Tuesday, December 18, 2007


this winter sheen
insulated the chill
golden stalks
snapped to
with a bristling
dry crack
grass blades
between fingers
in an impulse.
A sadistic one.

jasmine scent
was a memory
trickling down my veins.
An intoxicating one.

love was a feeling
lost in
rush of blood and lust.
A cynical one.

have I grown up
counting my
lost in sensations?

Friday, November 23, 2007

in poem 4

there was a limp
a slouch and shivering hands.
age catching up with
a man whose youth was
panting against time.
i slowed down my steps
to match his, long back
i used to trot
trying to catch up

with my father.
i slowed down,
my fading youth
irked by its own mirror image
my blood slowing down
to match his; despite
my eyes looked down
to a greying man
the shadow which was
strong and powerful once .
he who was tall once
now shrunk down
to his vital essences.

I ...slowed ... down...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Elements of Bodily Hate

What do I tell you?
My love hurt
So I left it
Turn sour
Vanish as vapor
In my chest
Or disappear
In the dust
I carry on
My toes
My nails
The blisters
Of my
Sodden feet,
Travel weary!
Or mucus,
My thumb
And washed
Down the drain
Or a piece
Of smoldering heart
Soldered with will
To keep you


do I crave for your pain
and your tears pin me down
like daggers
my heart cringes
in its lonely corners
like a guilty child

I love, yearn, hate
and escape from
your voice
trickling down
the cellular phone
then your missives
I loathe reading your darts
yet I do - frowning;
the ugly grimace of love
that dies on our lips
like stale kisses-
I wallow in the abysses
of painless terror
my ring,
faded with use,
lost its gleam
gold remains.

can you come to
me with cheer
I ask my tears
they smile down
my cheek
drenching my
leathery skin
parched like
a cracked desert.

Fishing in a forest stream

We were four.
Kevin and three women
With beer bottles
And fishing rod
We waited with
Rubber baits
Bated breath
Duplicates of
Glitter worms and
Psychedelic flies
To hypnotize
Any savage
Fish that
Dared cross the stream.
We could only hear
The river ripples
And the violent
Guzzle of beer
As we swung our
Bottles with a rare
Holiday delight.
City bred women
With colours
and themes
waiting for a gullible
Forest fish.
Our wait ended
When a village boy
Ambled in
Threw a hook
With an atta bait
And pulled out
a thrashing
Fish with ease
And smiled
with a twinkle at
City’s foibles

I want to write a happy poem

I want to write a happy poem
about the pond in the backyard
still as Walden, changing colour
with the sun, orange at sunset
flashes of green-blue all day.
They say its haunted.
Once they found a dimwit
midget’s body there, three days
after he disappeared.
People watched vacant
unhelpful, wrinkle-snouted
as his brother dug out
rotting flesh, the stench
of blood and brotherhood
pervades there even now.

Or do I write about
the playground, a plateau
on slopes, where I used to
go for a jog and morning air
where five men and a child were
shot dead unceremoniously
on a calm September morning?
Or about a student
shot on the spine
now confined to the wheels
reduced to a bag of bones
a wry smile on our memories?
He who was young and handsome once?

I can tell you about
the girls who meet their lovers
secretly by the graveyard
to steal a kiss or a touch
on their wet virgin dreams.
I have seen their eyes averted
brooding, when their men
search for more
in younger, buxom girls.

Or my gay friend
fresh as a morphed lily
powdered and rouged
with a dab of mascara
who receives threats from men
over the phone, in dark
unearthly hours.
he dares not remove his makeup
or his effete ways
he wears them for this world.

Or, finally, do I write about weather?
The sky shines blue now
blotched with clouds
but it was only yesterday
the cloud burst
and swept a family away
down the rocky stream
never to be found again!!
"Mother died today.
or was it yesterday
I do not know"

Meursault's angst
or the lack of it
looks funny though
in a world full of mothers
they say this line was written
in the bleakest
moment of Fascism,
how well meanings are
woven into the void
or philosophies
smuggled into
an unfeeling world.

i would say
it was written in the
summer of adulthood
when male lips
forgot the first suck
and groped for that
memory in the
smell of musk
on their lovers
skin. memories clog
when maleness performs
like puppets strung in
by achievments and
account statements...

