The tortoise and the sun

As the sun climbed the temple banyan
The tortoise carried the world on back

As in apocalypse times, a flood coming
And a kind earth quaking with disaster.

We offer our eyes closed and in prayer
Our palms joined in a tortoise gesture.

We then go forward to the sun in silver.
We offer prayers to the sun in whiskers

Lighting our eyes with camphor flames.
Our silver eyes are for his safe keeping.

( Visit to the temples of the tortoise God (Kurmavatara) in Srikurmam and the sun god at Arasavilli)

Unhappen

On your brow his stylus inscribes fate.
But a three-headed bearded God can

Rarely come back with after thoughts.
An educated wife keeps him occupied

Supposing she would prevail on him
To change the writing on your plate

Give him a blue pencil and editorial
Freedom,to change his own writing,

Can he make you unborn by a pencil
A blue pencil making you unhappen?

Festival season

There is the broken moon on the housetop there
Cold and soggy, snuggling to the breezy coconut.

The elephant god is not looking for it for laughter
After a heavy meal of sweets in his child-stomach.

Our dear elephant-god lies in now broken himself
At the bottom of the lake, snuggling to the algae.

Time for a many-armed mother, who shall bestow
Our victory for this season, wealth for our devout.

The mother maternal, eyes wet with love for sons
And terror in tongue, trounces demons under foot.

After the victory she too will go down to the lake
To a drum beating of music and camphor flames.

Our gods are like us, of soft clay and kitsch colors.
They disappear from life after the season is over.

Worship

It is a sound that comes through child
A child of the earth and a climbed wall,

A tree with leaves plucked into pockets
For worship of a stone god in vermilion

And yellow softness of beginning god,
A god nestled in a heap of yellow rice.

It is the women in rustling silks of air,
A fragrance of leaf, flowers and flame.

It is a flame that dies in floral fragrance
But re-lives to verify a continued living.

Ochre

Wear your robes into the big hills
To a precipice, to discuss beyond

The vedas, read all about a flesh
Bones are heir to, as loosely laid

As words failing toward meaning
When they sprout as new leaves

To a bodhi tree, under an ochre,
Like setting sun behind the hills
Its shadows lasting all morning.

Birthday

Mom wanted a birthday celebrated
According to the moon of calendar.

We would wake up when it was dark,
Before the resident cuckoo got up,

And spread mom’s soft flour paste
On our bodies to be ready for bath.

Later in school we would be proud
To distribute our hard boiled toffees.

As the kids hit tongues with them,
Tongues hit roofs of their mouths.

Bus shelter

Bus shelter stood with holes of eyes
Open to a sky that held possibilities
Of rows of stars on moonless nights.

The shelter did not care for bus dust
Coming from the horizon on a wind.

Right , the bus conductor would say
Glamorously, his leather square bag
Hanging loosely with ticket moneys.