A New Selection Of Poems And Haiku And Tanka Sequences

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The traps hidden in the candle flame are the cages we make and unmake

to chart the future and yet fear the emergency light at night dream the concerns of slinky colleagues and how to police their freedom against owls, monkeys and bandicoots that howl at each move to the lee and yet pretend our poses intact through several byways reach victory stand breath by  reath conspire against ourselves only to hear the echoes that rise or die down in silence the twangs of memory reveal the pit dug over the years or the earth fermented with imaginary gains


I don’t know how to negotiate the long steep trail with hidden scorpions under loose rocks at home with human muck in a valley existence strolling upward through a thicket of TV images politics of glory, garbage and god the odd arts of money, hierarchy and control nobody knows who unmakes whom

I don’t know how to follow the ridges back to the trail and the dead river but stand for a moment to rub the sand from my feet before worrying about the lost vitality and fear of the approaching night and rising smoke

dissolving in the sky or conspiring with elements hardly in balance but contorting the psyche

I don’t know what is there for me to hope when the rains rejuvenate and flood both the repulsive stench and the loss of pathways linger longer than the flavor of the first drops under the tree the puddle feeds no sparrows

but algae that couldn’t dry now trap tiny souls that fail to swell with heaven’s breath


How long can I grow without roots or make way for what is approaching

in digital noises I can’t be inheritor of arrant cowards smelling the ass on their fingers nor can I be the priest checking the burnt tongues to test criminals stiff with cold I’m tired of animal struggle for survival and last rites in candle light digging cursed treasure for night songs others croon

I can’t decipher names in smoke nor forget the faces emerging from the matrix of tremors that are islands to shackle feet in silence close the cycle

of waters that feed the sea

I feel lumps hinder and pain now it’s time to break off and bury the ash in the earth and plant afresh foliage for rains or sun to nurse a destiny I could take pride in


The falsity of the sky is more real than the earth’s lies can’t sustain hope of divinity we have complicated with poesying private hells to mitigate flow of time that couldn’t carve heaven: we harbor histories of broken promises and fallen gods lament men and women buried in light now soulless, bodiless, traceless we look upward and whittle continents from clouds

hanging generations that may never be


Created in self listening to the book evolving me in degeneration

indistinct and delusive memory bank reigning my action orgasmic illusion

I keep recycling cocooned exposition


You’re my love tonight you know me as you know your body will you bother to say hello tomorrow if we meet in the street alone like this?

just as I like your frisette

you like my male smell

you say. will you clutch

my hands like this tomorrow

if I meet and say I’m hungry?

how silly, darling, go & wash

your mouth smells pubic hair


Before the bananas ripe

let’s meet at least once

lest the fog dampen passion

let’s water our love

the sun is bright this morning

and night’s promising

let’s meet and unfreeze winter

of years, drink some wine

restore warmth of faith and hope

and heal the breaches

without black goggles for seeing

let’s meet at least once


How does it matter

I remember or forget

the nights or lights

that stand still

in the dense fog

nothing visible

nor audible

the thundering planes

touch the ground:

it’s all game

of guess and vague



even the tick

of the clock

this freezing hour

redolent of

crumbling echoes

I can’t divine vision

or loom up certainty

to mock follies

of dying sun


Last evening

I saw a flower bloom

today it’s faded

but my fear

lurking like a shadow

ever present

I can’t erase:

emptying the mind

easier said than done


There’s more to view in a dew drop

than what lies in my backyard

–years of muck and mucking about-

burial too difficult

in sunlight images shine

like crystal ball reveal my mind

in poetic disturbance

leaking lust and blood on dried grass


It’s lightning

every evening

in the sky

but it doesn’t rain

I keep postponing

my journey

whether the train is late

or I miss it

it doesn’t matter

I look below

the chasm is wide

like the lightning

but it doesn’t rain



The barber sees

a potential customer

in me but I pass

the tense faces

after the long walk sunshine

a fag in the car

short carnival:

neatly hide faded vests drying

in the balcony

helter skelter

afternoon windy rain

allergies again



Death hides in the body

but who sees? it’s obscure

living on the edge

seeking space into swamp

they all talk about the sun

swelling in the sky

and close eyes to the spider

spinning waves on the ceiling

all alone, but who cares?

