Tikuli

 

 

(India)

 

 

 

1.

Ghosts Of War

 

I see him standing there,

a body trapped in soul,

watching the remnant of

what was our home.

They had found him slumped

near the ruins of a bombed

mosque, his spectacles propped

awkwardly to the bridge of his

broken nose, his forearms

shattered, his white robe mud

caked and ragged. They had

dumped him into a two-wheeled

cart and dragged to where he

now stands in the picture that

came today from a stranger

with a scribble at the back,

“your father.”

A reminder of the day the city

smoldered under clouds of dust

and smoke, deafened by the sirens

and the wails of women and children.

The day I and my mother, forced

by my father, braved the blood-stained

road to another land, never to return.

 

 

 

2.

Exhaustion -1

 

Half enshrouded

a quarter moon –

a slice of pizza Margherita.

Stars, buttered popcorn.

 

In an empty park

wrapped in soundless dark

of an anesthetic night

on a bench I lie.

 

Head nestled in the crook of left arm,

a half burnt cigarette loosely held

between two fingers of the right.

 

A dog hesitatingly approaches,

sniffs at mud coated shoes,

retreats.

 

They smell of death,

of hunger and thirst,

sweat and blood.

 

They smell of drudgery,

sleeplessness and pain,

and of never-ending toil.

My eyes gaze at an unfocused blur,

the wind rustles through the trees

shadows’ quivering whispers.

 

The cigarette drops,

turns to ash,

night gathers the leftovers

in its shroud,

somewhere the dog howls

a lullaby for the hungry.

 

 

 

3.

Exhaustion -2

 

Day after day she sets out to work

 

before dawn’s first light

 

and returns home

 

night after night

 

through the dusk

 

always with one thought –

 

whom to feed

 

and whom to keep hungry

 

that night.

 

A silent struggle

 

to feed the mouths,

 

for that’s all the family is to her.

 

She slaves for their lives,

 

her limbs perpetually exhausted

 

just like her dreams, her desires,

 

her grief and despair.

 

Bowed by the weight of duties

 

she leans against a tree and

 

gazes at the darkening plains,

 

limp and leaden eyed.

 

Tied to the vicious cycle of labor,

 

No, not labor – drudgery,

 

hopeless, endless, joyless.

 

She folds her hands,

 

seeks forgiveness

 

for a deed she’s resolved to do.

 

Silhouetted against the sky.

 

A shadow slowly fading,

 

Earth to earth

 

ashes to ashes

 

dust to dust.

 

 

 

4.

Ruins

 

Under the melancholy sky

drenched in blood,

the ecstasy of love and

the anguish of loneliness, bleed over

the canyons of light and shadows

rising from the huddled heaps of gray,

adding meaning to the mundane.

Dark narrow pathways, flights of stairs

that led nowhere,

aging walls transfixed in pain, dimly alive,

with dusk settling in the cracks.

Looted, betrayed, traded.

I lingered, unperceived

in the labyrinth of solitude

decayed by the weathering of time,

not knowing where to go,

where to go back to,

my weight of memories

heavier that those

orphaned blocks of stone.

The all-inclusive night,

like a great shadow,

descended on our mutual loneliness,

filling the gaps, the cracks,

filling the emptiness, the void,

painting everything in its own color,

surpassing the idle details,

singing a requiem for the living.

 

 

 

5.

Empty Is Full

The deserted corridors aren’t empty,

they are full of

whatever you imagine

them to be full of.

In the quietness of silence

between white and dark shadows

like an ancient dream lingers

a phantasm

waiting to be discovered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bio

 

Brought up in Delhi in a family of liberal educationists Tikuli is a mother of two sons. She is also a blogger and author. Some of her short stories and poems have appeared in print and in online journals and literary magazines including Le Zaparougue, MiCROW 8, Troubadour21, The Smoking Book (Poets Wear Prada Press, US), The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Mnemosyne Literary Journal, Women’s Web.
Some of her print publications include poems in Guntur National Poetry Festival Anthology and much acclaimed Chicken Soup For The Indian Romantic Soul (Westland). Her work has also been featured on websites related to gender issues and child sexual abuse.

 

Her debut poetry book ‘Collection Of Chaos’ was published in Jan, 2014 by Leaky Boot Press.

 

She blogs at tikulicious.wordpress.com

 

Her Blog: Spinning a yarn of life 

 

Connect: Twitter  LinkedIn

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