Confessional Poetry, Haibun, Haiku, Life, Memory, Poetry, Prose, Verse

Haibun – 4

Gestalt

The air is heavy with the scent of crushed grass and last night’s rain. Driving through one of the few straight stretches on the ghats of Sahyadri, I glance at my watch. It is nine-thirty in the morning, almost an hour has passed since the last bustle of the maximum city. The throbbing roar of the engine feels like a just-hatched dragon between my thighs.

The twisting road embraces a scraggy rock face, forcing me to breathe-in the present. The road, though now in a state of disrepair, is still serviceable.

another bend…

the road snakes into

memories

I remember this road from the times I was dating my wife. The expressway was yet to be built and every weekend, a six hour journeyon this two lane highway, would mean meeting her. Sometimes just after the rains, we would drive down to a small hill called tiger’s leap and spend hours talking in the bleeding glow of the setting sun. The journey had never seemed long or tiring then.

white bedspread…

a thin mist takes over

our silences

I take the next exit, parking by the side of a small lake to stretch my back and legs.The lake is shallow, it may have filled up in the gentle rain of last two nights. A pair of lapwings walk its muddy banks. The yellow in their throat and beak stand out against the washed out landscape. I have never noticed the pattern or colour of a lapwing before. But then I have never stopped mid-highway weighed down with a sore back either.

I guess one has to be old enough for both…

the dull throb

of your absence

waxing … waning

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Confessional Poetry, Haibun, Haiku, Life, Love, Memory, Night, Poem, Poetry, Prose, Romance, Separation, Verse

Haibun 3

Distance

One of the three roads that led to my house may have been the longest, but I was sixteen, had a bicycle and could ride really fast. Putting all my weight on the handle bars, I could pump the pedals and whizz past the lime-washed houses, the landscape passing by in grey-green blur.

But back then, I liked to slow pedal down this road. Through the shimmering heat, I would see the road-tar turn black beneath the scarlet Gulmohar blooms… would smell the besan ladoos, long before crossing the sweet shop… would whistle to the sleepy mongrel by the side of a shuttered comic book store and then stop awhile to cheer the local cricket team.

This road wound past a kids’ park, hopped over a culvert, snaked past a kite maker’s workshop, stuttered near a century old banyan tree… and then gently careened beneath her balcony.

aching to read
the braille of her mounds –
sleepless night

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Haibun, Haiku, Life, Memory, Pain, Poem, Poetry, Verse

Haibun – Atman

Atman

Acutely aware of the hands that dig into my shoulders, the unbearable heat of a thousand flames licking my skin, the scent of sandalwood that fails to mask the smell of charred flesh, the whispers of how young she was, the slowly bleeding sun going down a banyan tree and then the certain reluctance with which they press a long wooden pole into my hand…

Almost as if this act is supposed to purge her out of my thoughts, memories, existence, breaths… I am asked to perform the rite of the skull.

early darkness –
the jagged flight of
a firefly

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Haibun, Life, Poem, Poetry

Haibun – Shards

Shards

An airport is an unlikely place for a serendipitous meeting, but here we are, I, with tufts of unruly white hair and she, with a few more wrinkles around her eyes. Has it already been eight years? Did it start with a glance, a greeting or a tentative smile?

Crossing each other, we halt mid stride for a brief moment of recognition before moving on to opposite ends of the lounge carrying with us the lasting legacy of our relationship – silence. Sitting down on a recliner that overlooks the runway, I can see the taxiing planes and a cluster of hazy trees beyond them.

flight of gulls –

the beach slips away

beneath my toes

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Fiction, Flash Fiction, Prose

Frames

She would never kiss them on the lips.

“No Frenchie kiss saahib” she would say with cardamom scented breath.

Other than that her body belonged to the men. Those who came to her didn’t need courtship, so she would strip quickly and hang her clothes over the pegs on the peeling wall.

She would help their flabby bodies out of their scuffed belts and crumpled shirts, grope their limpness to erection and slip on a condom, while they bit her neck and pawed at her breasts. She could always recognize the men who were likely to tip her after they ejaculated inside her. From others she would ask for a bottle of overpriced beer.

Tonight, when her fourth customer pulls up his trouser over the cum-stained briefs, she too packs up her belongings.

On the fast local train back, she wipes off her lipstick and kohl. By the time she reaches the chawl, her son is already asleep, while her mother watches a daily soap on the small television they had bought last month.

She picks up her son’s schoolbag and settles down in a corner. Pulling out the new uncovered books, she wraps them in brown paper and thin cellophane. She holds the last one just a little longer before slipping it back inside the schoolbag.

Tomorrow, she will wake up early, bathe, and dress Ankur for his first day of school. She would click a photograph of his in the new school tie and hang it on the only wall in her house that does not leak.

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