We followed the footsteps of the world into our laughter.
We stroked the passing of tomorrow into a tight worry ball.
We changed our bodies and danced in the rain washing away years of years.
We forgot our memories in old pepper mills which ground our knots into grist.
We swam in the nude waters of transparent rainbows and hid our lust in preset colours.
We crawled into silences shredding ourselves into vanishing cocoons of forgetfulness.
We blew up our strangeness squeezing them into shapes of mediocrity spitting comebacks.
We lifted ourselves out of our lives and squabbled away our breaths on a minor point.
Three generations, a loony son
Two vultured noses, one humped back
Sniff for money from table to table
Gnarled digits clutch anglophile photographs
Long live the queen
And of course, our country too.
At 93 he is the owner taking orders
He ignores our table, a whiney waiter sidles in
Times are bad, these people don’t pay
We order Sali Boti. Fish Patra.
Mutton Berry Pulav. Caramel Custard one-by-three.
We will pay. No card only cash.
Tongues clean teeth on diamond studded faces
Nobody chats, everybody chews, in-between courses
They order more food. Locals throng here
Foreigners arrive with guidebooks and diahorrea pills
The owner eats a plate of watermelon
Spitting out seeds the colour of peeled ceiling.
For ninety-three years he has worshipped the fugacious customer
Sweet and servile, I wonder if he goes home and beats his wife.
His love flooded the keyhole
Dropped to the floor
Lurked through the rooms
Settled into her eyes.
She twisted, moaned, barred her teeth
Bruised her battered heart
Love lay in her tongue, coiled
A black, oily cobra stirring to strike.
It whorled on her stomach
Forking into darkness
Slurping, gulping, spitting
A vicious threading saliva lathers her skin.
She slinks around well oiled
Her happiness carries his name
The slow addiction of poison sets in
It’s a matter of time before she opens the door.
Across the house of faith
a crumbling ruin stands without none
People enter, prayers clasped on their stomach
Some leave to forage their daily grocery
Water will not turn into wine.
The trees twist and wind their bodies
Difficult roads to the sky
Traffic snarls around a scabby dog
No cars run over him, someone offers
Food his religion remains unasked.
A face of creases stands under the chapel shadow
Bright squirrel eyes do not mirror
The unhappiness of the balcony haunter
Is that just my fancy, are both the same
Equally wretched, equally happy?
I stand between them
A girl who got a rejection by mail
My unhappiness divides into two
One flows towards god and the other
I look at His
Raised hand unwavering unlike my will
I walk away prayers in my pocket
The wretch on the balcony
Rises, her hand waves goodbye.
Green, murky, opaque temple tank
Spitting out pygmy balloons, the water hiccups
Shimmering restless sunlight swallower
Did the sky steal your blue?
Only men swim here, flashing their chests, breasting the water
The women pay a rupee before removing their clothes
Dingy walls of unkempt toilets preserve their modesty
The tank screams in bubbled circlets ‘swim in me, be free’.
The ducks are the happiest here
Unclothed, immodest quackers
Nobody knows their sex, nobody will rape them
They swim nude, some times, their bums point at the sky.
The quietness of corners
Turn startlingly busy when you pause
The red house breathes
Not disturbing the cherry wattle of the rooster
His loud, incessant cackle on cobbled footpaths
Refuses to announce death.
The cat leaps on a bike
Ears torn in a war where no one dies
A million tongues can’t clean shabby white
The neck folds back as fingers follow throat
Later she will wash her hands before
Swallowing pani puri sanitised of cat disease.
A cyclist forms the curve honking at nobody
The red water bottle clashes with green shoes
Pigeons decide whom to shit on
The cat turns into sunshine
I stand without an expiry date.