Sunday, November 14, 2010

Highway Stripper

Once as I was travelling
on a highway
to Mexico
behind a battered once-blue
with a dusty rear window,
the wind really sang
for me
when suddenly out of the side
of the speeding car
in front of me
a woman’s hand
with a wrist watch on it
threw away
a series of whirling objects
on to the hurtling road:

a straw
a white shoe fit
to be a fetish,
then another,
a heavy pleated skirt
and a fluttery
slip, faded pink,
frayed lace- edge
and all
(I even heard it swish),
a leg-of-mutton blouse
Just as fluttery.

And as I stepped
on the gas
and my car lunged
into the fifty feet
between me
and them,
a rather ordinary,
used, and off-white bra
for smallish
breasts whirled off
the window
and struck
a farmer’s barbed wire
with yellow-green wheat grass
and spread-eagled on it,
by the blowing wind.

Then before I knew,
bright red panties
laced with white
my windshield
and I flinched,
I swerved,
but then
it was gone,
swept aside
before I straightened up-
fortunately, no one else
on the road:
excited, curious
to see the stripper
on the highway,
maybe with an urgent
lover’s one free hand
(or were there more?)
on her breast
or thigh,
I stepped again
on the gas, frustrated by their
dusty rear window
at fifty feet
I passed them
at seventy.

In that absolute
that glimpse and after-
image in this hell
of voyeurs, I saw
only one at the wheel:
a man,
about forty.

A spectacled profile
looking only
at the road
beyond the nose of his Mustang,
with a football
radio on.

again and again
I looked in my rearview
as I steadied my pace

against the circling trees,
but there was only
a man:

had he stripped
not only hat
and blouse, shoes
and panties
and bra,
had he shed maybe
even the woman
he was wearing,

or was it me
moulting, shedding
old investments,
rushing forever
towards a perfect
with naked nothing
in a world
without places.

~A.K. Ramanujan.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Love after Love by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

~ Derek Walcott

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

IN YOU by K.Satchidanandan

When you were near me,
I thought love didn’t need a body.
Now that you are away I know,
Love needs, like voice, a sky,
like water, a stream,
like electricity, a taut wire,
for me to be a cloud, a fish,
a warm tremor, in you.

Be my earth.
Let me blossom in your valleys,
their first blue flower.
Let me run whistling across your tunnels,
With a beacon on my brow.
Let me be a breeze in your woods,
a submarine in your seas.
I would be corn in your fields,
wander in your house
like the odour of mustard
bursting in oil.

I long to be born in you,


( Translated from the Malayalam by the poet )

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dawning by Yahia Lababidi

There are hours when every thing creaks
when chairs stretch their arms, tables their legs
and closets crack their backs, incautiously

Fed up with the polite fantasy
of having to stay in one place
and stick to their stations

Humans too, at work, or in love
know such aches and growing pains
when inner furnishings defiantly shift

As decisively, and imperceptibly, as a continent
some thing will stretch, croak or come undone
so that everything else must be reconsidered

One restless dawn, unable to suppress the itch
of wanderlust, with a heavy door left ajar
semi-deliberately, and a new light teasing in

Some piece of immobility will finally quit
suddenly nimble on wooden limbs
as fast as a horse, fleeing the stable.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lesson From the Kama Sutra by Mahmoud Darwish

Wait for her with an azure cup.
Wait for her in the evening at the spring, among perfumed roses.
Wait for her with the patience of a horse trained for mountains.
Wait for her with the distinctive, aesthetic taste of a prince.
Wait for her with seven pillows of cloud.
Wait for her with strands of womanly incense wafting.
Wait for her with the manly scent of sandalwood on horseback.
Wait for her and do not rush.
If she arrives late, wait for her.
If she arrives early, wait for her.
Do not frighten the birds in her braided hair.
Wait for her to sit in a garden at the peak of its flowering.
Wait for her to lift her garment from her leg, cloud by cloud.
And wait for her.
Take her to the balcony to watch the moon drwoning in milk.
Wait for her and offer her water before wine.
Do not glance at the twin partridges sleeping on her chest.
Wait and gently touch her hand as she sets a cup on marble.
As if you are carrying the dew for her, wait.
Speak to her as a flute would to a frightened violin string,
as if you knew what tomorrow would bring.
Wait, and polish the night for her ring by ring.
Wait for her until Night speaks to you thus:
There is no one alive but the two of you.
So take her gently to the death you so desire,
and wait.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Along the sun-drenched roadside

