Friday, November 15, 2013

In Berlin

when the evening came,
all of us were lamps
on the streets.

Kreuzberg was lights - and cheap kebabs -
was green walls scratched doors
pavements and

One tall German, white,
who had lost his boyfriend
last year in a room in London -
spoke only of him that night.
He was almost seven ft.
and his eyes were
only longing.

An American student, his friend,
who had sex on his mind - like us -
who spoke like T-shirt messages,
who sewed smiles to his face, he
drank the most among us.

One Marathi playwright - we remained in touch -
whose German, of six months learning,
was so great to hear I asked him
to order beer again and again
just to hear his 'danke.'

Another boy whose elbows
rested unevenly on the bar, who
just about sat on the stool,
- his black-shirt cold with sweat
and his eyes whiskied irises -
made it through
that night - think he went back
with mr. 'danke'.

One Dutch boy - whose name meant 'light' -
showed me the best part of Berlin -
one small Holiday Inn room,
4 stations by the U-Bahn,
after which when the morning
came, it was all sun,
all sun when the morning came

to Berlin that night.

Monday, November 11, 2013


not being able to say, of saying too much,
of playing the part doomed from the start,
of hesitating, of being forgotten or worse
being remembered scantly, once in a while,
of being of years past among those he once
knew, of an enervating kind of memory, of
not being able to figure the reason of why
this happened and that. Of each of these
- leave it or bite it - love does not happen
in the absence of fear, it happens despite it. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The sky is overcast: A Rondeau

tr. from Qalandar Baksh Jurrat's Urdu nazm 'Chaa rahi kaali ghata'

The sky is overcast, my heart is pain,
listen bird, why do you sing of rain?
Come here, I too suffer, why
rest on yellow fruits, when my
fever's yellow too, b'tween the twain

the only difference is, the fruit's main
life's to ripen, an' mine to live in vain.
Bird, for God's sake, will you try
- the sky is overcast -

not to sing tonight, what do you gain --
your song is him an' his memory's pain.
For years now, I looked for him, I
found nothing - they said, if you try
even God is found, even if the pane,
the sky is overcast.