you try to write in spite of the elephantine writers' block in the room? See.

Old Professor Murthy
Led a life quite sedentary.

What others thought of as excessively pious,
He believed was merely elementary.

He chipped away on rocks all day,
His lectures in class were pedantry.

One day he found
A pebble so round
And shiny and smooth and confusing!

Rushing home, heart a-flutter
His watchful speech a stutter,
His hitched dhoti altogether amusing.

"Kamala!" he cried,
His wife by his side,
"Look what I found! It's confounding!"

Not observing his find -
Not the observant kind -
Kamala leaned on the table.

Her hand crashing down
On what the professor had found;
His whimper was low and feeble.

Now old Professor Murthy
Leads a life quite sedentary.

His wife prays all day
Deflowering the jasmine tree.

Alas, what the professor thought was igneous
Was merely sedimentary.