Thursday, June 23, 2005

High Hopes

1.

city by
city by
city we parted
- you did not say a word
nor I

without you
I can find no rest
in this place
I once
called home

clouds appeared
on the vacant horizon
whispered promises
disappeared

now all I can do
is throw stones
at the sky
and hope
it rains

2.

we live on

of course

and isn't it amazing -
the things we get used to
the things
we can get by
without?

building our lives around
an absence
(cupped palms
under a tap run dry)

waiting
(that final act of faith)

waiting

as if waiting alone
can bring back what's
lost

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Fall

1.

Consider the height, the height,
The height from where you have fallen;
Taking your music with you,
Think it not My loss,
To have lost the best, the best,
The best of creation?

You are now lying in your blood,
Rejected,
Shall I tell these dry bones
To live?
Mind without soul
You are lost eternally,
Soul without mind
You are a ghost,
Wandering the face of the earth,
Desolate,
There is no rock for refuge.

2.

Lord, I aspired for greatness, for fame,
Forgive us as we forgive others
But I can’t forgive myself,
The promise, I have broken it,
I have lost
Your faith, Your trust, Your love;
How can these dry bones live?
My breath is a dry cough
Forgive us more than we forgive others.

3.

Consider your departed glory, consider,
Why is your wisdom darkened
Like the dark side of the moon?
You search for darkness even at night,
For dingy corners
And shiver
When the wind finds you.
Remember the breath I gave you?
Now you gasp, clutching your throat,
Rubbing your chest
You exchanged your fire for lesser lights
Under shadows;
Hell is excited, excited for you.
There will be hell to pay.

4.

Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
No more promises can I give
But I come
Gasping, groping in the dark,
I have become a horror
But Lord, have mercy
And restore.

To A Lover Once

My given faith makes no provision
for the solemn ritual of confession.
Sin is washed in some sacred river,
not purged through the intercession
of a stern sacramental forgiver
in an uniquely privileged audition.

But had I been born into yours
however, and bent a quotidian knee
before the Lord’s locum in the dim
penitential pew, my bleak litany
of lapse would lightly skim
the sins of transgressed mores.

There’d be little to scorch the holy ear
by way of lust or vice; I’m far beyond
the fantasies of boys. And hate admits
of no distraction, save what is spawned
in the wormwood culture of its
slow ferment – and this is all it would hear.

Yet, by analogy perhaps it takes
a black confessional to plead a flaw
long history now: a heart that wept
at another’s pain, one that saw
a child scourged; and as lover kept
the memory and the tears for sakes.

***

Desperately

Hidden beneath these
naked wrinkles of an aged skin,
Like black pools
of trapped, stagnant water
after the flood has receded,
Are left some breaths

And these probes
at my breasts,
suckling life away
incessantly

A forked tongue
slithering up my spine
slowly, surely

And every cell
like a traitor
Resonating
with the mysterious call
from unknown

I want to puncture
this blind old skin
and peek ouside
Once
desperately

***

Echo of a prayer



Like a seed that's sprouting
insignificant, little green hands
from deep down my womb

Holding on to a feeble beam of light
from a window, too small, too far above
the sound of my prayer trying to reach out
seeking God somewhere, out there.

And bouncing off
the merciless walls of skin,
returns unanswered.

Its echo sounding like a twang of a bow,
in the hands of a gallant warrior
his arrow just missed

At least, the echoes are here
till the walls last....
What happens to the sound of prayer
when the walls cave in?

***

Rajendra

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Fakers & Fakirs. . .

Let us be together,
You & I,
And weave a web
Of wispy tales
And huggable lies;
Of truth and deceit;
Of two faces we have
And the worlds
In between – whirling.

Let us be together,
You & I,
In this flimsy world
Of words and feelings;
In this space
Between dream and awakening;
In these tit-bits
That nibble at hearts
And leave us – dangling.

Let us be together,
You & I,
In a conversation
Ridden free of deceptions,
Imbued with hues
That paint
Our respective milieus;
Persistently chaffing
Fakers from fakirs
But then our eyes meet
Your smile – redeeming.

� Dan Husain
February 8, 2005

Distraction

All his cars were red.
First a Cheverolet that was too big to park,
And then a deep-red Datsun that faded with age;
All his cars were shades of red
Like blood, in different stages of clotting,
Or fresh bruises on skin.

Then one day came a Merc, white,
As though purged from sins.
I opened a black-curtained window
And remembered the toy car he bought me
Replacing the gray Ferrari that fell from the third floor
And broke into pieces.

That day I was twelve, and the window
Was 16 floors above the toy Merc,
I looked down
And saw his snow white car
Turn bright red with my blood.
He won’t be able to make water out of wine anymore.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Scars - 1

That day, you dusted the bed,
Lifted the mattress
And found jagged pieces of my soul
In black and white.
But they were blood-stains
Of all those rusty blades I used
Just to feel alive.

Under the mattress
My soul slept,
It breathed in peace
Under cover,
Until you dusted the bloody bed
And gave it as much importance
As last week’s newspaper.

And like that paper,
You perused it for clues
To my silence,
Subjected it to public scrutiny
For a post-dinner discussion.

Take my body and partake of it
It is laid down for you
Drink, this is my blood,
Congealed and preserved
For you.


It is just black and white in your sight,
Not a living body, soul and mind
I hid under the bed
To prevent further attacks;
Not a vestige of what I was
And protected
To be what I am.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Friday, June 10, 2005

RUIN

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you how
he messed his life. With a pious shake of head
they’ll say don’t look now
but that chap there may as well be dead,

for all the living that he does.
For thirty years he’s held a job he hates,
for twenty drank more than most of us,
and left wife and kids to their fates.

He lives alone, dines out, eating not for pleasure
but as a chore to be put away,
a tiresome impediment to his leisure.
Drinks tons of tea, a ghastly Earl Grey

he spends a fortune getting (his other tastes
being just as odd and expensive) – in short
a rum cove, an eccentric who wastes
more money than he’s got.

At home he swims like a distrait whale
among piles of books that litter his floor
like scattered shoals, the air stale
with tobacco, decay and the must of yore.

And yet – he’s not all loss. Remove him
a few centuries, and watch animation stir
on his Old Testament face: eyes a-brim
he’ll talk of times or worlds more familiar

than his own palm. Listen quietly as he rattles
names and dates, places long since
wiped off the maps, and obscure battles
past the scrutiny of even historians.

Or mood depending, hear him tell
most movingly of some Antarctic race,
or how some lustrous mountaineer fell
on K2’s cruel unforgiving face.

For he’s that curious bird for whom
the past must lure with a siren’s wiles,
or the timeless sanctuary of the womb
which a raucous loutish present defiles.

***

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Confabulations

There are days
When I see afloat
In your iridescent eyes
Many hued happiness
Teasing me,
Beckoning me
To paint
The rest of my days
With it.

I am wondering,
Still musing
When you gently knock me,
“Why?
Are you drowned in my eyes?”
I emit a coy laugh –
Wish I wasn’t
Carrying the burden
Of being wise.

And hence we go from here
To bougainvillea-laden street,
Orange morning,
Silver bleached beach,
Alfresco caf้e
In Parisian neighborhood
Where we, carefree, laugh till
Time stands still.

ฉ Dan Husain
May 10, 2005