the last sin
  pale ashen sky
a bleary eye
clouds of recurring screams...
i am a zoo
  an octopus leviathan
tentacles into an ocean
of unformed emotions...
syphilis and love  
  syphilitic pall
stifles the clear blue
i contort...
 
shell and pearl
  amidst highs and lows
in life's ocean flows
a shell peony-mouthed...
 
i am an unmarried mother
 
  fed on stings
of barbed milk morality
my child-plankton...
 
the lovers
  cell upon cell
bridge of their union
hung on the pillars...
rebirth
  ogre of age
and time cavil
at a warm picture...
the young today
  innocence thaws
at the altar
of ambition...
 

P Series
(in ten parts)


Streetlamp and Tree


one
perplexity:

there she was
alighting from the packed bus
dressed in a summery white frilly girly top
the kind that hangs loose and yet accentuates
the contours never mind the modest slip
he looked at her furtively
there was sunshine in her eyes
she looks pretty he thought

in the recreation room while they were playing
dumb charade
he is good at playing dumb
she comes and sits next to him
there wasn't any other place she says apologetically
he smiles a knowing smile
she needn't explain he tells her
as the post lunch session unfolds he plays a little
game of his own his eyes steal a glance at her sitting
sideways and he pretends
he ain't looking at all

a lazy afternoon gives way
to a breezy evening and it's time to chill
at cocktails he is keen she sheds her abstemious ways
and maybe just maybe gives in to the alluring charm
of a vodka with tonic
why was he keen to get her high?
how would shedding her barriers help?

it was 1 am and the night was till young
she had eaten her dinner and was waiting for him
though of course she wouldn't admit to it
in her gentle manner she did join him for a bite
a dash of rice and dal nothing fancy
it did make him feel wanted in a strange sort of way

and then it was the majestic central garden
a canopy of stars on a full moon night
and an army of obstinate mosquitoes to while away
the remaining hours
the night was enticing and the wind was getting chilly
and though they had company he was acutely aware
of her presence she was wrapped in a makeshift quilt
her head peeping out like heightened consciousness
he did steal a few glances at her
and when they were done at 3 am
she told him casually almost nonchalantly
though it was more loaded than casual
that he should never challenge her to hang on late again
she could do it if she was free to do so

he goes back to his room
the resort wears an indifferent look
at this ungodly hour
rings up the reception for the mosquito coil
and goes to bed with thoughts of her
he wonders what the hell is happening
why is there this strange heaviness between the two of them
when the silence was fraught with so much
unspoken tenderness
and why within this tenderness lie grains of lust
that can't be sifted

earlier in the evening at the party he had been told
she missed his complimenting her on her looks
he pretended not to react
what was he to do?

next day she spurns his offer to be her guide
in a romantic tale of hollywoodian love
that almost began from a personal lavatory
a maid meets a messiah and the gods smiled
this time he is hurt
and while he is hurt he wonders why the hell is he hurt?

while the whole preamble has become a trifle
incomprehensible the postscript is more grounded
flirtation enjoyment titillation lust neglect hurt
soft undertones hard inner breaths
not the candlelight variant
just the blistering tension that connects
the two flaming ends of fire

and just when he wants to chat her up
maybe do reflection interpretation and analysis
she feels tired all of a sudden
women will remain women cliché apart
and before he could bat
his eyelids she picks her bags and disappears

he tries to get her on the mobile
she listens to the ring and disconnects
he tries repeatedly
the phone has obviously been switched off
now he is puzzled thoughtful disoriented

maybe beating the keys furiously
may help make sense
of the last two days


two
predictable:

today she seems to have come back
to her normal effervescent self
'i get moody when i am tired' she tells him
thank heavens it was only the mood he thinks
though he knows she is hiding the truth
she is an ordinary girl and there is nothing extraordinary about him

just two people trying to wrestle with the swell
of emotions that tease human resolve
not an entirely sad state to be in
there is this energy that flows between them
he knows there is no future in this relationship
she is modest and too moral to give in
funny a thin line separates love and lust
a wedge that makes two quarrelsome neighbours
peacefully coexist
she is an ordinary girl and there is nothing extraordinary about him

