Paris, mon amour

So here I am

Leaving you behind –

The train lifts its skirt and runs

Before I can change my mind –

Wondering who,

If anyone, can ever conquer

This memory of you.

 

I’d stay and save

Myself the mediocrity.

If you’d let me have

You for eternity.

But you’re a fickle lover,

O Paris, mon amour,

Let’s not linger

On this goodbye.

My time is up! Au revoir!

 

The canals in the new town

Reflect my parting blues;

In a concert of cities

Who would want to follow you?

O Paris, mon amour,

Let’s not fake niceties now.

It’s not me. It is You.

 

You invited me over

For a drink or two;

Before night fell, I was in love,

You had had your someone new.

I was never the only one,

This much I knew.

Your streets are full of lovers gone mad

Artists, they call them,

Victims of cobbled-street voodoo.

O Paris, mon amour,

Let me go

Before I’m a prisoner, too.

 

No corner cafe will ever smell the same

The streets won’t sing again

Church bells will never promise

The stunning spell of Notre Dame.

What have you done?

O Paris, ma chérie,

My heart is now a homeless refugee,

My soul is yours to claim.

 

I’ll be back another night

For one more forbidden affair

Between my pen and your rues.

Until then,

O Paris, mon amour,

Grant me this final farewell kiss,

Bid me a fond adieu.

 

 

104 degrees

Time

She checks my temperature,

“Scarily warm,” reads the plight-

Sterilized mercury stick

Dangling from parched mouth,

Reeking of the black night

 

And medicines that made

Skin the shade of auburn

Monsoon into sheets, her arms,

Memories of another summer-

When spring birds sang out of turn.

 

‘Do you need anything warm?’

Warm warm warm

‘How are you feeling?’

Feeling feeling feeling?

‘Still under the weather?’

Hot and humid, with a chance of thunderstorm.

 

The white coats arrive in armies,

Carpet-bombing the dermis in their foray,

A steel briefcase of needles

Preying on veins, probing

For signs of foul play.

 

‘Tis a pity they don’t stick one

Into my atrocious excuse

Of a heart.

I don’t remember

When the blackness sank in,

 

Walls painted with despair,

Closets filled with pain;

There’s no more room for sin.

The forecast every March is January-cold,

Cold as the wind that bites

 

My monsooning skin.

 

~ Sumeet

Longing

cast-away

Rain drapes everything
In a veil of wistful longing,
A yearning for something lost
Many moons ago,

About the same time
Solitude became more
Pleasing than company,
Silence, a friend, and conversation, a woe.

There’s nothing quite as soothing then
As a song on love and its follies,
Windows rolled down, the years fleeting
Amid arrows of melancholy,

Falling.
“I’ll have a cup of tea,
Please. Brewed to a burn-
The skin of lovers put out to sea.”

~Sumeet

Where Forevers Begin

img_1653

I seem to have lost my words;

They left in the middle of the night-

The day I forgot to swallow my blues,

A mouthful of addiction, memories on flight.

 

I seem to have lost my blues;

They left on a train of thought

While I was willfully drowning

In a fight I had never fought:

 

The light of your caramel mornings

Seeping into a world forgot.

 

~ Sumeet Keswani

Madmen

The world is inherently ugly,

Dull as the thud of death

Muddled in everyday indifference –

 

The very reason poets

Look to the sky,

And madmen (like I)

 

Cannot stop

Scratching the surface,

Scarring parchment skin,

 

In hope of striking scarlet gold,

Buried away by leprechauns

With sorrows old.

 

Bleed.

Bleed now,

My dearest.

 

For the world depends

On the declotting

Of this sentiment.

 

Silk

What are we
But waves abandoned
On a silken shore,
Feverish in our attempts
To find home.

What is love
But this pristine
Silence
Between vowels frothing
At the lips of nameless lands.

I found mine in you-
The belonging of a nomad
To a castle of sand.

~ Sumeet

The Squab

flower-death

Darkness descends
Eventually. Inevitably.
The empty day is swallowed whole
By dusk, emptier still.

What do you call a baby pigeon?
(The cavalier question floats into the night)
A diminutive feathered corpse lies motionless
Peaceful in this last light,
Eyes never opened- not once.
Not even to witness the end.

Death arrives in the most precise
Moment.
Not a second early, not one too late.

But what of those that never
Get to live, to age, to wait.

10-year-old Giulia in Italy,
Buried alive by a quake;

Omran, 5, of Aleppo
Covered in the grime of war and prime-time fame,
13 other kids bombed
In the country with no names;

A little girl blown to pieces
In Afghanistan fields-
Landmines don’t get along with soccer;

Hundreds of migrant childhoods
Washed ashore- lungs filled with the ocean,
The only kingdom with shelter to offer.

Death arrives in the most precise moment.
Not a second early, not one too late.
But what of those
Left behind to ache?

Lingering

Cafe

 

Come
Sit with me
Feast on my soul,
All its trap doors,
Creaky wooden floors,
Almirahs of lust,
The attic and its ghost,
Sealed windows –
Stained by the rain
Of yesteryear.
A forgotten pain
Lingering.
I’m here. I’m here.
I will always be
Here.


~ Sumeet Keswani

Falling stars

Time

The Stars come falling today,
Humming songs of infinite dark
To a tune of despair,
Lighting up the Sky,
Even if only
In splinters.

“They become Stars,”
Said Mumma of the dead,
Burned to the bone, a lifetime up in smoke.
So she waits –
All of nine –
On blades of green, supine,
Clutching a scarf, half-knit,
And Ted the fearless, cotton canine.

Dusk drowns on the horizon,
Storms are kept at bay;
Night will get a smiling welcome today.
It brings promise, after all,
Of grandma’s twinkling new face.

The Stars come falling today,
Humming songs of infinite dark
To a tune of despair,
Lighting up the sky,
Where Amma now stays.

“Make a wish. It’ll come true,”
Said she, the lover of 19,
By the swaying Ocean and the still Moon.
Laughter stirs his evening Sky –
For love doesn’t heed Meteors,
Nor do goodbyes.

“How could we forget?” “Why did we part?”
“When did forever end?” “When did it start?”
No wishes, just questions today
Greet the cosmic scars.
Light bleeds from where one breaks,
Even if only
For a moment.

The Stars come falling today,
Humming songs of infinite dark
To a tune of despair.
Sing along, the sad and the broken,
For every night faces an inevitable end;
Dawn awaits its turn
‘Round the next bend.

And Now I Let Go

Indulging in some blackout poetry

Indulging in some blackout poetry

And now I forget
Your words to my meanings,
The relish of your language on my tongue,
Mine on yours.

And now I erase
Prose tucked away in the closet,
Rain-kissed pavements I preserved of (y)our town,
Songs of an autumn long gone.

And now i unlearn
What it means to love a poet,
A magician of allegories misspelled,
Written to enchant.

And now I trust
No one but myself
To tell a love story from a plot spin.
One’s forever is another’s whim.

And now I try
To un-love you.
If only I knew;
If only, I were you.

– Sumeet Keswani