Peace About You

Without a little ambition

you can seek

all you want.

 

For your dream

is the cypress

beneath your head.

 

For freedom

now awaits you

in that van.

 

For happiness,

Dear Mallory,

is your wife.

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Tawang

The sad town glows

for one last time of the day;

and I wonder what do these people think

 

of us, of our evenings, of our cities

that glow from dusk till dawn

of places where the lights never sink.

 

The hotel owners and rice makers

will soon prepare for bed

at such early evening hours

 

Would they be cozy and content?

I imagine

Or do they secretly lust after the bright urban towers?

 

The kids of this town know how to sell their thenthuk

or carve up a yak

or sell local liquor cans for a barrel’s worth

But in the freezing cold of the mountains,

are they really happy doing this?

Or do they yearn the plains with a scorched earth?

 

I feel funny for a moment

Am I wondering too much

about these people and the handful things they’ve got?

 

Or does it make sense?

I believe it’s all too little; they may not be content

and I believe it because just in two days, I am not.

Futile Mumbai Dreams

I could be an engineer

and smear my hands

in the happy evening grease.

And take you to the Marine

to sit like all those thousand couples

to feel the Arabian breeze.

We could dream of a home

in the match-box flats

in Mumbai’s monstrous heart.

And that could be my story;

of a man wise enough

who chose the stable life over his art.

But baby, I am a poet

and since my pockets have holes

I can’t give you that for which you so badly long.

I promise to love you fiercely, though,

so much that it breaks my heart

and then, I will write you a lamented song.

March Blues

It’s a long, forlorn March night

of the sweet victories that stop the tears awhile, before more tears of another kind, the feeble ones, make way in our lives.

The coffee shop is sad, the crowd is flat and the lights are dimming like

the lights of a borough’s diner sixty years ago that I constantly imagine.

Looking at the coffee, breathing in the smoky haze, I wonder if this will be one of those moments where I feel accomplished

for doing nothing but sitting in a short, shabby chair for thirty minutes straight with my book and tissues and pen and jotting down the incomprehensible madness in my mind, bottomless madness coming from the bottom, as my lighthouse liked it.

The woman thinks everything might soon fall apart. But isn’t that one of the many things women think?

They want the world for us, the selfless way while also wanting the world for themselves that doesn’t collide.

The world is a strange place, your world, my world, his world, her world, the black world, the cunning world.

Everything happens to everyone here, but the times are never quite right and you watch wagons of promise shoot past by

Gently enticing you to hop on, knowing that you won’t have the heart to refuse the entire station that sits unexplored behind your back.

The knack is to take a quick glance and an exhausting stride and never stop for if you choose thirst-quenching, comforting juices

Your thirst of the real kind will never be quenched.

The knack is to drink all you can, without actually stopping to drink.

Discontent

Isn’t it sad, isn’t it scary

How we’re all, in our beds, so weary?

 

That marriage makes you anxious

and that pendant makes you sad,

But you cannot justify it

because that is the pendant you never wished you had.

 

You want to covet all that you can see;

you want to covet another’s dream

Despite yours having the ocean

and theirs only a stream.

 

Of course, dreams you are allowed to share but only with one

for two’s passion, you can be proud

But when you’re the third,

three is only a crowd.

Don’t Want

Don’t want your harrowed eye-sockets

Don’t want no stuffed pockets

Don’t want that all ‘hey look at me’

Don’t want what you want me to be

Don’t want battered dreams

Don’t want motel-room screams

Don’t want twenty years

Don’t want happy tears

Don’t want life in a veil

Don’t want what you can so easily steal

Don’t want restaurant shows

Don’t want pointless rows

Don’t want to cope

Don’t want the life-saving dope

Don’t want fragility that you’ll mend

Don’t want the postcard love you send

Don’t want to wear a bitch-face

Don’t wanna pretend running the lost race

Don’t want to prove it to you

Don’t want to get validated by a few

Don’t want to tell you won’t fall

Don’t want nothing to do when you walk tall

Don’t want the visions on the hand

Don’t want your castles in the sand

Don’t want Christmas sweaters to smell

Don’t want to stand listening when you yell

Don’t want the false promise of a better dawn

Don’t want anything that makes me yawn

Don’t want you to fear

For I am not falling, I am right here

Don’t want you to think I will run

No, I am not searching for more fun

I only don’t want you to come and take

My solitary moments, of which the most I make

Let me be as I let you be

And we’ll live together happily.

The Sidekick

Can the hero become the writer?

No he cannot, brooding boy

For the hero has to play his part. He has to be the hero. He can act and do and go.

The writer is the sidekick – the one who observes, who sits in cars in April nights, waiting for the hero, waiting for him to drive them out of oblivion.

He tells the hero that the bay is clear, that there is no danger, Ameya, and you can walk out, winning the mission, jumping the roof in the ecstasy of your heroic being.

The sidekick is the one who tells the tale, making men gleam in sheer joy in hotel parking lots.

He is the one who cherishes the past, reminiscing stories and incidents that happened, when the hero and the folks wish to reminisce. He is omnipotent. Present everywhere, recording every move, putting his crude equations of right and wrong and good and bad to test.

He evaluates. He understands. He improvises.

He filters the necessary, letting the dark matter of insignificance wash down the drain.

He walks when he is drawn to walk by the irresistible aura of his best friend, the hero.

He smiles and shakes his head and bends down on the coffee table to write what he understands – to justify the hero’s deeds, to justify his absolute, entire being.

‘He sings and is known through centuries with different names – a bard, a poet and a playwright and a writer.

He is questioned for the obscurity of the hero while the hero sits and listens in silence.

He is the absolute proof of what happened there and it is his word that the listener chooses to have.

For he may not be the hero, and may never have the mettle to be one,

But without a sidekick, every hero ever, would be left unsung.