Mothers still die unremembered
they live like forgotten memories too

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sohra: the cloud and the shine

In cherrapunjee

A usual Sohra morning
as the sun blinkered
in the wettest place on earth,
I captured his rays
on my cupped palms
to store it in my memory.
the sky burst on me.
Clouds nearly stepped down
to kiss my cheek, then
they slid down the hills
tip-toed the vales.
In a flash
I could touch them
they dodged,
became air and dew.
The magic of growing patterns
as they gathered, dispersed
and frolicked in the air.
Moving stealthily like a ghost,
they hid the sun
and teased the wind,
sky smiled blue.
Sohra did not disappoint,
I was air, I was earth,
I was the cloud that
razed the grasslands
on tonsured hillocks.

Monoliths of Nartiang*

On waking up, I fold my
quilt into neat squares
I count my days passing
hours, compress my life
into algebraic slots. The
wind blows shattering
my cards, here I drift in
the raft of my instincts.
I have no illusions left.

The menhirs of Marphylangki
yoni flats and phallic mounts,
challenge the wind, the sun,
even the straying goats- their
bleat, afterbirth, dung. I saw
men disappear into chaos of
birth and death. On market
days turbaned men gather loot
divide and grin with a blear
women, weighed down by khohs,
breath hard and blush, their
stained gums are autumn leaves on
earth; red-brown- pregnant- decay.
men laze on hills sipping
beer, they laugh and rile.

In the olden Durga mandir,
I saw a young priest with
light eyes from which I could
not unfasten mine. The dungeon
where corpses floated to the
river-mouth lay hidden behind the
panelled wood. The temple was
scrubbed clean of the memories
of blood and human heads

* Nartiang is a village in the Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya and is home to many curious menhirs and dolmens erected by the legendary Goliath-like figure Marphlagki in the 17th century

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sea We(ë/ð)ding

I smelt the sea
(fish, salt and rut
under the indigo sky)
her blue canopy
shimmered tinsel
there tiny ships
cast their mast
and sailed calm.

I saw
canoes gleamed green
sun tongues glinted
on power boats
they were far far away.

I heard
fishermen’s shout
muffled by salt,
mist and sweat
swelter in the morning sun
they dragged their catch,
sodden weeds
refuse of waves,
their termite line
yelled and sang
at every heave.

I was not human
nor a mermaid
but a whirlpool
yawning wide
to steal my life
and merge
with the ever
expanding sea.

then the sea was mine…
I wed the sea
like Ophelia
in her calm repose
filigreed with froth
dead fish and
residues of pain.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Chasing my future: adieu Tura!!!

I tread your flesh with
joy tinged with fear
You, my paramour,
Rained on me and
turned my nakedness into a song!!!

There was no other haven
but your arms that wrapped
my body to your chest.
That day
it rained in abandon
When I left you.
I looked back to
see the window panes
streaked with tears
that I did not shed.

Sky was an ocean below me
tailored landscapes
hemming into the
poise of nature
I marvelled no more
at the rivers etched on land
with an artistic fingernail.
Place names vanished
In my memory’s map…

I remembered nothing
My vacant eye
Caressed the spiraling clouds
In the sky
Mirroring shades
Towering to meet my fate
Of an uncertain blue..

Below, I saw
A world full of faces
Innocence staring out of
dim-witted eyes
hitting my guilt’s bulls-eye
wringing my remorse
with dreams of paltriness.

Classmates, friends-
all wore moral masks.
Friends driving in
family cars
they looked happy,
Didn’t they in
their happy interludes?

At night, I counted
stars flooded
on the streets
on the bonnets
of hooting wheels.

airborne and fearful
I heard hail hitting
the tinsel of my aircraft wings.

My journey has come to an end

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Teesta Revised, June 2007

Your emerald
turned bracken
fury oozing guilt.

I have come yet again
To cleanse myself.
Teesta, your flaw
Throttles me

* * **

She roared from
the gorges, unable
to restrain
her yearning
gushing, slithering
voluptuously against
the sandy arms
of her lover’s shores.

