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image: via pinterest

my demons take to the pages
voices: loud, strong, screeching,
pleading, brandishing
whips, swords. cuffs too.
bright flashing eyes
melting soft, languid, safe
even – a seducer’s language

lulling me to sleep, gently,
oh, so gently, unwrapping
a nightmare whose nooks
and crannies i know well:
comforting like a blanket
filled with my body’s warmth
my skin quivering under
the weight of dreams.

demons metamorphose
into father, mother, sister,
lover, familiar.

cobras slither through graves
peacocks dance atop graves
planes taxi between graves.

graves. of demons past are they?
will they resurrect?
will they rest-in-peace ever after?

futile hope, for aren’t these
thoughts too demons
dancing?

© Anuradha Prasad 2018

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belonging nowhere,
but to a geography of

experiences, too many
books, a cat, my roots

and in them too lurks
the transience of being.

© Anuradha Prasad 2018

artwork: marble painting by one of the kids at the lahe lahe summer camp

shrooms cubbon_anu

a troop of mushrooms at the dog park, cubbon park © Anuradha Prasad 2018

turkish coffee 1

I got a taste of Turkish coffee at the cafe where the girls showed me how it is done. The ritual of making coffee was as good as tasting the coffee!

turkish coffee 2

It began with a whiff of the coffee – rich with cardamom and mint. Coffee powder and sugar went into the ibrik, which is a copper pot with a long handle. Hot water was poured into it. The ibrik was then slow heated on a little stove.

turkish coffee 3

Only the crema – the frothy layer on the top – was poured into a shot glass as and when it formed. The result: intense! It did leave behind a muddy layer as it was unfiltered.

turkish coffee 4

This here are cherry beans. They smell fruity as opposed to the unwashed beans which are acidic.

© Anuradha Prasad 2018

456fc143df7c34197e6cd47771887d9f

image: via pinterest

a sparrow, can you believe, hopped on
the polished floor of the airport last week.
outside were neon men and giant jumbos.

and then, there were more. sparrows.
hopping dainty, pecking at their reflections
on the gleaming floors, curious and innocent
narcissists.

was it a mate that they saw in those
reflections, whom they tried to peck out of the
hard, unyielding floor that gucci-sandaled
passengers walked on?

feet that were composed,
framed, and instagram-ed. feet
that were applauded by a frenzy of
sterile heart clicks.

meanwhile, there are the sparrows…

© Anuradha Prasad 2018

 

 

kites_cubbon park_anu

kites in cubbon park © Anuradha Prasad 2018

you showed me the kookaburra by the sea.

sitting on our balcony, you said.

where i live there are no kookaburras.

only crows and the squawking and chirping
chorus of anonymous birds whom
i wouldn’t recognize if i were to meet them.

they who rouse me from sleep,
make my cat prick her ears up,
warn of predators and swallowing eclipses

they with the sweetly choreographed
notes of existence, singing shy,
hidden behind a camouflage of leaves.

© Anuradha Prasad 2018

anu hampi sunset

hampi © Anuradha Prasad 2018

Under my night skin, what lies awake?

If I were to shed it like the snake that
lets go so easily its skin,
the peacocks that drop their feathers,
the butterfly that loses its very self

What would be left?

A blank slate.

Must I start again, then?

Must I gather more nights,
allow stars, cosmic dust, the moon
to seep into my skin, my bones,
my heart, my soul. Once again,
to sing a new song of the same night?

Or should I gather days of scorching sun,
cerulean skies, fluffy clouds dissipating,
to create a new song, so unfamiliar in its
shades, its colors, its shapes, its voice,
so warm, so very day?

But me.

I am the night.

© Anuradha Prasad 2018

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image: via pinterest

Roaring lullabies and foaming kisses, the sea her compass. Ruh walks along the edges of the flattening waves. The sand is dark, wet and salty. If she were to walk into the sea now.

She would be a little blob, her skirt spread around like a petal, a spreading stain. Then nothing.

But how long before the sea tears away the torment from her like dead skin?

She clambers into a boat without oars, red and alone, pulled up far away from the sea, which is getting closer now. The sand has dried; a crab on the boat’s rim. The smell of fish sticks to its wooden skin. Ruh settles into its abandonment.

A long time ago, there was a little girl who stood alone in the middle of a playground. An orb of dusty orange flew at her, almost knocked her down. A boy watched with concern and half a smile.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

The little girl laughed. The boy smiled and with him the world. Like starlings taking flight the laughter flew here to this desolate stretch of beach where a woman lay in a red boat. This moment changed forever.

Ruh awakens to a yellow moon, cradled in a boat, rocking gently, watched by a little girl. And just like that – the girl slips over and…poof, she is gone.

© Anuradha Prasad 2018

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image: via pinterest

The cat prowled the stars: sniffing and scratching,
marking her territory, that shape-shifting being.

Nur stepped into the stars which she dreamed
in the darkness beneath her lowered eyelids.
Here, crimson and midnight stars exploded.
She hopped from one star to the other –
looking for nothing
finding everything
taking nothing.

The cat approached. The universe spun, shot
stars. A somersaulting debris of dead dreams.
Decay shimmered.

The cat sniffed, rubbed her head against Nur’s
limb. A purr rose against her fur. Her round eyes
elongated, blinked. Love, you are so feline.

Nur opened her eyes to disappearing stars
marching in a line of untruths.
The cat remained, chin propped on her leg,
watching her stretch –
gathered midnight, scattering.

© Anuradha Prasad 2018