Vesak Poems


Vesak 1

When all the shops in town
Hang a closed sign
For the common man to flock
To a draped seat where enlightenment
Radiates from lips through ear.

Still sermons, they don’t move
The Himalayan mountains
Through a crack in the conscience,
Nor people less attracted to color
And light, wanting so much
To be one with the cardinal therapy
Of light flocking out of colored media;
Paper and glass, changing the landscape
Of a million faces, to bloom lip-petals
As shimmering aureoles.

Vesak 2

The busy bodies inside
A temple, dressed in white
Can be seen as immovable monoliths
Attaining sil. While the children
Make buckets of a myriad colors
And shapes to make the night
A bonanza of light.

The dichotomy of a day
When adults are in hermitage
In a profound meditation
And the children are scampering
Like ants to gather crumbs of light
Stitched together on stringed wire.

And in between you will
Find people flocking to eateries (Dansal)
To partake a meal that is more
Symbolic than anything else.
Like the full moon is on a poya day.

And still there’s proof
Of real charity, like when on this holiday
Loved ones gather around a cancer ward
In mahargama, to gaze at a bald headed
Child who looks a little like
The little monk in the temple.

And all it takes is the labor of the human heart
To make a little child smile and attain a state of hope
Like there is the promise of tomorrow
And perhaps the miracle of a cure.

Vesak 3

The darling moon
And a bevy of saffron robes
Reminding us all that yellow
Is the cynosure of the Vesak day.

And a meditative or perhaps a reclining Buddha
Can be seen on a larger than life pandol
Illuminated by a million fairy lights,
Reminding the serene onlooker
That true virtue and not filaments of light
Is the true mark of a man

And on the periphery of town
You find a beggar still begging after dark
Searching for the shimmer of a golden coin
To shine like the full moon.

It only takes 5 rupees to shine a moment
To a fragile frame searching for some mercy.

We are all Midases with
Little aureoles in our wallets.


The Tomato


I’m my own worst enemy.
Time and again, I’ve played in my head
How it would all unentangle as we knotted,
In tentacle clasp and covalent chemistries.
Hunters call this the taut line hitch
The type that pulls it all tight.
The common man romances it to making love.

I was a nervous wreck, the actin and myosin filaments
Turning to a ghostly white as all my blood
Was flowing elsewhere, to a little brain,
That in spite of all the nervous energy,
Was starting to stiffen, even shiver like a guitar string
Snout like a pointing dog, showing the direction of the hunt

And I pulled her towards me
Unwrapped the floral printed cotton dress and
Sliced open her body like a fresh tomato
That was perfectly ripened for a little taste.

And we made something that night.
It’s just a blur now. The torn sail made it easier
To bounce through the skyward waves. I was Poseidon
Who gazed at his trident lifting a salt fortress
Crashing against her hull,
The creaking timbers moaning
Like they were about to separate out
And become driftwood

And after a while, we were just
Like the beach and the tide, juxtaposed and yet entwined
Together on the wading zone.
She was in shades of red, like a bloated plum
Blushing in autumn colors.
And I was the slashed bough of a baobab.
I had opened like a showerhead
And sprinkled the sap of my xylem
Through a crack on her surface.

I was no longer the untouched one.
I was now a constellation from head to foot
And the moon shimmered between my dimples.
It was beautiful to discover, even this late,
What everybody knew for so long.

I was now primed like an oiled engine
Pining to get back on the road again. The man who waited
38 long years to see the inner workings of a sliced tomato
And to feel the beauty of cucumber mixing
With the cut slices of a red fruit. .
How beautifully simple a salad was,
Yin and yang mixing in endless geometries,
Surrendering in so many twists and turns.

And, I look at her – stretched like a rubber band
From fingers to toes – sore in places, sweet in others
As I tell myself, why did I wait this long to feel the beauty
Of a ripened tomato; a little succulent fruit,
Cut into half, moist as the tongue.

And all I did was use some brain power
And it was no Einsteinian theory only Newtonian physics.
Of how much gravity a little crack could hide.

I discovered a few things that day;
– G-force and G-spot; and how they collide
To bring out a little French on two blushing visages.
Ooh La la, Le petite mort…

O is for Oleander


I stroked her body, with satin finesse
Climbed in and out, with a resolute strain by me.
The rush of blood was purifying, the roar of the lungs
Was louder than a palpitating chamber,
The candle wax burnt through an hourglass,
Until there was no flame to extinguish.

And her body was like a yellow oleander plant
She bloomed on top of me, every root of her finding passages
Inside of me, suckling my brittle vitality,
Poisoning my flesh to an agonizing death
That defied everything I knew before.

It was so swift, I could feel an epiphany
Drifting out, like tentacles from my body.
The bones were so brittle that I felt
As light as a patch of slender Tundra mosses.
I had seen the sun climb out of her body
Blinding all my perceptiveness.

It was almost like a massive black hole
Had swallowed me, lock, stock and barrel

I had time traveled through an orgasm.