Friday, April 25, 2008

Two Pearls

By Dan Husain

These Days...


These days

I find everything staged:

the words of comfort you plant,

the concern that I fake,

the platitudes that we toss,

twirl, throw into each other’s face.

How brittle is our truth

that we wrap it with pretexts

believing love holds good

only in certain contexts.


The other day

at Carter Road,

when the Sun was

a speck of orange in your eye

and the world

a soot-covered portrait,

I felt I had a poem for you

but then, these days, I don’t write poems.

I look for words instead,

words that would miff the silence

you puncture our conversations with.


In the quietness of the night

when you twirl next to me

I hear shrill screams

of our unsaid thoughts.

I then strain, strain

to hear your silence...

Salim Joshua at a Soirée…


So we must end the conversation now.

It has hung long

From the Rembrandts and the Rousseaus

(cheap imitations

mounted on dreams

sundry & parvenu)

That your silent walls adorn.

But you wish to speak

About the trivialities that tweak

Your propriety, your idea

Of what the world is, of what it should be.

I feign interest

(how may I tell you

I am part of the world that you hate).


We sit at the bar.

Everyone has assumed a role,

Everyone is a character.

London is no more a fad,

New York may still pass.

“So I was at this glistening

Office of glass walls

On the 67th floor of Chrysler

At Lexington Avenue

And then throw in the punch

Of how you spent the weekend

Scuba-diving in Aruba,

Lounging, smoking pot

At Luna Lodge in Costa Rica.

The boys are agog.

They’re too eager to fill you in

About their training stints in Düsseldorf.

(I sigh! The farthest is

Karachi in the west)


We sneak into a quiet corner.

The evening trails as a wispy fragrance

On your wine laden lips.

I wish to drink the moistness,

Feel your heat against my breath.

My hands rustling against your breasts

But suddenly you break free —

Coquettishly —

“Wait! Let me see

Where my darling husband is?”



We sit with our bellies full,

Courgette and prawn dolloped with soufflé,

And break into idle chatter, pitter-patter

Sprinkling names —

(The conversation strains someone coughs!)

The stiff upper-lipped editors at Knopf,

The haute couture,

The avant-garde,

The ‘here’ and ‘now’,

The ‘whys’ and ‘how’,

The ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’,

The ‘must do’ and ‘have musts’

Discerning eyebrows,

Dancing flamenco

With waspish tongues:

Shreds of half-understood conversations

Heard at someplace else —

That may ease this evening of discontent.

(But in our hearts, as the evening stretches,

Dreams fizzle like smoke

From a gun's nozzle.)

And then…whimper!

(Note: Salim Joshua... was inspired from a passage from Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City.)

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