American Dream

Waffle Ice Cream Cone Ice Milk Ice Cream Ice Cream

Present drips in to your tongue,
Like a cookies and cream ice cream cone.
You’re taught to believe that fate promises
And yet still, will not deliver.
So many Americans have dripped
Their tongues to taste the supposed good times,
Only to encounter the salty nothingness,
What leaves behind a memento,
Of how this land is squeezed between
Two mammoth oceans, and still
A Yankee dreams of the American dream,
Which comes in an assortment of flavors,
Vanilla, chocolate, pistachio,
Mango and green tea among others,
And we break ourselves on that rocky road
To power a lowly dream – not yours though-
Only of a man, somewhere in Iran,
Selling pistachio nuts, who will
Never know real freedom, nor be duped to believe,
That “making it” is for everyone,
The American dream is just a figurative
Claim for making it there, where there is no welfare.
Meanwhile in Iran, there are bumper
Crops of pistachio nuts sent to the US
To stuff your tongue into.
Reality is only a cold serving of ice cream.
And only you know how to scoop your dream,
Your flavor, which makes you richer
And yet lonelier, when you start to realize
That the dream in past-tense, is
Like an anecdote that will depreciate
From that point onwards. Then
You rewrite your life, with a new wafer cone,
Searching for a second scoop;
Of the now re-scripted American dream. 

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Darkness and Light

Bubble Boy

A lone warrior scampers
To the backyard swing. Swinging low and high,
While in the other corner of town,
The church is hunted by children
Who grew up in its ranks, pointing the finger.
A cassock hangs from a closet
While inside a larger closet, hides
A lifetime of desire, clogged
Beneath, detonating onto a fragile frame.

Peter, the boy, who cried wolf so many times,
Is now a hero, while the church walls
They still cast a shadow on a little
Playground next door, while Peter holds
His darkness in a little room that has a light
Which is switched on and off,
A hub that was never supposed to be a dungeon.

In Prokofiev’s masterpiece, there’s a bird
That cannot fly, a duck that cannot swim,
While a little boy that can do neither,
Walked down a throat’s nave
To be manhandled like the Eucharist host.
The French horn played his part rising an octave
While the double bass played at its lowest possible tone.
It was hardly a duet of any sort.

Years later, justice would be served.
The bass drum marched with the violin,
A trap was sprung for the wolf.
And still, that haunting day, which was supposed
To be ideally a ribbon cutting ceremony
With someone his age, now makes him shiver with fear.
The hero, the boy, now grown up, walks the streets
With girls passing him by, and still, he can’t seem to
Explain why every girl seems innocuous,
Something bland from far.

He would later find out how true
Cinnamon was, and how it was different
From a pod of vanilla. A boy, his age, kissed him one day
Seated in the back seat of his car,
And in that defining moment, he learnt the deft art
Of how to volunteer his lips,
To finally kiss – gently kiss back.

9/11

America

Years are anthologies of healing,
Brink desaturating. Stars appearing
On the bleak horizon, one by one,
Becoming brighter, as your face
Turns to a pavilion. Now planes, are
No longer diabolical monsters, Islam is no more
The launch pad, there are pearl
And human shipments from Baghdad to Baltimore,
That don’t’ blow up on impact. Healing is found in
A stork’s gift, a nuptial, a botanical
Species named after you. September 11th
Will always be the day that the Big Apple died,
And now you see here apple orchards,
Every one of the produce, a different tone,
People plucking each other from the air,
Like destiny meant them to be.
Love is just like a journey in a Yellow-Colored car,
Called a “taxi”, in any dictionary
From Teheran to Texas, the only word that is the same
In every language. The human heart
Is too like a taxi, you don’t know who will
Get in next, or at what point, one,
Will get off. I guess, it is a modern truth,
That you get into many taxis in your lifetime.
Journeys, they transcend the back
Seat of a taxi-cab, just like 9/11.
Memory is the saving grace after the taxi ride,
After 9/11. And some lives, even 16 years after,
They are still seated alone inside a yellow taxi,
Parked in a space that hailstorms the past,
“Occupied” sign flashing on top,
As if they are in love with beautiful ghosts.

