Our voices don’t carry;
there’s a void here
the size of a democracy.
Echoes do not come back here,
not before they’re mutilated,
made examples out of.
Leaves have lost their rustle,
instead the branches creek
under the weight of debt-ridden farmers.
Poems do not ply this road
anymore — there’s no room
amid chants and slogans.
The only sound that is louder
than the guns that silence reason
is of perpetrators thumping their chests.
What more will it take
To meter your verses with dissent,
rhyme them with resolve,
inspire voices from the void?
Like a misquoted
line from a movie I thought
I’d seen, the red sky
felt lost when I simplified
it as life past its twilight.
On the margins of
a page I often read in
a book was a note,
in blue, from its old owner,
who might have been in love once.
As the moon slumped in,
the horizon eased into
my subconscious — when
sleep sets us apart tonight,
it shall seep into my dream.
Let’s talk books like we’d
profess feelings masked by slurps
of tea, more impeding
than enabling — surely more
labyrinth than library
Waxy leaves in pots
look to AC ducts, office lights
and me — I’ve always feared.
I bury my eyes trying to
feel the texture of pixels.
“Sir,” waiter, splayed ‘cross
fine-dine spread, hands me the bill
“We’ll split it,” she says
There is loneliness
in the way how morning’s half-eaten
energy bar peeks out
of the wrapper at me when
I open the fridge at night.
There is futility
in the way how the carpool makes a ritual
out of our insincere attempts
at meaning good-mornings
on our way to work.
There is despair
in the way how memory works;
how mind gives away to body,
until someone breaks the spell
with, “Hey! What’s up?”
There is persistence
in the way how dust settles
on everything, every day, and fatalism
in the way how everything
in this city settles for dust
There is apocalypse
for the day in the way how
my eyelids embrace each other
like a pair of doomed lovers,
parting upon an aubade by crows.
Clouds huddled to sing of rain in Thunder
In a dialect, I’m not really used to,
But that didn’t really make me think of you –
I was low, I hazarded a wonder.
It was like my mind sensed a meander –
In streamlined workflow and deadline dues,
In lonely meals after long buffet queues –
Past which day and night didn’t lay asunder.
Near a glass window, I sat beside me
And saw wee drops turn into rivulets
And go down the drain like the idea
Of love – the excess of sugar in tea –
Wiped out, like men by state-sanctioned bullets,
Like a band of thoughts across the sky cursed clear.
(Rhyme scheme: ABBAABBA CDECDE)
The other day when the clock
tick-talked us into the night,
you observed how premonition
could be a cheaper alternative
to time traveling. Of course,
neither you nor I had the gift
or the money to afford the real deal,
so we just discussed the possibility
in the capacity of veterans in making
this far into our lives, failing
at every moment at interpreting
the future, until it was deja vu
on the horizon.
Let’s not move Sit like a rock Let hope take root
Down this road Vulnerable to destiny Let Faith be not enshrined
In the burnt city Exactly above the haunt Where her cries were buried
Not far from Where time-capsuled Injustice in memory lives
Tourism billboards plastering Unacknowledged stories Defile
Paradise Hope Humanity