Desire turned delusion.

Monsoon tore
down the hills
wind wailed
pulling Teesta’s hair.
It rained all day
smudging my tears
Techno music
Trashed on
window panes
muffled and naked.

Another bumpy ride
on the hills
with clouds that
trailed rain-
denuded hills
Could I only skim
the valley
serenade patches of gray
With my tears,
Or glide down
Like a feather
To the never-ending
gorge and
never ever return.

held me down
as the clouds
broke into
an undulating green.

Pencilled sadly
Against the sky
Hills yet again!

** **

Trumpets, cymbal clangs.
gong beats
echoed my heart.

Rumtek enthralled.

Monks chanted
their trust, gently
pushing earth
anti clock-wise
in her diurnal path
Boring through my fear
my ears reverberating
my mind’s vacuum.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

faith castles

A Photographic Odyssey through the Garo Hills

Photograph by Seema K.K and poems by Babitha Marina Justin

hopes drift punctured
by the sky. clouds, their incense wafts,
are sheep astray.
church-spires, tiled-faith
and idols remain

Friday, April 06, 2007

billowed by the wind
leaves glide golden
i drew homeward birds
to my bosom, like the setting sun
leaves glide gentle
i sat with my pen
demure, powerless to write
with a red shoulder bag.
empty wallet, fallen hair
a piece of setting sun

i thought of the blue Picasso
shades, painted in pink
smudging my life with
its coat running
down my frown
my fingertips
defying harmony, my life
poetry dies an untimely
death in me
colours run over my life
into a liquid mass of
colourless chaos

leaves fall...

Jezebel's Lover

For JCM and the likes of her

you have lost yourinnocence
to say you love me
love comes with conditions
for you.
you are scared if love
will tie you down to me,
uttering this word
will imprison you
to the weight of its being.

instead you say
'come sleep with me' or
you are good in bed'
you compliment me
'a warm bitch'
'an uninhibited lover'
expecting me to gloat!

my love,
love is not your instinct
its measured in the time
that you cash out
in front of the monitor
or in the steering wheel
you manouevre
coursing traffic jams
without road rage
or in the twitter of your
daughter's laughter
and the future that you
dream for her,
or in the doe-eyed wife
with long hair
who preserves her fidelity
just for you,
or in the new home
you have built with
your artistic hands

you are complete
in the small world you
have spun
like a spider
waiting in his trap.
when unloved
you turn to me
raw blood and flesh
wildness and nerves
you remind me its not love
i smile
then disappear
into my cocoon.
my love!
i think i should tell you
i survive despite you

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dawkee: Under the Hanging Bridge
Indo-Bangladesh Border

Dawkee: Indo-Bangladesh border

Evening hung trapped in Dawkee bridge
water flowed beneath forgetting frontiers,
khaki men, meerkat trenched with their
arsenal, guns and binoculars scanned
bathing girls as they dressed/ undressed
with ease, seams upturned, folded on the nape
neatly rolled down wrapping their curves
leaving not a chink to tease swooping eyes.
Maps blur for them on the banks, when they
trespass lines, a whistle brings a smile

Emerald river froze
near the bridge
for patient anglers
sitting still on
their lonely boats

Herr Inspector puffed out patriotism
from his thick lips told us the import
of frontiers the sin of violating them.
In the evening blaze Um Ngot opened
her thighs wide and flowed with ease
mothering, whoring, scrubbing, cleaning
Indian and Bangla sins. Earth thinned
down her borderlines painted self-same
hues all over wind hummed a wisdom
that men and machines could not hear