suspicion and distance

like lovers they pretend

to leave, yet stay longer

dishing out luxuries

showing off generosity

on the heart’s fancy table

waiting to welcome the guest



They say my birth was a heavenly event:

here I am suffering third-rate villains

that erect walls to stop the chariots

from Merkaba: the angels fume but who cares

heaven is a mirage in human zoo



The dates on calendar question

all my undone acts

and memories that haunt or fade

in nightly nakedness

stumbling toward the next day’s sun

without celebration

at 63 January jeers

my degenerating sex

a still itch: mantra and mirror

quiet god and drying petals



Late August:

clouded midnight, sneezing

restless in bed

all negative vibes

well up the mind

jackals yell outside

I read Hsu Chicheng

for a gleam of light



Time’s wrinkling fingers

trivialize the sun and snow

in a crooked land

I see history crippled

with midnight dyspnoea

the green umbrella

hosts disaster:

the avalanche waits on its shoulder

the wound opens



I’ve outlived

the winter’s allergies

and depressing rains

in a human zoo

I can live

my retirement too

without pension and medicare:

the wheelchair doesn’t frighten

I can live

uncared and unknown

survive broken home

the numbness of the arms

the pain in the neck

and inflation too



My shrinking body

even if I donate

what’s there for research:

devil in the spine

abusing tongue in sleep

or bleeding anus

defy all prayers

on bed or in temple-

the same heresy

oozing and stinking

onanist excursion

dead or alive



They make my face

ugly in my own sight

what shall I see in the mirror?

there is no beauty

or holiness left

in the naked nation:

the streams flow dark

and the hinges of doors moan

politics of corruption

I weep for its names

and the faces they deface

with clay dreams



The crack in the sky

is not the rosy cleavage

to rape the body

nor is the beast any free

to escape the bloody river

that reflect stony wrath

in doggy position

they all expect their reward

for burying the noise

of sunny free wheeling

in frozen passion

turn beggars they all

search warmth with ash-smeared sadhus

at road side tea stall

whistle and wash off sins

in sangam muddled

with privileged few soar high

but I’m glad I crawl on earth

my roots don’t wave in the air



I’ve lived 23,000 days

awaiting a day that could become

god’s day in eden earth or within

or even my grandson’s smile

on his first day in mother’s arms

now I sit an empty boat

on a still river

and shake with quail dreams



The body is precious

a vehicle for awakening

treat it with care, said Buddha

I love its stillness

beauty and sanctity

here and now

sink into its calm

to hear the whispers in all

its ebbs and flows

erect, penetrate

the edge of life and loss

return to wholeness



Flowers don’t bloom

in tribute to

builders’ apathy

the trees are dying:

they too know they’ll be felled

or the heat will kill

the concrete rises

calamity too will rise

none talk the ruins they bring



I don’t know where I lived

in my former existence

but the hell I’ve breathed

for three decades here

couldn’t adapt my soul:

I remain a stranger

to them and to the cold walls

that put out the candle lights

in my roofless house



Being good

couldn’t make me know

any better

I was harmless

they sold my name

and became

what I couldn’t

in the middle of day light

I vanished like faces

from voters’ list

with no difference

to who wins

or who loses



Some fresh bones, and designer dress

distorted hopes, cataract vision

hardly any better the face of the body

and if there is a soul, the soul hears

the map guides the mind’s midnight

but the destination is different

deception is courage

they know the end of journey

and get down when the train stops

I too descend



Teary eyes

with sparks and lightning

dried vision

caged existence

seek deliverance

muttering old prayers



Unpruned roses

and unknown grasses

make me aware

of the emptiness

the dusk in her room sounds

she searches out

her shadow in

the rising moon

I feel the season’s prick



When gods are out to teach me a lesson

where to go to pray or find relief?

