Welcome to my A-Z 2018, for which I am revisiting Africa, the continent of my childhood and my dreams. The posts are, as always, infoheavy and opinionated, but they are sectioned off - some music, the day’s topic, couple writers, a slideshow from the safaris – plenty ways to cherry-pick. So you may consume just as much, or as little, as you're cool with. Zero obligation to agree with any of my views either, feel free to air yours :)

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Talking about Stars...over at Write...Edit...Publish...






A whole heap of nothing
comes drizzling down the sky
a tempest of teacups
does it miss an I?
and is that eye quite clear
where everything’s gone quiet?
come see the stone’s rocking
the trees filtering light


till the dark has measured
itself in finite quanta
and floats like ice in glasses
and rims the answer.
Everything’s got methods
to make heaps of nothing,
to make tempests, teacups
and darkness inviting.



I am over at one of my most favourite sites today....at Write...Edit...Publish...talking about Constellations, which is one of the prompts for the October challenge.  Darkness or light, that site is always inviting!  

The other prompt is, of course, Halloween....there is a choice! which is always great...check it out...sign up on the 1st and join in with your flash fiction, poetry, photo essay or artwork on the 19th for a great Octoberfest.  There are goodies to be won. An Amazon voucher (worth USD 10) and a personalised badge for the winner. And special badges for the two runners-up as well. 




Happy also that I'll be involved more deeply in WEP from 2017....helping seed the challenges along with hosts Denise and Yolanda, and Olga Godim who is their talented art designer.  

So hop over and check it out, the prompts are always meaty and fun :) and the conversation sparkling.  See you there!


Saturday, 24 September 2016

'It' is flexible and quiet and sometimes not flexible at all



It’s a distant single file of women
trudging through the scorching morning deserts  -
It’s a single winding line of silence.
A flower blooming, ignoring the fence.
A rash of lights on the dark of nightskin -
It’s always more in silence than in words.


It mostly needs no further embellishments,
a trade-off between this silence and that.
It stops too at the rank and the rotten
and tries to see nothing is forgotten.
The blanks of pauses make their quiet difference
the truth and the toothcomb, concise and exact.




Today this blog completes five years, and I was looking through the posts and here is the very first poem I posted called Pixellate.  A lot of water under the bridge since then, and I am rubbish at marking the individual waves, but I do notice how amidst all the changes, some things don't budge at all.  

What are you celebrating this weekend? Have a happy one!





Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Portrait of a Certain Silence



It’s not hundred percent, there’s birdcall, thinned
by the distance, the bird’s far off somewhere -
not tuneful but harsh, a throb on the wind,
the gnawing of water at the island’s fringe
a claypan of sound under the shallow layer


of silence. There are different kinds, incomplete
even when it’s peaceful outside, all tranquil;
the red noise still continues its own beat
strums its strings, digs its toes into the beach,
runs fingers down its own skin, can’t be still.





You know, I had this dream in my head of a recuperative, relaxed September after the total merry-go-round of August.  This image that I would settle down languidly on the couch every morning. The coffee mug would refill magically every hour.  And I would have written this perfect couplet by noon and then polished it till it outshone a diamond by nightfall.  Ha! Pfft! Mice, men, gang agley with a vengeance.  The image has had to be...um, revised drastically downward.

The honest truth is - the MOOC I did over summer turned out terribly addictive. Once it finished end Aug, in some weird, panicked fit of withdrawal I went and signed up for some more. So there goes 'languid' out of the window for now, no hope of getting it back into my life till November at least, when the current ones end.  I hope to work the addiction out of my system by then and get back to my 20 words a day type output. We shall see.

The good news is of course lots of stuff to read and ye olde horizons expanded, and then those long horizons might just wriggle themselves into the writing somehow I hope.  And gazillions of writing assignments, too. It all adds up, though I am not sure exactly how or up to what.

But I do have a grip on my iambs finally, I think, and may even begin to understand feet and meter and stuff like that very soon. I might even take a stab at a properly dressed sonnet in its tux standing on its own feet over here. Who knows?


Is your life languid right now?  I hope it is as languid as you want it to be.








Sunday, 11 September 2016

Shades of Orange As They Came Apart



I didn’t notice things – the colours of lipstick
for instance - she wore a shade between peach and brick;
dotted in her scarves too, the whole range of  orange
woven in her skirts and art, and in her magic.

She wore the deepest henna, that burnt tangerine
between her fingers, on her knuckles; dark, crushed green
staining her palms pumpkin-warm, climbing vines, blossoms
on her pulse in light apricot, and nectarine.

She fed me ripe oranges, taking them apart
tenderly in her palms, like segments of my heart;
she prised my world, eternity and each minute
wide open with her hands. The taste of that tart

sweetness remained, each segment a sunrise transferred
from her lifeline to mine. The fragrance remembered
as first sunlight flames on water.  The formless gains
shape as darkness ebbs. Undying preciousness, coloured.

In her rooms the walls are orange blossom, rugs gray
rainclouds, an ancient magazine and the doorway
fall open like her hands.  I shut my eyes, notice
the shades of orange in rust and dust, mild decay.




This is the final version of a poem I created for one of the prompts during the MOOC I did over July-August.  (Did I tell you there's talk of an anthology being compiled with some of the works that were created there? Watch this space)

The assignment was themed on Elegy and Memorial.  I thought I'd post it here today with thoughts for the families who have lost loved ones to terrorism in all the places that touch my heart, and life. 


The season's changing out here where I am, though the temperatures remain high, they are slowly softening. Much of this region of course has two seasons - hot and less hot, but my brain and body are still attuned to the Indian six. There's a cleaning up of the skies back home about now, lots of fluffy clouds chasing off the heavy dark monsoon ones, the festival season starts in less than a month.  It's a particularly beautiful time of the year.  'Sharat' we call it in Bengali, there is no English counterpart available, it's not autumn yet, a pre- or proto-autumn is more like it.

Here too, the plants which had been singed to cinders during the summer, are greening back to normal.  Flowers have their happy faces on, the leaves are plumping up.  I have been writing more, learning more, blogging a little less than usual, but the blog's going to green itself back to normal as well. Things are changing outside and inside. My year so far feels like an adventure and a gigantic blessing, which I suppose are synonyms really. 

I hope your year, and month, is going well too.





Monday, 5 September 2016

But that's not a poem




You are what you are, I am what I am,
I am what you are, you are what I am
east meets west somewhere, but that’s not a poem
north cuts south just here, the intersection’s home.


Parallel lines converge if I look hard enough
the vanishing point’s real, the rest’s just a bluff
and you are what you are, I am what I am
and we meet someplace, though no-one gives a damn.


The mountain’s just a pile of atom crumbs
the city’s gone ballistic, traffic’s a bit glum
and we’re what we are, we are what we were
when freedom was love, when freedom was war.


All the roads are dust, and all flesh is grass
the world is a clan and everything must pass
and I am what you were, you are what I’ll be
and it takes a sec for you to morph to me.


I am what I am, you are what you are
north meets south someplace, in café and bazaar
and east too meets west always and everywhere
but that’s not a poem as far as I’m aware.


You are what you are, I am what I am
the diff’rence’s slim, hardly a nanogram
and I am he and she, you are we and us
but that’s not a poem, that’s not a verse.