On the Shores of My Grave

A wave of somethings appeared out of nowhere Thoughts, recollections and some debris Some, questioning if my memory is true Others, smiling with kindness at me— but still unhappy at my worries That I didn’t create...

These Cuts

Just a few moments ago, Hearing a sudden eruption of noise I stopped washing my face, Hit the tap on its head And stood listening. Crows. Making ruckus, Bringing me back my cuts. Each black flight a cut From you, you...

Translation: Ismail’s “Suicide”

Plucking out and throwing away The world stinging her as thorn, This girl walked swiftly away somewhere. Translation of Ismail’s Telugu poem, original below. ఆత్మహత్య తనని బాధిస్తున్న ప్రపంచపు ముల్లుని పీకి పారేసి...

Afterlife

Yesterday I realized From the white-knuckle silence She wouldn’t let go That I am still unborn A point of no focus Not ready yet For her words that ring love May never be ready yet For that chuckle from her eyes...

How We Die

Do I not see in your face The growing pointlessness of me? Did I not get used to you Not even trying to ignore me? What then is this longing still, For a feeling for home, For an uplifting of moods? I must announce this...

Lust Never Sleeps

Lust never sleeps, It dreams of you Your face in my head Questioning me, confronting me With those big conquering eyes Prodding me to be straight And honorable, to you, to you alone Squeezing the last breath out of me...

Pedantic Poem

Here I am thinking, You were nicer to me When you were pregnant Now all you do is Give me a frown, An abrupt look away So I urge you, Become pregnant again, And walk in through the hallway On a bright sunny morning So...

If You Let Yourself Go Fat

If you let yourself go fat, and a bit of you begins to be amused by the world’s tantrums, And another bit of you is a witness to this amused you but in a passing way, then, my friend, there’s hope for you...

Strip, Strip Everything, Strip

Strip, strip strip strip Strip everything strip That look from the corner of your eye, strip That raising your eyebrow in a tease, strip Strip that microsecond look of longing at me, strip Strip that touching my...

Let Me Begin By Making You a Woman Again

Let me begin by making you a woman again And tell you who you actually are Beneath the snow of indifference that piled up on you And made you stop feeling womanly. When you speak on the phone, Your voice goes inside me...

Signature of My Wife

Days are going by. And I hold you With content that comes from imagining you A steady hand, Calming my restlessness Those searching anxious eyes Staring at unresolved questions And, Brightening quietly on seeing me Such...

“This grave is for you”

Saying “this grave is for you” you put me to sleep one night, Years ago. Erased me from your memory. Now, when our lost intimacy presses my heart, I roll up my full sleeves, touch my naked forearms...

Back to Before the Crush

I know this is the end. I am saying this to will the end to come over me. To forget you. To will myself to go back in time before I saw you. To have been looking the other way in that moment when you walked in. To be...

This is You, Seeing Me

(On stage, she is sitting crouched, lamenting, wailing and cursing Death who is standing quietly, about five feet in front of her, with its back to her.) If you are so focused on not seeing me What is this urge in me...

Keeping Your Shoes Clean

What if I look straight on While you look at me As we pass by And your heart leaps And catches my shirt button Do you think I would hold it carefully And put it in my pocket, forever mine? Or would I let it fall in my...

My Idealized Woman

I can see her saying she loves me. Barely the words left her lips and they are already reverberating a millionth time in my head. Already reconfiguring my brain circuits. Raising the action potentials, reconnecting a...

Labor of the Day

Your baby, standing on her tiny wobbly legs, Staring at you, her fingers joyfully in her mouth I am like that, when it comes to you. Who are you, then? I’ve heard it said That there is a phase women go through...

Today. At last.

They won’t believe it, No one will believe it. How you held my body, my heart, and my happiness, Firmly to the ground, And flew them in the air, With one and same smile, And with one and the same turn of your...

Today’s Illusion

Saw you walk by A little boldly today. I turned away, but only a little Worried that my very look at you, Would afflict both of us. You with more derision of me, I with more longing for you. How I yearn to talk to you...

In This Moment of Totality

“Here, it is these glasses,” said she, When I said I can’t see the Totality. Still seeing only darkness, I mumbled to myself, “Why I still can’t see it, even with these?” I turned...

Sow, Reaping

SHE: Saw him first, Groping in the dim light of my allowing eyes, So I squeezed him in, with my gentle hands. He stepped forward, wishing only not to be a stranger, But just a friend for now, Maybe, if God willing, even...

Lifecycle of Love

There was a time, Two sisters enquired about you. Two brothers joked, Made my face flush. A mother and a father, Anxiously asked for your name But I, I only loved with possession, Groped between your breasts, Pushing...

With Feeling, for Me

How with feeling your eyes smiled today I cannot describe it, simply cannot They ask me to come for life And stay for children They promised me, That the thighs will remain curious Why the breasts are heavier, And why...

Rock, Paper, Blindspot, and You

And so here I am, Back again in your blindspot. Not in your thoughts, Nor in your fascinations, Not even a chance, years from now, To be in your recollections. To be in your blindspot, Is like not even being born, But...

How I Live in S-Lane

This is the story of how I live in S-lane, And how I love the little things here. There are a thousand houses in the S-lane, And when I walk here, a thousand looks, Each a thousand carat diamond, greet me in the S-lane...

