Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Final Testimony


Creaking panes now gather moss.
Outside, the shell now is torn to its ribs,
Opened to the battery of sunlight and hail.
Within, the plaster is loosened and falls,
Leaving my walls with melanomic skin,
Blotched with the cavities of mortars and bricks
Which shiver to its core, in the traffic rush of four,
Coughing as a consumptive could.

Groping my way through the cobwebs of halls,
I’m startled by voices of faces on walls
That long back had marched by my side.
But streets we had rumbled with such heady feet,
Now parcel our dreams to far other states,
Even beyond immigration desks.

Left with the sideshow of clowns among graves
We live out our days among logsheets of crime
In a land that is jammed in its wheels.

Should I have learnt that things would be thus?
Should I, after all the unlearnt lessons,
After so many blunders
Of so many proportions,
After all the aeons of promises forgot,
After so many, and so much more –
Should I have learnt longer back
To purge myself of hopeless hope
And drink the gall of hate and loss?

Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya
Glanirva Bhavathi Bharatha,
Abhyuthanam something something
Tadatmanam etc etc…

Questions whirl in vacant air
And leap and twirl and whisper by:
Was this the end for which we fought?

Ours was not a paltry lot.
Back in that midnighted tryst full of hope
We all did have far grander dreams.


I plod through the fields of ancestral bones,
And even as I wander among rubble smelling blood
I search for a light that shelters us all
From all those blasts that have bombed through my dreams
And charred into ashes with insatiate flame
Seeds of a time that unawakened lie.

Our hopes have bled for long –
What more from withered veins?

The courage of impossible hope,
The vision of life through undying dreams –
Still would I pray for these.

Suffer us not to stagnate and rot,
Even in these climes, these desert times
Amid the rocks and bones and dying grass.

I wish to believe to the last.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Riddle me the Shape

Startled by insistent footfalls on stairs,
I've shuffled in the unforeseen chambers of night
And jostled with the shadows unkempt.

Fretful and torn, with eyes never shut
I even have swayed to the entrancing calls
Of songs that'll float as whispers in winds
In nights without slightest of lights.

Wonder if these now'll merge to a face
That'll riddle me the shape of the other half of self
And conjoin my words to the running-mill of veins
Where pace has been paltry of late.

Grappling with strings within irresolute hands,
I've fumbled for long with our abdicated songs.

Wreathed by the foam spread on waves lapping weeds
I drown among dreams full of tulips in bloom.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Answerless Acts

Let there be no music the next time we meet.

I wouldn't want other notes to distract
The melodies of smile that light up my soul
In these our quarries of programmes and codes
Where horns and motors now reign.

Perhaps we should find a new ruin for a meet
And meditate on soft-blooming colours of clouds
That paint our skies with 'what could have been'
As both of us dig for relics to be culled
To fence our memories all tight.

We only have episodes of one-day-long tours
That linger with same set of questions unasked
And count through the pulses of answerless acts
That end up with stuttering farewells.

My fingers are tangled in time's clotted knots
Where stardust is turned into pebble-mired sand.

Warmed by the sunlight you wove through your hair,
I have longed for the music of seas.

But even as I rush towards waves rather late,
I'm left with the surfeit of bubbles instead.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Strictly for Men (well...not all)

With pears and peaches and melons thus stacked
With fair, cream and brown and such varied shades
How should I not be distracted and feel
As bees in an orchard in spring?

Unseen in crowds, my veins humming still
I steal a few glances and measure through my gaze
Shapes that'll birth my Madonna on tracks
In these our office-leaving times.

Count me not pervy and trust the dear chef
Who loves the new teasers with lipsmacking grace.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Unmet Seasons

Perhaps our loves have their settled times,
When seasons of hope and destiny can meet.

We only had walks and talks among trains
That whistled through the pages of academic lore
And tangled with newfangled theories and more
In nights that had bustled with Eliot and Poe
Or poured over Rushdie and Ghosh.

At most we had shared some moonlit new songs
Or wondered at statues of immaculate grace
Just before crossing the road, clutching hands,
For a dinner of biriyani unmatched.

