35 and Counting

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The rejection battered heart
Softens, pales, listens to the undercurrents
Undertones that used to be stone deaf
And soon you have ghosts chasing you
Of the one that was – and still is
Or the one that spilled over
From friendship

And soon you become your own ghost
Harboring on what a hardened heart only knows
The limp in your step,
The curvature of your spine,
The pessimism in your voice,
And the cynicism in your body language
All closes in on your aging self

And that enclosure becomes all too familiar
Too real, that you feel time capsizing
You over and over in the same island
And that notorious sequence
Drives you like a piece of driftwood
To a place where you least expected to be
When you like absentees on your own merit
Softened by disenchantment
Rusting away to the nonchalant passage
Of time, when your only solace is the man on the mirror
The two faces of Jekyll and Hyde
Staring through naked glass

On occasion, an isle of a shattering loneliness
At times, paradise of solitude

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Beginnings

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There are fools, and then there are stubborn fools
The waves that reach the peaks
And drown to the trenches
All in a heartbeat, and we are wave creatures
Bracketed by time capsules
Leaking dreams through our sweat glands
Searching for what the heart
Appreciates in time. Love. 

And she is hidden, a pearl inside
An oyster, a ribcage that straddles
A chamber that is notoriously
Star-struck, moon-shadowed, a creature of temperaments
A malignancy of a rhythmical wave
That misses both peak and depression.

And through the devilish grin
Of a stranger and a rendez-vous of fate
One pulls aside curtains and looks in
Through gaps inside her irises
And they say the keyhole of an eye
Conceals the vulnerable depths
That levies a little punt from the waging heart

So child, transfix your heart
Embalm your eyes, encroach your lips
Transfer your dreams, for there is nothing
Remotely as beautiful as a beginning
When Aurora catches you bedazzled
And pledges you a protracted dawn

And through the gunny sac of your heart
You weigh out your sandcastles
To open a drawbridge, for a lass to march through,
In search of your Camelot.

The American Poem

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I read Academy of Poets and Poetry Foundation
From time to time, and 60% of the time
I’m as aloof as a dog with a bone
A bone that is too far polarized, too outlandish
To gather to my poor old Sri Lankan intellect.

I read the long narrated stories
Of unfolding doorways and the occasional window gathered.
There is life convulsing in some
While others are a mystery why they made the cut
You always see “chancellor” or “award-winner”
Highlighted on notice, just to give
An extra dose of credibility to the reader.
And when you make sense of a verse or two
You can’t help but feel for the American audience
At the litter thrown at them by the aristocracy
The noble eye that doesn’t see or grasp
The loneliness of the American dream
The scars of not-making it and the scabs
That haunt the poets-in-making.
Decay and cracks that poison pupils
With the graffiti of free style.

And here in Sri Lanka, we never make the cut
For their lofty standards, we can’t name
Any bridge other than Golden Gate
Which we cliché with, leaving an anatomical part behind
In San Francisco. Perhaps even a jump to a black hole.
Perhaps there should be a poem called suicide watch,
On self-proclaimed wordsmiths
Who noose language and tighten
The hanging rope on simplicity. And perhaps freedom
The yankee venerates, can be squeezed
Out of the Gettysburg address, to make an
American poem – “why the uncaged bird can’t sing ?”
And we still read Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Unscramble a little spice from her name
And a little Tagalog in italics, and then we Asians
See Aurora borealis or perhaps plentiful fire flies
From skyline of the American poem.

And we will always be the foreigner
That has no stake in American poetry
We are just there to fill out blogs of convenience
That get a few likes the most. Yet the American
Poem lives in many of us. We criss-cross language
Like NY intersections, playing a game of chess
With poetic traditions. We are like
The Indian vendor that opens a hotdog stand
For a little cultured masala treat. We spice
Our words with the mainstays of tradition,
Garnish extended family, use the color of spices,
Venerate the temple and the church, give birth
To unholy alliances that can bridge polarized castes
And even colonial leftovers that we mix together
To make meatloaves of language.

And through the rejection
And the hopelessness of making it in America
We will crowd our blogs, peppering fonts
On a saffron screen, and we will shout out loud
“We will not shorten our names”, for we are proud
Of our lineages. And the American poem
Will linger on in the heartland, but we too
Will rise, stepping through the soil of peanut farms
Just like the black man once did. Goobers
Are not just for peanut butter, they too
Make the sweetest of satays, just like
We sweeten words with our sauces of culture.

And we too can stretch words
Or color them like holi, even make curries
That are too hot for the American palate.
The American dream, it is said, is like Moby Dick
As mammoth as an albino whale; and here
In the heart of Asia, we have more humbler dreams
– We don’t need to harpoon a white whale
Just to make it big as a poet –
A white elephant will simply do.

Arrow

arrow

You wonder, why an arrow
Is cupid’s weapon of choice and William Tell’s
Legacy and an artefact or curio.
To me though, arrow is the compass head
That tells me why my wife’s buttocks
Blazes me in lust or why my life
Is perennially insured with the riches of her heart

And guided by an arrow
I walk the tight rope of fate
Knowing it takes only one off-balanced fall
To take you back to hopelessness
And still, you make little resolutions
To be the best husband you can be
Or a little dream, to be the best
Poet I can evolve to, in time.

