asian poetry

The Drizzle Before the Storm

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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.




B(e)aring the Hurt

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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?


Limited Profile As the Thirteenth Amendment

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You’re on limited profile
Wondering what it could be you’re running away from:
Surely, that past is far from of what one would speak
And if the door was not fastened when you eased out your butt
It was more for convenience – but, he won’t tweak.

Like representation given without
Devolved power to entail –
Is it that to block, to reject, to unfriend completely
There is some guilt, hurt that you first must atone for?
He’s on your Facebook, by name, true Sri Lankan style.

You tell him, then, between tea
Or you don’t tell him it at all – and
When he finds there’s nothing to find
Except the unclickable plaster doll
As a profile picture made permanent by an inaccessible wall

He will sigh slyly or wonder
Damn, had I fucked her at all,
Would sperm-wastage have increased, like John thought of Paul?
Resigned to role play a Provincial Council,
Staying tune in case national elections are called.

What Aristotle wouldn’t tell you, let me – Bard – with softness
Break down to you like bread: Social Networking,
Very much like politics, has not many eternal foes to dread.
The run is as far as the precipice comes; and there if she cares to turn
The Past is a willing, mind-humbling entry, with much that’s vain to burn.

Site of the Old Alliance / Par la Terre

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Those who once were are now all dispersed:
Old Alliance is shifted, after closed –
With natural death an inevitability,
With our feelings the armour, the only hold
Against fried chicken laid thick and thinly boned.

A photograph, a memory –
Do you have any, some something of where the
Old House where the Old Alliance used to be?
That once gallant, spacious, homely sentiment
Now demolished, resurrected as fucking KFC.

The thickly dense, once flower-filled front yard,
Slight ascending pathway to the broad front steps.
Study rooms, idle hours, laid back students, their
Mothers – to protect virgin souls from others – seated on the bench.
From alphabet, hasty bon jours to French kissing: all French.

A graphic memory – a photo print, I say,
The salles reconciled under great stalwart names.
Toilets, Café running, Directeur’s Room by the library
Opening into students’ seatings by the stairway to the landing upper.
In between classes Monsieur W. sliding down for a cuppa.

On Facebook, the unknowing motherfucker, they say:
“KFC now come to Peradeniya Road – call in you mates,yay!”
I say: you coarse consumerist sentimentless pig, this is you
Who roll over what in memories on memories are blessed
To put up your shop in a design already guessed.


We Talked for the Night

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That night, the day we removed a window on the wall,
With a jug of water, torch and a kitchen knife
I stayed up all night quite on my own,
Seeing through the hole cold darkness
Outside. Alone.

At about two, pre-dawn, as the
Blow of the gust outside what’s warm
Inside made worn, you came up the stair
To where I sat huddled, covered in a sheet
On your ancestral chair

And on the top-most step you
Paused for a while
And in the half-scent light of the moon
Your smile was as beautiful, as gentle
As a wing, that for the time, was suspended by its own caccoon.

Yes — the stream of soft light
The windows through expelled what shadows
For me and you; and you sat there,
And seated, we talked for the night, the rest,
Till, at four, to sleep I thought it best.

And many years later to a girl beloved,
In nostalgic tones, this story I told.
Perhaps what you felt that night on the step
Is, perhaps, quite close to what I felt when she
Let the silence embalm me; and tighten her hold.

And later, many days — a few months — now passed,
Where that window, that day, was taken down, unglassed
At two, pre-dawn, with lesser fear of glum dark
I write this, on my own, though my sunken heart
As it sometimes does, right now, mourns for you.


The Rest of Them in Secret

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While the flesh is young,
Thawed and succulent to your own,
That — perhaps — is the day
You ought to have a piece of yourself
Cut off, or simply bitten; your way.

Even as the rest of them in secret
Make you an object multifold
In their half penny desires uncouth,
Unrefined, random; untold,
Take a day off to realize what, in your body, you hold.

Thus, I spake to you of food
But to make your eating habits good.


In Praise of the Killer

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Death by arson leaves the
Coroner a story to uncover and write
Of the housebreaker at night —
Crust bodies twisted in the hushed grill of fire
All misted with rage, agony, jealousy and lust must

The muse to a story hold, half hidden, half furtive
For the coroner; for the cohorts with propped up,
Peeping jaws that gape: all obedient behind the
‘Crime Scene — No Entry’ tape where
The sanctum remains in the name of laws.

“Are they raped?” “How raped?”
“Both mother and daughter raped — raped for real?”
Were they “entered while alive?” and one would
Wonder how they’d feel. Is there an edge, one wonders whether
When they are slayed they’d stay together?

Newspapers try odd angles and for
Diverse views, for even in the countless piles of carbon
There lies the richness in weight for news.
We savour as we re-live, in our minds, the rape, the
Final twist, the fire and the tape

And await in our human desire for flesh
The next lonely pair of women to be preyed
And for their sinews to contort, give away
And for the news to make our dulled senses refreshed.
Death by arson has a big story to tell.