Gallantly we moved and breathed to the leaves
Chapters now lost of unspoken words
In lanes that are dotted with history's footnotes
With songs from our memory's springwell.

No one now croons along these quiet lanes
With melodies of Mirza in lips.

Shorn of all tendrils or blossoms I bide
And wait for the tide of memories withheld
That spring to my nights with joy now and then
And promise me a surge to time's missing shores.

Battling with waves I steer my ship straight
Till seasons of hope and destiny can meet.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

From the Kingdom of Bhutan

Time rather crawls among these quiet hills.

Perhaps when he strolled along harvested fields
He was struck by the majesty of green rising peaks
That mock our flux with most ancient calm
And lost track of ways he had mapped.

Or perhaps gazing on snow-mountain caps
That hung atop valleys as wizened old sages
He had puzzled himself with their foreign lore
And therein was caught again late.

It even could have been the full blooming rose,
Or many other petals of captivating colours
That brighten these greens with fragrance and charm
And halt a man sharp in his tracks.

Even at night, when in cold-chilling dark
The wonders of day are quietly asleep,
The twinkles of lights from faraway folds
Meshed with the fabric of star-sprinkled sky
Arrest our gaze as magnets on top
And stall our progress too long.

Or may be just brushed by the buffets of wind
He stood with his curls or tall-tousled hair
And breathed in the whispers of God.

Time rather crawls among these quiet hills,
Here in the land of Buddha and his peace.












Friday, October 19, 2012

Pygmalion to Galatea

Honestly my dear, try as I may,
I can't forgo this pubescent fixation on skin.
Platform or mall or tram bus or train
The eyes cannot rest
From the curvacious contours of
Full ripened limbs
That struggle with clothes
For an inch full of light
As I fixate on ecstasy of sense.

I'm not a monk in his cloisters, you know,
But a man with his senses all sane.
And hence they are spread over valleys and hills
Or occasional cliffs that call to my soul
Tempests of animals unleashed.

Choked with dull-dour dosage of grime
These little showers of fantasy I need
To stagger through my miles unshorn.

Call me a voyeur or pervert if you will,
I care not a fig for labels as these.
Shapes and forms are all them my ware
That I breathe into stones rough or smooth.
Hence shall I gaze with bold brazen eyes
And drink in all nectars of honeysuckle days
That ooze from the creases of dresses or skin
And moisten my chapped arid ways.

A fool for the flesh? Well, let it be.
If God in his wisdom has made thus frail
Angels on earth shall I see.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sleepless in Saltlake

Yet another day now comes to a close.

Shutting at last my ledgers of pain,
I browse through the pages of hours of days
And cower beneath well-trodden caches of blank
That have clogged my disks with items unused
In drives full of untraceable malwares in heaps.

Trapped into unchanging patterns of same
I dread rather more the end that'll start,
These patterns at once from scratch.

Torn between fears of a withered old dawn
And sleep full of illusion of rest
I writhe among sheets with eyes open shut
And count my minutes full of sweat.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fool's Pledge

I've burnt my bridges and no longer care
For feathers, that others
Deem, are not my own.

Jesting my way
With hammed brittle scripts
I'm fed up with the texture
Of motley and cap
And have broken my arrows of wit.

I'll no more now wait
With sermons or lore
For lovers or old men
In a world that is crazy as bats.

Damned be this farce,
And a plague on you all!

The fool's now a knave and gladly would go
In times that are tossed to and fro.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Muddled Mimes

I scribble through my contacts
And dribble for a call
As hours and minutes keep oozing along walls
With trails that are as straight as tracks.

Chugging with fumes as in outmoded cars
I rattle and scuttle
With cough, phlegm and spittle
And drown in the puddles
Of plasticised prattle
Where bathe our voracious
Much-lauded cattle
With briefcase and bags great or little.

Here among droning of newsreading bees
I turn to my headphones and quietly now block
Their humming with stereophonic locks.

