Poems of Arundhati Raaj
“My poems are never christened. This is because the possibilities of feeling a poem must not be limited by its title.”
– Arundhati Raaj
On an early spring night,
Imbued with winty chill-
I tried vainly to recollect my lovers.
But as memory gave up on all faces
I lost count of every man and woman
I’ve ever loved and slept with
Except me one I found- in a summer crowd
Whilst journeying from Panvel to Ghansoli.
Two crooked teeth,ink smudged finger tips
Sweaty brown skin, starched blue saree and-
A dusty tote bag with yellow notes-
That was she – better defined by her smell –
Of beedi and palm jaggery coffee.
In those eight thousand moments of silence
Between meeting and parting,
Her exhausted eyes emptied my soul,
And never again could I be filled.
Before melting into the endless crowd-
I perked her cheeks with desi daru soaked lips-
And never again could I feel anyone.
We are no one to each other,
Still, I have loved you deeply
Without ever wanting to let you go.
And all those sulky mono-syllables
Were emotions, I dared not to unveil.
Yet, time brutually peeled off the lie
Reminding, we are chocking within each other.
Now, before we diverge quietly
And converge into unfamilarity,
Can’t we cease one brief moment
And gaze into each other’s soul?..
Can I gift you porcupine quills
Instead of amplified rhetoric?
Because, I’ve loved enough with words,
And this time I’m spilling silence
Which is only yours to fathom.
When endless blue stretches around you,
I will send some winged words.
They ‘ll cease at your porthole,
So, a happy dream may nest-
Within your jaded eyes.
In busy crowds around the world
There are people – broken and odd.
They turn away from your manuals
And saunter into farthest niches
With words, memories, drugs, drinks or death.
Do you wonder why?
Just to exist,
Unaligning with your sanity.
Following an unusual hiatus –
From quotidian nightmares,
I stepped out, emotionally naked-
From familiar memories-
Of bodies and odours.
And on the doorstep of the lacuna
Of what’s lost and what’s may come,
I stood without embarrassment
Staring at the crimson pool,
Left by eight holy wounds
Which split open my arteries.
Some never come back home like they left.
But left behind their smell –
Around the cold food in the dining table,
On the dandruff fallen pillow covers,
Between folded pages of textbook with highlighted
On prayer mats,
On broken lathis scattered over the roads,
In blood soaked corridors and toilets..
While some are still waiting –
In Kashmir, Assam, UP and places we never know
With a faith in their pain, we cannot comprehend
And with hope that’s beyond our reasoning!
To them, 365 days sum upto
365 years or even more…
Amber coloured wild flowers
Sway within my head..
I water them with my nights
With a bottle of wine
Or some tulip glasses of whisky…
And beneath the cigarette ashes
Holding their tangled roots-
A zillion insomniac word worms crawl..
Honey, dont you see all of them?
And dont you see your mad woman?
Darling, yet, for a brief while-
Would you mind loving me?