Hand to mouth

We live

on the precipice of cuticles held up to sky-ed goddesses

pupils scan the horizon

map every detail

That’s when you see all:

the contours

the depressions

the scalded after-flesh

the vast universe of the fingerprint

dotted, with hills and valleys

cities seething from see-through promises

regime of anopheles politicians

THAT, is the precursor to nail-biting departures

to the entry port of bloated lips

as stranded tour guides make you a mince meat

a mouth-watering specimen, to data collectors

at NISER. Rib cage enthusiasts, like philatelists

have seen you at the mouth of atrophied rivers

but you return to the thumbnail

too tongue-tied to pay lip service to theoretical dinners

many live in denial,

some live in doubt

we live from hand to mouth.

Shout at the Walled



Today, I’m carrying a spare throat to the farm:

not a hoe, not a sickle,

with brute faith I guard my loins

and trudge to the point where


I set up my camp


To shout down the world

The world, as you know, is the pump-price-of-fuel


Nkkhm: a bird emerges from a hole,

like car from an underground garage,

then flees

O no – it’s a cricket!

Kruuu, a frog comes running, scared stiff

Like a concubine’s chewing’ stick

Then a redneck

All these just because I cleared my throat!

So what’s going to give when I start my shout?


I blow a shout through my ram horn

A shout of rugged airs. But it doesn’t even rumple the calico

Of the bouncers at the planets’ politburo.


I climb mount Armstrong, Louis Armstrong

And shape my cheeks like his mini-universe

and blow, blow, blow

But every shout, every decibel of outrage

Only manages to send the world to a higher orbit

The world, as you know, is the pump-price-of-fuel


Far away it spins

Beyond the reach of tear gas-and-cloud

Beyond the reach of delinquent stars splintered from the Big Bang

Beyond the reach of the spin doctors, paid

Handsomely, very handsomely

To say, very nicely,

In scented sentences

with nicotined lips

That the world is doing just fine

The world, as you know, is the pump-price-of-fuel


What a fatal love for their urbane airs.

Their elaborate gesticulations surely

Have more to do with the karat content of their cufflinks

Than the other point they want us to see:

How little it matters if, they

Started off as dieticians and ended up morticians

– it’s the same number of syllables!


That’s even before they switch on their charm

Backed by a history of histograms

And declare, with the assurance of the rarity of their perfumes

That the world is doing just fine

That many would look back, soon

And say, from marble graveyards

That this was the economist’s finest hour.







Why are you disturbing the peace of the world?
– No, dad.
No to what?
– Peace of the world.
No to peace? This day of all days?
– No to disturbing the peace.
O,  I see:
Why then are your cries raised to devil decibels?
– Aaa… aaaa… aaa hum! Eeee…eee …eee   hum!

I say cease that cry. There shall  no chicken be killed
in this house today. Thou shalt not kill:
what number is that among the Ten Commandments?
– Commandment Number 6, Exodus 20 verse 13
Bible scholar extraordinaire! Why then do you bay for blood?
– Christmas, dad.
Go tell that to Emperor Constantine!
From Plutarch to Balzac
all the greats have shunned the bazaar
end of his fraud.
– But you taught us in Sunday school…
Yes, that  the Christ fulfilled his ministry
did he do that on the altar of chicken blood?
Ok, show me one verse of the scriptures
where our Lord was caught in a chicken mood.
Go ask the Fὕhrer what blighted the wheels of his blitzkrieg
and  Napoleon Bonaparte what botched his blinding of Europe
or  Shaka the Zulu what froze his Mfecane machine
Thoughts of chicken lap! (and you know my hunch is near-infallible!)
This chicken thing is a fraud, son

– Aaa… aaaa… aaa hum! Eeee…eee …eee   hum!
I say wipe your tears
this is the season of peace
a time to meld with Dalai Lama
a sturdier disciple, I think
than all them chicken-merry revellers
– Aaa… aaaa… aaa hum! Eeee…eee …eee   hum!

Go on, wipe ‘em;  next year’ll be better
– Better? No gift of long tales?
No gift of long tales.
A volcanic mountain
borrowed a mound of earth
from a molehill
and when it was payday
the debtor erupted in a dissonance of tall tales:

about  treasury heists
heists so high on the richter scale
they task the digit limit of our calculators.
Long tales
about goons feasting, unscathable
in oil lagoons
about public budgets and private jets
and chiefly, about TSA
and other life-taunting sagas.