Poems

Balaganapathi and Sindhamani’s love affair in K Balachander’s Sindhu Bhairavi (1985)

The ballad of
a sewing needle
that went down,
with a dirty mind,
on a piece of thread.
Stitched at noon,
drunk at dusk,
and in harmony with lust,
She fed on him
until the couch wept,
as he drank the sweat
of her aching neck,
leaving behind
legacies of the littlest
and the most viscous of lakes.
Together, they learnt
that it would be the best
if both of them were wet,
intoxicated by verses,
glances and snakes,
and left everything else
unspoken, unkempt.

The opening visuals of “Oorvasi Oorvasi” track in Shankar’s Kadalan (1994)

She is half-asleep,
curled up
like coffee stains
in a wet dream.
Her toes
twitch and twirl,
recollecting
the moisture of kisses
that hissed last night
like cigarette burns.
Her fingers
tremble and tap,
taking turns,
counting the rain
that leaked out of her
a few hours ago
without a map.
Madras,
she is half-awake,
basking in the
first light of
a late Monday.

Random camerawork in Ameer Sultan’s Raam (2005)

Pear trees
and pine forests
stand and sunbathe
at the slightest hint
of an early daybreak;
dry leaves, with rust stains
of reddish brown,
hiss sandpaper melodies,
slipping into their
finest summer gowns.
Chrysanthemums
and water lilies
babysit burn marks,
disrobing under
teal-bleached skies,
as shadows glide over
the Western Ghats
like dancers with sunken eyes.

A Painter In My Room

She paints
the stillness of dusk
outside the window
with her gin-soaked hair.
She sketches
streaks of half-light
that cuddle
the cotton in her pillows.
She seduces
the dust
to gather her toenails,
and make love
to the monsoonal rain.
Her fingers
move on the canvas
at speeds
set aside for clean air
to breathe life
into psychic plants.
Her cheeks
bloom in penciled shades
as a song tiptoes
behind her tongue,
drunk on melodies,
partially glazed.

Harry and Marion’s apartment sequence in Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem For A Dream (2000)

They cuddle by the riverbed
in-between her thighs,
they taste each other’s lungs
under ruby-studded skies,
stretched across
his belly side.
Like tender rubble,
they lay still,
and then, a sensual squirm;
an adventurous twirl
that makes their toes curl.
They take turns
with their teeth
since at worst –
it just might
beautifully hurt.
They explore
each other’s wounds,
half-lit and moistened,
like an exclamation point
and a question mark
in search of the end
of an unwritten sentence.

Christmas In Chennai

Midnight tales and
wine-soaked plum cakes
for the soul.
Winter hymns
sung out of tune
by polka-dotted ladies
and clean-shaven men in coats.
Common Myna calls and
Swat Cats episodes
at sunrise
with chicken soup
and buttered rolls.
The Nineties
fell in love with Christmas
like morning frost
does grassy knolls.

Kuppusamy’s courtroom lament in Nassar’s Avatharam (1995)

Dark shadows dance
on my lover’s disheveled breasts,
squirting cement and steel.
Her neck aches, along the nape,
sunken curves, ghosting and defaced.
Her chapped lips begin to squeal,
daily acts of statutory rape,
and every inch of her up for sale

Wings

She left behind
streaks of lemon sunlight
filtered through chestnut hair
and sticky notes
that went to bed,
warm like summer springs,
across my forehead.
She took with her
passion fruit kisses,
some pickled love
and few precious things
that she could use
to grow herself
a fresh pair of wings.

A tribute to Saritha, Anjelica, Shruti and Ellen

She is asleep
but her mind quakes.
Tremors, deep and loud,
felt in our spinal membranes.
Her bones cuddle
the cold, cold floor,
but her bosom breathes fire,
burning down our front door.

Verses spill from her hips,
running amok
like unsupervised estuaries;
Voices ferry the air
between our songs
with fishhooks tied
to heart-shaped submarines.

She’s an artist
to the world –
the mouth of a volcano
where her lovers hide.
She’s a an ocean bed
to us – a natural calamity
of the loveliest kind.

A tribute to Laurence Fishburne as the worst African American Actor in Wachowski Brothers’ The Matrix (1999) since Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

You are Icarus
as much as you are the sun.
You are the Matrix
but you are not the only one.
You are the rabbit hole,
the ganja in the caterpillar’s pipe.
You are the cuckoo
that flew over Zarathustra’s head;
the eye of the tiger,
its scars and stripes.

Harvest

Some love us
like the summer wind
would a melody
lost in a forest
filled with bamboo trees;
they serenade us
like the sun
would autumn leaves
fox-trotting in
the matinee breeze.
They touch us
like pollen in winter
would a swarm of honeybees;
they fill our chests
with freshly-brewed lemon tea
to help us with
our springtime allergies.
They make us
squirm like only
the changing
of a season can.

Mickey and Mallory on a rampage in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers (1994)

You can be my sun,
and my moon,
but I’d rather you turn into
my Chinese lantern in the sky.
I can be your pouring rain
or your morning drizzle
but I’d rather be your
metro water supply.
We can light up
each other’s lives
but we’d much rather take turns,
escorting runaway fireflies.

Salty Is The Taste Of Our Dreams

His flesh tickles her feet
like land crabs do
sandcastles
on a secluded beach;
hair follicles
glisten and straighten,
letting slide
a perfumed flood,
a velveteen estuary.
Tongues waltz
like baby eels
wriggling free
off their mothers
by the womb of the sea.
Saltwater hymns
quake and reverberate
in-between linen sheets;
sunken eyes
catch the drift
of dark coffee lullabies,
the ecstasy of sleep.

