Colombo 1998


I remember when there were curfews
And bombs were exploding everywhere.
Life was hard then, and still
We played badminton in our gardens,
Watched the news on TV together
And talked about everything, seated
On the ground or on sofas.

Now we don’t have terrorists anymore,
Or bombs exploding in crowded buses.
We are all, sheltered from,
Those indiscreet evils, what terrorism is,
And still, in that climate of “life on a string”
We learnt what it was like to be a family
Of close-knit bonding.

I miss the days when curfew kept us inside
To converse on just about anything
When we couldn’t fly kites or play street cricket,
And yet we made our little voices,
Be heard in a little gathering,
Of three generations, even extended family,
Letting the ambiance, be shaped only
By our free flowing words
That turn to trickles, forming sentences.

And we looked at each other,
Fear forgotten, as we made conversation,
Those little statements of nostalgia,
And those long strands of hope,
Sentiments shared from the types of places
That will never know any curfew,
Only occupancies, that tend to,
Become overstays.


July 1983


The day, the Kohuwala butcher was butchered
By the hoards, and his cuts were left
Inside the market place.

When there were even no vultures
To settle on the cuts,
Only men who cluttered like house flies,

To glimpse firsthand, how much hate
There was on the edge of palms,
Or on cusps of lenses

How we murdered upstanding men
In front of a murder of crows
Our hearts tormented by the burning rage

And what else, but a blade at hand,
To know both ends of the deal,

The umbilical cord

And finally the jugular.

A Monotonous Eve


A cigarette,
That I bought at the supermarket,

Some carrots and potatoes
To make some steamed vegis

And while they steam,
I toy with reveries, of what my life would have been,
If I had stayed on in Australia

The Aussie girl that would sit
On top of me, making sounds in cowgirl tongue,
Which makes me thrilled,
Even from this far away.

And that one cigarette which I finally light up,
Using an old cigarette lighter,

A lighter that spurs on a habit.
Which I duly name as my only source of happiness
In this day of austerity and smother.

A lighter that donates me a light,
A flash of inspiration, like a bout of lightning
Crashing on my senses and I living a little,
In my own meditation

With a practice that threatens my conscience,
Yet relieves my anxiety

The fogs that clear, unlike the cataract eye,
Of its own turbid plumes

Marital Rape



He was like a weaver bird
Who built a large palace on the grounds of an arboretum,
And a fancier one inside her fallen heart
He courted her with riches
And embellished her with glitz. Countless facets
Would twinkle like a starry constellation
On her fingers, the pendant stone was
Amethyst, and the hotel rooms he took her to,
Were plush boutique, hidden beneath
Beautifully formed hillocks
And cascading waterfalls.

And she gifted her heart to him, wrapped in
Assamese silk and a hymen stitched
In pure satin. Her body was made of cellulose fibrils,
Cotton from head to toe, and fragile
In composition and thread. Still
She didn’t see him as a mongoose, a weasel,
Or a pole cat, just a man who would climb in
And out of her body while promising
Her all that a woman could ever want.
A cottage, a baby in a cot and a courtyard
And yet, she was only the courtesan,

-Till that day she was legally his,
To devour……. –

And he bamboozled her with words
Of carnal drapery and borrowed her lip-satin
For sorrowful fetishes,
And he would always get what he wanted.
He ravaged her with the fortitude
Of an alpha primate, who shadowed
Every one of her senses with fear.
He darted in and out of her body, like a piston
Through her vagina and made coercive love
With no sign of repentance or a feeling of compassion.

And she was torn every time
Like a cotton garment with threshed filaments
And there was nothing she could do.
You could say, she was kidnapped by a certified paper
Held hostage by a 24 carat ring
Raped by a vow of fidelity
And hushed by the lingering shame

And now she looks at a baby inside a cot
Knowing he will grow up
Never to learn the truth – that he is a child of rape,
Worse, his father was the rapist.
Protected by a vow, her husband will stand
With a puny little rodent between his legs,
Crushing a woman who loves him back.

And there are stories like this
Everywhere you look, when marriage
Is just a safe house for conjugal rape.
This land of ours has anecdotes worthy of voice,
Worthy of poetic justice, worthy of prison cells,
And unworthy of secretive masks,
Of a sometimes-forgotten and perhaps
Conveniently-omitted condition
For the oldest-known commodity traded
Between man and woman.

How endearing is it to find a Boolean choice
Facing every transaction of love.
And two simple but beautiful words standing in-between,
As legal gatekeepers,

And vigilant guardians of free-will,
In paramount consent.

In San Diego

woman 5

Here in California, anything can happen,
To just about anyone and all you can do
Is say jeez, and walkaway, that too, only if you want to. 
Meanwhile a muscled Hollywood actor called Arnold,
Who later on became governor of state,
Who with his strong Austrian accent
Says out loud “I’ll Be Back”. While in this melting pot
Accents, they all become fashionable,
The tongues in sheer hypertrophy,
Blazing of a different holy spirit,
That gives you the voice of democracy
To be who you want to be, at any price,
Like the transgendered Mexican woman,
Who looks at a man with a combover on TV,
And shouts at him, yelling that his dreams came true
In this crazy town, San Diego, where,
The borderlands blur, just like
The overlapping ecotones inside of him,
That become hazy, genderless plains,
Where there’s a boat and a pair of oars, to the other shore,
And just like Jesus, the truth lies here in full bloom,
On a now vacant strip of land,
That used to house an orchard,
A woman, now looking at the open road,
Where she can sway her avocado hips
While the heart became a spread, to dip
His dreams, just like the Jordan,
To be baptized “Salma”, to where, it all becomes
like the melted cream of delightful guacamole.
A staple, that is his American Dream.

New York

New York 2

I look at the statue of liberty
Doming over New York.
While I walk, wondering why my testicles
Seem aloof of any feeling, as I walk through
Mazes of perpendicular intersections,
Sightseeing, learning that paths cross here
More often than we ever imagine,
And yet we go about our business,
Cold shoulders bumping at 90 degree corners,
Breaking the ice on occasion, with a smile,
While your skin battles the sub-zero temperatures.
You look around at name boards
And popular brand names, wondering
Whether this city has something to sell to the tourist,
Almost all the time. You can get lost anywhere, in this town,
Caught in the hustle and bustle,
Of quotidian drama and sometimes, you’re in danger
Of losing yourself, wearing a “I Love New York” t-shirt,
Constantly reminded of how easy it is,
To become so irrelevant. It petrifies you,
How boundless freedom is. As every human label
Disappears, while unifying wavelengths
And heritages, making you just like
The omnipresent, yellow-colored cabs, common
And attention-unworthy, and called
All over by the same name. And the tourist,
Looks at a social contract,
That attributes the apple of the eye,
To a monster feeling, that gives shade
To his civilian dreams.


Love Portugese

Can I open your heart almost,
Like a little can of Sardines is opened by a can opener,
Carving through muscle and vessel.

Can I know that you are unexpirable,
Like the relentless wind,
Or the hungry ocean,

And those eyes, those mahogany irises
That wrap every incoming visual
Scripting Nerudesque love poems

And you, who becomes larger by the minute,
Turning to a great fish, who swims
Inside my pummeling circulation,

While inside the bowel of the fish, is a prophet,
Holding on to a prophesy of what will be,
An expression of my looming fall,
To your savage wilderness,

Deranging my feeble sanity,

And yet summoning me,

Like Nineveh.