On completion of the construction of the house
The house workers who had no house
Shifted their house things to another house,
Everything on their heads
And nothing over their heads.
Women And City
actually time sleeps at night
while cities sleep in daytime
but their sleep gently touches
us in the evening as stale jasmines
remembered in time's sleep
their sleep is in opaque eyes
hidden in women's shadows
which get up and go after dusk.
The wind palace of Jaipur
The soft pink of the wind palace
Does not jell with her poverty’s
Blazing red tie-and-dye saree
Too kitschy for our proud art,
Too sentimental for our souls.
Let us have bright red bangles
They contrast better with the pink-
There is still poverty left in them.
The Wishing Well
With my back turned
I hurl stone after stone
Into the wishing well
Disturbing the frog's sleep
In its libidinous dreams.
My moon had fallen into the well
My pail could not bring it up
I continue to dropp stones
Someday the water will rise enough
To bring up my beautiful moon.
We try our poetry daily
Under the pale sky
With fluffy clouds
And silver-lined streams.
In the river evenings
Men too get thrown in
On the river bed, pale
But glowing in shapes
Their textures tell-tale
In the dusk of the camera.
The camera speaks poems
As the sun’s gold grows
And the river shimmers.
Sitting in a car on a rainy evening in Bhopal
Evening rain glistens on the road
As bread is bought and bananas are
Turned over for ripeness and less ripeness.
The rain is dancing on the car roof;
From the car the camera tries to catch
The wet sun on the leaves of the corner tree
Soon the wipers catch fever and quickly
We make our way in a sea of umbrellas.
The River of Desire
On the banks of the River of Desire
The abodes of our Gods are empty
The Gods deserted our village long ago
Leaving behind all the sanctums
Their broken walls yielded fine bricks
For the masonry of our village homes.
The River meandered around our village
Threatening to swallow our temples
Our children have hunger in their eyes
We have no oil to light God’s lamps
The River now threatens to swallow
Our parched paddy fields and our homes.
The roadside bathers
The water of life streamed
Through the broken roadside tap
The sun burned like a death-fire
On bodies, bloodless and charred.
The white cloth clung to flesh
Laying bare embers of lost hopes
Unceasing the water flowed
Onto the soap-lathered bodies
And thence into the foul gutter
If only time went reverse
These ebony bodies would love
To swim back to the safety
Of that primeval water body
From where they had journeyed here
A journey back from fire to water.
The sister rocks
The sister rocks woke up
To the sun's golden touch
Their delicate fingers
Reached out, reaching,
Beyond the temple towers,
Into the translucent sky
Fond sisters they were
In close familial bond
Their smoky eyes filled
With slowly sun-melting dew
Their sisterly shadows
Over night-weary shrubs
As hundreds of other shrubs
Were being set on fire
On the edge of their world.
(Two giant rocks in Hampi stand leaning towards each other at the top, their silhouettes looking like two fond sisters hugging each other. Hence the name “sister rocks “)
Trains take you to the empty spaces
Where orange fires raged the other day
And you could then collect the fire- dust
In the enclosed cup of your joined palms
And pour it in oblation into holy rivers
Which will take them to the green sea.
Trains bring people to river canals
Where death is a mere after-fact
Submerged in flowing green waters.
It is like what your life’s beginning was
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