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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Poet



A manufacturer of processed passion
A mechanic of broken dreams
A doctor of ailing souls
An engineer that bridges worlds
A seeker of love and meaning
A pilot of hope and dreams
He's a concubine of words never told

A plumber of broken common sense
A soldier of justice, a guardian of truth
A sultan of rhymes, a sailor of words
A slave of destiny, a master of will
A prisoner of life, a keeper of time
A servant of age, a messenger of peace
He's a broker of stocks never sold

He's a lover of life and a liver of love
He's a beacon for the young and the old...

Solitary Eagle




There is one eagle in the sepia sky,
And he's not the same old one.
His form is the same, but
His spirit has changed;
He's not clueless any more,
He's not troubled by the wind,
He's stopped circling around,
He's out from the endless spin;
There's no one by his side,
Except his wisdom and strength
And a pride of the world within him -
No, he's not proud like a rooster
Delusional and oblivious of the truth,
With bulging muscles and tight t-shirts,
And the loud cellphones and the cocksureness,
But more like the owl, waiting and watching
Sure of himself, not bothered by the rest;
And definitely like the eagle he's meant to be,
Soaring above everything else.

Boatman



You can't stop me from loving you;
You can close all the doors,
And lock all the gates,
Seal all the windows,
Place fences around your island,
Barricade the roads as well,
And I will still love you;
For even if I cannot have you,
I still have an idea of you,
And I have a pretty good idea too.
And my love is not a static one -
Not one that will get me stuck;
No, it's an infinite kind
That will take me away,
From one manifestation of you;
And seek out instead, all the
Other forms you may have -
And while the current is strong
And my boat might be frail,
I will fix a broken part each day;
And while the ocean is vast
And my will has no sail,
I won't put my paddles away...

Aquafina



We're inside a womb, all cozy and sound
With a corkscrew to hold us inside
Getting fed all the while, dreaming without a care
And then we pop out bubbling with tears
Coz the comfort is replaced by the chill of the world
With anxious faces and excited eyes
Passing on the ways of this world
You try and make sense till you find your own way
Through the nonsense that's accepted best
You're rushed through your school
Grinding wisdom away
And building skills from the powdered flour
You race on ahead with a hat on your head
With no time to stop and ask
To find out where you're headed
To figure if you'd like to go there
Or even if you're headed the right way
And if you're lucky and not murdered or raped
Or sent to the prisons or bombed or shot
Or become a victim of circumstance
Or just are in general a jinxed piece of flesh
Then you carry on as you normally do
Making babies, passing on the lies
Pushing them right into the mess, into
A world where wifi is cheaper than Aquafina
And we're fighting and polluting our souls
Over invisible lines and absconding gods
We're always catching up and never at rest
And we're so sure that we're on the right track
But I wonder if anyone read the fine-print that says
Best before 9 months from manufacture?


Play



I sleep a lot more these days
And I dream on when I'm awake;
For you're still with me inside my head,
Where I play all those moments again;
And when they're done, I create new ones
In places I'd like us to visit together;
And when I wake up, I seal my lips
With the kisses you plant in these dreams,
So they don't mind not uttering a word,
And don't distract you from your lines,
So you can play those careful parts,
Without mixing up names on-stage;
I chain my hands with your warm embrace,
So my fingers don't write a word;
But what do I do with every ounce of me
That reverberates with your memories,
And resonates with your thoughts,
Even as I try to walk away gracefully,
To be remembered or maybe forgotten
As a bad actor who forgot his lines,
And walked away without a second glance, for
I can't read these lines from the fringes
And I can't play the lead in your play.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Asteroid






There was a collision, quite a spectacular one;
I, a rebel asteroid, and you a tamed planet
Doing your rounds patiently, until we crashed.
I guess you spun a bit out of your orbit,
And yeah, you stunned my reckless motion.
We're still dazed and bruised I guess,
A tad disoriented as we try to find a way;
And the way I see it, only two paths remain -
We can either totter back to our old paths,
And we can let time do what it does best,
And we can live with just these memories,
As I limp along mine and you roll back to yours.
I know there's nothing wrong there
Things have been carefully placed,
All you need is to get back in line,
And continue your way on that eternal fall;
But then I wonder why you didn't hurry along
When you saw me, and stopped to crash instead;
I wonder if there's a reason in this we don't see,
A possibility towards something greater,
And if we could script our own path together.
Down with the system, down with the anarchy,
As we hold on to each other, and take the plunge,
And just go where this life will take us -
You, a rebel planet, and I, a tamed asteroid. 



Monday, December 22, 2014

Tell Me Something I Don't Know

Tell me something I don't know
Like the chicken that hatched this world
And what our job role is in this office
And the fine print that we should read
Like what's the bonus for killing people
The incentives for being cruel
For climbing over people's heads
So we can achieve our goals

Show me something I don't see
What's not on TV shows
Like the sense in fighting over pieces of land
Or over imaginary gods and lines
Or Putting jewellery on pieces of stone
While millions starve to death
Hoarding happiness in the basement
Instead of passing it on

Sing me a song I haven't heard
A song about peace and calm
Of not drawing lines across the earth
Or raising fences on them
Or raising armies to defend our land
From walls we've ourselves built
Of what the premium on kindness is
That makes it rarer than gold

Show me a path I haven't tread
Where people don't judge but live
Where the world is not a convenience store
And cries aren't drowned with guns
Where we've made our peace with age and death
And money is just a tool
Where love and hope lead to brink of the sea
Where the ferryman waits for all...

