Chai In A Coffee Mug

Scribblings of an insomniac

[ ε ]

time erodes 

to the unrecognisable,

distant –  lost

(an epsilon)

little more than a zero

that quietly drops

onto my screen

– a blinking cursor

you’re all I’ll ever write…

Note: Epsilon is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ε, ε ) In mathematics it is an arbitrarily small quantity, used to indicate that a given quantity is small, or close to zero.

Half poems

There used to be a 3:15 am
where words tapped themselves
into my phone but now
they’ve shifted location
– to the showerAmused, I watch my fingers
form letters with soap suds
on the slick tiles
while I pretend
standing in the rainLast night I used body wash
on my hair then
profusely apologised
(to my hair)
though I didn’t feel much remorse
as I had half a poem
sliding down the wallThere’s another half tucked away
under my pillow and another
slammed shut in a book
These are ambitious half poems
their noses scraping the bottom of clouds
Tall poems, snooty poems
– rubbish poems

They take flight from the vitreous tiles
like crickets during the monsoons
bouncing against walls
blindly happy
happily chirping

(By the way)

crickets are the best ventriloquists
I can vouch for that
I’ve been hunting one down
armed with a rubber slipper
in the wrong corner I’m certain

when I find it
I’d have squashed another half poem

The thing about nothing

so now that you’re gone
I shall think about
happy times,
endless empty laughter,
those long talks we had
about everything
– mostly nothing

oh how I shall remember
all that I know about nothing


this morning she wore
just a smile
a sweet remnant
from a secret dream
her hair still tangled in stars
eyes languid green pools

and I like mist
dissipated under her
verdant gaze
vying with the rosy
tint of dawn
to settle on her skin


we lost our shadows
to the waning sun

hearts balanced
on hurriedly made
stilts, ready to fall

we brushed green
war paint across eyes,
blind to the dirt beneath

dried spots
from yesterday’s
downpour, black kohl
on the car windows

we rushed past
blurs of ourselves,
standing alone

left behind

The Length of Nights

Thoughts of you slump beside me along with some cigarettes I have not lit yet. A coffee mug gapes, charred from the stubs of night ash. Those moments stretch and yawn in the dawn breeze, it’s time to lull them to sleep.

Some dead fireflies have come loose from constellations light years away, where I lose you in the folds of a night sky, wrapped in words you would not hear; I could not say.

seasonal blues –
sweet ache of a bruise
I keep pressing

Fruit of the dead

I’m finally seeing someone,
she says it quietly

I was tapping a pomegranate
with the heavy handle
of a kitchen knife
(It loosens the seeds I’d told her)

carefully, I put the knife down
then glance at her,
she’s flushed from the heat,
skin almost translucent
taut over her cheeks,
like god airbrushed her face
to make the best of bones

there’s a furrow between
her brows, an abyss
where my words have tipped over
and disappeared; she’s waiting

I shrug, and she grabs the fruit
slams it on the work counter
then splits it open, there’s
liquid rage in her eyes

the ruby juice bloodies
her hands, she chuckles,
a sad sound, but she’s smiling
running a sticky finger
down the side of my face

I’m ten again
at the crocodile farm
it’s so hot, I remember
sweat behind my knees as I squat,
so bright, I’m squinting
to look at the reptiles

my brother throws a small rock
at a sleeping crocodile
(not to hurt, just to stir it)
a drop of dark blood slides
slowly down its rough stony cheek
it doesn’t even flinch

I want to be like that


Note: In Greek mythology, the pomegranate was known as the «fruit of the dead» and believed to have sprung from the blood of Adonis. – google


We had dragged our military-green camping chairs right to the water’s edge. Dipping our toes into the tepid water, we watched the moon emerge from the flat Arabian Sea. It was a red moon. We took turns puffing on the ‘shesha’ with green-apple flavoured tobacco. Music blared from the small portable Bose speaker; I think it was Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the water, fire in the sky’. I mentally jotted down words for that moment as I chugged from a sweaty can of Coke.

as the blood moon rose
we puffed apple flavoured smoke
sea between our toes

We held hands, our fingers closing the distance, as smoke from a barbecue close by wafted in our direction. I chuckled as you leaned in to kiss, a gentle peck on the cheek and then a brush of lips on lips. I was one with the red moon.

under the shy hem
of my conscience, your hand grips
the wet sandy shore


When a poet dies
Cover her with ashes of her burnt poems
Pages that lay crumpled in the bin
Let them float in the breeze like whispers
Talking to unseeing eyes
Making them bleed the unshed

When a poet dies
Lay her gently, bury her
In the soft soil with her words
Sealed casket of her chest
And when they sprout in spring
Gather those flowers and press them in your books
Bruising the pages red and blue

When a poet dies
Underline the words she left unsaid
Read them carefully
They were the ones she held close
Learn them by heart
And you will be able to sing along with birds

When a poet dies
She does not

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