Learning from Quasimodo


Stunted bent man, like Quasimodo
Begs for a few rupees

And there’s something about him
The workmanship, the richness in expression
And the frugality of pain

I wish I was him, so little to contend with
And still content as a child
Sipping a glass of milk.

I’m my own shadow, the anorexic
Man inside who makes long miles
Searching for the fruits of his dreams.

Maybe I will be content one day with
A basket full of dreams.
And a heart as empty as a church
On a weekday morning.

Dreams are compulsive strains
Of infection that preserve life in you.
A virus that infects every cell from head to toe.
With no immunity to feud with.

What to do with an empty toothpaste tube?

Perhaps I will learn to conjure a smile
And still look photogenic

With my discolored teeth.


Depression 2

One woman’s trinket is another woman’s gold.
Objectivity is just as callous
As a stubborn conscience.
The greasy face of subjectivity
Reasons to your senses; the waterworks,
The taps inside your washer-less eyes
Outpour caught in salty streams.

Perception throws at you curveballs
The cancer of a family member
The aunt who fed the famished you
And all you feel is a snowball snowballing,
In the punch-packed magnification
Of a little sadness; tristesse in all her
Bony atoms, perverting a steadfast presence.

And all you have is your perception
The barometry of little acts, the harvests
Of the eye, ear, nose and tongue and still
A freaking monster-size feeling
Is what you duel with constantly. Sometimes you don’t
Get a windfall, sometimes the truth hurts,
Sometimes you don’t wish to perceive,
Like when you’re burning the wrong kind
Of substance, no cannabis, just a burn-wound
Flesh eaten by the flames of reality.

And freak-me, is just as fecund
As an ovulating woman. You know your Aunt’s cancer
Eats into you, like a famished cancer cell.
Sometimes, we cannot manufacture
A little happiness. All is lost. And still
In that incessant rainfall, you build an ark
To save your heart from the floods.
Love is a permanent porridge.
A subjective strain that can caress or even floor
You with a knock out. All you can do
Is to face the deeds that make love
Ambidextrous – the punch and the pull –
And she will be the octane
To your engine, the kerosene to your flames
An endless dimension that expands
In mirth and grief.

Perceptiveness is a gift. Perhaps the only
Gift worth fighting for. When you can only
Grease an engine, knowing what stands
Between you and a zombie
Is a little forced locomotion. Moved,
You’re sitting on the slum-dog’s throne,
As a millionaire in wealth.

Under My Umbrella


You really have difficulty
Giving a place to an umbrella.
She is your protection from the sun
And your roof for the tireless rain
And is, forever battle-ready for a scuffle,
For the woman in the bus
Warding off a slimy pervert

And an umbrella looks beautiful falling off the sky
Just ask Mary Poppins and she will say so.
And still she can be ominous
Like the sneaky Penguin in the Batman comics
And yet there’s nothing sweeter
Than a baby polka-dot umbrella hoisted
By a little girl walking in the rain

And the umbrella as my wife tells me
Is a little hotel room for beach blow jobs
And a little sunburn protection for the Galle tourist
And the same accesory was a forgotten ally to man
Until a catchy Rihanna song, that made
Her jump up the charts
To the palmed-grip of a Barbadian girl.

And I tell you, my story of the umbrella
It is the closest I’ve gotten to walking with
A woman in my 20s. I remember when a sporty
Girl got underneath my umbrella
To walk a few paces down to buy an ice cream
In the pouring rain. She was a symbol
Of proximity I had always missed, a gesture
I hid in my bag, a little token
For the damsel in distress and a forgotten cupid
In metals rods and synthetic fabric.

And “under my umbrella” is not just a song.
It is where vows are exchanged, longings are undressed
As summer cotton hugs the rain-fed garments
It is where you find man and woman, rain-fed, wind-blown
Love-caressed and heart-loaned and a little horizon
Where the waves tumble to, making the body
Tangled like a braised knot, cuffed
In to a different world….

