1 - Father Helpless
(Ogu & me)
0330 am. Vocal cord the size of
Eiffel crash. My ears. I
stuff my mouth
with a hand-grenade’s
worth of silence
before a hopeless soldier,
now surrounded, pulls the pin.
Somewhere in diaper-city, a war rages.
Trenches overflow with effluents.
Moonlight cuts us into thin
silver fugues heard
in empty amphitheatres. We echo
so shrill, I swear I thought I heard you.
Now a days, I can’t hear you. I try. The
chasm between banality and grandiosity
is so small, no Feeding Pillow can sleep over it.
Empty bottles, nipples, Feeding Spoon nestle
in the Steriliser’s womb I forgot to turn on. For a brief
moment, there is stillness so white, I thought
I am in a cloud, free-falling into your throat
to embrace vocal cord sketched
in an arc of innocence. Mutual helplessness
and learning is the name of this game. Love was never
really the deficit. Sleep was. Is.
2 - Chittaranjan Park, New Delhi
There is no estimating,
how time and space
transmutes a lover.
So forgive those fish-market shanties
wearing concrete like a truism. The traffic,
and its delirious swell, like a whale's lungs,
every day at 9 am.
Don't begrudge the new traffic signal its ornamental impotence.
for new bungalows
to be coloured beige, mauve, fuchsia,
and neat ground-floor parking lots
replacing bougainvillea trees - where
a boy and a girl,
forever twelve and six,
negotiate the dwelling place
of an earthworm they saved
Forgive those streets,
under the weight
of newer, bigger, shinier cars.
You see, it is only after you learn to unlove
that homecoming becomes
a matter of perpetual return,
the way afternoon chiming
of the kulfiwallah's bells, the smell
of dhunochi, the taste of jamun
brings you closer to
something stuck in your throat
the night before, in a train
hurtling towards this dwelling place,
that was almost yours –
until you disembark
at the Delhi station.