Monday, January 26, 2009

I do not know where the grave of Oscar Wilde is

I do not know where the grave of Oscar Wilde is
but I know of the spot where unsexed angels sing,
where boys who are not men sit and sew
below the rainbow the fabric of dew, and
of unimaginable kinks. We are all in the gutter,
but some of us are looking at the stars.
I do not know where the grave of Shahid Ali is
but I know of the desert oasis, not far away now,
which promises not only blue water but
visions of beautiful men and of lands
that keep the promises long sealed and
forgotten in the breasts of exiles; they had thought
they kept them in vain. Drought was over.
Where was I? Drinks were on the house. For mixers,
my love, you'd poured - what? - even the rain.

Friday, January 23, 2009

if you have ever felt

if you have ever felt
rum down your gut
if you have ever felt
your elbows go weak
unable to catch
the banisters
and full of wine
your knees sensing
nothing but the
oddness of an inability
to stand then perhaps
you have come close
to what it is like
breathing next to
him standing close
to him and to catch
his arm to feel his hair
for what do you know
he too knows you well
enough to pull you
near and say the thing
you want to hear

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

James Dean lookalike, come let us have an intrigue?

JD, come let us have an intrigue?
The next time I speak, interrupt me
casually so that no one thinks you care;
love me more than little but do not bare.
For my part, I will hold ground; the moment
you say something bright in class,
I'll put you down with a clever example,
and you will pretend to doodle in your notebook.
I will choose my words so, no one
will know. They would humph and haw,
they would shake their heads in despair:
'What a clever pair,' they would say,
'and yet they fight like teenagers.'
but they would never guess
we love like teenagers too; like boxers woo,
circling each other before the match,
holding the game for a second or two
they wait, or like stupid animals who do
a show of strength before they mate.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Light from my Table-Lamp


Sahana Bajpaie
tr. from Bengali by Sahana Bajpaie and Akhil Katyal, Jan '09

When my day ends
the light from my table-lamp
stirs my pen to scribble
(You had said 'Everyday stories
become colorful when set in your words.')
and I watch the ants,
they are having a picnic on the floor.

In the living-room, the ancient ghost
is swallowing up the fire
and the Chinese ambassador is blabbering
on the television, proud with images.

When my day ends
I can see dust gathering on my book-shelves
and the words lose their way
to suddenly touch your forehead.
When I knock, do open the door.

In soft footsteps, its coming down the stairs
your song; the spoon is absorbed in measuring the sugar
and my pride hangs on the wall. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Write

If you are struck by the beauty of your phrase,
persist in its thought and write more;
write to tell, for the other to know,
not for you to hide behind a well turned out phrase,
not for you to take a shot when no one's seeing.
Write of the fever, write of the moment when beauty escalates.
Have you ever, for instance, seen boys
and struggled not to touch them?
If you have to tell lies write of ambition or of success.
If otherwise, write of the battle between his hair and his eyes.

Explanation

There's an old Tamil saying that explains
why my face is such a big disgrace:
'Every time someone looks lustily at you,
a pimple appears on your face.'

Monday, January 5, 2009

तुम सोचते हो


तुम
सोचते हो कि तुम्हें समझने का
हर मौका मेरे हाथों से फिसल जाता है
कभी ये सोचा है कि जान के करता हूँगा मैं,
जान के देखे को अनदेखा और सुने
को अनसुना रह जाने देता हूँगा मैं,
कि देखें, इस बार कैसे मुहँ बनाओगे,
कैसे चिढोगे इस बार और क्या कहोगे
उस हर मौके को समझाने के लिए
जो मैंने फिसल जाने दिया, सिर्फ़ इसलिए
कि तुम जब समझाते हो, तो वही कहते
रह जाते हो जो मैं बार बार सुनना चाहता हूँ