Life began with a handful of flowers,
marble memorials and guilt;
life whittled to a fine art,
bequeathed its shearings.
My room is dark. Afraid
to draw in the world. Of too much
colour sound and water. And skin
and veins, too much. Life.
The skies, glass-engraved, reach sharply
down to cemented raw earth---
Colour, joy. Cyclic damps.
Mirrors within mirrors on gilded screens.
Multi-functioning blood, spilt, drawn
or communed---
Slow trails of hunger,
skin-whirls over smiling thighs;
my knotted fingers fumble through
brochures of bubbly brazen lands.
Celebrities or cerebral ditties---
longed-for on misty mounts.
Dim-blooded parties, orgies
of commercial consummation.
God brave me, my hold's slipping!
Gut-frozen in my room,
watching, listening, swooning in the dark.
Parables, phones, friends, duties---
computer-animated life flows by.
Blue-screened I wait. Frozen.
Have you heard the silence
of your brain---
like a puddle rough-tongued
by a thirsty dog before
it scampers away.
Life romps, primps, swishes by.
I only grab glimpses
through my keyhole.

Ice melts more chillingly through each finger-space
as we now crawl, precipitate--
a division in the same direction, at least for now.
At least for now we're moving, roped by ghost voices
in the silvery glisten ahead.

The first summit, toasted and marked with our flag,
discovered but a beginning---
costing us dear; divisioned, devisioned, we resumed.
We resumed, pitching tents, changing leaders, warming
signals for the cold ahead.

Who tries, or cries, who whips the surge,
whose fingers find that steady urge---

nature shows us mirages and her rages
in balanced and thoughtful measure,
sowing cold corruption touching our bones.
Touching bones and slivering our blood, tempting
each other from the journey above.

The first bloodstains then spread out on whitelit ice
claiming slow and sudden victims,
different hands, pushing even as we hold!
Hold hands over campfires that light and sear
and redhasten our voices above.

The sky, the earth, this living breath,
thus armed we dare to fight our death---

Fifty markings by the book have steeled our will,
there's more to go, together now---
but markings fired with courage, not with fear!
Fear's done; have our voices climb our song as one,
and wreath our glories once each race is run!

There, across this cliff lies firmer temperament,
fervent larger rockhewn summit,
Eyespicks steadfast flake our horizon;
Thumbpoints whet our sight, the rope lies tighter now!
Horizon rising warm gathering us--

Time's now, rise now, clutch at the rope,
Our flag's alive now with this hope--
(C) 2010 shreekumar varma
light & dark

your love shadows my sunshine

as dusk does day;

in the whirlpool of darkness

there's no room for regret.

art of cycling

the red new bike, barely smaller than his eight year-old frame
totters in a straining arc of steel and young thigh,
the quick of possession has already settled to drudgery and fear,
and his rolling screams are repeating a pattern.
i can close my eyes and doodle away those days of sentiment
like fluorescent on virgin canvas.

my dreams are squeezed out in futile doses
let me pause and guide him on his way
and pat him for his speed, encourage him to take the curves
explain afresh the pleasures of dangerous riding
to race the steeps and dare the climb abetted by the wind.
there's no life in cruising, son, your father's hopes are done.
let's tell them no, the rules of championship aren't weakened yet:
on a summer's day, there's much to be said for a marathon.