Slices of Summer

magenta
Magenta is the closest color to the blood
the veins of bougainvillea roots under the skin
to the flashes of light seen behind closed eyes
on a summer morning.

April is the month of grasping – bleeding colors
smear the mercurial sky, butterflies spin dreams
near the window, the koels in swoons of longing
knot the tall eucalyptus.

The fruits secret several ounces of sunlight, sway
through helicoptering bumblebees dazed by the smell
of leaves mulched by the moisture trapped
in breaths from the sea.

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Waiting lounge in an airport

A young man looks into the settings of the camera
studying as he would the movement of fish under water.

Noise explodes as stories web under squares of sky light
to drown the old film song from a taxi playing loud in mind.

It is never easy to penetrate the concentration of the man
focusing the lens on the aeroplane waiting to take flight –

the tension of the engine uncoils muscles that cord jaw to shoulder.
Dream fans out wings, triangle of desire pulls up a chair as coffee fumes

spill along the seats in the waiting lounge. After a walnut cake
forked between sips of tea they are still there –

her hair in a lazy knot fell on bare shoulders, breasts a whisper
under the tassel of her shirt goose pimpled his skin into delirious  rash.

Copper Pod Tree

band of heat pounds on the walls, becomes a sheet of light
dark moons are formed by steel pouring into the cornea
the blue of sky so intense, appears like a large amethyst

papery yellow blossom of copper pod tree races on the tarmac
like a child tearing across the road. Trapped in a snarl of weed
dragging mud in the wings, it becomes limp like a fruit skin
 
birds have fallen silent, even the koel from eucalyptus tree
the banyan leaves are pale like breast of a parrot: the green
I apply as mascara to cool the eyes, shut away summer heat

Day 9 NaPoWriMO
Take a walk and write a poem: “Take a walk, or a drive. … Take along a notebook if you can. Take notes. Maybe take a picture or two. And then sit down in a park or in your yard or on the corner, and write.”

I took a walk in the neighbourhood. It was a warm afternoon, but the copper pod blossoms were lovely!

Birds Don’t Sing On Such Days

It is very hot, a slab of heat presses the city
even the birds that sing all afternoon from the casuarina tree
remain silent . he calls and says
they do not cook salads here

I go to the garden
dig the earth, the heat pouring
sweat down my armpits. take an onion peel it
cut it eat it. or a cucumber
what about tomatoes
tomatoes too. you are not helpful
I have to ask you everything
you’re like them – not cooking salads?

basal has grown all over
roots joining hands
and laughing at me
dusting my dress with seeds
walking on me to the farthest corners of the garden
where snails have licked the barks with their tongues

he hasn’t slept for three years
I recount the story of a world war II soldier
who didn’t sleep a lifetime
a night’s vigil did that to him
at least you have a reason for losing sleep
a tick of anger
then muscles fall wry to sadness

I prefer almond to mango trees
like the bitterness of its unripe fruit
the leathery skin pickled in jars
that my grandmother bought at Agra

let the leaves remain my gardener said
the red ones turn brown and brittle
this is the lizard snake zone
safest because I hear them
then see them, their beady eyes like his

bananas are for constipation
he announces as he peels one
buy a dozen of them
they rot in the heat. he looks through the window

vapour rising from the damp soil
sun works on the moisture
schizophrenia
he has found a pen and a piece of paper
tell me if I have spelt it right
the sprinkler spurts out diamonds
each stream thin ribbons of rainbow

he has soiled his clothes, looking away he asks
what is your name
I keep forgetting these days
do not ask me to have bath
I won’t  get up from today
the enormity of the decision freezes him

the bland soup with mashed carrots and potatoes
that he drinks gives him an orange whisker
like a cat
I touch his face with so much love

the water that I have poured in my garden
keeps the earth cool –
microclimate in this city of desert.

(I went to Philosophy Talk, listened to ‘Faces, Feelings And Lies’ by Paul Ekman. I noted down words like deception, displeasure, humiliation, framework, random, behavior, repress, threat, punishment, emotion, lies, anger, detect, identity, recognition, experience, and my clinch word was micro expression – but not as psychologists use it clinically. I didn’t write a poem immediately, and when I got around to I didn’t use any of the words as I realized they could not be exorcised of their psycho pathological connotation. Instead I have used the image of a garden, have juxtaposed the microclimate that the narrator creates by tending this garden with the micro expressions of a troubled person she cares for.  All the words that I had noted, in various avatars, came to abide in the narrative of trauma and suffering, tending and caring.)

Big Tent Poetry

Where I Live

Where I live

the summers are hot
rains flush out rats and cockroaches
sewer spills from side walks

Where I live

bazaars are places
where our pockets get picked
chains snatched
where some pervert
fondles my breast

Still

I can’t stay away long
lock myself home
I crave for the smell
of the sea on the beach
the dry fish on the sand
near the fishing hamlet

Ache to

have thick smoke from car exhaust
on my face
have the grime of the city
breathe into my pores

I long

to look at the throng of faces –
each has left behind
history
like mine
in a home
that smells of garlic
where walls are painted electric blue
dreams stowed away
for our children.

PAD Challenge  NaPoWriMo Day 13