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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

crimson rain

if i had that choice
would have asked eve
to keep her apple

crimson rain

silences - pregnant, tranquil
silences - to revel or marvel
rivers, mounts and vales
of silences to cross
and crossing those silences
succumbing to the silence
of the heart

silence - a sky
that has put all the clouds
in a cosmic closet

wonder who shepherds
the clouds in or out

who are you a voice asked
am a wandering cloud
oh! why are you not chained
and in the cloud-house
am on a furlough
following my shadow
over vales and mounts

i like you
you are not raining crimson
thank you, am not one of them
who have cornered the truth

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

dancing azrael*

"nobody runs for ever"-Mahajirzadeh

they talk in amman
they talk in london
they talk in paris
they talk in riyadh
they talk in washington
till jaws creak
meanwhile azrael* dives
from the clouds of crimson silence
to embrace children, women, men

ensconced in consuming silence
i wish they stop all talks
__of peace__of ceasing hostilities
let them run out
of ammunition, hatred, arrogance
passion___________and rockets
like boxers past their prime
seeking refuge of the bell
they will cease by themselves
that would be the time
to talk with them
about pains, hurt and living

Azrael (ăz'rāĕl) [Heb.,=help of god], in the Qur'an, angel of death, who severs the soul from the body. The name and the concept were borrowed from Judaism.

Monday, June 28, 2010

in puzzled amazement: meh'v e hairaan

for zen - a gift of sorts

meh'v e hairaan - I
lines on her anile face
a map of seasons past
cobweb of memories
rise, submerge, contort, fade

gnarled chins, scabrous hands
nose thick and bloated
crescent wrinkled eyes
and furrowed forehead

in the south, of the north
she'd be on a rocker
knitting in the porch
of a rockwell painting

at dolman's mall, bent
and shrouded in rags
she stared in my eyes
and i was perplexed


z: is it done
t: yes
z: write a sequel
t: sequel?
z: i wonder what the beggar lady was thinking at that moment
t: you want me to get into her mind?...don't all likelihood she was unread and unlettered
z: don't be so sure. when i was going to university at Canterbury, we had this panhandler...not only was he extremely well read, but could also write poetry
t: hmmm
z: put yourself in her mind at that moment, see what emerges
t: hmmmmm


in puzzled amazement - II
abducted, abused and abandoned
street and time my teachers, am adept
at seeing through the burkas and beards

he was not local and in his demeanor
could tell that he could sit on a charpoy
and share food with workers and servants
and still be at ease
in the nasreen room, the copper kettle

in the parked car he sat and observed
people, shoppers, passers by , children
as if through his eyes he soaked his soul

and when the woman beside him smiled
jolted out of reveries he'd mumble
deep affection then displacing the hint
of somberness as i observed him
before i approached him silently
with open palms and when our eyes clashed
tried but could not decipher his poise

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Top Ten Terrorist Pick Up Lines

10: I spoke with Osama's twin Bush bin Lyin' yesterday.*
9: Can we smoke after this?
8: You are more beautiful than the ToraBora lamb!
7: No, I am not a virgin.
6: Unbelievers have more fun. Try me!
5:. I am a camel-high** club member. Are you?
4: Promises, promises, promises, pro......
3: We behead painlessly: nobody has complained.
2: Your tower or my tower?
or 2A: Your camel or my camel?
1: You want to see my Pilot's License?

* thanks saks!
** a take on mile-high club
*** and thanks dee for the inspiration

Saturday, June 26, 2010

glass half full or...

the day is sultry
even after three showers in five hours
the mugginess crawls and permeates
the shirts, the air, the skin
all thirsts become one
and that sweating bottle
fetched from the fridge beckons
come hither, come hither...
(no enemy but heat and humidity!)

thoughts of M and the cabana by the sea
the ceaseless run of waves on the shore
that chalet an hour's hike from the road
with a view of the lake through the trees
me standing on the dadar* platform
and over-laden thought-trains cruising by
my son and his noncommittal girl friend
the other son and his budding friendships
my jaan's quest for meaning in a meaningful life
the glint of expectations in transient eyes
expected politeness from strangers
unexpected grimaces from intruders

have prided myself on half-full outlook
as i plod through fate's offerings
and in this stickiness as i temptingly
probe the trickling tears of(f) the bottle
am stumped to find no glass nearby

dedicated to nf - for losing the bet

*dadar is a local station in mumbai

Thursday, June 24, 2010

edhi's dawn

as the lids gingerly parted
they ushered in the new light
and sounds - cooing and crowing
winds rustling leaves
children noisily playing
a wailing ambulance
stuck in traffic somewhere

baba had made tea and placed
yesterday's news beside it
both tasted the same
tea fresh and soothing
the news, stale and ominous
death, misery and destruction
mixed with pompous declarations
and righteous indignation
all eating into crying trees

baba does not read papers
nor does edhi
both have work to do
from sunrise to sunset
and when they are exhausted
(their work is never finished)
they sleep fitfully

while self-burdened with assumptions
we wonder about lambs and stars
as the skies turn crimson, dark
and then orange

if we cease reading and listening
to the half-baked convictions
and begin to clean and wash
- a clean utensil, a clean dead body
we may stumble upon a new threshold