when he had inadvertently peered down her cleavage
he was surprised to see pristine purity
not just a maiden's security shield but the kind that banishes
accidental thoughts from a man's puerile heart
it's not that she is perfect who is anyway
her hair is an overgrown mess
and her body odour is not something
that he particularly likes
and look at him?
having let himself go he is bloated like a overfed baboon
constantly battling his compulsions
she is an ordinary girl and there is nothing extraordinary about him

this is the story of you and me
just that they are lucky to be living it
it's going to wane though
honeymooning always looks rosy
from the rear-view mirror
and let it be said as a matter-of-fact
not with a bang not with a whine
but unnoticed unsung
like the lost hero
of a lost cause
she is an ordinary girl and there is nothing extraordinary about him


three
prevarication:

her mood swings definitely can't be explained
by her menstrual cycle

of late she is behaving as if she is struck by the Cupid
at once sad at once despondent at once elated
a word from him and there she goes
from despair to delight
as if her mood thermometer
is controlled by the way he talks with her
his piercing looks unnerve her
she shifts uncomfortably tries to impart a forced casualness
changes the subject but his glare is fixed and unrelenting
he wonders what she sees in him
the way to a woman's heart is known only to a woman

her feelings are more in response to her own insecurities
why would a perfectly happy okay not so perfectly happy
but does that explain it
woman in her late twenties desperate for private space
with her husband fall
for a rotund balding married man in his early forties
who has nothing to offer her
not even hope
or maybe he is reading too much
into her intemperate behaviour
her eclectic expansive mood swings
the droop in her spirits the sway in her steps
the way to a woman's heart is known only to a woman

her mood swings still can't be explained by
her menstrual cycle

he thinks she is in love with him


four
perversion:

what's this strange capricornian attitude
of the practical man
unruffled by emotions untouched by upheavals
here she is going all weak in the knees
grappling with unfamiliar thoughts
stepping into unknown territory
trying to comprehend the sheer complexity
of a situation that has come upon her
trying to live it down
trying to tell herself that all is well with her world
that she is still safely ensconced
in the comfortable terrain
of well-sorted feelings

and he tells her serenely
almost with a clinical detachment
almost ruthlessly maybe patronisingly
that he knows why she is upset
it is all understandable
and she will come out stronger
at the end of it

what's he doing
revelling in her confusion
and not sharing it
a pervert a sadist a hedonist
inflicting pain
then sitting back and enjoying
it all

judge him harshly if you must
but he thinks of himself as a crafter of emotions
working with the tools at his command
chiselling a moving sculpture
an evocative word picture
out of his experience

crafting but a mere poem


five
phantom:

she is a woman unfulfilled
her marriage is a façade
a cover-up for waning senses
the libido is no more a problem
is a problem
after five years of sharing the same bed
she is unconsummated
like a virgin
a 'paying guest' who pays only by her freedom
there is nothing flighty about her spirit
not the heady innocence of the youth
the abandon of the cherished
she is wilting
like out of season autumn leaves
so what does she do?
she looks for a refuge a gas mask
a phantom of her making
she clings to him
she knows there is no hope
there is none given
clutching at the straws
for the time being
and time must be endured
a source of sustenance
the protector of her sanity

there is an interesting side to this story
maybe he is deluding himself into believing
he knows not what she thinks
he knows not what he thinks
he does find her engaging though
her collar bones give him goose pimples
but is he so insecure that he needs
a distraught woman on the brink
to fall for him
he is loved and treasured
his transgressions have been forgiven
is that not enough?

