Today the wall of the classroom
grows parched mouths with tongues
darting out, hungry for a day
of calm. Peace.
Smoke. Or maybe
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
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
in solitude, the starry
mogre ke phul,
write him off.
Malabar – Coastal area of Kerala, an Indian state.
Madhubala, Nargis – yesteryear stars/actors
mogre ke phul - Arabian jasmine
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.