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.



How can you forget
The cassette player or the video player?

Time flies like an albatross
Hurling itself to a lower altitude

I climb a ladder that seems
To burrow downwards

I look at a tape of ‘American Ninja’
And listen to ‘You Win Again’ by the Bee Gees

I’m a feather in retrograde locomotion
A relic of a time gone by

I’m trapped in a time tunnel
Spooled into little tapes. Self-preservation I call it.

And I listen to the treble voice
Of Barry Gibbs and I know

I can never go down an octave in time.
I’m replayed over and over

I’m my own playlist searching
For a bonus track from the 80s.

I look at my dad fiddling with a gramophone
And I know what entrapment is.

Living inside a shoe box, playing a music box
Lost like a picture of a teenager

In a milk carton. Time is my worst enemy.
In a reality I bemoan and loathe.

An analog watch keeps me company,
While I sip history like a cup of tea.


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.

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.

Life Lessons From A Coca Cola Bottle

Ocean Coca Cola Summer Bottle Vintage Beach Retro

She stands august and tall in front of me, as pure
And refined as her dark effervescent body

She tells me, be like a kola nut, large in heart’s body
But not as dumb and sleepy as an arboreal Koala

Sloth is a sin, the worst of sins. Caffeine is the spirit
In you that makes long miles short and hope

Longer than even a kite thread. And she tells me
The soul is a narcotic, the holy ghost, leafy palms

That recite prayers to the invisible and lingers in the ecstasy
Of soul accomplice, in a deliverance only love

And her bonanza can spoon. She tells me every mortal
Is a bottle corked in reality, yet dreams are bubbly and frothy

And carbonated to reveries of podia, the heights
Of love and one Aphrodite will serenade your heart

With the viola strings on her lips. Every bottle
Is a replica of clay and water, flesh and blood, yet dreams

Of the immortal, the divinity of reciprocation of a goddess’s body.
The hull that completes the tide, the oar that makes

Carnivore waves, the Venus that unhinges the deck nails.
And she says, all bottles are meant to be uncapped

And emptied of soul at one pre-destined estuary
When shelf life doesn’t matter, only who tasted the good in you.

Destiny is whose lips plunged you into another world
And hers will be the fault lines that swallow you.

And love is a dark fairy tale that froths your eyes
And palpitates you heart. When a dark extract of kola nuts

Becomes as nutty as pure folly, and one woman, accomplice
To a foolish heart, sips a whisk of coca leaves

Till beyond an eternity. And she tells me, the biggest life lesson
She can give me is, love will always be good till the last drop.

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.