do men have a vanity gene
are they programmed to be polygamous
or do his voids need to be filled

a mere poem is too insignificant
to unravel the DNA
or understand history


six
possession:

she is pinning a lot of hopes on the new car
she thinks she will be able to hang on
stretch her life
expand her reach satiate her need
to be touched
she wants to buy a car to break free

he feels it's a mobility-in-the-mind issue
however it would certainly help
if the body is free from the tedium
of strangers living under a roof
he understands her needs
he remembers his mother
didn't have this luxury
packed suitcases were often shoved
under the bed
and trips to her parental home postponed
for no reason but for the perverse delight
of an unloved man
good at heart
totally oblivious to the damage
he was causing his kin

like unruly thoughts playing mind games
the traffic on the streets is chaotic
apathetic indifferent
so he worries for her
will she drive carefully break free
from her shackles
the centuries of conditioning
her own limitations
her fragile frame

once you are comfortable with driving
it becomes your second nature
you drive and you are not even aware
of the hand eye feet brain coordination
when she breaks free
he prays she bonds her body
with her soul
and let an uprising of flowers burst
onto her scorched skin


seven
power:

it ultimately boils down to authority
she is oppressed by her man
and here he is dominating her
watching her every move
sniffing her breath feeling her corns
just because he has power over her
it's all about occupation
of a province in mind
of bodies with a swelling expanse
is he misusing his hold over her
theirs is an unequal relationship
power is an antidote to parity
men are such effete creatures
they need to dominate
he loves to dominate
maybe their bond is that of an oppressor
and the oppressed
and the freedom she seeks
a sadomasochistic illusion
she is enthralled
because she is not ignored

he wants to rule her body
he wants to brand her soul
he cares because she lets him control her

he knows it's not right
and just
but in an unequal war
would you expect justice?

maybe just maybe he is being a trifle
too harsh on himself

eight
play:

is it just a game he is playing
recreation of the senses
festival of the minor frenzies
a wild thought but don't
just neatly fold and tuck it away
in a forgotten cupboard
is he playing with fire
indulging in an ego play
the theatre of the id
what if she took him seriously
gets seriously impacted
or shall i say emotionally strung
and then he shrugs his hands
and says as a matter of fact
'the deal is off'
there is no tomorrow
in such relationships

could it just be a desire
to feel the razor's edge
would you call it play
or is there a perverse streak in it
the whole thing is kinda confusing
like life

or maybe just maybe it is but
a grand simulation
a gigantic creative platform
that megalomaniac sub-consciousness
that stages an atypical sitcom
and fulfills his inner urge to be creative
at any cost

just a space that refuses to fill up
how would you ever know?


nine
perdition:

"Him the Almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong . . .
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell"
John Milton

the road to hell is paved with good intentions
it couldn't be true in his case
he never had good intentions to begin with
all he was doing was to work his way up
to her charmed inner circle
her private space shaped like a V
v for vermin incorrigible bedbugs
v for vertex the flash point
the antonym for base
v for verse
dear reader do read between the lines
he talks abstractedly sometimes animatedly
about philosophy
'hang on there?it will pass'
but he desires her
there is something about her vulnerability
oh yes v for vulnerability
that attracts him
like swooping eagles to dead meat
he is at once tender at once Tarzan
he suspects now she can spot his game
thank heaven's she's not egging him on
she never did
it was all in his mind

the road to hell is paved with good intentions
it couldn't be true in his case
he never had good intentions to begin with

ten
ploy:

now that the long night is over
and the protracted march is coming
to a slow and grinding halt
a definitive full stop
lemme let you in on a secret
it was all a ploy
an edifice of emotion
designed to deceive
a sleight of words
an artifice of accidental overtures
to harness his somnolent muse
his poetry
that hedonistic mercurial intemperate alter ego
needed a fixation
an object of obsession
to let loose his creative horses
in hibernation after appassionata
a dry spell after a downpour

maybe it worked
maybe it was all in vain
only you can tell

but can you ever tell

Sanjay Trehan looks after the Internet division of India's media conglomerate, Hindustan Times.

Besides the Internet, which is an article of faith to him, He is interested in poetry, contemporary literature, people, human relationships, cricket, theatre, music - classic rock, opera and classical - and travelling. My collection of poems, Appassionata, has recently been published. He lives in New Delhi, India with his wife and a cherubic ten-year-old daughter.

He says: "I am 40 years old. And getting younger! "Email: strehan@hindustantimes.com

(Source: http://www.poeticinhalation.com)