For My Students: Living on the Edge

After Aerosmith

I want to tell them
that the last oranges of the season
which sieve into the markets
are not grown on water
manure or dust, but on tears
even rain has abandoned them
winter greens disappear
slowly - we are nearing the edge-
of a great canyon fall
hundred feet deep, you either
survive not overstepping or fall
into the beauty of the gorge
turn to air, water and earth
and a lightening blaze
in our insipid memories.
I want to tell them
to stop gazing, day-dreaming
to snatch a hockey stick
or a bamboo pole and
go on breaking the glass pane
that comes your way
and then shatter car windows
glare at riling men, even
slap fresh dung on their face.
I want to tell them
that rage is beautiful
violence is marvellous
it gnaws you from within
if you are calm
I will also tell them
that my smiling face is death,
having misplaced rage is adultery and
being balanced reeks of
rotten flesh dug out of
the rocky wedges from the river grave
of their lover, who was young
and handsome once.
Sentimental me

Morning’s chill stirred me awake
your memories,
my days with you.
Those moments are captured
in vials of evergreen
There was a time
when you plagued me
with desire and intensity.
Even now in the mornings
I wake up with your body
warming mine till I shut my eyes
and let the day devour
Myself, run it like a machine
till I drop-dead
on my lonely bed,
dreaming of sleep and you

when I sleep,
I realize my dream
as your phantoms stir
invade me allover

Yesterdays and Todays

Yesterdays and Todays

I woke up with the mist
of sad mornings
shrouding my senses
I leave them behind;
they are scourged clean
by the whiplash of your love

I am happy with
the pleasures of
a handful of forest spring
the chill of water lips
on my face.
The blanket of fear
on forest paths
strewn with warm
elephant dung.
Simsang’s emerald
anklets rippling round my toes

I gazed at the anglers
paired with their rowers
on the wharf
who rowed downstream
gathering, pleating
casting three nets
in tune with the nature’s song.
I have to find a method
in my madness too
I peddle with my pain
paint them rainbow hues
offer them on a platter
as my dreams lost on you.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


words, memories
jerk out of
mind's stubbled
wind carressing my hair
brown fields glowing
against a golden dawn
dry stalks streaked
with purple
winter blossoms
little romance
in this weary
remains of life

i removed your
reluctant glasses
as you stripped off
my armour
my shame...

* * *

dust to dust,
secrets to secrets
labyrinth snakes
down the guilt-filigreed
chambers of my love!!!
god’s own country!!!!

in this country
men own their women
paw them, needle them
jeer at them
some of them
make them wash their
briefs, phlegm-laden hankies
women cook
for them kindling
the smoldering fire
of oppression
wait for them
snuffling out their joys
in the chula of
i have seen my mother
aunts, neighbors
watch tear-jerkers
on screen
cry endlessly
to believe that woman is
born in a cauldron of tears…
i heard a song
which had its refrain
likening woman
to a tear drop
so insignificant
yet wrought with
mucus and menstrual blood


my women in the cities
towns protest mildly
some flow along
by their desire to fit in
my countrymen know
to stifle a few voices
of dissent

women sing requiems
to their selves at night
some don’t even finger fuck
themselves to
sleep in a world
devoid of orgasmic

i grew up in this land
shit piled up on my age
till twenty;
i was a tiny speck
of shit
in public fingers
when strangers
scrubbed clean my tenderness
with a violence that scarred
i was just a c...
two tender tits
filled with guilt.

I knew a girl once
a jostle in the bus
invited two palms
that kneaded, pummelled
her breasts, shaping them
to his likes
teaching her to belong
to her titty self
not to transgress
male territories…
a drunk jerked off
his cum on pinafore
the world looked on,
like voyeurs at
guilt streaming down,
her revolted self.

still they said
you are still better off, my wild girl
you weren’t raped,
some had it worse!!!!

her tears hissed: shame on you
my countrymen
what a shame!!!!

i am a refugee now
in a distant land
i don’t eat my food
i cannot smell the sea
or see palm fronds lapping against
the afternoon breeze
in the Himalayan footholds
i do not belong
but I have started loving
my body with an abandon
i tasted the joy of
my body being mine!!!

in the wilderness
my laughter is mine
tears are occasional
visitors who hurt me.
vagrant penniless wild
i refuse to be
moulded by your lust.


I chant
with prayers wheels
that revolves clockwise-

god’s own country
my fellowmen, women
who live in the scum of mediocrity
smug complacency.

call me an escapist
i would rather say
at least a few like me have escaped!!!


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