Musings of a Poet

What does it take to write good poetry? I don't know, for I'm not sure if what I write is good. I don't know how I can tell, unless I'm told by a lot of people that what I write is good, but then not many people read poetry these days, so one can never really be sure. One yardstick is to check whether I am satisfied with my poetry or not. However, since that is pretty inconclusive by itself, let's just leave the adjective out for now and just talk about poetry -  good or bad. So how does one make poetry? This is not about the technicalities of writing poems or about meter. Of course, it does help if you know your elegies from your panegyrics and if you know your iambs from your trochees, but poetry is not about just rhyme and meter. Sometimes it is not about that at all. In fact these things could sometimes be constraints that you impose upon yourself, and the more you do this, the more you limit yourself from being able to express what you truly mean to say; and the first rule of poetry is to be able to truly say what you want. Thus, poetry is about speaking the truth. Every time you speak the truth or write the truth, it is poetry. By extension, poetry is also about expression - one must be able to express the truth - and here we are not talking about objective truths about the way things are - that we shall leave to the scientists. Here, we speak about the truth about what you feel - it could be about anything from a moving lobster on someone's dinner plate to a girl you meet at a bar to a beautiful countryside to a general existentialist interpretation about the way things are in this world, and as long as you are able to effectively express what you truly feel, you are on your way to making good poetry. All you need to do is to speak your heart out without restraining yourself. It is not about the form - a lot of beautiful poetry can be found in prose as well. Read some of Toni Morrison's or Marquez's work and you will see poetry running across the texts almost everywhere. So how does one distinguish between poetic and non poetic texts? How does one define a poem? I really don't know. I may not be able to define a poem, but then definitions are not what poets are best at - let's leave that to the logicians and the lexicographers maybe. What I do know though is that in poetry, the words always dance. Even when they are still, they are only acting as a pause in the general arrangement of the music. So when you see words dancing, you witness poetry, and the better the words dance, the better the poetry is. Poetry also has a certain mysteriousness about it -  the words seem to be talking about something at a level more abstract than what happens everyday. One must suspend certain regularities about how things usually function and be willing to enter a different realm where we are willing to read between the lines, and also above and below and around the lines - for the meaning is not exactly in the words being laid out, but hidden thereabouts somewhere. 

So how does one create this mystery? How does one make words dance? It's a lot similar to how one can make me dance - possibly the only way to make me dance - get me drunk! Get me drunk enough to shed my inhibitions and flow with the music - one with everything around;  but words don't get drunk on wine, or beer. It does help a bit, but then you don't want your creativity to outlast your liver by a huge margin, and so getting drunk to become a poet is not the best idea. Words get drunk instead on inspiration, and this inspiration goes well with turbulent passions and emotions. When there is sufficient inspiration and a sufficient stirring of passions and emotions, poetry arrives and words begin to vibrate and dance. This inspiration can come from anywhere - it doesn't necessarily have to be from love or from a heartbreak; although a heartbreak can sometimes help in creating these circumstances, it may not be a great idea to go around looking for a heartbreak in order to write good poetry, for even if one does get their heart broken and then manages to write good poetry, the poetry will always be the next best thing, for I would gladly exchange all the poems that have stemmed from a heartbreak to not have my heart broken in the first place; for it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, but it is better still to be able to love and not lose at all. So this inspiration and excited passion can come from anywhere at any moment. There is no point sitting and waiting for it; it will come when it has to, and when it does come, there will be no stopping it. It may help to go and look for it forcefully, but then one might end up missing on a lot of other great things laid out for you in life in the bargain, and these things may be a lot more important than being able to write good poetry. Who has time for poetry these days anyway? And of what good is this poetry we speak about? Plato had banished it from his republic, and although several people have defended poetry, these were mostly poets themselves. I haven't come across many non-poets standing up in defense of poetry. So what use does it have anyway? Why would one even want to write poetry?

There are two reasons to write poetry - one is for the self and the other is for others. Firstly, good poetry is honest, and honesty can seldom be a bad thing. So the first job of a poet is to be true, and to also be able to express this truth well. A poet must first try and find out the truth about himself or herself - and this makes everyone a poet, as long as one isn't merely flowing along with fashion and is instead trying to think about what he or she is truly made of, made for, and about what their purpose in this life is, about the beauty that might lie in the smallest drop or in the might of an entire ocean or the universe. One must also use poetry to conquer emotions, and be able to present perspectives about incidents that others may not have thought of before. Good poetry, therefore, is about seeing things from different perspectives, and it is also about saying things in different ways, to make it appeal to more people, to make more people connect with your ideas. Once a poet is able to do this, the next step is to become a beacon for society, to point out things that are not right, to point out areas that are hidden, and to do this in the most non-moralizing way possible. Good poetry is about showing a mirror to people in the form of words that they can understand. Simplicity, therefore, is an essential ingredient of good poetry. Of course a poem can have several layers but even at the simplest level, a poem must make sense to the most casual reader. All other allusions, craftsmanship, showmanship and wordplay can be then woven into this basic framework of the poem to make it more profound, so that people with varying levels of initiation can interpret it in many ways. A key to good poetry is to connect with as many people as one can, for while a vast portion of the meaning of the poem lies in the head that it came from, an at least equally vast portion of the meaning also lies in the heads it is going to enter - in the way they interpret it, and the more the interpretations are, the more meaningful a poem gets, and the more meaning it adds to people's lives, the more purposeful it gets. 

