Anti-Heroes

They find comfort in walking
Walking consciously
Walking with the rest
Walking to remember and remind
Those who forget

Lost to the throngs, their footsteps
leave no shadows, no prints
as if frisked away by playful waves
on a beach of childhood innocence

Rising from the vortex
they walk onto the land
looking for what they lost
in the currents of their times

Wading in the maelström
They hold each other’s hands
Crying for what they believe is right
In a precious bog land

This is how they are made
The anti-heroes
The uniform-less men
Lost in tear gas, shot in the breast
No flags to shroud their coffins
No movies in their names
Forgotten and happily dead

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Party

It’s past midnight and I’m still searching
Searching for a party to join
Walking past the neon lights
Past the posh cars whizzing by
With rich and powerful chasing
Their dreams through the city night
Empty streets, foul gutters
Clicking stilettos in flight
Past the doors marked Members Only
Lurid music on the prowl

It’s past midnight and I’m still searching
Searching for a party to join

It’s past midlife and I’m still searching
Searching for a party to join
Walking past the thugs in white
Past the lying, pilfering, ranting, ballot-box stealing
Past the censoring, mud-slinging, match-fixing,
Past devote Sinhala Buddhist kings coming back to life
Past journalists performing disappearing acts
Past the guns and saffron robes flaring
Past the cheated, tired, disappointed crowd
Past the bhodhi pooja women and unemployed men
Traffic jams and lost ideals and something seething in between

It’s past midlife and I’m still searching
Searching for a party to join

Waiting for Exile

This scorching heat
Is not just the April sun
Hovering right above this cloudless island

The pressing air
Is not just the heavy breath
Of an erratic monsoon
Slapping us into a daze

This thunder is not the threatening
Voices I begin to hear
This lightning not the disappearing
Shadows of people who used to be
Now, mere ghosts
Of men who used to think different

This waiting is not
For leaving
This wishing is not
For a better day

This anger is not
For the waiting
But for the silence
Of broken glass and masses

When words must carry
The thunder and lightning
Of our days
Forewarning
The stones about to be hurled

When others tell me
I should leave
I stay

Song

Run away from me
As fast as you can
Forget the dreams
You wanted to come true

Run away from the voice
You used to believe
Give into the dull whine
Of fear and doubt

Things, they cannot be predicted
Things, they can often go wrong
Through the routine of the days
We lose our ways
We lose our faith
We lose ourselves to the passing days

The dream-chaser
Forgets his dreams
The singer forgets his voice
The actor forgets the lines
So why not you, your feelings?
We hold on to precious little moments

We smile at strangers
Walk with the setting sun
We pick the broken shards of ourselves
And let life go on

So run away from me
Forget me
I’m much less than your dream
Much less than your faith

I’m much less than you could ever loose
I’m much more than you would ever gain

The Nearness of You

And now that I have you

Next to me

So calm is the night

The moments twinkling

Like stars in a Christmas sky

 

Now that I have your arms

Around me

So warm is the night

Our breaths intermingling  

With the wind-chimers’ sigh

 

Now that I have your love

Surrounding me

So innocent is the night

The every-day barrenness fading

From the far corners of life

 

Now that I hear your breathing

I feel you feel the same

Your heart beating

To the harmony

Of your smile

 

But now that you are near me

So wakeful is the night

Just as much as I keep awake

When you are out of sight

 

We’ve been with ourselves for too long

Our beds so narrow

Our hearts too stricken

So late into our lives

 

And the nearness of you

The nearness of me

This love

Steals our sleep

 

So we hold each other like

Wrapped gifts

We never asked for

Nor deserve

Surprised we finally found

This bliss

 

But thank god,

For the nearness

Ephemera

When I dream
It is hard to deem
This memory
Isn’t entirely mine

Or it isn’t me in that frame
Propped up on her bed against the pillows
The lampshade on the side table
Blushing walls almost turquoise green
The whiff of sea and freedom on her cheek
You loved to breathe in

Nana, tell me a story!
And she looks at you sideways
Blowing a perfect ring of smoke
(That flick of her cigarette
The flair we’d love to gain)

I would have reached out
And tried to hold that thinning ring
In my cupped hands
Like now you try to hold her in your mind

The child would have asked her
Nana, if you cry for someone, in a dream,
Does it count?
If I mistook someone else
For you, in a dream, does it count?

We’ve woken up
Having loved and lost
To the pained residues of cigarette haze
Scattered ash
In a tray

It’s another day
And we try again
To hold
With our hands cupped
Before it fades away