Two flesh wildered by the monsoon
Blowing inside to out. Anatomical landslides
Slipping underneath a little umbrella
Into one amorphous slurry
Of crumbly brown slush.

The Last Act of a Jester


Can death be the last act of a jester
On a theatre called the hospital bed?
You wonder and you gather evidence
That it is perhaps so – a somber episode
When shutouts and blackouts outnumber
Flames on threads and a solitary figure
On a bed, makes a lasting pantomime
With his pallid face, looks the doctor
With a death look and a ghost wish
And pokes his tongue out by reflex
To show a whiter shade of pink.

And a ventriloquist god
Will whisper in his ear that it is all over
And all he can do is to live out
A miserly span of a few seconds to minutes
Until the zombie apocalypse
Eclipses his vital signs
When blood turns cold to a silent snowstorm
As organ systems – one by one –
Snowball lifelessness and passivity
And all he can do is to bite his ghostly lips
And hope to god that the tongue
Will not stick out fully akin to a sleeping street dog.
If not, the post-mortem
Will simply read – death by slapstick.

And kith and kin around the bed,
Who will now gaze at his pale face,
Will turn a little ghostly in expression and slightly
Wet around the lashes and will
Remember the times gone-by
In fondness and loss. And that theatrical episode
Of a tongue-poke death, will linger on to
A landslide of emotions.

And surrounding a man with a half-strung tongue
Will be an outpouring of coulrophilia
– The mass adoration of a clown –
In a requiem of his final act.

Hen House



My wife and her friends are about to throw
A hen’s party to the bridesmaid at our wedding.
When my wife will go to breadtalk
And buy some short-eats and finger food
For a night of frolic and merry-making.

And in Sri Lanka
There are no male strippers yet they still
Find ways to find petticoats or night shorts
With all the sex-positions printed on them.
When you get a glimpse of how the brain
Of a woman works. It seems
They love diversity. [Hold on; so do Men]

And in spite of all the racy talk
Getting gifts of baby dolls and lacy g-strings,
They will be celebrating the sisterhood, of the long heart miles
Journeyed, since a lower-grade class room
At a nun-run school. Karan
And Kaushie are battle-hardened hens
Who are raising little chickens.
And Jaime will soon be holding on to her man
On a lifted stage – the cynosure wife.

And perhaps there is something
About the sisterhood, we boys can learn from.
How an Absolut Vodka bottle
Or a Morgan’s spiced Rum, will never perhaps
Be equal to what they hold. We get drunk to a degree
When we cannot even feel the bond of shared histories.
And all the while the girls will joke
And banter, trade bedroom secrets
And make a little party
A celebration of the X chromosome.

And the last hen will go down the aisle
And a band of friends who are thick as thieves will now be
Only a Mrs, some man’s wife. And I will be
One of them – one man who looked
At a woman, only to see a keeper.
And Jaime will drift to her own destiny.
Imran’s wife. To love, cherish and be there
In sickness and in health.

And the hens will cluck away
Until their lungs are weary, telling stories
They once shared. Perhaps Shane, Sam, Imran and I
Were meant to be the anchors, the roosters, the other-halves.
And it seems the hens will always
Hold a little pact between egg-bearers.
Of how destiny is just a common road
Paved by a bond, that can never be broken
By time, space or fate.

Jaime will laugh away tomorrow
A hen’s cluck that will turn soon to a script of the heart.
Of love in the first degree. One man’s wife.
No longer a bridesmaid, an escort, the veil carrier.
The hen that outgrew the hen house.
To become a domesticated fowl
On the marriage bed.

20 Years of Love

Man Romantic Couple Love Kiss Grooms Romance
Man Romantic Couple Love Kiss Grooms Romance

I look at a freaking freckle
Seemingly like the teenage years. The armpit
Odor still smells the same
And the heart dances to what the eyes
Sponge – the goddesses that become
Muses of desire.

