They say a lot of male mechanics dupe women, but not mine.
He is my sweet stand-in for Daddy.
I tease him. “You look like Harry Belafonte.”
I look better, he quips, and we laugh.
I always get a hug and kiss on the cheek
before he asks what is wrong with my car and beckons for the keys.
You have a way to get home?
I could take a cab but I love the lilt in his voice.
I take the ride to keep him talking.
Today I ask,
What part of Jamaica are you from?
It’s a lil country town.
No chasing after ten o’clock.
There, you wonder where it is.
I nod, smile about my Some Day-
Caribbean sun browning/breeze licking my skin
mauve hibiscus nestled in the crook above my ear
bunches of Kiss Me Over the Gardens in purple drapes over my hands,
evenings under the red thistle of the bottle brush tree,
a plate of callaloo and plantains
balanced on my knees.
Will you ever go back home to live?
We all say we will but we don’t.
As we drive past the delivery trucks and body shops along Route 22,
smoky air seeps through the windows–
I roll them up, clear my throat, expelling the odor of progress.
Don’t plant a seed
in the hidden corner.
Don’t leave the work
I don’t want to have
to find your meaning.
Arrive at the door
and say hello.
Speak up, say what
The direct approach,
the bold question,
open and honest reply.
Or else speak in poetry
terms that I can apply
in whatever way I like.
Throwing his rattle out of the pram at every little turn,
issuing pleas for sympathy instead of using stamina
when the going gets tough, brutal and real.
Explaining with a trembling ‘boo-boo’ lip
the unfairness of why he isn’t getting his own way.
Whilst pointing fingers loaded with betrayal
and accusation at everyone’s back not in punching distance.
But expecting ‘Stupid People’ to understand the ‘Big Picture’
is like trying to explain Heaven to a dog
then getting annoyed because their eyes shine back empty.
They cannot see beyond the next move
and if you stay stubbornly in the game with them after realizing this?
Then it is in fact you who is now wrong,
congratulations, you’ve let their idiocy rub off on you.
Not only are some people stuck in the same
rinse/repeat cycles of behaviour all the way through life,
some are blindly going through the motions
of twatish systems perfected by their elders and un-betters
generations before…we’re talking historical denseness here.
Walk away from that shit-storm of nonsense,
there is no winner, only frustrating complications
besides losers are for leaving behind not dirtying your energy with.
Fridge thin, had to pop in
to the Co-op; which I hate
to do on a Saturday night;
when I planned a quiet one −
the ordinary shop for basic
sustenance, amidst the party
people exuding lustfulness…
needs must. Browse shelf
stacker; wildly singing to
Hozier’s `Take me to Church’─
love the song & hearing them
Skipping on to spare till, they
spare me the thrill of hanging
behind thigh-high, kinky boots
figure; in queue for booze &
smile at my style-conscious,
canvass bag, begin scan & ask:
`so what have you been up to
today?’ `writing poetry’, I say.
`You do poetry? No-one has
ever said poetry when I asked –
I think that’s kinda beautiful…’
(I thought they were kinda beautiful).
She grew up in Muscat she said
the last time I met her
I do not know much about Muscat
I didn’t even know which country it was in
She made me recall another person I had met
long time ago, now
who grew up in Nigeria
The weird migrant accent of English
was the reason I made the connection I thought
Immigrant Indians always have a weird accent,
especially when they come back to India,
not the usual Western countries such as UK or the US
but the ones who grew up or lived in a random country
on the map of the globe
Remember the globe?
I do not think children nowadays feel the excitement we felt
when we first bought it.
Google Earth and Maps and its countless derivatives
even the open-source ones probably have taken away
the charm from a map on the wall and the globe
Maybe they think such things are only for the ironic nostalgic
Long before Ambani’s Reliance made the marketing phrase
karlo duniya muthi me*, when they launched their CDMA network
some street hawker on the street probably thought of the phrase
while handing his unsold globe to his son or his daughter.
It isn’t at all ironic that somewhere close by Ambanis are probably
sipping on some unimaginable imported liquor, or their assistant is.
I’m writing these words
in the city of Mumbai near the Western suburbs
not very far from the resort like house of Ambani
which he doesn’t even live in, most of the time
while most people in the city
while away their time
in what a friend aptly described as
while dreaming of laboring in Dubai
*grab the world in your hands, was a the landmark advertisement slogan by Reliance Communications when they launched their telecom network in India. The price wars the company resulted in, led to the wider mobile telephony penetration across India.