Decided: I Don’t Have To Die For You

Pouring coffee into the cup, I realized something, and smiled. I don’t have to die for you. Your machinations Of not even ignoring me, Will bring your own ruinations. You will no doubt go to heaven, But only after...

23 and You and Me

One look, one word
And I died everyday
I didn’t kiss you
Now, after 23 years
I still live
For one word, for one look
And for one kiss
To encode life
Into my 23 pairs

Revenge Poem

How long are you going to smile a public smile when you see me Sweeping me out the door of your kindness and grace How long am I to go on feeling a private guilt when I see you Hoping one day you will see the chains you...

Do This, Then That.

Don’t hold back It is not your love I want Nor your affection, not yet anyway Not even your attention—maybe just a little But you allowing yourself, When you see me, The softness in your heart, The ease in your...

Until You Look, Until You Smile

Curious thing, this crush is Second after second, the heart tugs For some look, For some smile, For some touch, All from you Only from you, All the time from you But you don’t know it, You don’t care for it...

Your Porcelain Doll

You ignore me with a purpose Believing that a cloud of unknowing Will soon set in between us And all will be professional, and knowing Like how a plastic doll knows another plastic doll Let us make a compromise. You be...

A Man Like Me

Crushed, I turned inward “Whatever’s wrong with me,” I kept muttering to myself, “That she wouldn’t even look at me.” Then suddenly taken aback, I saw, That all these “I”s...

Door

Upset with me, Suddenly opening the door, You left. For bursting open the door I closed for your sake long ago, And letting in sunshine and air, Many thanks. [Original Telugu poem “Talupu” by Ismail] Telugu original...

“But I say: he’s the one in my heart.”

Looking forward to reading this book by David Shulman. From page 117: “She is perfectly aware who this god is, who they say he is, what stories they tell about him, but actually none of this matters much: They say...

Cut By A Diamond

Seeing you first, I rushed From first fill of the heart, To first tenderness of a poem Seeing me then, you stared With that diamond look of silence Black from your black eyes Shimmering from your shining face Blinding...

నీ కోసం . . . మరిచి పోయిన తెలుగులో

SHE: ఏమనుకున్నావూ, ఏదో చెత్త పోయెట్రీ రాస్తే మనమేదో మాట్లాడుకుంటామూ, దగ్గరవుతామూ అనా? నా సంగతి నీకు తెలీదూ? అయినా నువ్వెవరు, అసలూ? HE: నేను నిన్ను నువ్వు అన్నప్పుడు పర్లేదు అని నువ్వన్నప్పుడు, మొట్టమొదటి రోజు ఇంత పెద్ద...

Crush Poem

Ignoring me, you let your Beautiful big eyes rest on your screens Fine. Be that way then. I will brush your cheeks As an old memory Breeze into your shining hair, newly highlighted, As a vague question in your mind Rest...

Her Indifference

Like a fool I am trying to Match your indifference With mine. But I will eventually Die of indifference poison While you, You will soak yourself in The love of your twins, of your children Growing ever more bright Ever...

SSSigh…!

Like when the wave, after splashing you as if you were a child, Recedes, as if you were a stranger As if you will muddy her waters She too, began her indifference God, tell me, why everything Turns out like You...

Happy as a Bridge, Now That You Are Back

Head down in it, I was fiddling with the back panel, prying it open A shadow, silvery, appeared, almost stopping my heart I looked up, dropped everything, saw the silvery shadow turn into you golden My nerves...

Indian Literature in Translation

New project. Indian Literature in Translation. Visit, subscribe, and if you know a good translation of an Indian literary work, send me details, I will put it up.

My Wife

“You and I are one,” said I. “You and I are one, forever” said she. Her bold hand Took my quivering palm I bit my lip. “Can life be this safe? This glorious?” I smile at my sudden...

A Letter To My Autobiographer

See see see, I am here, right here you see. First you turned me on. Turned me like a marble, from words of garble. Round and round in your fingers, round and round in your head. Only a first draft You said, Wait till...

Macrolove

First cold hands, then warm you Like a front’s coming Soon sheets of macrolove Envelope me and you See, see? See how Showers of microkisses Fly up from you to me Defying gravity While, Fat raindrops falling On...

Mundane Words

When people gather together, the first thing they do is to tell each other the purpose of why they are there. They begin by reciting their purpose, and the very reasons of being there. This exchange somehow moves the...

Matter in Search of Form

Got up in the morning, Still reeling from Night visions Awoke to a quiet home Empty kitchen New tigerwood floors Wistfully filled up my expectations Raising up my hopes Will she like them? Sixteen miles of Tehachapi...

Black and White

Black. Let me try this one, she said “…can I do this by my own?” Pushing him away, A self-deprecating Twist on her lip said “I look …y,” Nearly taking it off White. Color of his...

Rainy night. Sometime in 1989. Our “Book of Saturday.”

Was it November? Heaps of cigarette ash in the tray. Who would believe If I tell them now, How we had internalized This song already by then. How we had the world in our fists already then, How our fingers were crazy...

If You Read Anything on the Internet, Read This

“…And before I had time to look round I had adopted the views on life of the set of authors I had come among, and these views completely obliterated all my former strivings to improve. Those views furnished...

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