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...
  ogre of age
and time cavil
at a warm picture...
the young today
  innocence thaws
at the altar
of ambition...

the night of new poetry

there she was five eight
with a childlike gait
in burnt orange copper kurta
and faded boot-cut jeans
nervous and enthusiastic
reciting ‘red toenails’
at the wood panelled theatre
akshara where the alphabet
is the world
after the customary tomato soup
doused with black pepper
don’t get me wrong it tastes divine
he took her out
for conversation and cuisine
at the tavern eponymously named
after the British travellers
in eastern India during Raj

they sat down
amid liveried cutlery
and fine bone china
to discuss
the society of the spectacle
and the revolution of everyday life
as reflected in love longing and lust
relationship as a one-night stand
as lifelong bonding
he told her he felt responsible for her
youth innocence and impressionability
she asked ‘what is the wildest
thing you have done’
he let it pass
she said ‘trust me you can’t shock me’
he still let it pass
they both ate lightly
shared saffron chicken biryani
then at the midnight hour
he dropped her at her place
safe and sound
illusions intact

he felt redeemed
this time experience was on his side
he came back home

and slept a deep peaceful night

24 November 2003

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