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

israfil and yama smile

mental indigence
a punctuation mark
a perdition milepost

jelly fish gulped
eagle picked off prey
insect crushed
under blinded chappals
homage to nature, but when
angels singled and singed
in post-coitus after thoughts
israfil and yama
the gods of after-life
smile at allah and bhagwan

dizzy spirals
of prickly thoughts whirlpool
innocence murdered before
it could flash that angelic smile

- a swim to the dark
bottom of thirsty sea - men
and women so self-destructive
even israfil and yama smile
- forlornly

Monday, June 21, 2010

wade on

and i wade in
unchartered waters
(a deeply ingrained trait)
heading for that island
to build a dream-hut
with a well...

little fathoming
these dreams have been dreamt
zillion times by millions

those dreamers
with their dreams
now ashes, specs of dust
- floating debris in space

but in vacant moods
it is ordained
we muse, dream on

Sunday, June 20, 2010

the pause button ii

in a zillion seconds
chund sa'atiaN, really
all this will be over
aap rahaiNgay, na hum
shikway, na shikayataiN

the complainant nor the complainee
will outlive the complains

haaN! yeh tO da'aimi such
ki woh kaRi jo da'anaouN kO
karti rahi hay paraishaaN her soo

yes, this is that eternal truth
that for ever eludes the wise

ba'jooz in baatouN kay

but, in spite of this
what stops us
from hitting that pause button
here, today, now?

--a child's innocent smile
the trepidation in touch
the quiver in voice
clouds, candles, music

--the fluttering birds
merrily seeking
seeds and straws
for the morrows

--the aching hearts
bounded muscles (really)
bidding their time
for a uncertain future

jisay dekhni hO jannat
meray saath saath aa'aye*

if you want to experience heaven
come with me

* maiN chala sharabkhanay jahaaN koi ghum nahiN hay / jisay dekhni hO jannat meray saath saath aa'aye* these lines are from an urdu sha'er most probably by jagan nath aazad.

Friday, June 18, 2010



in the dark
had they
at high noon
it could have been
like the flicker
of smile
that i imagined
on your lips


sa'aye bhee
doob jatay haiN
andherON maiN
dO peh'r ki
dhoop maiN
saath choRhaiN
tou janaiN

labON per phailti
goom hoti
muskurahat ka
tasaw'wur bhee
meh'v e hairaaN
ker daita hay mujhay

Thursday, June 17, 2010

waltzing - a circle-in-a-square or a square-in-a-circle

rain of bewilderment on life's trapeze
she a prisoner in a circle, he incarcerated
in another fisher-price bubbly square

percussion of rain over the patched tin roof
reminder of steel drums at trini carnival
shallow poodles at their feet mirror forebodings

solitary prisoners - both - wet and cold
with time for hurling sharpened arrows
sans pause button for reflection
smiles camouflage wayward drift as
feet waltz on tarmac, destination a blur

children a post coitus inconsequence
unawares and uncaring of their morrows
splashing joyously in bacteria laden waters
the union of circle and square
shrouded in fate's mantra laden slogans
omnia vincit amor a mirage

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

drifting fragrance/dabay qadmoN

drifting fragrance

in the solitude
of the cacophony
i dreamt of the quiet
of the rolling meadows
where the rustling
whispers of the wind
plays susurrant ragas
of your fragrance drifting

dabay qadmoN

yaad may ooski gharq
sar-sarata sukoon
jub hum aa ghosh hota hay
tou mudhoshi ki devi
hosh kho beth'ti hay
aur yaad t'ri
dabay qadmoN
phir chali aati hay

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

under the minaret ii

it is official, it is six decades!
of mutilation, bomb, immolation
k(h)akistocracy rains with a vengeance
tenuous expectancy administered
by the somber men in black on the bench
hope, rising again in hopeless hopefuls
- of a uniform strip show in full glare
- of the return of the prodigal three
the new found vigilance of rip von judges
groggily whirling with born-again zeal
may yet turn fledgling hope into dismay
abandoning again the forlorn public

the schism dividing the citizens
- a sahara wide impregnable fissure
too many dogs exercising one bone
too many quacks exorcising ghosts

but in a flash appears that child
in rags, slightly disheveled
playing in the streets
with a tonka truck - three wheels missing
his smile spelled hope is alive and well

