Unrequited Love

Amongst the a.t.m. receipts in my wallet

I gotta ticket           of unrequited love


It’s not as simple as the a.t.m receipts, you see —

like you could punch the numbers on the terminal


and hit the Green Key for “Here she comes” —


She never came out for me


even though she’d signed that ticket

with a blue felt-tip pen, and made promises

she would never keep.


Unrequited love, I miss you

even though you may have sung me in songs


your hopeless muse.


If you really have decided to void that ticket,

the time period has expired            f.y.i.


and there is nothing you can do about it now


You’ll stay larger than life

and me — your audience, holding on to that ticket —

looking like those a.t.m receipts

wit their thermal ink….


f a d i n g


every passing day


as I strive to rub you off my memory


and punch numbers, to make a living.


Unrequited love, I miss you.

My Body is My Instrument

I have two eyes, a tongue, a nose, and a pair of lips –
Uncircumcised –
I see ethnicities, speak of my own, taste the soils and whimper
My womb is an oven – for cookies, bread, rice and lentils
It doesn’t need
semen wisdom to fire it;
a wooden match stick would do – for 15 men
and 10 women –
but a Zippo lighter is welcome too.

My Urdu tones do not
forsake the law of my mother,
my androgyny does not
fail the instructions
of my father.
The colourful chords (on my cunt, limbs and breasts)
are           bruises –
I got them while rescuing myself
from vaudeville entertainers and thieves
who did not know

I grew old escaping them
climbing over that steel fence          again and again
reaching out for that manual
to teach myself the art of music again –
On this package, read:
“Fragile – handle with care, fuckers
The bruises are still purple.”

Being Belindas

The mirror hangs before me
The mirror hangs before me
My long face stares back at me
a pointed chin
whose rounding I dread
A tiny forehead
gleaned from the thick mass
of black hair surrounding it.
At the black hair
now streaked with red
I oscillate between
fascination and nostalgia
The hair, mostly helter-skelter
sometimes, precise in a bun
A glazed eyeball
with its bit of plastic-glas lens
A newly pierced nose–
a shade too large
showing off that li’l bit of green
My ears trying to seek attention
with their multiple studs and rings
which I regard as pets
And a moody mouth.
but on the whole, a face
I can live with.
My skin the colour
of burnt caramel
a thin, supple body
I am unashamedly
in love with.

Bottles and vials lined
in an array on the slab beside me
the daily ritual
of cleansing, toning, conditioning
the creams and the perfumes
the chief kohl that lines my eyes
the earrings in their silver box
the cupboard with its
greater assortment of clothes
than i could ever wear
the occupational hazards
of being a young girl.

Oh Pope, and other misogynists!
We love being Belindas
and Belindas we shall remain
with our bottles and our vials
our bibles and our billet doux
and we rebel against rapes
of our locks and otherwise.
our bodies and their vagaries
and tricks we play with them
are ours.
And not playthings or objects
for your phallus
or that inglorious phallic symbol
your pen.

An Affair with Porcelain Turtles

a/ I am looking for my lost voice
for telling a story of my secret love affair with porcelain turtles and …

I do not know what to keep

Love friendship or sex

It’s easier when it’s trivial

like stitching papers with a stapler

or cutting clippings from the newspaper on things

that matter in the long run….

What is it that really matters in the long run?

Money comes, money goes. Friends come, friends go

And love is too abstract for any kind of explanation

It’s easier when you’re good at giving a heart

My porcelain turtles say, what’s in front of you
is only the beginning of a vast horizon:

a peasant man waiting to take me for my ride to office,

a wide cup of latte & sudden appearance
of a scholarly man in the café I’d loved,

a small cup of tea & a cabin girl on the chair next to me telling me to go faster

a table with many chairs and some new folks tuning into my lost voice

b/ You heard a woman on television say once,

“It’s only sex, not a space rocket launch!”

Buses, prams, trains and planes have schedules

no one waits

for late comers

Deadlines are flashing on every news channel

You cannot afford to rush

to meet your match, your crush, your lover and friend

You are at the back of your race and it’s only the waves

catching up with you, carrying you and cleansing you of all the dirt on your body

and keep going, keep going, keep going back to where they came from

leaving you at a signal station where you are lost for words again

to tie up this little band-

width of friendship we have scaled.