The Poet That Serves Arrack in Coffee Houses

Darling, do not give me a schilling

The currency of lyricism and poetry

For every word that feeds sequences

And blunt-ends with commas and full stops…..

The sweat that quenches my thirst for words

In the flow and ebb of the lyrical soul

What I spend in the currency of rupees

Yet fills me with a hat collection of schillings


I am a humble man, a collector of rupee verses

And lend all I claim to pitch black eyes and pristine white matter

Of hybrid masalas – where brown and white sugar mix

In a ceramic bowl of straw-like sugar sticks

In coffee houses that serve coffee with toddy and arrack

The spirits of free verse in free flow

What may not appear in a street magazine or a travel book

But appears in a lowly print of recycled paper

And flows unquenched of her thirst

Like a mist that covers all in her path

And leaves a sense of deep nostalgia

Wanting her over and over; like the tide of the Indian ocean

The flavor of poetic indulgence

Served with an English muffin


I don’t have riches to call my own

Only words spent in rupees

And a hat full of shillings that is of no use

As I search for the luster of rupees

Alas, I’m only a Sri Lankan lad

Wishing for the commoner’s touch

Words that will be read within travelling tuk-tuks

And crowded buses, even under a kerosene lamp

Where the synergy of words will articulate the truth

Behind the humble dreams of an educated man 

Searching to escape the miseducation

Of man’s servility to his safe-house, his convenient haven

To that notoriously common sanctuary

Of crude and banal convention………


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