Eunice D’Souza

Today the wall of the classroom 
grows parched mouths with tongues 
darting out, hungry for a day 
of calm. Peace. 
Smoke. Or maybe 
a matter-of-fact,
peppery sandwich. 
But Eunice, that butt of ashen cigarette in your hand, 
a tongue that rolls a slang, lashes out 
on many small-town breed specimen, 
a purring cat to keep you company, 
 that boring feline licking milk from a tray, 
a taut Siva lingam that you mistook to be an ashtray, 
a powdered face with a  sun melting on the forehead,
Eunice, you failed me today!

Would I go by your hair-flaying, skin-splitting sarcasm? 
Your Miss Louise? Eunice?
I don’t have professors loving me in my youth. 
I don’t hit a heart, strike an arrow. 
I don’t smoke in public. 
But, today I see a storm brewing up in the rows of clouds 
in Goiragre, a sky that cooks up a desire--- 
and here my classroom in disarray, pens, chalk, whiteboard, 
miserable, that uncalled for
revolution, love or not-love,
call it the wind, 
the spray and splatter of rain on my windowpanes, 
a handful of sweaty Godhuli Gopal 
trickling down the glass. The sticky, rain-soaked flowers.
You smirked. Eunice, how would you put a desire right, 
a desire that wrings your throat like a boa? 
A desire that feeds on you, that fattened leech,
it makes you fall down, 
in pallor-stricken droplets,
in a whizzing, heavy gravity,
in tatters and sorrow, 
in absolute recklessness?

The runaway girls of my class 
settle for a life of starched white wedding dresses, 
of till-death-do-us-part men,
of children, of dogs that wagtails 
in adoration--- that picture perfect existence, Eunice. 
And here, in a not-so-great classroom 
of a not-so-great university
I don’t even have a man, nor a cat 
with a blue-eyed intensity, an opulence, 
staring back at me. With disbelief. 
With disinterest. I die alone, Eunice.
Here. Every day

Siva lingam - an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu deity Shiva
Goiragre -  name a place in Meghalaya, Northeast India.
Godhuli Gopal - Mirabilis jalapa, a flower that blooms in the evening 


The Lover

A not-so-true story of letting a Mediterranean lover 
enter your life unannounced 

like an intended fall 
from serpentine stairways at home.

Read John Barthes. Make the incident look a bit catchy.
Perform.  Fall flat on the ground, let out a shriek.
Histrionics. Moan like an incandescent moon caught unawares 
in sheets of grief. Stretch out your six yards 
to store a stubborn summer, breed seven moody 
stories without a beginning, without an end,
chew betel nuts, squat languidly on your Malabar courtyard 
for hours and hours---

then stealthily rise from the ashes, 
a heroine of your life, that tinsel town moment 
of a Madhubala and a Nargis 
wallowing
in solitude, the starry 
mogre ke phul
drunk, 
scattered---
fictionalize him, 
write him off.

Malabar – Coastal area of Kerala, an Indian state.
Madhubala, Nargis – yesteryear stars/actors

mogre ke phul  - Arabian jasmine


Trees

It started with a disenchantment with the tress, 
the loud, well-built fig and tamarind. 
They grow their fingers longer and longer,
 enter the bedroom in the easternmost
corner 
of the house. They wear your fatigue in the crown, 
suckle you dry.

The trees stand erect on his opiate eyes. 
Dance to a forced amnesia in his pupils. 
The roots squeeze out a cry on rare
occasions 
but otherwise he is fine. He is an exhibitionist 
and it’s his garden.

You wear flowers in your hair. Pin a bunch to your chest. 
You smell of tipsy poppies all day long.
He pares you down to a memory of good old times, 
the days when you grow camellias on your breasts, 
clasp your hands on the mouth,
laugh like a child.