Battered with cycles of clocks without chimes
I pay my bills late and muddle through my mimes.

[This one's dedicated to Jack...read his poems and you'll see to what extent the poem draws formal inspiration from his practice]

Friday, September 21, 2012

So Long as I Breathe...


Your eyes were a garden of spices my dear,
Your smiles full of unwavering dare;
And those your locks that'll rustle and ensnare
Have left their indellible foot prints on mind
So long as I breathe and care.

The way your fingers bid farewell that night,
The way your shadows had fled from my sight
Which vainly had hoped for one backward glance
Have left their unpardoned scars in my heart
So long as I breathe and bear.

Your dances in the rain or raging in vain
Your naughty little tricks
That rippled through my veins
With prayers will I enshrine my dear
So long as I breathe and care.

Your unfulfilled vows that torment my skull
With insatiate flames and ashes along valves,
And your unsparing wishes have unfurled
Serpents of hate that'll writhe through my heart
So long as I breathe and bear.

Jostling with spectres of bipolar mind
I leave my state to words that I rear
And refuge in shrines of ties that bind.

[The poem is inspired by the beautiful Hindi poem written by Aditya Chopra for Jab Tak Hai Jaan which has been translated into English by the one and only Shah Rukh Khan. My take is a tribute to the beauty of the Hindi original. See SRK's own translation here:
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-QO_ngT7TRSw/UFvw8tj0-iI/AAAAAAAAH_M/ipxausMaJms/s600/A3Sk6QPCcAAyDgV.jpg ]

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Come September: A Prophecy

My house full of reeds on pastures of sand
Is shaken to its strings by the punches of winds
That'll leave no stones unturned.

Even as I rage against tremors on land
Or curse our skies with bootless old cries
The tiles on my roof will shiver and slip
Seeing as the clouds have gathered their hails
That'll shatter our statues of brass.

There in the canopy of soot-smeared roars,
Are waiting in wings all lightnings in store
That'll start rather soon their fire-breathing dance
And leave all my tenements in charcoals and ash.

Singing in vain my lyrics full of hope
That had weaved their notes with particoloured strands
I walk to the waves now seething in hate
And brace for a crash that is come.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chronicles of Drudge

No, no I've supped full with horrors tonight;
Ghosts are all welcome to haunt.
Here in the backways of time's blind lanes
We tiptoe in fear among mudways of month
With feet that are unsure of zipcodes of self
In puppetry of shadows at night.

Wafting in breeze amidst crops that are dead
We dance our twists for vultures on air
That patiently will bide the shedding of our skin
As I moult between hours of midnight and dawn
Even as the circus is ground to a halt.

Believe I've tried all isms I'd found
That merely have burnt my saucers in store
And ashened my days full of gravels and grime
Which have built their causeways in heart.

Hence I'm fine with cartels of ghosts
And raise my toast to a montage of graves
With epitaphs of multicoloured pain.

Ground into powders in chronicles of drudge,
How else do I share my blessed bread and wine?

Nailed into shifts with fixity of time
I vanish into anonymous crowds in a rush
That gyrate in ferris-wheel of carnival of rust.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Abinash C. Halder at the Library


Here at the halls beneath canopy of roots
We’ve trespassed in stealth among beavers and worms
That scatter into hundreds of tunnels they’ve drilled
In search of our scraps full of forgettable trace
That somehow might weave a new pattern for a code,
Joined into syntax of chromosomal nodes.

I’ve filled in my forms and quietly now wait
And browse through the volumes of disposable thought.

Wonder what lies in the archival shelves,
Now beneath cobwebs of unshakeable dust,
That sweeps through my heart and harks for a name
In these our nights full of murders on streets.

Ripened to the core, new fruits now will burst
And dripping with blood shall drench our roots.

Shorn of all stars, we wander and grope
And bide our time with snakes within sand.

Excavating scrolls that’ll wither in a trice
My uncertain purpose will hardly suffice.

Is this then a show? Digression in vain?
How else to now sew this rent piece of time,
That serves as a window to entrails of shame
Here, in the ebbtide of shingles unswept?

