4 Delhi poems

I hallucinate of fish heads

Was the hottest day ever in Delhi
My wife told me
(I continue writing my upper-caste
Dirges shamelessly
Well aware that Kuffir Nalgundwar will never love me
And why should he?)
She is upset with me as
I went out in the slums while she and
My three-month-old baby
To get whiskey,
Got drunk, left the newspaper on the
Floor, the almost finished quarter bottle and soda on the table
And the AC on all night,
Knowing she will clean up after me
In the morning – upper caste male
Always knows how to make others labour.
This behaviour is hardly
I don’t want to discuss Mayakovsky
I am Mayakovsky and Pushkin put together
All at once
This might be a lousy poem
But is it better than yours?

Personal Poetry/Or how to be a dilettante poet

I don’t know how to write ‘universal’ poetry
That would please the editors of journals that are the pride of
Hoary academia – I know no Greek myths,
like Dom Moraes and Keki Daruwala.
(Anapaest is a pest as far as I am concerned and
Dactyl sounds like the name of a detergent.)
All I know is this existence
in which I feel trapped like a
fish in a tackle–
Even mediating in your name, Ramakrishna, only helps
The white man’s language
Ruined me.
The day is almost gone – I did nothing to
Satisfy its never-ending hunger for action
Except refining my accusations
Like a cat stropping its nails
To deadly perfection.

Happy New Year

This is turning out
To be some
New Year.
The other day, I went
To a reading  at a
Fancy south Delhi apartment:
Got too drunk (after the hostess forbade me to chat up
The servants who kept up a steady procession of snacks; later, I foiled
The designs of her son who took out a thick tome and announced
His wish to read
Robert Frost; His girlfriend – of a few months, I was told – sang
Dhrupad badly for the assembled audience;
Everyone clapped, including yours truly)
When the show was over, I demanded from the Dhrupad singer
A lift back to my place as she was going that way – the great lovers of poetry
Had forgotten to arrange
any transport for the poets. She refused initially – she must have hated
My provincial guts, I guess – but I guilt-tripped her into it.
(She lost it when I started to smoke in her car
But I carried on nevertheless and she relented, possibly thinking
That it was only for a few minutes, and never again, that she would have to bear with my priggish ways)
I know you can’t do what I did
In polite society
But I don’t  feel bad.

Central Park, CP

A mammoth national flag
Keeps guard.
Some bored onlookers read about the country’s
So-called hoary past inscribed on the notice boards
Standing next to it.

I see lovers; a couple wearing identical
Bhagat Singh tee-shirts, same-sex friends,
Auto-drivers and bus conductors napping post
Lunch, solitary men and women, some giving the impression of
Waiting for others – the impatient glances towards the entry points,
the fidgeting with their phones –
While some seem to wait for things
They will never probably have.

Near Shivaji Stadium metro station
A young boy,
Legs amputated at the knees,
Tries to climb a parapet – so he can
Petition the commuters going in and out –
But struggles
Till a passerby picks him up and places him
On the other side.

A little further down the road,
Below the multi-level car parking lot,
The city’s so-called pride – much touted about in the press
And inaugurated by Chidambaram –
Fat cats in sharp suits
Talk finance on the phone
And cut deals.

In front of Hanuman Mandir
I meet Pooja and Sonia, introduced to me by Sabina
Who met them during her field-work.
Both of them beg – Sonia has it easy being a eunuch,
said Pooja with the
Missing limb
Without any rancour;
they are good friends.
Her three children – all boys –
study in a nearby school. She never visits
except on re-admission days when she can get a fee waiver due to her
Handicapped status. On other days, she
does not wish to embarrass them
In front of their friends.


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Abhimanyu Kumar Written by:

Abhimanyu Kumar is an independent journalist based in Delhi.

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