Betel Leaves and Areca Nuts

Areca_nut_vendor_hainan_jan_2010

You get the peppery betel leaves
And the areca nuts, a seemingly innocuous practice
Embellished with slaked lime, and the mouth
Instantly turns to crimson tides
Of churning color and in that bloody red paste
And a seemingly strange practice of chewing a biological brew
Lies a tradition of tea pluckers and rubber tappers
Of a folk-mainstay of slicing an areca nut
With a giraya (scissors), and wrapping in betel leaf
To smart the mouth with narcotic fire

After all, what can a woman with a few hundred rupees do
But to fade out to a cheap stimulant
For areca-powered lips are anecdote-spindles
Preserving folktales, reverberating legends
As they sit around a bowl of areca nuts and betel leaves
Sharing stories, laughing out in banter and droll
Grating the nuts with areca-nut scissors
Slipping through miserly cracks of reality
Ushering in a virtual blackout

And in this nepenthes of nut and leaf
You find the springs of Lethe
Seeping through mental tributaries
Injecting a dose of oblivion – to a tattooed mind
Painted of reality ink

Saudade

Kiss 2

Seasons unfold
Sprouting new life-giving creatures
That the heart holds special
Infatuation becomes a thing of the recent past
And something compass-driven
And feeling-chiseled takes over
Prone to immutability
Seemingly unlike late puberty and the flu season
When you feel a running heart
At every beautiful creature
That passes you by

And when that inescapable
Love-tune enters that groovy frequency
And a polite question seemingly seals
The deal, the heart loses her entropy
And bonds in love-atoms
And after a while, you forget the hickey bulbs
On neck strings – seemingly childish now
As you enter the big nookie league
And what seems to shimmer
Is her photo-booth smile – after making love
In primal afterglow

And somewhere down nookie boulevard
You look back and wonder
What happened to all the ingredients
Of the wait – anticipation, awe, yearning, cold feet
And then you realize
That once you graduate from love school
All the beautiful screenshots
Are lost forever and that’s when you wish
For a few more beginnings
Of a bonanza of hickeys

– A few more cycles of samsara –

After all when hickey-days are gone
So too is the drool, the ga-ga even the gooey
And your La-La lands are now
No longer figments of imagination
Just your modus operandi
And that hickey, that beautiful love-bite
That gave selfies, diary-entries and brag-talk
Was now like a fossil covered
In layers of time

And then you look at your wrinkling neck
And it’s hard for you to see
Where a hickey can fit in
After all now you have a greying beard
And a second chin and all you want
Is a red mark on your neck
To be 19 again

And weren’t those the halcyon days
The foolish heart traded in
For the humdrum of a nookie?

Translation

hieroglyphics-3

I furrow
Through the night-darkness
It seems we don’t make love
With the lights on – Let’s say that was God’s gift
Fate’s way of making us “very special”
Made for each other in odd’s disequilibrium
And we don’t bungle our way
Through switches or care about how beautiful
The intercourse of brawn and beauty is
We only have our senses – your perfume that knocks
On the olfactory sensors and ruffles the sweetest spots
Your hold – as you undress me- leaving finely-thinned
Follicles a little combed and free
Your perky bosoms I cup and taste
– seemingly a perfect fit into my world !
And your beautiful vertebrae that drip my lips
Down your spine, around your sultry waistline
Planting baby kisses on your navel
And when we finally make love
I can only feel my body knocking windward
And your frame shattering like a kite
And touch seemingly imbues and radiates
From tip-ends, until we are lost to the brink of Braille
Translated by our bodies
In to Hieroglyphs…….

Self-Reflection

archie

Sometime we are sylphs
Weightless like a feather when we feel
The thrill of every passing moment
With a spring in one’s step

And sometimes – notoriously often…..

We are circumspect, inner-wheels turning
And the outer in a deadlock or stalemate
Seemingly caught between two worlds
The perfect Archie paradox – Betty or Veronica
Yet at the end of the day you adore
Both her careless hemlines and her care-giving conscience
And the girl next door – Betty – wins the heart’s podium

And at those times of inward-leaning
In those interludes nature scripts
I slip through brief synapses, riding on neurotransmitter ferries
To dissappear to the many shaped pieces
Of my own cracked mirror

Life Begins at 40 (On my 40th B’day)

Viagra billboard in San Jose
Viagra billboard in San Jose

 

With age everything gets thicker
The waistline, glasses and the shirt-fit
But then you realize – as you stare at your wife –
What a blessing age is, after all, all you have to do
Is to look at the her hips and buttocks
To realize that age is a miracle worker
After all that skinny girl you married
Has now become a little bit of eye candy
– Perhaps even helped a little by your glasses’ refraction
After all being 40 is no handicap
It’s just when age becomes a little slope-like
And you try to find your brakes to slow you down
When the only mid-life crisis is to figure out
When to start taking the blue pill
And that groovy kind of love – is unlike any Phil Collins’s song
It makes you shake her with force – knowing no eggs are inside
When you realize you’re superman in bed
And that blue pill has more life than an ocean
Taking you to magical places
Only Sinbad has been before

After the Break-up

Pajamas

You hold on to the toothbrush
For as long as possible, and the comb
She left behind with residual tresses
Seems precious – a collector’s item
Even memory’s space craft

And you realize the little things that she brought
To the front of the sink or the mirror
Every detail of her pajamas and how a dress
Perfectly falls around her
And you think why or why
Did I let ever let her go….