Fearful of streets that’ve spawned so much gore
I snuggle into pages from time’s torrid womb
And dream of new days from truncated scrolls,
Cosy in chairs full of cushions and lace. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Monsoon Music

Drizzle of the monsoon on drought-ridden skin
Washes down brown barren leaves from my lips
To strum through my days, new sonatas on flute
That swell to the call of coal-coloured clouds
In raptures of notes unexplored.

Tracks that had grown all gravelled till now
Are stitched into patterns of sprouting new grass
Even as ducks and geese paddle forth
On ponds that are drummed with harmony of hearts
In these our days full of dimples on earth
That bubble with hymnals from choirs of toads.

Puzzled by joy, I wonder and watch
A world that is buzzing with news of our date.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Koan for the Rain

Kohl-stained clouds now hold their tears,
Even as expectant leaves lie in wait.

Drawing down blinds, a woman dries cheeks.

Clouds unspent will gather greater storms.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Unto this Last

I've lost my models of paintings I planned
And grope for the shades in a palette of faith
For a patchwork of destiny and will.

Cloistered in halls full of mirrors I pine
For ways beyond mirages untold.

Hammers in hands, I'll swing unto this last,
Blazing in fields full of splinters and shards.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Beginning


Sprouting new leaves now peep through the brown
Even as streaks of gold colour clouds.

Somewhere in the alley a child still cries.

A young boy boards the train for new job.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Logbooks of Loss

My dried old walls, now deafened with screams
Lose their plasters and grimace into cracks
That shape into maps that'll wither and fold
And never speak a word of gardens in bloom
where we would walk and share our songs
In days that have left no traces in RAM
In these, our logbooks of loss.

Trudging without end of sores among thorns
Ours are gestures of refugees in camps
Who are told their rations are gone.

What names or faces or streets now are us?
Miles upon miles of disposable waste
And still not a plant for light from our trash.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sands of Time


Polished on the whetstone of monsoon withheld,
The air now stabs at bones along spine
And drills little deserts in ribs.

Listen with intent and perhaps you’ll hear
Sand that oozes on banks of my veins
And heaps little dunes along shore.

Reared in gardens of apple-blossom days,
I am no Bedouin on steed.

Hence I am tired of dredging my veins
To search for miniscule moments of peace
Which still are drowned in barrels of sand,
Bare and barren to the core.

Resigned at last to my mummified state
These are my bricks for pyramids on page. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Arundel Tomb in Waterloo by Thames


They entered and stood, stony and staid;
Nothing that’ll stir your heart as you moved
Punctual and fast in well-mannered calm,
Straight along tracks of Bakerloo line.

All with the newspapers flung open wide
Or tapped into headphones of exile of sorts:
Clusters of islands on move.

But there they had sat, her fingers in his
Even as he covered his eyes and sighed
As she looked on and pressed his hand tight;
Veins full of reciprocal tears.

Perhaps she had whispered, ‘Are you alright?
Perhaps a more consoling commonplace it was.
A long look followed their words and nods
And sighs that entwined their fingers more close,
Knotted into unflappable strength.

Stations and colours and people had passed,
There they had stayed unmoved.

Locked in my heart, I left them as such:
Arundel tomb in Waterloo by Thames.

[The poem is inspired by a real life event framed by a poem and an image: the following are the links to the poem by Larkin and the  image of the actual Arundel Tomb

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Husband's Prayer

Resist not my hands that'll move
Over and under with pulsating veins
And scatter all the knots and seams in the way
As pebbles on the path of streams among hills
That roar into unstoppable falls.

The surge that'll move
Through soft-soothing hands
Over our babe in the cradle asleep,
Now through my lips and finger will flow
In these our honeysuckle days.

Hours are lost amidst unceasing zest
That blossoms amidst sheets of sweet unrest.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Instead

I've pleaded for smiles for hours on her door
And all that I got were barbs instead.


Left without soles, on high-noon of hate
I 'd hoped for life-giving shade in her strands
But tied to a stump was withered instead.


