Stream of Consciousness

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Buffalo

sometimes, it snows in May,
they said.
those art deco buildings
covered in silhouettes
tracing the crevices of your imaginations.
the sun peeks out sporadically
from the musty skies hanging low
bearing the weight of your secrets.

the air, devoid of pollen
strutted along.
there is a heaviness
about visiting a city
so parallel in time and space to your hometown.
the ground beneath your feet
is slushy with imprints of people
who left and never returned.

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displacement

rafael said he had a family gathering to attend
a birthday, one from the in-laws side,
they all lived in the same city
rafael, his wife, the birthday people.
celebrations began at 6
customary cake,
the bubbles bursting out of a prosecco
silverware moving immaculately
to slice through the medium-rare steak.

this is a family
connected through space and time.
yet,
no one likes one another.

mia has no family gathering to attend
her family is 10,000 miles around the globe
her parents, sexagenarians
celebrated birthdays alone and dry,
without the western tradition of cutting cake.
the only person who visited routinely
was the cat, sitting by the window
waiting for fresh cat food
or the occasional steamed fish.

this is a family
displaced through space and time.
yet,
everyone likes each other.

Khasak and a little bit of O.V

he keeps coming back
with his celebrated book ‘khasakkinte itihasam’
set in the palm frond valley
with the humid wind bringing back all your memories
crowded with new ones you make every day
you breath a little subliminal.
his eyes moist with the heat,
the rounds of his specs tracing the contours
of your unimagined fantasies
his words tinkering your ear lobes
whispering those endearments
you have always longed to hear.
his khasak becomes your khasak
his amina becomes your amina
and,
his history becomes your history.

glossary 

khasakkinte itihasam- The Legends of khasak
khasak- Read here


O.V Vijayan’s death anniversary (March 30th) happens to fall five days before Vivie’s birthday (April 04). There is a common thread lying between O.V and V. To find it, you will need to find Khasak. 

elliptical

ellipticals curve
like the tongue forming a retroflex
to utter your name

postcards from kochi

IMG_4932 Picture courtesy Vinod M Venugopal  

i.

the dawn breaks at three-
not with the chirping birds
-to the sound of the amittu
from the nearby temple.
the stove is hot
newspapers have been delivered
the stereo cackles
kausalya supraja rama poorva sandhya pravarthathe;
the day begins thus
in a tongue undecipherable.

ii.

the smell of dosa wafts through
the remnants of last night’s thunderstorm
the frog is croaking the day’s news
in the audience are the mosquitoes and dragon flies;
when the curry leaves hit the burning oil
a cacophony breaks loose
the hum of an old lover’s voice
holding your heart precariously
as you remember the contours
of a now broken intimacy.

iii.

the sun is blazing down
at the ferries transporting
the madding crowd far from their workplaces;
gossip fills the air
gold prices, a celebrity wedding,
the new government, the metro,
vegetable prices, the neighbor’s new car,
these few minutes offer a respite
from the respise of humid palpability
covering our lives like a charade.

iv.

Venu swamy has come calling
with sealed lime pickle packets-
this is the secret to unravelling the mystery of the universe.
(this, and dosas).

v.

the clouds roll in,
by the time tea is served
with piping hot parippu vadas,
they are gray-blue
like the color of your sorrows;
they surround the space you occupy
accompanied by panchavaadyam
suddenly there is a canopy of darkness
enveloping the shadow figures
you make on the wall to pass time.

vi.

the children return from school
under open umbrellas
with empty lunch boxes
and a bagful of homework-
the rain plays havoc
to the awaited game of cricket
resorting instead to making paperboats
with worn out newspaper sheets
hoping to set sail
in the nearest puddle.

vii.

peace has now descended
with the appearance of a mazhavillu
the lack of shadow figurines on walls
and the commencement of a game
(and the abrupt ending);
ferries have been rested
serials have been switched on
the day’s stories exchanged over
platefuls of food
washed down with a cup of chukkuvellam.

viii.

the phone calls commence
some in the privacy of a blanket
where some endearments are exchanged.

ix.

the night wanes
into songs
if the phone call went well- romantic
if the phone call didn’t go well- mellow
for every other mood-rock.

x.

lights out-
silence envelops the soul
of the queen of the arabian sea;
she rests,
her heavy soul
where tourists have tread
and taken photographs
of her beauty,
tonight she will not pay heed,
not to her countless lovers
but to her own verisimilitude.


Glossary

amittu– a kind of firework
kausalya supraja rama poorva sandhya pravarthathe– M.S Subbalakshmi’s Suprabhatham (a sanskrit verse played in the morning)
parippu vadas– fried lentil fritters
panchavaadyam– an orchestra of five instruments
mazhavillu– rainbow
chukkuvellam– water infused with dried ginger

 

 

 

sassafras

In your sleep
you see the face of your future lover
in the reel of the past, black and white.

His face has aged
the crow’s feet crinkling together
like the patterns on a dumpling, pleated and wrapped.

Your arms touch
unlocking the box of memories
where you see a rusty photograph, of you and him.

You smell again
the blooming magnolia
covering the streets, inch by inch.

You wake up
realizing nostalgia and dreaming
are two sides of the same coin, flip over or flip out.

 

Wichita

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There is a familiarity to the hot, humid heat enveloping your body, it smells strangely of summer days on the footpaths of Fort Kochi beach, strolling with a cone of roasted peanuts, watching the sun reside into oblivion. There by the Arabian Sea and the oldest Jewish settlement in India, here by the Arkansas river and the art of the Kiowan and Wichitan tribes. History has uncanny ways of repeating itself, using different symbolisms. It serves as a reminder of memories imprinted deeply, connecting our sensibilities with everything we profoundly associate with ourselves.

Wichita lies at the center of the prairie’s heartland, a midpoint to the country’s (over) populated coasts. Often heralded as the aviation capital of the world, there are four airforce bases surrounding the metropolitan area. The city is also divided into the east and the west, a great rivalry existing between the two quarters. Take a stroll along the riverside on the west or visit the historical Frank Lloyd Wright’s Allen-Lambe house in the east, or do both.

However, the true beauty of Wichita lies in its skies. Different cloud types inhabit the vast expanse sketching bold and vivid sunsets. This is a city that can do Vivaldi’s Le Quattro Stagioni proud. One can find beauty in many things but to unequivocally appreciate the core essence of the heart of the city, one must be able to read between the clouds.

Zeffiro dolce Spira, mà contesa
Muove Borea improviso al Suo vicino;
E piange il Pastorel, perche sospesa
Teme fiera borasca, e ‘l suo destino

“We hear the cuckoo’s voice; then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard.
Soft breezes stir the air….but threatening north wind sweeps them suddenly aside. The shepherd trembles, fearful of violent storm and what may lie ahead.”

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