PROJECTOR
in a hall where curtains crush the last sunrays,
they wait in semi-silent stupor--
hundreds, facing a white bright screen;
kindred, as they share a dream.

no-one notices me; the screen sparkles to life
and the story begins, spouting from my eye
through a magic ray slicing the night--
image quickens and becomes life.

i regurgitate film and fool their senses,
throwing up carefully crafted scenes of life;
of people and places and slices of happiness,
humour and song with chestheaving sighs.

shut your eyes, you'll know what i mean;
the darkness mothers your every dream.
there's hero and villain and ravishing bride,
and love in the midst of punishing pride!

so leave them with their popcorn and tears;
they're safe in their ignorance.
when they know light, when they know me,
it's time for deliverance.


REF-RAIN
as silence drops like rain on river
helpless lives sail by, wild-wailing
their woes-- the heart alone beats in a
universe of stillness; have you heard the
moon laugh on a cloudy night, secretly,
at the vast, terrible, scattered knowledge of man
presuming cosmic insight--
when all reason writhes in rhyme
and healing often comes
in a single drop of rain.
LOVE SONG
Who knows
what visceral vistas of pain
will lead me to you
in your mist-shrouded
mount of passion
I will, one day,
pause for that moment
wrench reality from
trembling dreams
Sweat-drunk nights I've crushed
visions into the darkness
pounding past the fertile womb
of your threshold
My limbs ache for your hold
the cold touch on my writhing
your silver gaze will draw me
uncombatant to your hypnotic void
Lover, wife, cruel mistress
the night's far with you
your smile soaks in pangs
of endless lovers' vows
Waves devour oceans of sand
as we churn our wail of love
processing progeny worlds ahead
Orphans of another night
I feel immanence
in the moment's lurch
Time's drawing close
aching for consummation
lover, death.


NIGHT AT THE MARINA
He plucks a flower from her hair
finds her soul embedded;
"I'd rather have a flat for us,
what will your father spare?"
The waters crunch into the night
soaking up a tremble,
She takes his hand upon her cheek
"I haven't had a bite."
The moon is pale upon her smile;
stomach gives a rumble.
She bites her hunger back a while--
fingers start to fumble.
A mighty fort two marchers seize
set proud upon her breast;
A voice shatters all their ease:
"My groundnuts are the best!"
The grinning fellow settles there
but sees the marchers flee
she pounces down upon his ware
with barely hidden glee.
The stars are witness to the act
a brittle tune awakes
Amidst the ocean of the crowd
it's passion mixed with tact.

                Poetry India-  Voices in the making, 1989


NAMELESS
My life, I see, is a period of darkness
singed by lonely flashes,
I lie as if in a hospital bed
run through with tubes from each pretence--
Down the road there are grey crowds
at every turning
and the sky sags heavily each time I look up.
                                                                September, 1998


TRIUMVIRATE
tripletting from our own heads
we brought them forth as gods;
wiseheaded, river-berating, caressmiling--
universes in a three-palm.
mantranting priests, born-grown-died
and vapourised again,
recognised the cyclic vision of being and nonbeing--
contemprying sages, all of us.
filling empty pages,
shivering with the icicles of birth that will,
in the end, puncture life away,
in the aggloomeration of joyous dark.
                                            
                                                   October 2000


BEYOND THE SENSUOUS
the earth contused once, i was born;
a sublime sky spread out in aesthetic colours--
i was a pioneer, touching the right chords,
breaking out in fearless pursuit of reasons.

when i died after my whimsical voyage,
the sky remained frozen, pale with frangipani ribbons--
beyond the sensuous now, in my memory
the wounded earth still breaks out in seasons.

             written during a poetry meet at the                                    british council, incorporating
                           a handful of given words

(c) 2010 shreekumar varma
its too hot outside!

whenever someone complains
of travel sickness
or the rash, its always with the hope
of a better summer next time around.
we in the chill of nondoing
have no experience of the sun,
we freeze in complicated postures,
silent in our disapproval,
yet content to remain.

we who have no birthing pangs
or yearning fangs,
we who haven't tasted blood as yet,
what do we know of idle splashing,
what do we know of sickness and rash?

upside-down, inside out and cold
like embalmed bats,
our silence reaches longer
than your screams.
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LET ME...




let me hold you while you laugh,
there's a saying in our parts
that tears revive the past but harden the present,
let me hold you while your breasts are forming
and your lips are waiting, and the future's forming
within our sulky bowers, beneath our molten skies
that watch and judge and witness the precious
moments of our togetherness blooming into love.
let me drink in tribute to the soldiers
who've marched before us, showing us the way.
let me be.
as you will be.
i wonder, even as i drink coffee
and abandon newspapers yet again,
and settle down to question the clear white screen
seeking words and moments, faces and bondings
that aren't so ready-made as you think.
we have our own moments of consummate summation,
when the muse hesitates, confused;
a writer's world isn't filled by words but by the silence
of words, so there, you have it even as you
hug the dark corner picking off-coloured
beads scattered all over our predicament;
it's not a happy world, but a seeking one,
never  brought to fruition but by completing
the circle of life like my arms reaching around
yet losing you each time by that hairs-breadth between fingers.
i wonder still.
what wouldn't we do
to uncoil the coiled
and then coil it up again

awakened, we open our eyes
from the night
with little awareness
of the missed coils
and calls....

WRITTEN  AT AN EXHIBITION OF THE PAINTINGS OF ARTIST
C. DOUGLAS, FRIEND AND PHILOSOPHER. THE EXHIBITION WAS CALLED MISSED CALL
i carry your memory even as i sit beside you;
breathing life into old images, interiorising your face.
like a pilgrim annoints ancestors from pots of purity,
i pour versions of you back at yourself in the hope
of touching you on the quick of our oneness;
i watch faces of strangers crossing the street
passing my life like you, turning back to smile.
i carry that moment even as i sit beside you;
like a pilgrim heaving his bundle of faith
and nothing else.

DUSK
when the sun dips as if forever,
when streaks of feeling
silver the horizon's brow
and the waves start up in excitement,
frothing and insatiable,
my thoughts betray me
and i can barely feel the world...
trees are freedom flags
we often hack them down, and
freeze, as freedom flags.