So if I were to conclude, I would say that good poetry would involve the unrestricted expression of powerful truths, both about the self and about the world, where the poet acts as a beacon that shows the truth to those who do not see it from a similar perspective, in a manner in which most people can understand; and good poetry comes only when one is inspired and when one allows emotions and passions to reach a certain level of volatility required to make us reach out for that level of existence where we can speak with a certain mysticsm by making words dance. Poetry is about making people see things from your vantage point, and the higher you let your passions elevate yourself, the higher you let inspiration take you, the more novel your vantage point will be from the rest, the greater your sense of mystery, and the better your words dance, and therefore, the better your poetry. Poetry is thus about perspective, about passion, inspiration, honesty and novelty -  and good poetry must have all of these in it.

Friday, December 19, 2014

In the Arms of a Potato

Yes, I think of you still, of course,
Every now and then, as I ride on,
Stirring my boat with these rusty oars,
Bouncing along bumpy river-bed like roads,
Longing for the soft, paved tarmac of your smile,
Wondering what it is that I feel for you.
You, a potato under the ground, sowed
By fingers I haven't felt, like I have yours,
Growing in someone else's garden,
Cozy in your little space in the ground,
Happy in the shade it offers you.
Although I'd like to dig you out, look at you
Closely, examine you thoroughly,
And to take you with me as I chase the sun,
Trying to understand your beautiful soul,
To lie in the comfort of your arms,
Your hair shading me from the now cruel sun;
I will not to uproot your perfect world
That you have  so carefully organised -
Everything in it's own little place,
The floor sparkling clean, the plates
Rinsed dry and stowed away, the bed sheets
Neatly laid out, pictures carefully pinned
To the board next to your collection of earrings.

No I have no place there, I know;
The room is too small and I am unstable
Like an atom, too difficult to place
Where you would like, too volatile to rest anywhere
(Without staining the walls you must then paint over),
Apart from that one place that is already taken.
Yes, I'm like a fishbowl, I need much attention;
They say there are 'plenty of fish in the sea'
That might make me forget what I feel for you,
To ignore the beauty that flows through you,
The peace it brings to these restless bones;
The calm that you bring to these stormy shores,
Assuring me that there is indeed order in chaos,
And I'd like to pretend you're a rotten potato
Lying around, waiting to be stepped on, but I can't,
Though you're hooked on to someone else's rod.
Maybe we can laugh about this someday;
Maybe someday I can hold your hand
Without these gloves of guilt around them -
Both yours and mine, pulling us apart,
Weighing us down with consequences.

So I drift around like a log on a stagnant lake,
Or a stringless kite in a windless sky, like
A little puppy dog, just waiting for a call -
Waiting for you right here, where you left me,
Happy to make you laugh when you need me;
Ears always cocked for stories you might have;
Sniffing at flowers, barking after butterflies,
Scampering around, digging shadows of truth,
Happy to see the sparkle in your eye that
Lets out that year of sorrow still stored
In those little bags under your eyes -
The sparkle that I saw each time
You looked at me, every time you smiled.
I know I'm not a perfect farmer,
Never have been one really; I've mostly been
A better gathering nomad anyway, so I'll go
Chase cars, run around a bit, aimlessly,
Trying to overcome my imperfections,
Fetching twigs when you throw them at me,
Digging up flower beds when you don't,
And  when all the chasing is done,
I'll lie down, panting, not very far away,
Dreaming of those perfect moments
Once spent in the arms of a potato...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ride On

People don't always come in time
But people always go with time
Just ride on

If the gods have turned their backs on time
And you're just another forsaken child,
Just ride on

Life's for the living, it's gotta be that way
Don't ever give in, even when you've lost your way
Just ride on... just ride on... just ride on...

You're not part of a production line
So there's no need to toe the line
Just ride on

The wheels keep turning all the time
But the clutch and brakes are in your hands
Just ride on

Life's for the living, it's gotta be that way
Don't ever give in, even when you've lost your way
Just ride on... just ride on... just ride on...

Yes I tried to make you mine
And thanks for you were very kind, now I'll
Just ride on

We're just visitors here for a while
So take the time, follow the signs and
Just ride on

Life's for the living, it's gotta be that way
Don't ever give in, even when you've lost your way
Just ride on... just ride on... just ride on...

Even when you forget the lines
Just walk away, don't waste your time
Just ride on... just ride on... just ride on...