We never really outgrow the teenage spirit.
Touching 40 and still the occasional window shopper
With absolutely no ambition
To start a conversation with the Banker chick
At a cocktail party, or make conversation
With a nerdy English student
Who looks a lot like a divine nerdess.

And I look at my baggy khaki shorts
With knee pockets – how that hasn’t
Changed in 20 years. I look at my logo-less
T-shirts and I remember a girl at Alliance
Who I wanted to strike a conversation with
When I was spring chicken. I look
At myself to see a fat man who has outgrown
The fresh face, the dappled pimples
And blushing cheeks that only
Know 50 shameless shades of red.

It seems we are in a rut
In a groundhog day, of when life
Metamorphosed to an airy world
From inside a childish cocoon. Wings
Although gossamer and tear-prone
Could hang us in the air, like hot-air balloons
Fired from a flame that was no longer
A vestal silhouette.

Perhaps life is that. If I can tell Kurt Cobain
That it always smells like teen spirit,
I would. One day, even battling my own breath
I will remember the tall girl with a shawl
Who made me wade into an ocean
That never closes in on shrink.

I look at my salted memories of 20 years
And I know I’ve had a good life. A life
That never ceases to surprise or amaze
Nor clip your wings. Dreams were never
Meant to be hanged, closeted or drawered,
They were the wings of a bird man
Who battled the windy bursts of fate
To come out with an education.

Icarus was a fool. So am I.
A fool that knows that the blinding light
Is too, a torch of burn. And still how beautiful
Is the blinding light fogging the lens and demanding
The unblemished. My 20 culpable years
Of folly, scaling the wing-brokered
Heights of a foolish dream.



Boredom steadies the numbness
Stoic is my surrogate alter ego, although I wish I was Batman
Making all sorts of gadgets appear in the bat mobile.
I drive a Suzuki Swift, so unlike the bird and yet
A little like a namesake author’s work – My driving resembles
A Pinta Island Tortoise, although Gulliver
Beckons a comparison. After all,
6 feet 4 inches, for a Sri Lankan man
Is a borderline Guinness book entry.

I look out at the world around me
Boxed to my boxer shorts world, lying in bed
Next to my wife, after making love.
Seemingly the roof gets nearer when I stare,
And the walls shrink towards me,
I’m in a box, and I’m searching madly for Jack
To make my day.

Its’s been Yonkers since I’ve watched the news
Or watched reruns of an American sitcom
I now juggle three things on my palms
– Wife, science and poetry –
And although wife comes miles ahead,
After making love in quick time,
You’re searching for a minor distraction.

I take a toothpick and start fumbling with
My teeth. I almost became a dentist once
And I wonder how I would have been
As a toothpick man. [Perhaps there are
More raunchy uses for a Dental Chair]
Still I stumble on in thought at the austerity
Measures of my flinching economy.

And all I can think of is; Perhaps 40 is supposed to be,
The calming tide. My locks, now almost
30% grey, makes me as distinguished
As Richard Gere, although a glimpse at my reflection
And I know it is only wishful thinking.

And life is that. A story with many beginnings
And endings. Perhaps I was never meant to be
A dentist, nor meant to be handsome
Perhaps I am just a boring middle-aged man
In a spineless odyssey to break my own boredom.
Perhaps I should try kite surfing or order
Something other than a green curry at the
Thai restaurant. Perhaps my wife will give me
A full blow job in the shower.

And still, I’m too scared to change anything.
Too petrified of leaving my own box.
[Jack will have to wait]. I’m claustrophobic
Of my own traditions, my comfort zones.
My little attic where I perch my laptop
And type away words.

I am my own opus. Livid
At my own surrender, of that necessity
To be at the same place every passing day.
And still, how tasteful is the green curry at Quick Thai?
How underrated is a hand job in the shower?
How endearing is the kite in your palm?

And how beautiful are my Groundhog days?