Guru ilmuh [READ]

the village boy has returned

 

on a full-moon night, I flew over to dar’ul jambangan

the south wind under my wings

my wishes were specks of silver dust blown

across the narrow strip of ungus poteh  and the placid sowang from Bilangbilang to Si Mariki to Santacruz.

Among the fringe of stilt-houses, bathed in gentle drizzle and a cooling sunlight,

I saw you navigating the narrow catwalk, careful not to

bump into a naked child, an army of whom have claimed it for playground.

Bare-footed women were hastening home,

water from the bamboo-jugs were precious silvers and crystals

dribbling down their tout golden arms

blouses dripping wet with sweat and breast-milk.

By the beachfront, men mending nets and smearing sealant on their boats, discussed politics and every now and then raised their voices

Arguing about the future and life in the city,

there, no roosters crowed to herald the dusk and dawn.

A house-cat sat idly on a plank, its tail curled close to its belly, dreading the licking high-tide

in the golden twilight, you paused by the jutting rock and took some time

to catch the shifting colors of sunset, hoping to purse the image forever in your eyelids before retiring for the night,

you scanned the cloudy skies for a glimpse of the full-moon

simple rituals that have become rarer with the passing of years

with more than half of your life-time spent

on endless days behind the wheels and in-front of the computer

the cassettes, the letters, old photographs and the verses

had been a poor replacement to the warmth of handshakes,

to the cool breeze and the smell of fresh roasted fish.

Trance-like, you touched the papaya flowers and brushed away fronds of strayed palmtrees, as though to mark the once familiar landscape

I watched you among old friends and relatives

exchanging smiles, pecks on the cheek, or pats on the back.

amidst the scenery that had hardly changed

you have been a missing pandan thread

now woven back to complete the pattern

in the colorful mat that was your village,

as it was not too long ago, you were once again

the dusky boy

the dripping shorts,

the chattering lips,

and that one last dive

before the sea was swallowed by the asphalted highway.

8th May 2001/23 October 2008…

*****

NH47* bridge of no return

(Kerala revisited in 21February2010)

How could we ever say goodbye?

When we were twin souls lost and re-united

We met, we loved, then parted ways.

‘No vows, no promises!’

But we vowed, we promised.

No goodbyes, no back-glances,

Not even keepsakes would we take.

Yet spare the memories we both agreed.

To weave and knit into a quilt,

 The grief, the guilt, we cleverly concealed

Bohemian hearts bore no conceit.

Yet as no parallel bridges were built to inter-sect,

So neither would two open gates.

Should there be union in different faiths?

 

*******

 

CHOCOLATE NIGHTS OF DJOGDJA

Djogja haiku

Warm liquid,

languid, melancholic, dark and mystic

With breath held, sip thick chocolate

night of Djogja.

Southern sea goddess

The first story they told me

Was that you have sired kings and princesses

your promised brideship to every emperor

of this honored land

keeps your name linger perpetual

throughout its history

Dusky goddess,

I could learn a thing or two from you,

Of how you conquered freedom,

Of how you reined the will,

Teach me the subtle art yet never be licentious

Teach me how to paint my lips crimson

yet never be construed promiscuous

and tainted in my name.

Melati

floating pungent in steamy mid-morning,

lingering with the tang of evening breeze

your fragrance is the freshness of early morning dew,

oh, virginal white,

once you have bloomed and blest my day

for a fleeting moment your dazzling petals quivered in my touch

then dropped limp and gentle into the earth.

on sleepless nights your memory possessed me

you made me delirious and forgetful.

Thus shall I leave you behind.

once out of sight, out of heart,

I pray I am forgiven for this transgression

for letting you carry me away

for willing to be mystified by your potent beauty

when I ought to have kept myself celibate

my passion properly restrained and caged.

to the drunken chocolate nights of Djogja

oh, please, hush

never bid me once more to return

and suffer being tangled in your complicated love again.

Three Poems and India

TRAILING KERALA

(a farewell to India)

Each time

I catch myself staring

At the vast emptiness

Of your back

My thoughts freely wander

Defying

Lurking dangers

In tortuous circuits

Mapping

Like some cartographer

Trying to memorize

Each line, plane and curve

Of the back of your head, your slender neck,

Your sloping and proud shoulders

Down to the narrow of

Your back and tapered hips

And —

Your golden flesh

That burns mine,

Oh, scorching Kerala clay,

You are  wine igniting fire

In my parched throat.

In big gulps I swallow

My desire.

07-April-01/Planing out of Kerala to Madras, India

NH 47

(Highway connecting Cochin to Trissur, Kerala)

How could I say goodbye

When you parade before me

Splashing colors of the rainbow

Flamboyant

Exploding

Courting

Coaxing

Emotions so deeply-seated?

How could I ever say goodbye

When we have just met

Kissed and made love under

The sultry, humid April dawn

Sealed promises

Though you have

Never really spoken to me of

Anything certain

About our future?

Yet in haste

I must take my leave

Lest I get drunk

Over you (again)

And never find my way back home.

07-April-01/Cochin, Kerala

POORAM

(The Fire Bearer)

In his eyes are

cold ashes

of flame extinguished

by the gnawing acid

churning in an empty belly and

that of his progeny

like sandstorm

in arid desert.

this bearer of light

casts shadows

upon hundred of frenzied elephants

and the green frothy fire

of glee and jubilation

of the Pooram

never really reaches

the eyes that have

witnessed so many

man-slaughter of

those of his kind

wretched, pushed into

the bottom rung

now staggering to keep

the rich and nobles’

feasts and gaeity

burning.

08 April 01/ Trissur

e-mail: ders_onli_1@yahoo.com

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