America

Landscape America Skyscrapers Metropolis Manhattan

The lady of liberty
Stands with a tablet on one hand,
And a torch raised in another, 
And a broken chain on her feet,
Looking like the perfect goddess
Signifying liberty, in a country
Of worldly freedoms.

While in uptown New York, near 125th street
There is a lady, of French ancestry, living alone.
A tablet of Xanax, she takes every night
To curb the anxiety, and a torch
Underneath her pillow,
To flash at night and a broken
Rosary on her bed stand.

And freedom for her
Is waking up alive the next morning,
And the cup of Sri Lankan tea she sips,
Before she takes the subway
And ferry to Liberty island, where
She works at a ticketing counter

And in Liberty Island, these two
Women collide, not knowing how similar they are.
Both, as an Emma Lazarus
Poem inscribes, are mothers of exiles,
Exiled to opposite poles of a defiant freedom,
That lives larger than her mighty dimensions,
And yet is as small, as a single ballot slip.

The Poet

Poets

You ponder what is life?
The American poets have it easy,
Being the ones who get to shove
Their poems down so many journals.
While in this part of the world
There is very little we can do
But postbox a poem down the shaft
Of an editor, at a reputed journal far away,
Who will blindly look at the poem
Hopefully without any mention, that it is from
Sri Lanka. I’m public enemy number one,
A proud virgin, even a prouder married man,
Who worships god – a type scarcely
Found in poetic circles – that makes
Me easy to be erased from pages of history
Only a blog holding her fort
To who I am and what I write about.
I’m no perfectionist, but I strive for perfection
No qualms there, it’s not to feel like God.
If you want to feel like God,
You can use technology and infiltrate
Some poor man’s mind 24 hours a day.
I’m a just a lowly poet, traded in
By friends and foes alike, a Christian
In these times of islamophilia.
Yes, you get special mention
If you’re a poet from Iran, who like
Rumi, is worshiped for the words.
Perhaps I will always be invisible
On paper, perhaps I will die with
A cancer the size of a tennis ball in my spleen,
Perhaps I will have a poem in the New Yorker
When all prejudices are lost,
To the thinning of ice, air, ether,
Anything between me and the anti-me
The invisible duels between Christian and atheist
Or any strange vendetta below
The cover of a poem. We are all
Here to live and die, and hope like mad,
We rise from our frailties
To garnish our reputation the way
We see it. Hope is all I’ve got.
That stardust on the end of my nib
Which makes a nebula on paper.
Whether it will become a star, is up to
The armchair warmers,
Who from this small island of ours far away,
Look like gods on thrones.

Trump

ducks

The anti-christ of politicial correctness,
The great white hope on a crusade,
The afterthought of carelessness,
The bigwig with a big wig, the arrogance in a suit,
The old man of the white house,
The twitter bird and the fat mallard,
The El nino and La nina,
The contradiction and the counter-attack,
The fall guy and the hairspray,
And yet, the strangest coincidence
Of how easy it is to trump over democracy.
The ballot is a sign of the dissonance,
When the notoriety of a candidate
Is both an attraction and distraction.
And a loud man, louder than a freight train, more
Voluble than a cicada, makes
Our hearts feel something or the other,
And what else is there but freedom to pamper us,
To decorate us with ambivalence. The frigid
American heart now looks at a mallard,
A wild duck who came from the wilderness,
Wondering did we do wrong here?
And yet how sweet is a stinking durian,
Who beautiful is the stenching rafflesia,
As the pachyderm called democracy
Takes miniature steps forward and feeds its self with
Little sovereign leaves, photosynthesizing
On their own brilliant brainwaves.
And what else can America do now,
But watch The Donald Show
Unfold in Disneyland.

America

America 2

A noteworthy event
Where a green card becomes
A greener pasture, of what it takes
For a man, who crossed the Rio Grande
And sneaked through a fence,
To know, he now has a tap root,
That when uprooted
Looks a lot like a carrot stick,
Stuck in an amber moment,
Caught between the old and the new, near and far.
The green light can do so much
But heal the plague of where,
The heart always seems to orbit,
Your first love.Your first home.