Tuesday, July 28, 2015

चाहे तुम बोलो

कि मेरा इश्क़ बेईमान
कि मुझमें बस अभिमान
कि मैं हरदम परेशान
फिर भी मैं तुम्हारे संग रहूंगी

चाहे तुम बोलो
कि मैं न अल्ल्हड़ न जवान
कि मुझे बस अपना ध्यान
कि मेरे मन में शैतान
फिर भी मैं तुम्हारे संग चलूंगी

पर अगर तुम बोले
कि मेरी कवितायेँ तुम्हें जमी नहीं
तो जान लो, मेरे लिए मर्दों की कमी नहीं

tr. from Dorothy Parker's 'Fighting Words'

Dorothy Parker

Monday, July 27, 2015

गुलमोहर - Dorothy Parker

tr. from Dorothy Parker's 'Cherry White'

जब भी देखती हूँ वो नज़ारा -- यूँ बसंत में गुलमोहर,
हर टहनी पर लाल पे लाल सटका हुआ --
सोचती हूँ, "कितना अच्छा लगेगा मेरा जिस्म इस
फूलों से लदे पेड़ पर फंदे से लटका हुआ" 

Dorothy Parker

And one day

"from beating,
my heart will stop,"

and no turn
will ever take me,

no iron will
melt into the streets

and the night
 - between Raspail
and Vaugirard -
will forsake me,

one day,
all memory will
be water

and long walks
would not do the trick,

need will no longer be
a shirt to wear at will,

and then, when I'll need-like-breathing,
no one will be on the fringes

folks will matter

even a passer-by will

little colours
washing up in the city,
little rivers sinking
into skin,

people, willing,

and I wouldn't know what to do

except to take to my heart
every thing they say,

one day.

(thanks to Jacques Dutronc)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It comes once in a lifetime,

it happens to us all - for me, 
the landlord's son is the one 
who did it, and in a minute he 
changed it all, yesterday I was 
'bhaiyya,' I am 'uncle' now, y'all.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Jangpura Extension

The Latin word for the
ear is 'pinna' - 'wings' and
I knew why this morning

as you held me between
finger and thumb, I was only
cartilage ready to fly --

you woke up, and outside
the rain made even the petals
of bougainvillea so heavy,

that the plants had to
shed them, filigreeing the
pavement with the

colour of sunrise, & later
as we walked towards the
stadium, we waded the

remnants of the sun,
attenuated under our feet,
as "the earth," was

"thawing from longing
into longing," you said bye,
took the metro, and I

walked on past noon,
and when turning near JLN,
a car stopped by, a

man, about fifty, Sikh,
asked me the directions for
Khanna Market; I told

him. He said "Come I'll
drop you," but "I am going to
Lodhi Gardens," I said,

he said "Come I'll drop
you," and it took me a second
to know that the wings,

and the thawing, and
the sun, the bougainvillea,
the pavements were

all in his eyes. I said "I'll
walk," and he took my answer,
and crushed it on the road.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

In 1995

I was ten and you were
already battling the stars

of a virus, and in the middle
of grocery shopping,

and street pavements
bursting with lilacs,

you lived so close to
dying, that every morning,

when you woke up, it took
two seconds to ascertain, oneself,

and then, one's own.

With the worst behind you,
you said, how can people write

about letting go, as if
it was 'tragic' that they went,

as if their going could not have been averted,
as if, a scale had weighed in the sky,

but already you sounded unconvinced
of your own voice.
In that year,
I did not even know what sex is,

what veins are, except a book - my
father's - on the benefits of herbs, which,

on its last pages, talked of stuff
that nobody told me nothing about,

talked of erections, semen, power, & something
perverse about a horrifying illness, and how it takes

only the select.
You said, in those years
of holding that which you did not

know, "Reagan let us die,"
with a kind of resignation that

without forgiving, already wraps 'letting go'
in a hope, and slips it in the dimension of myth,

before sneaking it behind the books on your shelf.
Now when friends visit me, and stay for
a day or two, I thank my stars,
and when they leave the room, go to the loo,
or run for a morning appointment,

I think of you, making what you could,
of someone always going, of someone

gifting togetherness as if wrapped in
paisley, light like feathers, resting on the sill,

about to go which way I do not know.

(for Mark Doty)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

You pass by like a train

I shiver like a bridge.

tr. from Dushyant Kumar 'tu kisi rail si guzarti hai / main pul sa thartharata hoon'

Dushyant Kumar

Saturday, July 4, 2015

I can't even remember what he looks like, he's now

a wink, a shrug,
a sound, a hug,
a waiting,

a look, a shirt,
a scent, a hurt

a kiss, a sneeze,
a bunch'of memories
still inundating

but now not a trace
of the eyes, the face