my prophet friends predict each day good

and the future fulfilling, the palmists find

the sun, saturn, venus, and rahu hostile:

they seek money for rituals, stones or mantras

while God gives us the best in life gratis

I can’t change man or nature, nor the karmas

now or tomorrow they all delude

in the maze of expediency and curse

stars, fate, destiny, or life before and after

degenerating the mind, body, thought, and divine



The cracks on the parapet

have widened for the peepal

to stay green for once

rains too want us to drench

our heads and feel one

with cool wind

in a dark corner

shed fears and enjoy love



Each night a challenge:

suffocative restlessness

sleepless spirits’ noise

sexual starvation

anal menstruation

dingy subconscious

conspire behind closed eyes

absent healing and

Wishful miracles

a clueless sun rises

bugging time and life



With scheming mind

and crafty heart

loud and rebellious

a professional loser

perfumes the room

with flattering lips

and strays a preacher

to revolution



Because I had no STD code to dial Heaven

I walked into Hell measuring happiness

in buried lines on the palms and shrinking head:

I couldn’t know when love sieved and sank

like a ship on vacation



When I asked

to open her secret

she showed me thumb

I thought

she would return

love for love



She props the stooping lemons

with stake but avoids

bending close to me:

I die to draw the blossom

in my twining arms

but she likes the other scent



Coming out of the room

they smile to think they’re not

what they were before

nor would they ever be

the same again even if

they wanted to be



In the poems I write

you can read my mind

even know when I’m blue

before the mirror

when I stand in the dark

you can’t scent me

nor will words comfort

in chilly December

when alone in candle light

empty coffee cups

deride the syllables

I spin to make haiku

my hairs in air

reveal the baldness:

wank without wad



Standing at the edge

I long to float with waves &

wave with instant wind

on the dream water’s breast

I read tomorrow’s wonder:

the secret of waking



After a day’s labor

they lie on a sand pile

in the basement of

a new shopping complex

rising slowly next door

like the waves at Nellore beach

that broke before wiping

my name on the sand

I take a snap at sunset:

they play with plastic bottles in water

or eat fried fish in the huts

I’m warned against placing it on Facebook

she hates my face

nor am I allowed to speak

to the drug addict picked up

from the door steps of

Varsha Apartments

his father questions

if there’s law in the country

only a street dog wags its tail

I wheeze and take a seroflo puff

and wonder if I should visit

NIMHANS and get checked

to manage my sleep

she questions why I think of Bangalore

for treatment of all my ailments

and takes me to Bannerghatta zoo

for animal viewing



All around

snoring men and women

in an infected coach

allergies multiply

restive long hours

now too much

to bear the loneliness

of train journey



They practice death

in school and blame India:

terrorist politics

no wake-up call

be it Nawaz or Modi

power luxury

in angel costume

each invokes divine


after the act

ritual truth burial

and peace politics



I thought I would hold her

in my arms before falling

and kiss her on the table

or under the tree

but she never let me:

she reached up coolly

leaving me a shade in dream



After the death of Jesus

I ceased to be a sinner:

God’s come closer with His love

My flame glows with passion

and dreams rise in new shapes

I love the spirit’s edict



Too stifling

inside the boat


waves of hopelessness

in unending sea

noah’s ark is no home

nor an island

promise of eden

it’s only dead dreams

floating or flying

for a short break

I too would end

repeating the same myth

on whirling jagged edges



To see you naked

is to recall the Earth

says Garcia Lorca

it’s no sin to love

strip naked in bed, kitchen

or prayer room

the bodies don’t shine

all the time nor passion

wildly overflows

but when we have time

we must remember parts

arouse dead flesh

rub raw with desire

peeling wet layers through light

sound, senses and taste

play the seasons:

the thirst is ever new

and blissful too

to recreate

the body, a temple

and a prayer



Hurrying at red light

is no exception

be it traffic or sex

movement is the essence

and time matters



sleepy roads

with or without light

tear the sky

I watch the murmur

in the misty darkness

Tao of midnight



Unlinked to the tree

he doesn’t know his family-

stands aloof, questions

ancestors don’t change

the mood of the weather:

the leaf needs his name



The withered leaves

blown in autumn

come again with the tired rains

the season confers

through the soft gray clouds

the growing freshness on naked trees



On the roof top

she waits for her man with

moon cake and lantern:

a flash of silver showers

on the mist-shrouded figure



So many patients

so many diseases

masked faced

in Fortis I inhale

microbes in AC lounge



Tears dry up

leaving no marks where her pain

ends and mine begins

on the face make up damps

with aching sweat and cold sighs



At the end of the day

when I look back and see

my knowledge and insight

rusting with ageing colleagues

I pity my age and wish

to give up; I can’t change

the means and ends frustrate

the will to work any more

I want to rest now burying

ambience and achievements

that ache the soul and make

empty sounds in the hollow

of a hallowed pond long doomed

for marrying self-indulgent

elites and idiots

sucking generations



Anxieties don’t end

with age fire raging to quench

drugs hardly help reach

climax any more and

ecstasy a far cry

without sleep

through dried roses to nightmares

I smell hell all day

suffer shrinking passions

in the hollow of my mind



A professor

not worried so much-

shrinking genius

at his table views nudes

reviews failed erections



Professors beware

intellectual success

lies in inventing

lies to conceal common truths

and sound holier-than-thou



With mordant comments

he tries to geld a standpat

in a feminists’ meet

and turns a sook

at tea break



Going along Boring Canal

he is piqued to waste a sin

over smuggled evening

in the capital’s

canal culture



The chains multiply

wrap life in the skin of water

crying quits to an acomous sky:

the mute soul suffers

the oozing filth



A serpent twists

it’s head to face a dragon

on her shoulder:

their tails on breast in water

swirl to cleanse my kiss on skin



Her smile

with the whiff of sandal

makes love livelier:

I search Tao

in the wind’s flavor



Peeping through the fog

the sun feebly comforts

a sparrow’s nest

built under the window sill:

I hear a new-born crying



My face

locked in her hands

I can’t look-

love’s changing shapes

a bird in cage



A mist covers

the valley of her body

leaves memories

like the shiver of cherry

in dreamy January



I love her undress

the light with eyes that spring

passion with kisses

she leaves her name again

for my breath to pass through



Awaiting the wave

that’ll wash away empty hours

and endless longing

in this dead silence at sea

I pull down chunks of sky



Scratching his groin

a worshipper offers food:

the flattered deity

in flowery garbage, holy

water, incense, and sweat



In perfect accent

they discuss finance and

foam with color

at the dining table

smell stale beer



A happier image

with salubrious top

turns rapturous

as she tamps her love

with watery lipstick



Men or women

no living gods:

the soul has no sex

the form, the body

and the name unreal

the climax of eternity

denudes the mind



Where will we reach

sailing in a coffin

or dreaming to anchor

off the rainbow arch

the gold and purple ashes

won’t revive the phoenixes

lost in myths and stories:

we need to recoup

the elements’ balance

and create new suns

and moons that could light the cave

and begin a fresh future



Where education leads to submissiveness, not self-respect

where knowledge and acceptance depends on certificates

where push-out is called drop-out

Where repression breeds fear, powerlessness, alienation and marginalization

where dependency, not self-sufficiency, perpetuates with helplessness

where discontentment is the way of life and dignity is decried

Where the system blames the victims to preserve status quo

and the stream of reason is lost in narrow divisions

Into that ever-widening hell of majority and minority

O my God,

let my country not sink in the new century



I don’t seek the stone bowl

Buddha used while here:

she dwells on moon beams

I see her smiling

with wind chiseled breast

in sexless solitude

her light is not priced

but gifted to enlighten

the silver-linings



His message to meet

at moonrise among flowers

sparkles a secret

on her smiling face passion

glows with charming fervor

she is no moon yet

she drifts like the moon, takes care

of him from the sky-

meets him for a short, waxing

leaves him for a long, waning

before going to bed

she looks too sad to have

any sweet dream:

the lonely lamp glints no love

and no star peeks through the curtains

yearning to meet him

she turns a silk-worm spinning

love-silk in cold night-

stands in a shade melting tears

like a candle, drop by drop

stains on dried dewy

tears on the eyelids tell of

the load on her mind:

clothed in spring the willow twigs

reveal the changed relation

locked in the shadows

of unrolled curtains her love

in the lone boudoir:

she plays tunes on the violin

flowers fade at the windows

she senses all things

changing as she passes through

the city again:

should I leave the old house or

lie in the grave before death



Plodding away at

season’s conspiracies

life has proved untrue

with God an empty word

and prayers helpless cries

I wish I could live

nature’s rhythm free from

bondage of clock-time

rituals of work and sleep

expanding haiku present

on the prayer mat

the hands raised in vajrasan

couldn’t contact God-

the prayer was too long and

the winter night still longer

the mind creates

withdrawn to its own pleasures

a green thought

behind the banyan tree

behind the flickering lust

I can’t know her

from the body, skin or curve:

the perfume cheats

like the sacred hymns chanted

in hope, and there’s no answer


the soul’s pursuit hidden

by its own works:

the spirit’s thirst, the strife

the restless silence, too much

unable to see

beyond the nose he says

he meditates

and sees visions of Buddha

weeping for us

the mirror swallowed

my footprints on the shore

I couldn’t blame the waves

the geese kept flying over head

the shadows kept moving afar

the lane to temple

through foul drain, dust, and mud:

black back of Saturn

in a locked enclosure

a harassed devotee

seeking shelter

under the golden wings

of Angel Michael

a prayer away now

whispers the moon in cloud

not much fun-

cold night, asthmatic cough

and lonely Christmas:

no quiet place within

no fresh start for the New Year



Layers of dust thicken

on the mirror water makes

the smuts prominent:

I wipe and wipe and yet

the stains stay like sin

when I have no home

I seek refuge in the cage

of your heart and close

my eyes to see with your nipples

the tree that cared to save from sun

in the forest of your hair

my finger searches

the little pearl of blood

that stirs the hidden waters

and contains my restlessness

crazy these people

don’t know how to go down

with the swirl and up

with the whirl but play

in the raging water

watching the waves

with him she makes an angle

in contemplation:

green weed and white foam break

on the beach with falling mood

they couldn’t hide the moon

in water or boat but now

fish moonlight from sky:

I watch their wisdom and smile

why I lent my rod and bait

the lips in her eyes

and long hours in the mouth–

no moist secrets

between us to reveal:

now our backs to each other

all her predictions

could come true had I paid her

the fees for writing

psychic reflections on dreams

I failed to realize in life

wrinkles on the skin

remind me of time’s passage

year by year traveled

long distances renewing

spirit and waving goodbye

feeling the difference

between a tin house and

a weather proof tent:

on the Yamuna’s bank

Kumbh deluge to wash sins

with black and white marks

and nest of ants on its skin

the tree grows taller

shining through the geometry

of sun, moon and halogen

my voice

brown like autumn

crushed in noises I can’t

understand days pass in colors


a cloud-eagle

curves to the haze

in the west

skimming the sail

on soundless sea

heaven is

the frisson of union

with fishwife

behind the boulders

on sea beach

before the foamy

water could sting her vulva

a jellyfish passed

through the crotch making her shy –

the sea whispered a new song



She gives him the push

when he says sex starving

is a greater sin

than fasting for his long life

or praying to the lingam

one more plateau

to negotiate between lapses in bed:

the moon shines bright and naked

I brave her cold lashes

after a tiff

lying under the same blanket

two of us stare

the peeping moon and turn

with glee to each other

shaped like a bird

a drop of water lands

on her breast:

