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...

caught between two worlds

when i hear her throated laughter
and innocent banter
about that rotund buffoon in mirth land
when i gingerly enter my daughter's nine year old world
to plant three pecks on her cheeks
when i respond to my wife's invitation
to revisit love
with roots two decades strong
when i am on my desktop
in the benumbing comfort
of work-passion

i exile the ghost
i cling to out of habit
and feel a gush of happiness
in one lily-white solitary moment

then suddenly withdrawing
my branches inwards
clinging to the straws of compulsions
i obsessively resurrect
that ubiquitous ghost
strangely attired
in stained pillow covers

why must i live in two worlds
neither here nor there
caught between quicksand of fear
and elevating nimbus of freedom
turning slowly into a phantom
a pretender shadow

even as i write my eyes make
incoherent mind-pictures
old ghosts come calling
familiar apparitions dog
my mind-flesh

dear phantoms take a long walk
out of my mind
and let go

20 feb 02 taj residency bangalore 12.45 am