Along the sun-drenched roadside, from the great
hollow half-treetrunk, which for generations
has been a trough, renewing in itself
an inch or two of rain, I satisfy
my thirst: taking the water's pristine coolness
into my whole body through my wrists.
Drinking would be too powerful, too clear;
but this unhurried gesture of restraint
fills my whole consciousness with shining water.

Thus, if you came, I could be satisfied
to let my hand rest lightly, for a moment,
lightly, upon your shoulder or your breast.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, March 19, 2010

Do not stare at me by Martin Carter

Do not stare at me from your window, lady

do not stare and wonder where I came from

Born in this city was I, lady,

hearing the beetles at six o'clock

and the noisy cocks in the morning

when your hands rumple the bed sheet

and night is locked up the wardrobe.

My hands are full of lines

like your breast with veins, lady -

So do not stare and wonder where I came from

My hands are full of lines

like your breast with viens, lady -

and one must rear, while one must suckle life...

Do not stare at me from your window, lady.

Stare at the wagon of prisoners!

Stare at the hearse passing by your gate!

Stare at the slums in the south of the city!

Stare hard and reason, lady, where I came from

and where I go.

My hand is full of lines

like your breast with veins, lady,

and one must rear, while one must suckle life.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Near The Wall Of A House

by Yehuda Amichai

Near the wall of a house painted
to look like stone,
I saw visions of God.

A sleepless night that gives others a headache
gave me flowers
opening beautifully inside my brain.

And he who was lost like a dog
will be found like a human being
and brought back home again.

Love is not the last room: there are others
after it, the whole length of the corridor
that has no end.


Friday, January 29, 2010

You Learn
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn...
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure...

That you really are strong

And you really do have worth...

And you learn and learn...

With every good-bye you learn.

~Jorge Luis Borges

Friday, January 15, 2010

This is what the things can teach us:
To fall
Patiently to trust our heaviness
Even a bird has to do that
Before he can fly.

– Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book Of Hours: Love Poems To God

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other" doesn't make any sense."


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

|| Who in the rainbow can draw the line
where the violet tint ends and the
orange tint begins? Distinctly we see
the difference of the colours,
but where exactly does the one
first blendingly enter into the other?
So it is with sanity and insanity. ||

- Herman Melville

Monday, January 11, 2010


Father, when he passed on,
left dust
on a table of papers,
left debts and daughters,
a bedwetting grandson
named by the toss
of a coin after him,

a house that leaned
slowly through our growing
years on a bent coconut
tree in the yard.
Being the burning type,
he burned properly
at the cremation

as before, easily
and at both ends,
left his eye coins
in the ashes that didn’t
look one bit different,
several spinal discs, rough,
some burned to coal, for sons

to pick gingerly
and throw as the priest
said, facing east
where three rivers met
near the railway station;
no longstanding headstone
with his full name and two dates

to hold in their parentheses
everything he didn’t quite
manage to do himself,
like his caesarian birth
in a brahmin ghetto
and his death by heart-
failure in the fruit market.

But someone told me
he got two lines
in an inside column
of a Madras newspaper
sold by the kilo
exactly four weeks later
to streethawkers

who sell it in turn
to the small groceries
where I buy salt,
and jaggery
in newspaper cones
that I usually read

for fun, and lately
in the hope of finding
these obituary lines.
And he left us
a changed mother
and more than
one annual ritual.

Poem by AK Ramanujan