After two hours of
Pretencious company — flimsy talk of
Radical Art, smoke rings
Exhaled like a steamer off course —
I stop by the status of the
Late Minister of Health; and watch, as from his head,
A crow, perched, regard me on a pause.
In his sad eyes he seems to say:
“In a moment comes the unfurled barrage of
Short women carrying their umbrellas,
— Fussing as they splatter redundant drops of rain —
At your shoulder length, cursing you as they
Brush past you; for at rain time they all go mad; insane”.
The drizzle builds up and I see the
Clouds are thicker than I, at first, thought they were.
Darkness spreads from end to end and when I turn back again
To take a second good glance, the ministerial crow
Has taken flight. In the mildness of the soaking spirit
I continue to walk towards the night.
It gathers in the weight with which it falls.
Trickles down the sides of the spectacle arms.
Down the hair-mown head, in what feels like the
Flush of a thousand toilets down the sides of the
Sides of the ears, down the nose. In a moment —
In a moment — It has pelted you. And you stroll on.
I let them be, I let them fester, I let you rot deep inside,
Gave no words that would give you comfort, a shoulder to meander by.
Though you confessed that it is over, that you have really tried,
You already knew that it was all futile. You remain with a sigh.
When he made you lose the child that you carried
And walked away like a bear to a waterhole
— Since you were already a mother and a fool, married —
I made no attempts those wounds to console.
Now, you claim that it is all over, that I’m a vicious enough brute
That doesn’t pay any comfort, attention, when needed the most.
Well, what words can I administer? In what way could one sooth
One who scampers through the breeze to hug some ghost?
He stopped me and he stopped a foot from me
And excused me for disturbing my stride
And he said that he was a Lance Corporal (in civvies) someone
And that he had left his purse behind:
“In the bus that I got off from, there
At Borella junc. I had given my bag to a lady
And I forgot to pick it back on”.
Said, “Sir, I am on my way to Vavuniya,
The bus fare is all I want”, I said,
“But, I will give you money to Fort
Where one of your camps you can stop by to doat”,
He said — “No, but without identification,
They will detain me” so on and on. And I lied that
I had no money on me, cos from an ATM
I had the money to be drawn.
“260 rupees” he said, is all he wants,
Dark face, eyes almost at the edge of tears.
“Money to Fort” I promised, 13 rupees,
And I said it again — he may have to supplicate his peers.
Held out a ten rupee and a five rupee coin
And I told him it is 9 bucks from the following halt.
He thanked and he took it and on he went
— If, indeed, he is a soldier — to where his duty called.
Ignorance breeds a growing reed of dust
That rots the middle at a sick-like pace
As I stand, where I stand shakes ‘neath like crust
In your all assuming, patronizing stupid gaze.
You paddle like a boat, a river base and vile,
Give face to the murk with gross beaming smile.
Toss a speech on progress, the need to steady the peace
And with that envisaging done — it is, yet, what it is.
Expert analysis on what needs to be put,
Who plays foul and what crimes are done.
Storm, take on the big floor, the big role, shout, but
The tirade over, storm out and begone on the run.
Beguiling, beguild, knowing it’s beguiling,
Smiling, smiled at, the ball rolls smiling
As limited resources and clumsiness spend
Where would I fall to, when it breaks in the end?
It’s not only pain
And when you come to me again
I will tell you — maybe — to
Forgive me, baby
For things I say ‘No’, but may continue to do,
That, as living things, we consistently repent.
Since, a moment’s tear hanging fleetingly by the eye
Does not make the heartbeat of a lover die
There will be a time to hold and summarize
The nett weight of our soft sentiments in
Softly coated, nose-tickling soft sigh.
When you come to me again,
Perhaps, you may hold me close from where you stand,
Ask me to draw you, look into your eyes,
To let the world stop a moment and
I see, I see
The next decade and a half,
Till the absolute order you court with you is done,
I see the culled, gleaned roses of mediocrity.
I see the thin grass of a wasteland come.
Speak to me, you spineless shadow of a
Athens that never was; now, living on bread,
Is this the last stand of a postmodernist Achilles,
Or, do the blossoms bear best when the land is dead?
A little tommy tank passes, goggled soldier with a head.
I see, I see the
Next 10-15 years, they’ve come today,
The way they were played, the way they returned
Day before the day before yesterday.
The caterpillars that grind as they carry your tank
Lay crushed, decomposed corpses all along the soft bank
And between the banks flows the water
From the hills to the sea; so, that it may fall into the ocean
Somewhere around Trincomalee. The trees will stand, till dead,
For even as they stand dead-like they slumber. Do forget my name,
O’ Place, but do not forget my number.
Tonight, the protester comes home. Tonight,
Nothing’s won, forced through; and very little’s bright.
You stop by the fish tank to see the waters go,
The reeds, unsettled by the oxygen, yet let
The fish to exhale and flow.
The light’s on, you got a shirt to remove,
A Facebook account to check. Revive a
Stanza in unappreciated poetry: which, when revised,
You know will not go any further than when
You stood among real fiction and real men.
Just say that NM was ultimately Minister of Finance.
Concede that Comrade Vasu is now a deva in blue.
Sanjeewa Bandara’s a name that comes after
Charges by government batons; to tell a tale
Of what is left of what the System smiles to do.
Man, Protester, my beguiled fellow,
In tired, dripping resignation you lie against the pillow
What you earnestly felt was your pill for the nation.
Close your eyes, let out a sigh; I encourage your dream.
Battles are won individually; if not as a team.