vihanga perera

Momentary Rain

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Outside it was momentary rain,
But, in our amalgam of
Flesh seeking flesh
There were no grass or flowers
Receptive to the change in weather.

With a second’s or two seconds’ pause
To ascertain the sky break down
In torrents, we resume where
Unlocked lip locks desire in,
Breathing into the other the insistent fire of love.

2014-06-03/04

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.

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2014-04-19

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?

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2013-03-01

Soldier Without A Uniform

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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.

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2013-03-17

Emulating Hurt

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When you are in need of me the most,
I am here, on my own,
Playing racquet games, burning
Mosquitoes and midnight oil,
Whispering to myself that you are alright.

Close my eyes, to feel the pain that you
Feel as it passes touching your bones, your spine:
I recall watching as they moved from side to side
— The unassured world in your eyes —
Mapping, as they were, a world stalled shaken.

Just a spectator on the side — like I have
Never been: standing outside the reel
Watching minute after minute passing by:
Comparing it with worlds bombed and blown —
Of hurts that were not ones your own.

Till on the morrow, until we meet again
I sigh, that your expectations I bruised,
Considered wisely, but let down:
That, on that train is where my overalls should be,
Slow walking at you, now.

2014-02-17

Fascinated Burnt Man

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When you enter, close the door,
Return a call or when you walk
Past me, or watch me sit, the way you measure
Your molecules, indicates that you think there is
Something that I think there ain’t: that I’m in love

And am fascinated, burnt
Half like a cashew by you —
Which is not true — which is not lies —
And I sometimes thank almighty God I was made of glue,
When, sometimes, you meet me with your eyes.

That you think there is
Something that I think there ain’t: and
We’re equals in this game; and at times
When the world is absent (with their tuned ears)
We confide in each other our most intimate fears.

We never say that you think that I am
Unnerved by you; nor do I say that I ain’t.
We talk of Garfunkel, of Johann Sebastian Bach.
We talk of ourselves and we answer each other well
And go our ways with small farewells before it goes dark.

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2014-01-25

Spotting You In a Crowd

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They said that you were stuck up,
But that was not good enough for me,
As I waited for you by a half covered drain
— With the ill-prospect of unprovoked rain –,
While they were walking towards me, past me,
Desultorily — you, I kept an eye for,
Sweating underneath my clothes, in that heat.

It was January, then,
And ten years later,
We agree that of you a verse I must write.
But, we are strangers now — like voters in a polling booth —
Though your angel-like image is yet half dissolved to blot.
My feelings have long crumpled, as I felt for you back then,
Only scattered souvenirs of your youth remain.

But, I remember, how you mattered to me,
How there was about it an innocence
In that love with which I thought your mere breath I held.
It was a matter of mattering that would only happen
Back then, when you are spirited and lost to your own;
When that moment’s fragrance will stay on and would linger
Long long after that touch you’d scorn.

Undated file photo of Etan Patz
2013-11-07