You Have Reached Me But I Am Not Here. Please Leave A Message After The Tone:
I never thought I’d be saying this
Not to you. Not on a machine.
Not after all this time.
Time? Is it in time? Or space?
that it records what I say?
A window flung open — just now
Someone else’s, I’m by the wall
That wall where you drew me once.
This is the worst bit about intimacy.
When you’re happy, you’re so high
And when we’re like this —
Remember, once you’d tasted my tears
And said my eyes smelt of brandy
My regrets are purely mine
Not accusations for you.
We have preyed on each other enough
It’s so painful.
Well, not pain — but — is there a synonym for pain?
I hate grammar, it confuses me.
Anyway, these days everyone lives in a
confusion of grammar. Of grammars.
But how wonderful it would be
to wear purple. Lots of purple.
I want to cry. And can’t
Words fail me too.
Like Latin and Greek
For the Greek, Chinese.
For the Chinese, language of the birds
You’re so good with languages
But we just can’t be bilingual
in some intimacies.
You’re right. We shouldn’t meet
It would be meeting more in order to mean less
Isn’t it? Will you play the radio when alone?
Must we love people for who they are?
Why not for what they know?
I’m not making any sense
Knowledge only adds up the components
of sensation into 20 million spots
on the retina or the eardrum, 63
unwindings of a metal mechanism
on the 400 compact earth bricks
that are piled up on alphabet
latitudes and longitudes. I want to touch you.
There isn’t a knowledge of touch, is there?
Is there? The sight of smell…smell of skin…
skin of heart, heart of the unknown, unknown where
they meet…slippery feelings slide on glassy, glassy
somethings…Oh! These absurd people we are.
Remember that game of rhyme?
Lovers intent on erasure. Every lover I’ve known has
played with my name
Ulka Shaanti said one, Nita Shaka Ul said another
They couldn’t spell each other
And you are them all. You were, are
a wave. Hesitating between sea and
shore. Damn, I’m losing it.
How long have I got?
Ok, let me make a clean breast of it.
I just want to confess that — *
MESSAGE RECORDED. MEMORY FULL. PLEASE HANG UP.
PLEASE HANG UP.
Poems are places
Smokescripts of the soul —
Maps reflected in a wistful eye
A room upon a return after long
To find misplaced: Celan and four roses, dried.
Poems are people
Searching for symmetry —
Lovers playing with given names
A telephone call to a long lost friend
Who stands surprised at the top of a hill.
Poems are moments
When perception slides —
Senses undo the solid bind
Uncertain, not yet, who knows, and why
Gather, set afire to the mirror of I.
Poems are curses
Wrapped in sound
Thrown forth with force
At indifference around!
A cynic smiles:
at unflowered boughs on a summery day
at shadows of a puppet’s limbs at play
at the foreseen ends of love and war
at the yearnsome objects in the bottom drawer
at the crumbling ruins of an emperor’s dream
at the earnest efforts of a sporting team
at the voters as they queue at poll
at those who claim to save your soul
at the child’s stumbling run for food
at the sanctimonious shopping brood
at reaching out, at letting go
at those who think they’re in the know
at kindness pegged with the rate of hope
at the platform below the hangman’s rope
at you, at me, when we least expect
unable to question, mock or suspect
our sweat and tears occasionally beat
the cynic’s smile to a hasty retreat
then thins away the fog of doubt
the cynic frowns, dreams cry out
magic threads stitch once more
the tattered edges of a ridiculous world.