Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Ladies Special Train

Saw stardom sprinkled this morning on a drab derelict platform

Rainbow colours, delicate features, sleep-swollen eyes, vivid dresses:

Salvar suits, chunris, ear rings, bangles, toe rings, bindis and stringed jasmine

And -- since it is raining -- variously coloured parasols and raincoats.

A bored voice on public address says there’s a Ladies Special Train passing by

Men, If you dare enter you risk being beaten, abused, it’s a Ladies’ Special Train

A whirl of colour, thunder of wheels, bursts of happy, determined faces, smiles

Knitting, mending, food smells and talks of disobedient children and declining education.

Children are pressurized, burdened, you know, we don’t know what they teach

They are making them into idiots, unoriginal thinkers, teaching them to conform

Our children will have the best; nonetheless, we will slog to work so they prosper

This corrupt political-business nexus, you know, has corrupted the education system.

It’s the happiest hour of the day, freedom from housework, while work waits

The times are bad, vegetable prices are high, groceries, oil and spices, too

Discounts are available in local malls and bulk purchases are advised

Careful, there are predatory men on platform, staring, whistling and cat calling.

There’s work in the office, corporate politics, a little time to exchange recipes

The bosses are increasingly intolerant and lewd, they make indecent remarks

They expect us to manage emails, make worksheets, presentations in no time

When we don’t have time to have lunch, even apply nail polish and makeup.

The morning Ladies Special Train is our special refuge, our peace haven, our space

From the cares of this world, from the stupid ogling men and their indecent gestures

This train may pass on bridges, through rain, violent storms, torrid heat

But inside the Ladies Special Train we know we are secure from the mad world outside.

(This is the poem I read at the event "100 Thousand Poets for Change" on 24th September 2011.)

Wounds That Do Not Heal

The doctor said you are nearly diabetic,

It is a condition that’s genetic,

Beware of wounds that do not heal,

Avoid spices and sugar in every meal.

My wounds are deeper, doctor dear

All you see are scars up here

Life has taught me wounds heal faster,

If you make forgiving a little easier.

I have travelled this continent far and wide,

Touched its boundaries on every side,

Shared spirits with men and women,

Told them of wounds and sins forgiven.

But, doctor the wounds that don’t heal are,

Wounds of juvenile dreams gone sour,

Look how they insult experience and age,

As if they would never see dotage!

Where Giant Mushrooms Grow!

In Nevada there is a field where giant mushrooms grow

One mile high and two miles wide, they say on the show

That’s where they test how to vaporise people and flesh

By splitting and fusing atoms and starting the world afresh.

A new era, a new definition, will dawn with nuclear shields

Oh, how fresh are the huge mushrooms grown on Nevada fields!

It can erase whole cities, no need for guns or battle tanks

Tomorrow’s wars, the voice says, will be fought without ranks.

They are making bullets, shields and missiles with lasers

That can picture the enemy, see in the dark, and subdue angers

Soldiers of the future won’t have to die for the country’s glory

They use their Global Positioning bullet, that’s another story.

Agree with me, don’t dissent, fall in line, futile windmill tilters

Your wars are lost even before you see victory, dissenters

No more carpet and saturation bombing and damnation alley

They have no time to negotiate it’s you or them, you have to die.

They say their soldiers are smart, they see in the dark

Their bullets can pierce armour; they can blast your flimsy mark

Where were you, soldiers of the mind, intellectuals, I mourn

When from your ceaseless toils such Frankensteins were born?

No more carpet and saturation bombing and damnation alley

They have no time to negotiate it’s you or them, you have to die.