by C L Khatri
Deluge of Development
The nation leaps horizontally
and falls vertically with leviathan’s weight.
No one wants to be a gardener,
lotus in the plastic pot.
There are landmarks in the sky
vying in victory with other skies.
The earth is leveled; no hills, no hillocks
fat fumbling folk lost in fog.
There is no handshake
between the earth and the sky:
a wide winding chasm to travel.
Be content with e-shake.
Bewitching growth in Beijing
glitz and gloss of neon lamps in day
smog shields the sun and the moon
seeking import through global tender.
God save the country
from deluge of development
epidemic of synthetic microbes.
Summon the Noah.
Cracks in the Walls
Sparrows kept chirping in chorus
the shloka of safety a rishi gave to them:
“A fowler will come, strew grains as baits
spread the trap, don’t get trapped.”
They continued in chorus like a record player
hoping it will save them. They got trapped.
Cursed the rishi, cursed the fate.
Blaming others is an easy escape gate.
Maa, today morning we worshipped the virgins
in the evening fucked them repeating the shloka
‘God resides where women are worshipped.’
Washed off the hands saying, “God’s will.”
The cracks in the walls are yawning
terrific texts of the tardy tongues.
Rickety Ride of Life
Gasping on the smoking mountain
muffled moon looking for fountain
smudgy smog clenched its octopus claws
nude trees clatter in gray wintry night.
Solitary bird in a cast away castle
swollen memories surf in moist eyes
pricking pain and sweet strain
both tears and smile flicker on the wrinkled face.
Vagaries of vintage snaps splurge
in the thick air. Neither fangs of fire
nor flirting flame arise in burnt wick.
The frail frame awaits silent sunny steps.
A callous call, casual chat or regular mail
can’t dispel the empty web of dear desires.
A lingering hope against the tide
survives the rickety ride of life.
A chessboard is set on her plain back
like a static magistrate on a polling booth
who can’t distinguish between a minor and an adult
who can’t move till the game is over.
On both sides you have grandmasters
with a troupe of sixteen soldiers in command
king cries for cover under long gown of queen
rooks, bishops, knights fight day and night.
They play the pawns scapegoat.
They live and die for whom they don’t decide.
Like a mechanical tool they maneuver
to kill and to capture the other king.
Both have pledged to build their state
with mortars of ashes and bricks of bones
for peace and prosperity the world has never shown.
Both are black: one prides black; the other hides black.
Elephants trumpet, horses neigh in stately pride
camels dug their heads in blood soaked sand
pawns pray, a hurricane on the way
the riff of rain shatters the brain.
At dusk wisdom dawns
King or Queen- all are pawns
in the masters’ epiphany.
Work or wait for a new dawn.
In a summer afternoon
under a palm wine tree
four half clad men
relish ripe mangoes
fallen from trees in benediction
with freshly fetched palm wine.
Card spread on a dusty towel.
Defending their cards
prime concerns of the bards
sandwiched between wine and wife.
Who cares for tomorrow?
Who cares for what’s not there?
Three cheers for victory of the king!