I thought waiting was like whispering, meant
only for those whispered to-
but there is still waiting, to lean forward,
to pier out an ear, to make up stories to prove
I have stories to tell, leaving frizzy ends
into the delusion of there being more-
It is not the waiting where you sit & no one comes,
it is you have no intention to sit nor is anyone
supposed to come,
it is not biding, biding is waiting with endings,
whispering is waiting for voice,
a power- I look up laws to pacify riots,
modern & ancient, dictatorial and democratic,
but there is still rioting in my head,
not a hunger strike, not fire throwing
but an active passiveness, somewhat
very much like waiting-
I want to be animal sometimes. Molt, like a snake
& tailor new skin looking at the weather report, be
in a cocoon to think
a butterfly dream
but there is no waiting in human, they
cleave it open & emerge with half-formed
wing skeletons- I donÕt know
how much waiting there is on the other side,
I only know how much there is not.
Your eyes are meh, somewhat pregnant
with another eye. Are you also awake?
Urmila slept fourteen years her husbandÕs sleep,
are you awake for me? Is sleep something liquid,
trickling into and vaporizing out of;
but possession whistles along inheritance-
The far uncle gets the near midnight, the pre-dawn
yawn the second aunt, the unborn child is promised
the winks of 3AM undream-
it is much better to believe you wake for their sleep,
your thinking their dreamwork-
WasnÕt it Plato, who said the womb is a live
animal, moving around a womanÕs body?
It is in your eyes now; you conceive a baby ocean,
is it mine or is it me-
IsnÕt that a Buddha in the fountain at the Tibetan
place as far as possible from the nearest McDonalds,
with a spring gushing out of his palm?
He looks at it like a child to whom a dragonfly
stumbled, look! A third eye, I told you
in the beginning- IÕm conceiving brown geographies,
In the beginning there was you.
The cobbler forgot a sole he worked on,
under the tree it remains; the branches
fragile like open arms for the sun to set in,
each falling leaf is a sigh of disappointment
and a part of the broken autumn blanket
The Chinese dhaba has a head gone dragon,
the smoke an eastern mist, the sound of water
on hot stone; the mawsynram rain, a hilly smile.
The girl drags her grandfather
Into cherrapunji for Chinese bhajji,
Strumming his ligamental guitar and pulling
His polythene skin that wants to take all plastic
But has no more body.
: Larva on mulberry :
The ants, in a line, march
The girl she skips
handkerchief pinned to her chest
waterflask dangling by her neck
shadow falling, eyes falling
with a feeling (& excrutiangly placed steps,
the ants are a snake)
of how ants feel under the shoe
(ants thinking of the dust under theirs)
more sunrise marble eyes, clanging waterflasks
split the ants into worms
deserting skin, molting
: cocoon :
the teacher whistles &
The girls, in a line, march.
(In todayÕs origami lesson
a fake Japanese woman
teaches us how to make a
grenade & how it is no
enemy of the wind &
is wet by rain)
The boy, with his face in the corner
tears, into ears, of the wall.
what will happen when he bursts, the cocoon cleaved open?
: mulberry on fire :
Author's note: Most of these poems, in one way or the
other, deal with the theme of understanding aspects of the modern hybridized
Indian culture and the lives within.
'Your eyes are meh..' deals with the eternal poetry of the eyes, and the presence of ancient thinkers and their thinking in the modern world, good or bad, like the story of Urmila, who in the epic Ramayana, took on the burden of her husband's sleep so he could guard and watch over his brother Ram in his exile.
© Ajay Kumar
Bio: Ajay Kumar is a student and writer based in Chennai, India. He served as the student editor of Abhivyanjana Magazine for 2017-18. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in The Bangalore Review, Eunoia, Literary Yard and Amethyst among others.