I've confessed my sins and mended my ways
But even as I pined for redemption of faith
Smitten with wrath was damned instead.

Pleaders are fools, they better be now dead,
Reborn I would rather be a robot instead.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Epitaph of Abinash C. Halder


My decorated files
Full of records and prize
Are burnt into fistful of ashes tonight.

Pinpricks of shame
Have shrivelled into dust
Inflated statues in the museum of self
Where regrets cry out ‘No Vacancy’ tonight.

Fired from the palace of hope, therefore,
I wander as a beggar
And knock on all the graves
To interview empanelled skeletons tonight.

Farces all done, I’ll get me a new boat:
Charon will drop in for his coins tonight.


Note: Charon is supposed to ferry souls to Hades, according to the Greek mythology.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Returning at Night…


Flicker from the exhausted eyes
Still through my veins now rush
Murmurs of unforeseen hope.

Clich├ęs of depth cannot catch
Pin code of pupils now lost.

Far beyond catalogues and volumes of calls
These my beacons of aquamarine light
That’ll shore my being to the end of my stop
And blanket my cheap-rented sleep.

Distilled in brief little glimmers of sense
I long for a reciprocal glance that’ll shape
Prospects of words beyond items and price. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Urn


Each in his cubicle of unyielding walls
With spreadsheets of hours of calculated loss
And interests of compounded hate.

My acrobatic words
Now misstep their leaps
And crash their bones along walls.

Springs and ladders now can’t be of help
When maps of lands beyond walls are lost.

Caving my head within files and screen
I’ve typed my bones with care.

So here’s my urn to the future unborn:
Build all your thunders or burn.



Note: According to an Indian legend Dadhichi, a great sage, realising that his bones were the only way by which the gods could defeat the demons willingly gave his life in a pit of mystical flames he summoned with the power of his austerities.Brahma is then said to have fashioned a large number of weapons from Dadhichi's bones, including the Vajra/thunder, which was fashioned from his spine. The gods are then said to have defeated the demons using the weapons thus created.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Keeping Score


My cluttered words now flap
As truce-flags in dry wind.

Crawling towards hope that
Dare might mean
They stutter and falter
And cringe into a blank
That leaves my page unimproved.

Scalding in unremitting heatwave at noon
I stagger with soles now pasted in pitch
With a tongue that is parched to the root.

Born and bred amidst rubbish and grime
These my droplets of void that’ll keep
Scores of loss of disposable hopes. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Unanswered


Too long a service of patience and pain
Breeds new cacti in gardens of heart
That wear their winters all year.

Tired with the crumblings of leaves through my valves,
I puzzle for the breezes of spring that’ll blow
Never now even for a week.

Should I still beg more patience and strength
To last my hours still oozing with blood,
Or elixir of perfection, well beyond reach
That’ll mould me a god out of clay?

Blistered and bled, I stagger through the sand
And scatter as twigs in nor’wester land. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Behind the Market


Beady little eyes,
Now jostle in the den
And wait for the morsels
Or gills that’ll drop
For moments of insatiate claws.

Furry little limbs, now poised with rage
In primordial struggles in republic of hate.

Running along napkins of Mcdelicious sauce,
They scatter through the packs of Subways in trash
And gobble our leftover of Domino’s in haste.

Sipping through my can of diet-loving fizz,
I pause and then rush to my Prada in sale.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Roving Eyes

There's something to be said
For clear waxed legs
That sweep off your mind
To Rebecca or Venus of marbles in shape
That glitter with the whiteness of  milk.

Lapped with the full-flavoured
Sweetness in thought
Buds now are islands of dream.

Thrust within vortex of splinters and mud
These now are aides to a supplicating mind
That rush me to my hermitage of night.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Clamour from a Clown

I'll make this world worth living for a child
This my pledge to the babe.
                                          - Sukanto Bhattacharya (translation mine)

Soot-lined faces that slither into slime
Are strewn over streets full of moss.

Jasmines and lilies are blackened in mud,
In these, our slush-loving lanes.

