Monday, October 31, 2005

Promises to keep

In Japan, there was a time I believe,
when acclaimed writers after taking
hefty advances,
would rather sleep, take a bath,
research or just loaf around.
Do anything but write.
They were not particularly
fond of deadlines/ delivery schedules.
Their exasperated editors,
finally used to resort to kanzume,
or the Japanese tradition of “canning”
the writers. They just put an errant writer
in a hotel room, without newspaper,
TV, books or any other form of distraction.
Until, he delivers the works promised.
Unfortunately, I am not sought after,
nor have I been paid any four figure advances
that anybody need to develop ulcers over.
I won’t therefore be forced into
a hotel room, to lay the golden egg.
So, it’s a difficult task
to goad oneself to take up the
joyless, scary inner journey.
There were always so many other
easier, irrelevant things to be done.

Now,
no more escapisms.
No more excuses.
No more distractions.
No more delays.
No more friends.
No more forgiving audiences.

Just me and the person I think
I should be, as my task master in this
daunting expedition.
I think an Editor
would have made a far
better slave master
and simpler to please.
More human and
easier to deceive.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Who Can it Be?

Late last night trying to cure my insomnia,
I was reading through the tome
Contemporary Poetry. Having
read it so many times before, it was
almost like my mates body to me.
I knew exactly what was where.
There is so much pleasure in such predictability.
So much bliss in the expected
that can be brailled out unerringly for solace,
in the darkest of the dark moments.
These poems were tattooed by
by my inane overboard exclamations,
“Wow, “ “Good”, “Great”, “Too Good” etc.,
that if the authors had seen, would have
banned me from reading their poetry altogether.
Or sometimes, if it was a particularly puzzling
Pound like piece, it would just sport
a date when I had first banged my head against it.
Thought provoking lines were highlighted.
These I reread, relished. Like they
were my hard won trophies of
surviving my trips through the
poets whirlpool of words.
Browsing across one such oft reread poems,
I saw a line that I did not understand.
But I had underlined it.
I stopped still.
If I didn’t understand it,
then why did I underline it?
If it is not me, then
who else would have?
I felt enraged, as though I was violated.
Worse, my lovers body, defiled.
With my insomnia now
totally un curable, I tossed about
through the night, trying to decode
that underlined sentence.
What? Who? Why? When?
Finally in the bleary early
morning light, I reread that line,
and I understood.
Maybe there is more in me than just myself.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Voices

4.30 pm .My workers are sawing
some logs for the last couple
of hours, and only the last one is left.
It is the thickest of the lot.
All we have to do is cut it into two halves.
The prospect of finishing it off early and
heading back home is quite
exhilarating, as we can avoid the
excruciating evening rush hour traffic.
So, with renewed energy, the guys
attack the final frontier.
But to our surprise, after 15 mins of sawing,
we have not even cut through 3 inches .
A fresh crew exchange places,
and the work resumes.
5.00 pm. The jolly banterings has turned to
profane mutterings as we have reached only
half way and it is getting ominously
dark and cloudy and windy and cold.
“The saw teeth aren’t sharp enough,” grumbles one.
“Let’s turn the log and try from
the other side,” growls another.
“The angle of the cut isn’t correct,” grunts the third.
“Maybe its too dry,” grimaces the fourth.
“We should have an electric saw,” groans yet another.
I, say nothing. Because suddenly, I have
this eerie feeling. That the log is
not dead. That it is alive. That it
isn’t giving in so easily. That it
is fighting us with its every single grain as we
gutted it. Of course, I say nothing. Because,
opening my mouth with such pro log
sentiments is sure to get me into
serious physical trouble
with the already short fused surly crew.
While they sweat and swear and saw
for another half an hour, the shadows lengthen,
and I am silently and hopelessly
rooting more and more for the log,
even touched the wood, to wish it luck.
When it finally snaps
with a heart rending groan,
in the raucous whoopee of the
victorious men, I think
I heard a feeble cry of the dying.