And one day an arrow
Will pierce the apple of my eye
As she waits in a luminescent room
Under the watchful eye of angels
Who will descend to carry her
Far from my reach. And only then
Will I lose my arrowhead
My wind wane, who nourished me in cusped lips
And folded and unfolded her flesh
To make decades of love
A collage of memories

All I have, will then be
A taproot arrowhead inside the heart
That can never be unearthed
As a carrot or beetroot. My longbow
Of flesh that will never again
Hold an arrow in equilibrium.
In the smolder of a kiss
Or in the incineration of chemistry.

And she will always be
Where my arrow points to,

My cardinal North.

The Man on the Mirror

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Drawing a carriage is never easy
Nor is the baggage, the overweight dreams
That stand by you, and makes little incursions
Towards a vivacity, you call happiness.

I was born to a middle class family in Sri Lanka
I started elocution at the tender age of 10 or 11
English was not fed to me as a staple
Only as an allied food that nourished the hope
Of making to America or some first world country
Some distant day.

And slowly I build up a world
Of lofty dreams, until I became so adrift
Of science and floating on a dead sea,
Lifeless, with no algal blooms or little fish
Under the surface. And slowly I gave life
To that sea, pitching and floating words,
For the wandering fishermen to catch

And now in this crossroad I stand
More poet than scientist, knowing that my blood
Is English and only sweat sculpts little journeys in science.
Blood will never run dry, it can only be killed
And that too will need nuclear capabilities,
To destroy what I have built with the slog
Of grey and white matter

And one day, on my gravestone
There will be no apple plants
Or Archimedean bird births
Or little marble domes with crazy scientific terms
Or a little flowering plant with my name on it.
I will have a little verse on my gravestone
Of who I was, and who I strived to be

And I will always remember
When I had no friends or family around,
Words stuck by me. Little threads of the third eye
That stitched the fabric of beauty
And laid it inside a crucible of dreams.
A man of no wealth richer than a mogul or tycoon
Transacting little words on a computer
To a treasure, money can never buy.

And the wordsmith in me
Will hopefully transcend his age and time
To become a sower of his craft, on rods and cones
Traversing interfaces, electrifying
Little patchwork neurons,
To a tapestry of synaptic bliss.

Birth Day

A poem that got rejected from a magazine I submitted to.

Pregnancy

It was the day, existence climbed out
In front and under the buttocks
And burrowed through a little worm hole
And found himself in a different galaxy
And that was my birth day

This world was noisy was the first thought
Light was the first premonition
Breast mountain was the first promenade
And that little tip of the snowcap
Would soon flow like a glacier

Still it was beautiful, the yellow droplets
That gave way to a white fluid that became my first taste.
A little dance of my buttock cheeks, was passing a little solid
The caterpillars that leaped out like butterflies
And I was only a little glowworm
A firefly to the still eyes that stare, giving
Me a little stage fright.

My tiny head
Was insulated by patches of lichen tendrils
Although planet temple was a little heavy
On the sides, falling everywhere, mantle
Was as soft as the behind and core, as gentle
As a rabbit’s fur ball coat.

And I was trying to make sense
How my lips would squeeze out a little fluid
And my nappy was wet at times
And I knew, life would be a riddle
Of magnifying glasses and reflective mirrors
A puzzle that fills out its own little pieces
And time would be the only essence

I would become a pathfinder and every junction
Had many crossroads – And I grew to kiss a pair of feminine lips
And suckle the tip of a woman’s breast.

We are all born the same way
Yet what defines us in life, are the little tips and ledges
That are held by our lips. And that choice
Is what liberates us from a little shackle
A little leash that chains our hearts.

Love is only a passport carried by choice.
And the fallen man, makes love to his chosen life form
Burning a little over 70 calories, wearing only
His stitch at birth. Yin and Yang, Yin and Yin
Or Yang and Yang, we are all defined by
Who are lips hold when we are dancing
In our birthday suits.

Birth day was the day I found my stitch and my lips.
Love is what perpetuates it.

Human Spirit

A poem from my book “Kite Dreams”……there’s nothing that denotes life better than human spirit, especially when you’re the recipient only of an anthropogenic fate.

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March beyond the frontiers laid by the third eye
Dream of quixotic fairy tales beyond any sky
Gallop through waves on decks of your galleon
Battle your heart out against tempests of rebellion

For the mythical quest of love is your fool’s gold
Never tame the soul to the lingering winter’s cold
Don’t clip your wings by the coward’s tone
Nor stoop your sail for the storms shall atone

Smell the grass even crawl on your knees
Rest a while under the canopy of trees
Say a prayer, resuscitate the cadaver of hope
But never look up at the noose’s rope

March, swim even fly beyond the possible
Embrace the surreal and melt to the impossible
Leave your imprint by the perpetual fire in your soul
As legends are sculpted as effusive lips extol

Linger like the wind on the lush shoulders of jade
Storm beyond cliffs, journey far from the heart’s crusade
Dream like a mad man yet never fall apart
Dance to the drum beats of your own savage heart

Learn from nature from the beauty of providence
Molt from your pristine soil any traces of vengeance
For man and not Lucifer holds the wand of agony
As humanity wrestles belligerent fate in raw tides of mutiny

Find love but never be swindled by her glow
Inhabit love but never be swept by her flow
Blaze love but never surrender to her populist manifesto
And ever hold her close, even if humanity razes your grotto

Gaze at your true north, your evergreen conscience
Unveil the noble while you tap your inner patience
Be humbled by your frailty and even the muscle of your gait
As you let blood, sweat and tears unite for your own hustle of fate