Poetry: Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan



THE PASTORALE THAT ISN'T

The subtle play of light
on the tamhan blossoms:
violet turns pink turns lavender;

on a pre-monsoon June morning,
a crow contemplates its nest
overlooking white mounds of salt
by the pans and the raptor –
 perhaps a fishing eagle –
a black speck starring
the day sky.

And then there
are the gulmohar and amaltas
with pods like ugly brown penises,
their spring crowns thinking
and last the welcome canopy
of the rain-tree.

I sigh.
It could have been an idyll,
a pastorale even,
but for the  electricity pylons,
the rows of false ashoka
and the dour grey of a building
under construction.
I'm in a belching taxi,
late to work again.

*


GOING HOME

Railway toilets plastered with washing soda;
The rasping of nylon streamers against
Fly racquets; Chinese toys beating about
Before the vendor quickly bundles up
And flees; Jasmine garlands and Incense-stick
Boxes sharing space with Severed goats' heads
— their eyes staring glassily at you to match
Your startled glance; the smell of fried flour and
Potatoes, and of withering cabbage stalks;
Taxi smoke, gasoline and soot; Sweat — anxious
Sweat —Whiffing by on hurried steps and a
Quickly muttered apology on pushing
You out of the way; Mysore masala
Dosas frying on a street griddle — all
Beetroot and carrot and tomato flakes;
A promise of naked women in
USB drives, and hard-bodied nude males
Promising fairer skin from giant billboards;
Death of course, lurking everywhere, sometimes
Peering from a bier; Suburban life-forms
In their TV-equipped habitats not
Peering out of lit windows; and I

I just go home, as I do everyday.

*

CITY OF DREADFUL NIGHT

Bodies sweat in the heaving crowd:
Hunger, anger, anxiety, thirst
Mixing with smoke, diesel and dust,
Stranded commuters curse aloud.
The night surrounds them like a shroud
Their day like all the others cursed
Their ambitions eaten by rust
Stuck in a jam, their heads are bowed.

Microwaved food, conditioned air,
Cold water and LCD screens:
Building a personal paradise
In a suburban nameless lair
I make for myself pleasant scenes
And dream on till the sun shall rise.

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