{A Table Plant at my window}


It so happens I’m tired of just being a man.

I go to a movie, drop in at the tailor’s – it so happens-

Feeling wizened and numbed, like a big, wooly swan,

awash on an ocean of clinkers and causes.

A whiff from a barbershop does it: I yell bloody murder.

All I ask is a little vacation from things: from boulders and

Woolens,

from gardens, institutional projects, merchandise,

eyeglasses, elevators – I’d rather not look at them.

It so happens I’m fed – with my feet and my fingernails

and my hair and my shadow.

Being a man leaves me cold: that’s how it is.

{if you look at this pic closely, you may get the hint of a nest where the little crow who I named “Break free” lived with its mom and dad}



Still-it would be lovely

to wave a cut lily and panic a notary,

or finish a nun with a left to the ear.

It would be nice

just to walk down the street with a green switchblade

handy,

whopping it up till I die of shivers.

I won’t live like this – like a root in a shadow,

wide-open and wondering, teeth chattering sleepily,

going down to the dripping entrails of the universe

absorbing things, taking things in, eating three squares a day.

I’ve had all I’ll take from catastrophe.

I won’t have it this way, muddling through like a root or a

grave,

all alone underground, in a morgue of cadavers,

cold as a stiff, dying of misery.

That’s why Monday flares up like an oil-slick,

when it seems me up close, with the face of a jailbird,

or squeaks like a broken-down wheel as it goes,

stepping hot-blooded into the night.

Something shoves me toward certain damp houses, into

certain dark corners,

into hospitals, with bones flying out of the windows;

into shoe stores and shoemakers smelling of vinegar,

streets frightful as fissures laid open.

There, trussed to the doors of the houses I loathe

are the sulphurous birds, in a horror of tripes,

dental plates lost in a coffeepot,

mirrors

that must surely have wept with the nightmare and shame

of it all;

and everywhere, poisons, umbrellas, and belly buttons.

I stroll unabashed, in my eyes and my shoes

and my rage and oblivion.

I go on, crossing offices, retail orthopedics,

Courtyards with laundry hung out on a wire:

The blouses and towels and the drawers newly washed,

slowly dribbling a slovenly tear.

{a tree near the sea side, will soon get its fresh batch of leaves and branches}

………as usual, I am struggling to construct my thoughts. There’s so much happening around in those strips of local bazaars, where visibly tired men and women (after tiresome and demanding work) with their backs stretched over the baskets filled with fresh vegetables and greens, chatting up with the vegetable vendors, striking a better deal for the evening, the tired truck drivers indulging in light-hearted conversations with the barbers in a dimly lit barber shop, a group of women in their 40s standing frozen in their thoughts while waiting for the bus that takes them to their respective homes safe, a little girl standing next to her mother pouring clean water, collected in a small pot, over the Siva Lingam in the Hanuman temple, adjacent to a tiny shop that sells old junk, a few feet away, is a tiny mosque where men assemble in the afternoon to offer their prayers ….watching people going about their daily tasks, carrying on their faces a commitment to finish the varied tasks by the end of yet another emotionally debilitating day (this is true for many. Those fortunate ones can be counted on fingers), fills me with a sense of energy and optimism about the world and life, which seem to be hurtling towards shocking a level of unpredictability, these days. It’s like withdraw self from the world, bring the knees & limbs closer to the stomach, feel the tightness around the thighs, as if a human body is closing its doors tight against the world outside, crouch in the shadow of a branch that crawls against the bedroom window and draw strength from the little bird who is being fed by its mom. And meditate on decay, on life, silently. Interestingly, it’s the poor, the struggling class / the working class of the society gives me that required bit of energy and courage. The superficial and shallow beauty being flaunted by the rich and successful, the so-termed class disturbs me a lot.

Neruda’s “Walking Around”, a melancholic walk across streets, captures the existentialism of life, a sense of disappointment about the disturbance being caused by the structural progress, the destruction of nature and man himself. All of us, subconsciously (the screams of which, at times, are loud enough to cause tangibly felt discomfort), feel the need to take a “little vacation” from regularity of daily life, formulated in well-defined moves, i.e. get out of a rectangle shaped bed, 10 mins of reluctance with the hand perched on a sleeker rectangular bodied mobile communication device with curvaceous corners, enter the “phase of civilisation”, commute through the roads-based commotion that comes in various forms & sizes, walk into the artificially lit liveable-breathable-cylinder shaped environment, deliver organised talk (presentation) to the benumbed souls around a rectangle shaped wooden table…..one feels numb and staggered after such drone-like encounters! 

…All I ask is a little vacation from things: from boulders and

Woolens,

from gardens, institutional projects, merchandise,

eyeglasses, elevators – I’d rather not look at them.

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