So how should one strive,
With broom full of words
To sweep up these piles that'll peak?

Dragged by the nettles in quicksand, we clutch
Straws that'll crumble and vanish in a trice.

Splattered into fragments of unbecoming mess
We struggle with an illusion of roots beyond route
That dashes our hopes for shores within reach
And leaden our eyes that had seen.

Left without GPS of destiny untold
We stutter and watch our farces unfold.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Abinash C. Halder's Sunday Picnic

Laughter and song now spill into the air;
Crowds full of pre-scheduled joy.

Hung within network of brown barren branch
I flutter as a kite without flight.

Welled and walled by preoccupying thoughts,
I still do my time, as solitary in cells
And scribble my dislocated verbs.

Lost in the illusion of unfounded fame,
I shuttle between isolated hubris of self
And promise for a collective of hope.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tears too are Pebbles

Murals on walls are torn with claws,
That are splattered with webbings of red.

Hidden among advertised alleys of filth
Tears too are pebbles on sand.
So how should I pray with burst-open veins
To clouds of uncremated bones?

Pinned through my heart by pincers of loss,
My streets now are seasoned with hate.

Light so now thickens with shadows of dead
That bristle with shame and gobble our days
With filigree of ashes and smoke.

Chequered and charred with ensanguined mist
We search for a surge that is must.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sunflower

Figures full of straws now babbled on stage.

The air crumpled like old newspapers.

But there at the corners of the hall,
She glowed on heels like a long-stemmed rose
And burst to my eyes as a lone-beam of sun
On days that are cluttered with clouds.

Babble now dimmed, and people were thinned
As the air played with violins and flute
Ballads of the twilights we hadn't yet shared.

Eyes now are autumnal lake
Queened by an isolated swan.

Far beyond crowds of meaningless talk
Her's is the sun to my unwavering globe
That shoots through my sunflowering soul.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Assent of Hope

Scraped skin:
Beneath, a layer of pale white.

Fear of the impinging shards
On clusters of vulnerable veins.

And then the loving nod...

Between the quiver and the sigh
Falls the assent of hope.

Streaming with red, my veins,
Orchards of tulips in bloom.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Below Normal


Here among streets of unseasonal rain
I’ve wondered and groped in misguiding mists,
Tempted by traces of street-corner smiles
Flickered from the hallways of dreams.

Clouds still are up in congested valves,
My heart now veined as drought-ridden fields.

Borne in the hibernal currents of breeze
How shall I shore my anchorless bark
That is tossed among dismembered leaves?

Crossed by the buses with shutters up raised
I stutter in coupes with lamps without light.

Peeping through gaps of doorways now closed
I yearn for the unlimited fragrance of sun
Where flickers might flower and colour my grey
And shower my sails with petals of spring.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chorus of the Playthings

Ranged along shelves as puppets in plays
We've flattered and flopped or soared and stooped
In scripts that others have fashioned in whims.

Wired in screws that pierce to the bone
Ours are hours of fields unsown.

So fitted and decked in finery and glaze
We cackle and buckle in calculated haze
And wait for the titanium hammers of days
That paste our forms into infertile sand
Which trickle into bell-jars of time.

Severed and sawed into stultifying parts
Ours are figures on en-wrinkled cards.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hymn of the Magi c.2012


Here at the drizzle-dripping drainpipe of time
Born was the babe that prophecies foretold.
Missiles had flown at the hour of his birth
And money along untraceable Swiss-banking chains.

Swaddled in the sewers of larvae and lice
His was the need of miracles of lore.

Rather he would starve in uncaring heat
Or riddled with malarial fevers would lie
On unattended beds with concert of flies.

Throned atop heaps of rubbish they’d still
Hurl at us sermons of sour-rotten phlegm
That’ll churn our livers in pain.

Thrown up in circles of such stinking shame
How shall our winds bear unforeseen spring?

Fixed into lightnings of en-clouded wombs
I gaze beyond curtains of unbecoming mists
And pray for the tumult of that crowning force
Whose refrain is Fire and the Rain.