* under the minaret i

Monday, June 14, 2010

white lines

humidity and pollution
shrouding the air
cars, buses, trucks,
scooters and motor cycles
crawl and jostle
while the pedestrians
play russian roulette

road curtsy on furlough
signals and cops furtive
patience fleeting, fleeing
white lines with a straight face
in no hurry to arrive anywhere
distraught at this onslaught
for god's acre

Sunday, June 13, 2010


the bed-sheet is wrinkleless
and the pillow unhallowed
dreams a soul-twin vision
her laughter reverberating
and fragrance wafting still
enticing rain of memories

lums t’ra, mehak t’ri, her soo
rachi hay is kamray maiN
tasaw’wur t’ra her saaNs maiN
aur wajood t’ra hum aaghosh
m’gar kya kiji’aye yaad t’ri
taRpati hay shiddat say
her élan ardent
and bon mots fervid
her shadora* pullulating
spawns this wistpining**

*shadow + aura
**wistful pining

Saturday, June 12, 2010

misconceived misconceptions (or the tale of fallen s )

misconceived misconceptions (or the tale of fallen s )

will you help me O mary?
and is this muse
a mcguffin or a mcmary

sperm-ovum oscillation
pyrotechnics in eyes' vales
body's sahara, mind's oasis

imbued motherhood urges
estraying thoughts
concepts awhirl
conceptions acircle

zygotic misconcepts
geotic misconceptions

oh the misconceiving
and sleep, million lambs away

Friday, June 11, 2010

candle light tryst

in the flicker
of the kathak flame
words on paper, you, me
bhangRa of thoughts
oodham machatay haiN
bay hanghaam*

camouflaging candle light
flicker love fragrance
in the baithak fireplace
and while finger tip thoughts
all over your skin
mapping contours
brows, lips, nape
sighs of exhales

--------------i wander

to the distant fire-rain
of irreconcilable hatred
of grown men's firecrackers
killing women and children

* kathak
* bhangRa
* baithak = family room - informal sitting place
* bay hangaam = unbridled passion

Thursday, June 10, 2010


youN jo kabhi t'ri yaad
chupkay say m'ray dil maiN
ooter aa'aye gi tou hum
phir tumhaiN
baahouN maiN simut laiNgay

wasn't thinking about it
when she locked eyes and said
'what would you do if...'

labyrinthine queries
uttered nonchalantly
sound simple, surprised
i said 'will see when ...'

between lambs and stars
a stream of flash backs
once cherished dearly
passed in a languid stream

never imagined had
ensconced so many
seamless memories
as solicitously
i caressed her hair

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

fallen leaves, sanguine branches

breathing silences into cacophonous patches
instilling quiet repose as time noisily trudges
does it flop forward or fade into the past?
a past that sits on a lava of memories

on the tree innocent fresh green leaves smile, dance
cavort with leaves covered in folds of rainless dust
floating in the wind defying aerodynamics

on the ground they are embraced by other leaves
metamorphosing green, breathing fresh life
that would ferment yet more memory crystals

leaves gravitate, hug and embrace - nature's nature
but why do hatenamis annihilate blankly
impeccant leaves that have umpteen promises left

sighs sieve through insinuations, innuendoes
star gazer, leftist, rightist, apologist, traitor
i smile timorously ensconced in my safety
in distant troubled times and sip even more tea

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

yeh khuda hay na bhagwan m'ra

before foxa2* that furtive
fleeing, fleeting exchange
of the sperm-ovum owners
and an startled child grows

[litany: a pilot's target practice, cambodia, chechenya darfur, vietnam, iraq, afghanistan and new york famines, droughts, avian 'flu legionnaire's disease, west nile hepatitis, hiv aids innocent civilians caught in the vicious cross fire noah tsunamis, perhaps a few chromosome misfits like trisomy 21**]

the litany mushroom grows
amidst champagne festivities
in a world that is not round

ghalat samajhna mut mujh ko dost, yeh Khuda hay na Bhagwaan na God tumhara, m'ra, kisi ka

it is easy to invoke god
GWB's or OBL's?
the palestinian Allah
or the israelite Yahweh
our bed, our quarters, our mess
our bhagwaan, eeshwur, aur khuda
how can we outsource with such ease
our so revered creations?

