For Eunice and Vijay

 

 

I.

All this whining after the passing
is like cigarette smoke. Coiling up.
Eunice would puff away at it, askance;
her questions tightly grabbing at shirt
corners, a little determined to be sly.
The neighbors are frying jalebi to eat
with curdled cream. Bloody brown sahibs.
Don't you know, we're good at pretense –
we're also good at kissing sans love.
Then all this lament about her not
being there amid the thought of
smart-ass jibes of oh look what she
lived like and couldn't she be a lady more,
in between sorting out credit card bills
and skirting piss on back alley walls –
such darn thoughts to lob on until
a sudden realization. Call it epiphany:
Death is an art too, living is fiction.

II.

Another day and another news –
he lay on his side, as usual, dreaming
of that Oomanchery female in black.
Or is it grey she wore with a border
the color of hay drying in the Coorg hills,
distracted coffee smell wafting on his hide.
The next door guy is thrashing opening TOI,
morning news is black today. Your absence
is like a railway station, the darn long wait
is one nimbu-soda plus the station cat
mating with the shitty grandfather clock.
How lonely will poetry be if we all went?
You'd be left cocking a thumb, careless:
poetry doesn't need you, you'd smirk.
That typical sparseness of spleen,
a libation, where a journey is packaged
safe – wallet, bag, brown case. Yet
after six drinks, no, after one glance,
death can reach out and so casually,
in its shallow cup, drink you up.

 


 

Further reading:

“The newly dead is an unknown quantity”: Remembering Eunice de Souza

"Without My Imaginings What Is?" Remembering Vijay Nambisan