Every heroic sexist character in every Indian film

He gut punches
the softest of curves
on her convex slopes;
clutching her wrists
to pin her to the ground.
He licks her earlobes
to show her the ropes;
his sweat pouring
out of her clenched fists.

He finger-pokes her aching slits,
manhandling her purse strings
for publicity stills.
He whistles for the rats
to get their fingers dirty too,
they bring their friends,
the neighbours
and the military coup;
the great Indian rape
proudly continues.

Madiba

We’ll see you
in the amber sun of the fields
you’ve watered,
the charcoal skin of the seeds
you’ve sown,
and the plumage of the eagles
you’ve set free.
Rest now, dear Madiba,
etched in love and stone,
sleep now as your children
proudly mourn.

The Lighthouse and The Whale

The whale swam ashore
and gave the lighthouse
a piece of her warm blubber;
he picked it up
and promised her sugar cookies
and minimal usage of rubber

Nila

A dim light bulb seduces
the aching swirls
of a beleaguered moth,
swaddling her dreams
with the snug corners of silken cloth.

The gleaming of spittle
and sweat
turn ghostly pale
under the spell of incandescent nights;
even traffic lights are in favour
of nocturnal lovers
with uncertain visitation rights.

Mark and Sally are the cutest couple ever in Ian Fitzgibbon’s A Film With It (2008)

She was a beloved monster
and he was a lovable beast;
they touched each other inappropriately
but they were charming about it at least

She was a verse that ate
through the chorus
and spat out its remains;
he was a flash mob sequence
marred by bad traffic
and heavy rains

They left each other in a hurry
out of love, but mostly out of fear,
two pairs of lips whispering
“I sort of like you but I like myself
much more, my dear”

Under The Influence

He found himself under the influence
of her iridescent plumage;
she picked his scars
and licked clean the lovesick bandage

One summer night, they held hostage
a darkened sky and a distant light;
their ransom – a sunrise
bathed in lemon pies and floral white

A tribute to Katie Jarvis as Mia Williams in Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank (2009)

A light drizzle of berries
the sexual tension of a half-hearted squeeze.
A sloth dawdling through broken glass;
a naked moth drifting towards the sun
for a reasonable fee.

Cabin Pressure

He needed someone to call the hospital
in case things didn’t go as planned;
a pair of eyes to watch over
the pituitary gland of a frightened man.
He turned off auto-pilot
and went into standby mode;
“this is your captain speaking, sir…
you are about to irresponsibly explode”

Night Traveler

She traveled light
wherever her mind would let her roam.
She slept at night
like someone else’s pocket comb.

NaMo Orru Monster

Stalker, stalker, psycho-lite,
in cemented jungles of the night
What mortal bangle or blouse
could protest Sahib Modi in his house?
In what distant saffron-tinted skies,
burnt the fire of thine roving eyes?

Life In Metro-Chrome
Dark shadows dance
on my city’s disheveled breasts,
squirting cement and steel,
suckling on her for paltry meals.
Her neck aches, along the nape,
her sunken curves, ghosting and defaced.
Chapped lips begin to squeal;
daily acts of statutory rape,
every inch of her up for sale,
in the name of Chennai Metro Rail.
More

Writing felt more like lovemaking
than sex ever did.
They pinched words
until their cheeks turned pinkish blue.
They poured syrup on pronouns
and watched adverbs lick them dry.
They snuggled next to idioms on a sunflower patch,
lazily giggling and chewing stems.
They pleasured themselves by the seashore,
watching semi-clad colons sunbath.
Language just felt more lustful
than love ever did.
Getaway
She plays with him all day,
tickling his ears with soft curls of monsoon breeze.
She seduces tree sparrows to tune his guitar
to the heartbeat of tea leaves.
 Cool spring water trickles from
the sides of her thighs
to form a puddle near his toes;
a sexual awakening of his nostrils
through scented fields of cardamoms and prose.
She tongues the tip of his chin,
leaving behind wet trails to the sides of his cheeks.
She plants kisses like separated lovers do
until his knees go weak.
She’s a meadow.
A valley.
A gathering of hills.
She’s the story of his life
when time stood perfectly still.
Ballpoints
That isn’t a fire burning inside you;
that’s just a circuit breaker in your coffee machine.
Your pens are like plastic swords.
Your words are ghostly marbles,
you roll them down empty roads.
That isn’t a fire raging inside you.
That’s just electricity you paid for.
Arvind Mak’s That Fired Soul (2013)
A sky so sunless
that woe betide the starlight
that may tickle its clouds at dusk.
A land so bloodied
that footsteps leave behind
trails of hesitant toes.
Muddy walls turned
into secretive graves;
Paperwork and rice stolen
from the midribs of slaves.
Vattakanal

She unties the knots in my hair,
and runs her fingers through it
like streams scissoring grasslands.
She presses her frostbitten cheeks against my chest,
and silences my stuttered breaths.

The emerald peaks around her hips;
her creamy teal-infused lips.
In conversation with the birds
circling her maroon breasts;
in love with the ghostly light
that sets fire to her sepia skies.

Vattakanal, she tucks me
in-between the crimson drapes spread across her thighs
Vattakanal, she unbosoms herself
and consumes my mind.