Thursday, February 13, 2014

Emoticons

It's a hunched over world.
The faces hidden as they
bend down to stare into screens
glowing fluorescent.
And a little cold.
Smiles flicker in the light
every once in a while.
But mostly, the world has assumed
a stoic expression now.
It can't be said
what anyone feels anymore.
Or is it that it can be said too plainly,
too easily?
Little yellow circles that say everything.
Smiles, laughs, shocks, tears.
Disappointments, well-dones and fears.
They are all there.
Swimming in the cesspool
of that fluorescent, radiating light.
We prefer these perfect icons
of our hopes and pretenses
and of all those things in our lives
that live on behind little masks
of oblivious indifference to our voices.
We don't trust our voices anymore.
Those terrible, betraying voices
that tremble and quiver and break and choke
and disappear altogether sometimes.
They let escape a sliver of hate,
a hint of love sometimes.
We can't have it. We can't let it happen.
Not in this hunched over world
of hidden faces.
So we speak in beeps and clicks
and ticks and tocks instead
Emoticons we call them, isn't it?
We use them unrestrained.
Click click click.
Beep beep.
Tick.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Snow

They tell me don't hope for snow
in an arid land.
In a land of chemical rains
and greasy dew drops
don't hope for it.
There are flowers dying,
heads drooping on to their chests
like old men sleeping on a train.
Newspapers and peanuts
and old sweater vests.
They tell me don't look out of
the window with those hopeful eyes.
They burn into others fear and guilt
as hopes that can't be fulfilled
often do.
Big gaping holes
with charred walls through which
the land continues into infinity.
Don't put your hand
out of the window like that
you foolish child,
they scold me.
What do you expect? They ask.
There is no one sitting in the sky
with a basket of snow
just waiting to throw fistfuls
down to you.
There is no one.
No. One. At. All.
There is only miles and miles
of land that you can dig
and plant trees in, grow food in
or make graves in.
Take your pick and go along
with the world.
So I stop hoping for snow.
But I have to tell you
I can't stop wanting it though. 

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Lunch

You told me
you were leaving me
over lunch.
To be precise,
over a plate full of
grilled chicken,
french fries,
tartar sauce
and iced tea
in a tall iced glass.
Could it possibly
get more insipid?
It was a nice day too.
And for something to do
I looked at my plate.
The cherry tomatoes
were sitting
amongst the lettuce
like little ladies
on green garden grass.
I could almost
hear them gossiping.
I almost laughed.
I almost cried.
I almost threw
my half of the money
on the table and left.
Like one of those
dramatic, deranged
heroines in movies
made by that little man
in the big, bug glasses.
And then I thought.
What? Is this it?
Is this going to be
our last moment?
Sitting in a restaurant,
amidst inane people,
eating food priced too high?
I have an insatiable appetite
for last moments.
I like to plan them,
cherish them,
and turn them into memories.
Big, beautiful, grandiose.
Melancholy, full of pathos.
Leaving of lovers,
parting of friends,
it must all go perfectly.
It's not a recommended way
of doing things frankly.
But if you have ever
missed out on a last moment,
one that you can never get back,
that you have no memory of,
you'll probably feel
this hunger clawing at you too
and you'll probably understand
why that overpriced lunch
on that lovely day
looked so very bland. 

Thursday, February 06, 2014

The Nightmare

I saw you in my dream.
Holding an automatic.
You looked so young.
As if we had
gone back in time.
May be twenty,
twenty-five years?
You hair sat perfectly
on your pretty head
in a fashionable bob.
Slim and delicate,
the automatic looked
heavy in your hands.
The crowd milling around
seemed oblivious to you.
They didn't sense
the danger close at hand.
I felt afraid though.
Sitting there on the floor,
my bony legs stuck out
awkwardly under
a flower patterned frock.
I sensed it with a child's
sense of irrational fear.
Of the dark, of monsters
hiding under beds.
I looked up and saw
the faces of the people
walking around aimlessly.
But they were distant blurs.
Their shoes and feet and
the tap-tap of their steps
felt nearer than their identities.
I wasn't afraid for them.
I didn't care if they lived or died.
I was afraid for you though.
I cared if you killed or didn't.
And just as I started crying,
my face twisting into
a helpless portrait of misery,
you opened fired.
Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat.
Bullets and blood.
Fire and flesh.
Shells and sinew.
Suddenly it was scarlet.
Sun blotted, vermilion dotted.
Prey spotted, lives clotted.
It went on like an endless rain.
And then suddenly it was over.
The noise of the gunfire stopped.
The ringing in my head went on.
You were exhausted, bent over,
hands on your knees
the automatic discarded for now,
soaking in the blood.
I just stood there.
A child amidst a massacre.
There were tears streaming down
my face still when I asked you
"Why did you do it?"
You were as quiet
as the gun had been loud.
You looked up then, sighed,
and with a blank face
and a calm voice said -
"You made me."
I woke up, twenty, may be
twenty-five years later
my face still wet with tears.
That night, I remember,
I slept with the lights on.
Till much after the break of dawn.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The bar

She sits uncomfortably
on the bar stool.
And in her skin.
The night moves on
around her, walking
to the rhythm of erratic
unchanging music.
She plays with a coaster,
damp with drink.
And coughs delicately
in the cigarette smoke.
A few smiles and
a free drink or two.
They make her
feel beautiful.
And she now
seems to exist only
in the images reflected
in the roving eyes
of passing strangers.
In her I see that sedate
loneliness that keeps
 the nights long
and the mirrors cracked
and corroded.
That lulls and dulls
and dissolves little pills
of self pity in her glass
at the bottom of which
she then finds only
some bitter cynicism.
I will her to walk out
and find her way home.
To start once more.
To once again begin.
But even as I leave
I see her still sitting
uncomfortably
on the bar stool.
And in her skin.