When dynasties crumble like that
And the heart seemingly finds
Enough courage to wake up each morn
And pour oneself some milk and corn flakes
And what you seem to miss
Is a finely-arranged fridge
And neatly assembled mittens
On the oven holder
And a life of instant food seems
As hopeless as the first day of an Arctic winter

And that is when you realize
That what she simmered and cooked
On the cooktop – was love !

Hopeless in America

Barrack

It must be terrible to be of no hope!

They say the radical fruit
Grows from the deepest roots
Sour as a yellow-lemon to the beholder
Yet sweet inside, like a ripe melon
Which grew inside breasts

And it is said with time, the radical stance
Will find itself shrinking exponentially
Until dwindled to a pus or yeast cell
That has no fraternity or feel-goodness
Lonely as a star awaiting a supernova

And when a gun finds its way
To a heart alienated and frozen inside to the out
Icicles will flow from command-central to the trigger finger
And the gun will quake seemingly
Like a self-destructing star and there will be
A cataclysm of hope until his own body
Will shatter to pieces

And in that final evanescence
He will be insensate – knowing the radical fruit will now
Burst her seeds on news channels
Germinating a new seedling
On hopeless soil….

Truth and Lies, Feces and Words

Bikini
The only truth that leaves the human body
Is digested food and throngs of bacteria
And that they call “feces” and all the half-truths which come out
Of the other end are measured, analyzed and explained
In volumes of dictionaries and thesauruses
And that forms the lexicon of lies
After all the human existence is based
On the unswallowable and the undigestable
Lies which are parceled in wrapping-paper
And presented as tokens and presents
And in those moments, the man within comes out
To perjure in that court of law called the conscience
And when that sanctum is eroded to emptiness
There is nothing else to fight for
Except the residue of a man who stretches the truth
Until it bursts, and in that defining moment
The liar becomes just like the anus – a truth funnel
And the putrid truth can be found excreted
And the mouth needs a good washing
To cleanse her of her shame

Catholic Fundamentalism

chapel

When we live in a catholic fundamentalist world, it is hard to stay silent. So I’m sharing my thoughts on the current catholic fundamentalist “Mercy Juggernaut” that is radiating from the Vatican. Every priest at every church is preaching the “Mercy” theme and confessionals these days must be like ration queues or bread lines in 1970s, after all in this fundamentalist ethos of the catholic church, there must be throngs of sinners lining up to get a clean slate, before they sin again.

I might sound like the elder brother of the Prodigal Son parable (someone priests nowadays love to loathe) but at least he lived a good life and even though he questioned his dad in the culling of the fattened calf, he nevertheless welcomes the prodigal brother with open arms. The righteous does not banish the sinner, he welcomes him but with a true transformation to live a righteous life now and afterwards. On the other hand, there is a Mercy Patrol that is calling for the sinners to fill the pews to listen to a sermon on “Mercy” from yet another cassocked priest.

I haven’t gone to church for a while since my wife is an atheist and I’m also discouraged at the scant respect the church is paying the people who have not strayed to sin. To hear a “Goodness” related sermon is searching for a needle in the galactic haystack and that seems to be due to the catholic fundamentalists taking over the church and propagating in the mercy bandwidth.

The church is not about tax collectors or the prostitutes or the prodigal sons and daughters, it is about how one man, who stayed away from sin, welcomed 12 apostles and built a church on that foundation. He welcomed everyone equally – the poor, the rich, the Jew or the Samaritan, even the Roman. The church is inclusive as long as you are ready to live a good life – even after complete metamorphosis. Even Mary Magdalene gave up her livelihood to be one of the founding member of the periphery of the church.

Mercy is fool’s gold. It is not precious or durable. It’s just a coupon to sin again and the confessional is fast becoming a whore house. In this world that catholic fundamentalist have created, no wonder many Catholics are leaving the church for other denominations. After all mercy is transient. Goodness is enduring. In that canonical foundation, we will see the world deteriorating and the Catholic church shrinking.

We live in a very fake world, where facades are more than souls or piths. It is tragic that the bastion found by Jesus can come to this. We need to be more inclusive not of the sinners but of the righteous. After all goodness is not measured in iron pyrite, it is measured in carats.

Friendship

friendship
We wear some as badges
The successful, the faces and lives
That have appeal painted all over their personalities
Yet we keep some inside the pockets
Of denim pants – hidden from others
Yet taking a tearing piece of heart
But not groin, and that is the luster-less, the granted
Like the deep conversations on a river jetty
Before embarkation or after anchoring
And those pocket pokemons
With time become tamagoutchies
Care-given and love-taken
A symbiotic union, when you realize
That the pocket people matter a lot more
Than the badges pinned on shirt
And at the end, when your ashes are scattered
On a plot of land, perhaps there will be
Two circles of friends who will farewell you
The imposters with shine
And the rugged with endurance
And what you will remember at those defining moments
Is how stupid you were, to give that bit of heart
To be on that petri dish where friendship grows
And at the end, just like bacterial colonies
Some will stay as close proximities – and some apart
And some pins will be thrown away
To the ocean tide, to be lost
To a seabed of utter regret