** trisomy 21

Monday, June 07, 2010

some more names, billy

am moved
you have a way with words
and tears well up
as i think of mothers
wives, parents, siblings
for whom time ended
with that attack
and then i see a lanky
bespectacled black
saying chicken come home....
a remark (that most don't
he was to retract
when he found compassion
am moved
you have a way with words
a poet with a pulsating
muscle bundle
does it not feel the pain
of the dead - the near dead
and the near living
elsewhere in the world?
why is your world so confined
to the US, and some countries
across the big pond?
ali, bhupendra
carlos, dev, ebere,
valin, wen
xian, yuan, zoyenka
they too played and lived here once
before succumbing to dictates
of being born where they were
of being subjected to the whims
of machiavelli's disciples
and hard to believe, billy
hard to believe this
they number in hundreds of thousands
as you say
So many names,
there is barely room
on the walls of the heart.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

autumn harvest

where is your health card?
demanded the nurse and
with ever so trembling hands
he felt for his back pocket
in a gesture reminiscent
of slow motion pictures
and pulled out a black wallet
the effort fatiguing him
he plopped down on a chair
and clutching the wallet
rested his hand on his thighs
after a minute or two
he recovered to unzip
in one slow flourish
- bottom, to side to the top
from the now open jaws
emerged a stack of cards
held by two crossed rubber bands
with quivering fingers
he removed one rubber band
and hung it on his left thumb
then he removed the other band
and hung it on his left thumb
then he searched for his health card
and smiled ever so subtly
as he pulled it out and
placed it on his thigh
pulling one rubber band he
stretched it across the stack
and then the other rubber band
vertically across it
replaced it in the wallet
he zipped it side to side... to side
and put it back on his thigh
over the pulled out health card
time to rest and take deep breaths
one, two...he had the same look
on his face that commercial
pilots have as they run off
a mental check-list, yet again
then with an abrupt thrust
he got himself off the chair
the wallet and the health card
clasped firmly in each hand
this effort drained him so
he just stood motionless
then in very slow motion
he replaced the wallet
back in the rear pocket
and took two steps forward
towards the nurse's window
and said, here

Saturday, June 05, 2010

11 am on 11/11 the armistice day for us
remembering the fallen ones
then came 9/11, 3/11 and now 7/11
7 blasts 11 minutes apart
yes sodium's atomic number is 11
the convenience store across the road
is called Seven-Eleven, borne of a time
when it opened at 7 am, closed at 11 pm
the eleventh sign of zodiac ushers
the age of aquarius (the water carrier) and
the eleventh hour, one hour to midnight
represents the last moment to act or abstain
and for some reason we have eleven players
in cricket, soccer, football, and field hockey

in the days past i used to say 'a penny for your thought'
and she'd shed the worried look, smile and come closer
with inflation first the pie disappeared, then paisa and penny
suppose now have to say 'a loonie for your thought'

a loonie is a canadian dollar coin with eleven sides - a hendecagon (for trivia buffs: A regular hendecagon has internal angles of 147.272727... degrees.) not a colloquial expression for a lunatic which has an indo-european root in leuk luna - lunaticus - lunatique - lunatik

even though have many a strikes against me - wrong side of the divide, wrong religion wrong appearance, wrong-wrong-wrong most things will say with least hesitation, they were lunatics any one who kills a civilian for any reason is a lunatic, is a criminal, is a zombie

Friday, June 04, 2010

fullmoon blanket

sun fusing life, moon tide
eros' psyche floats alone
horizon to ocean

friendships bloom, enmities blossom
wars stand-in for battles
peace an ever shrinking pause

bird on a leafless tree branch
musing rumi like
undaunted by warring truths

each person's truth
estranged in a cacophony
unabashed, proudly owned
wandering friendless in sky

the sun rays denied comfort

truth, volition and violation
owned by zealots
in the company of living
smile at death
the surviving truth

grateful acknowledgment for using NF's bird

Thursday, June 03, 2010


the maginot lines of ideals and idols
of impenetrable himalayan suspicion
berlin wall of fortune
divine palisades of bursting indignation

and the other fences
we surround ourselves with

smiles of touch and tremor
askance, innocent, lost,
quivering, cold, aloof,

poking at the hermetic wall of dust and ash
and buoyant abandon
fences that outlive hate pulverize soundlessly

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

of ins and outs

in life
in likes, dislikes
third eye is kept
on the ins and outs

(and now we have
in, out and on
wonder if it's alright to use
an e-icon, or let the gentle
reader sense one?)

the gods gifted us sight
and our mothers insight

pity those whirling
in ignorance
and denial
doomed till time dies
unlike those robed
ones of konya

dedication: for my single issue superman friends