This week’s poet is Anjum Hasan who is the author of the short fiction collection Difficult Pleasures, the novels Neti, Neti and Lunatic in my Head and the collection of poems, Street on the Hill. Anjum’s fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been widely published in India and abroad. She works as books editor at The Caravan. See more on http://www.anjumhasan.com
Kind of Monsoon
Dawn: black rain, wet crows
raining and crowing.
My neighbours don’t eat eggs
so whose this garbage
bag full of shells?
Noon: that damned dog, imprisoned
and throat burnt sore with raw hope.
From last June, I found this line:
I think a bandicoot shits
on our doorstep every night.
Forthcoming 2012: Yellow Nib: Modern English Poetry by Indians
The Day No one Died
(After Frank O’ Hara)
It’s a day to drink a large soda
in Bangalore, gulmohar flowers livid on the left
and there on the right. I take the creaking 278,
a woman with one cataract eye’s handing a bag
of bananas to the conductor at Mekhri circle.
She knows it too, today’s the day
no one dies. The soda bottle’s
hissing a bit like laughter in my hand when
I pass through Cantonment railway station
without a platform ticket, the policeman watching but
maybe too hot to move. I’m predicting the overbridge
will collapse soon but I walk on it every time.
My doctor’s back from Bombay, yawning, henna
on her hands. Ma planned to boycott the wedding
but didn’t, she says as she watches
the inside of me on her screen
and then I’m in a rickshaw to Lavelle Road
to see photographs of empty lots in the gallery,
alone with them, not sure why they’re all sunny lots.
Someone in the guestbook has written, ‘We were fooled.’
I like it that I can sit and eat peach melba,
read till the waiter brings back the afternoon menu.
Then I’m out again, drizzled on by the big wet men
sculpture on Mallya Road, turning
onto Kasturba Road and there in the May dusk and 6 o’ clock
traffic, the black leaves of a rain tree are, I’m not exaggerating,
like a thousand small quivering birds about to take off.
First published in World Literature Today, 2010