my breath jumps to kiss it

before her pelvic flick

glowing with sweat

her muscles tighten up

and the toes curl

breathing gets heavier

trembling … twitching … ecstasy

weaving no web

a dark fishing spider

mates in the creek

and curls up hanging from the twat

in one-shot deal


POST-WAR: A Haiku Sequence

Night bombing

leaves the garden

white as death

vultures waiting

for the leftovers

of the sacrifice

whiteness of the moon

and rocks howl with the wind–

fear in the veins

in the ruins

searching her photo:


in the diary

searching phone numbers of

friends now alive

standing behind

the window bars observes

darkness in shapes


the darkness between the stars


awaits his son’s

phone call from the border:

dogs and cats wail

a dead voice

calling up at dawn:

drowsy eyes


on her bed rings

the cell phone

going alone

an empty shadow

in the mall

crowded streets

moving among the years

wretched faces

shell-shocked or frozen

he stands in tears on hilltop

craving nirvana

unmoved by the wind

he sits on a rock wearing

peace of the lake

hearing heaviness

of her footsteps passing

the closed door

withdrawn within

sensing infinity

an island

searching peace

in the dark blankness

of mind’s silence

in silence

one with the divine will

growing within



Her sleeping desire

no dirty tantalizer:

we too together

bedside altar

smell of her hair:

dreams light up

her veil

hides the face

love too


he melts into her

time stands still


the sound of orgasm:

LaoTzu *

* A great sound is inaudible, and a great image is formless, “said Lao Tzu.

making love

she tastes the salt upon

his shoulder

candling in vein

leaves marks of teeth on her neck

utters holiness

making love

hands clasped and head hung

prayer in bed


the white night:

lips meeting lips

writes with strands of

watery hair on her bare back

a love haiku

after the tumble

buried between the sheets

leftover passion

hidden between the sheets

my smothered sense-

salted honey

she departs

leaving behind her clothes

over mine

they come together

as themselves within themselves-

love’s silence



Sunny morning:

a snake slides through the fence

looking for a prey

full of silt

the Ganga overflows:

snakes under the waves

raises its hood

a cobra in water:

algae criss-cross

a quick brush

with snake in the fence:

plucking flowers

searching reason

in the labyrinthine pattern:

snakes in courtyard

avoids searching

mushroom in the crowded green –

snake on the fence

searches thorn apples

to propitiate lingam:

snake in sanctum

dreaming her nude

The serpent rises:

first orgasm

a snake’s tail

coils round a sweet

in the box

smells a snake

in the wet grass –

her smile

rises with tickles

between the thighs

the dream-serpent

a yellow snake

slithers on the grass –

dewy trail of love

climbing high through

rough pathway and stony cold

a green snake

a yellow snake

through the blooming balsams bed

a lone frog puffs up

a snake’s dead skin

near the fence:

she stands unmoving



Red oleander and

hibiscus calling morning

to Kali

the lone hibiscus

waits for the sun to bloom:

morning’s first offering

without washing hands

he touches the hibiscus for worship:

her frowning glance

love tickles

with erect pistil:


narrowly escape

the midair web of spider

perched on hibiscus

a tiny spider

on the hibiscus sucking

its golden hue


on the spider’s web –

a hibiscus

after little rain

lilies smile with hibiscus –

the sun in May


over the mossy roof

deeply rooted

oleander and

hibiscus blaze with passion –

making love in sun



Waiting for the train

alone on the platform

swatting mosquitoes

after the party

empty chairs in the lawn –

new moon and I

all guests gone:

after the late party

night and I

nothing changes

the night’s ugliness

in the lone bed


in a shrunken bed

aged love

in the well

studying her image

a woman

knitting silence

my wife on the bench

after lunch

virtual flirting

untamed straggly bushes-


a moth

struggling for life

on wire

a lone sparrow

atop the naked branch

viewing sunset

between virgin curves

he deep-breathes evening mist

rests in the hollow

the lone mushroom –

a pregnant woman

stares out of the window

facing the sun

the lone flower

dying to bloom

a dead leaf hangs

by a spider’s thread

invisible in sun

under a tree

in meditation sunken

a lone stone


on the National Highway


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