I enjoy solitary walks on the side of the murky
lake with its gluttonous fish and their unthinking feeders.
It’s therapeutic, I tell myself.
The grey-green grass, dew kissed leaves and dark marshy footpath-
They’re all part of the poet’s parcel.
I’m supposed to love these kinds of places.
Some days, I pay the men with the horses exorbitant amounts
so I’d have a pony to pretend was mine.
The ones I got were always ordinary,
ordinary as the dull grey pigeons that shit all over the city
buildings in New Delhi.
In Shillong, the lake is more alive
but the fish have dull eyes as they gather beneath
the bridge, fighting for their bread crumbs
and corn chips.
The water reeks of death
like someone was murdered and drowned
as naive fish watched and waited.
Death is a white man with alabaster skin,
pretty blonde hair,
and eyes grey as a monsoon sky.
I met him just last week
In a dream where old friends became strangers
and god was nowhere to be found.
Death was a man
and there was no fire, no streets paved in gold,
nothing waiting for me-
just a polite gentleman with a black Cadillac
ready to take me on my last ride.
He opened the door to the back and led me in,
whispering secrets I could not comprehend and
answering the questions that were running amuck in my mind.
Then he closed my coffin shut and all I knew was darkness.
There I lay,
as I felt the car move at blinding speeds on a curved road
much like the ones back home.
I wondered why my last ride was so miserable,
But then I heard him say it was for the best.
It was better for me to feel and not see
The life I passed by.
So that when we reached,
my heart would be free
to turn to dust and
return to nothingness.
For suddenly I remembered all the people I loved
And all ones I hated
And in that moment, I did not care anymore.
I became free.
Free to approach annihilation.
Free to die.
You see, Love is strange. But, death is stranger.(more…)
This poem was written in response to the ISIS bombing of Palmyra, a major historical site in Syria. Many say that this terrorist group has destroyed the ‘Venice of the Sands’ and some would even go so far as to say, that the heart of Syrian history has been ripped apart. As a lover of history myself, it was always a dream to go see Palmyra. But now, all that’s left is bombed rubble and stone. But what is even more heart breaking is the people that have lost their lives to ISIS. On the first day, when ISIS captured Palmyra, I read that seventeen people were killed. I am not sure whether that is an accurate figure but I know that innocent blood was spilled. I realize that more than anything, the heart of Syria has been ripped apart because of the people that die in the name of religion. I wish people would go beyond differences and learn to love each other simply, without complexities. This poem reflects my aching heart as I think about the middle east and the blood that is shed. For now, I can only pray. (more…)