Look Up

I wish I could go back to

A time without smartphones

when (the lack of) notifications —

 instant, intrusive, attention-seeking —

wouldn’t make me feel blue.


Perhaps I would find skills to hone or

learn how to play the trombone.

Perhaps I would make a silly schedule and set aside

time for counting stars.


I would heal oft-ignored scars

with indulgent bubble baths

and when the wastage of water

induces my mother’s wrath,

I’d pour her a vodka-tonic from

my father’s mini-bar.


Perhaps I’d plan an impromptu trip

to a village next door,

and escape secretly without

status updates or a social media furore.


Perhaps I’d climb a hillock,

peppered with attention depleters —

Blue Ticks, Read Receipts and Last Seens —

I’d line them up and make them walk the plank.


Armed with my newly found attention span

I’d make my way to the nearest river bank,

where I’d fashion Gods and Monsters out of shape shifting clouds

and be unconcerned with the whereabouts of my man.


An Ambivalent Evocation

What I’ll (try to) forgive —

The way you muse over my arrogance, contemplate

my contemptuousness and trivialize my anger.

The way you infuriate me with your naivety.

The way you switched from verse to excuses.


What I’ll (try to) forget —

The Green Monster, which wedged itself between

our slipping mattresses.

The Other Woman, who tainted your

imagination with her vicariousness

My Mulish Insecurities, which leave a trail of

meaningless apologies after every exclamation.


What I’ll  remember —

The way you convinced a suicidal man of second chances,

The way you dance in a drunk daze,

The way you sob into my limp arms,

The way it was in the middle of things.


Rock Bottom Blues

“There can be no true despair without romantic love”
My lover (whose verse could make a
troubadour out of a toadstool)
tells me in the same matter-of-fact tone
he’d use to say that –
banality is bothersome
and sincerity is overrated.
He adds
(in words thickly tainted with pragmatism) –
affection waxes and wanes,
and that unconcerned adoration
births indifference.
Rock Bottom blues –
It’s a disruptive (yet) familiar rhythm
Of excesses and immeasurable silences,
Emerging from resentments
that murmur in the fringes

of every withheld statement.

The Delusional Bubble

HE: How do you know when you are in Love?


In Airlines

where Banyan tree vines push through

grey cement and tickle butts

SHE : Is it when large clumsy adorations

exit your mouth like loud burps

after a large meal?


In Chin Lung

Plastic skull like tables

under blue gloom tarpaulin

HE: Is it when tiny butterflies and dull moths

escape your lips

after crawling in your gut for an eternity?


On a Cold Bench

Beside bleating stuffed toy lambs

and broken-armed 5-year olds

SHE: Is it when being held

in arms scrawny and strong

is as good as a wooden cradle?


On a Futon

where a biscuit smelling back

is kissed with sour spit

SHE: Is it when sniffing his scent

on the space between his hungry lips

and bulbous nose makes you bite harder?


In Pecos

loud classic rock, head-spinning booms

he lays on her lap and kisses a finger

HE: Is it when my impatient heart

hungry as always

thumps in my head

but with your touch is quiet?


In an Ola Cab,

stuck in thick trickling traffic

a moan escapes her mouth

SHE: It’s when

after a night that feels like a place more than time

saying goodbye

is like the hard light of the morning.