The hibiscus

A.J.Rao

The hibiscus
A poem a day written in January 2013

A.J.Rao

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Contents
The deaf crow Panic Stopping thoughts Smoke Cashew fruit Sand Choice Beethoven is a dog The banyan Chimes Curvature Visions Giggles Oblivion Gods in mountains Anger in a car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Concentration The van Idle The color of ruins Radio Birthday Love Riffling Lonely Flowers for worship Everything and no one The mind of winter

17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

The deaf crow
January 31, 2013 We raised our kid eyes to the leaf spaces To glimpse its brownness in a sky of trees Tracing its presence to staccato mating calls. Its brown body seemed moving like leaves In the morning wind, touched by sun glints. All was soft brown music that froze tree time Setting our boy time free, from home clocks. A morning eight of clock, stood obliterated By the deaf bird , with a song that stretched Luxuriously on our bodies, no schools barred. Its reddish little discs of eyes glowered at us Down to the earth where we stood on knees Calling down in fingers that pretended to fly. Actually we were trying to test how deaf it was. (The crow pheasant is a fascinating brown beauty of the crow species, called jemudu kaki the Deaf Crow in Telugu) Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: jemudu kaki, the deaf crow

1

Panic
January 30, 2013 As we had approached it we fell headlong Into its oncoming, fitful sweaty barrenness A blankness staring from our eyes, crazily Tongue-tied like the evil man in a dark cloak With hell- hair on the ears, covering sound. There was no option about music that came. These were words in Charukesi of our God Who stretched end to end in the deepest sky. We stood breathless as his feet measured All the three worlds , under a palm umbrella One foot on our head, his wooden slippers Making no clicking difference to sweaty silence. Our panic held a bunch of iron keys in fists. Our breath went out of our body as the keys Opened inward sadness, a body held captive As he measured infinity starting from our head. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: panic

2

Stopping thoughts
January 29, 2013 The car seemed to drive as in a reality model By a dreaming creature ,turning on his pillow. The dreaming foot pressed a dysfunctional brake But the foot did not exist ,only the story teller A god story-teller , with a grand logic of design, Who thought no end of himself up to the sky. The dream earth had no sky of billions of stars But rules followed are exactly of the earth air. But why these partial rules of the reality model When it can dream a better model than reality Like cars with no brakes but stopping thoughts. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: stopping thoughts

3

Smoke
January 28, 2013 The earth was then shaped like an oven That would let out smoke from her eyes The blue-gray smoke of love for her kids And for all of us in holiday knicker-pants Clustered around her for stories and nuts As the earth turned oven, the sun its fire. In her kitchen she had the earth-stove With a fire licking the dark sky of iron pan. She roasted nuts on it for kid stomachs. The smoke from her logs climbed the wall And the thatch of the roof blackening it To the color of the pan that had the nuts Dancing in pain on it like black deeds. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: smoke

4

Cashew fruit
January 27, 2013 This young woman could be part of my fiction, A daughter in law of my making , just a thought Arising from history of her mom’s wedded union Not approved by a family of society and uncles. Her dad is no turbaned folk hero of sand dunes Appearing through cashew trees laden with fruit. His temptation’s fruit has long since shriveled up Dried and lies fully buried under the river sand. She remains the union’s fruit , sweet and fragrant And her eyes shine in wet love and golden youth, A darling with a tiny finger to hold to world’s end. The daughter-in-law thing seems a piece of fiction. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: cashew fruit

5

Sand
January 26, 2013 A day-hot sand had this cashew fruit dropped In it, half-eaten in the night by busy squirrels Who would make a ruckus climbing to get it. Beyond the river was this triangular mountain With a circular hole that had hid old time kings And monks who chanted ocher Buddha-peace. We now live cozily in the thatch remembering The cashew-fruits that lay in temptation’s way. Their taste is shriveled up on our sand bodies . Our knowledge is but a sensation , a sand fruit That cozied up to the beat of a summer sun. We are waiting to bury our fruit in the sands. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: sand

6

Choice
January 25, 2013 This here thing restricts choice by keeping Me committed to fulfilling of a white face In a space frame , as a spring pad for action All through the windy chimes of a dark night. I have no choice to come out of the frame. The sounds frame thoughts, the falling leaves. Much like a dog’s solo performance outside Beethoven’s music being performed in room But latter has no choice but take it as oboe. I am committed to this choice of white space For my morning filling , in the sound frames. Luckily my freedom is curtailed and I can hear The sirens singing without running into rocks. (Odysseus ties himself to the ship’s mast in order to hear the sirens’ song without the temptation to steer the ship to the rocks) Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: choice

7

Beethoven is a dog
January 24, 2013 Not in the movie, but in a poem and music He was the quintessential neighbor’s dog Whose barking barking barking in the oboe Played to a baton in Beethoven’s symphony. The poet is not luckily murderous with a gun He never keeps with him and is not missing . Point the gun not baton ,the dog will still bark Life’s symphony as if to Beethoven himself. The dog might be Beethoven himself or poet Who hated dogs doing oboes for Beethoven But the orchestra went respectfully after him As closed windows brought music in poetry As a whisper in the poet’s murderous ears. The dog’s barking mixed life and art in poetry As a conspiratorial whisper in a closed room Its window holes letting in life to mix with art. (Billy Collins’ poem Another Reason Why I Do Not Keep A Gun .Also, Beethoven is a comedy film by that name) Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: Beethoven is a dog, billy collins poem, comedy film beethoven

8

The banyan
January 23, 2013 The banyan spreads dark hair on the muddy river And its red fruits are dropping on it like rain drops. Come to its folds to experience our sleep and death In an extorting sleep, interest for our light’s capital. The fruits mark time for periodic interest payments And interest shall cease only on the final redemption. In the meantime we sleep off our interest payments And each time ,hope that interest is not redemption. (Schopenhaur’s famous financial metaphor in which he calls sleep little interest payments for the capital of life we had borrowed at birth that will cease only on death,the final redemption) Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: schopenhauer's sleep and death metaphor, the banyan

9

Chimes
January 22, 2013 Four or more parallel bars strung by a thread In the balcony’s outer space ring in the wind Telling of its direction like the weather cock For sea ships, but mostly in a diluting night. The tinklers make night a thinner proposition. A flower creeper is the end-user of its directions Its own direction having literally gone haywire Over a steel wire , off the tangent, to the roof. The creeper’s hands claw sky space in dance Touching the summer’s cement roof in its heat And burn its green in the greed of its ascent . It has not followed wind chimes for directions. The chimes better be there when a brown bird Descends for future chick plans on the a.c. unit The bird must mind not to sit on it too heavily. But there is time for sky to turn wet for chicks. Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: chimes

10

Curvature
January 20, 2013 Curvature decides the degree of a soft fall Of a chiffon saree on a night's lower midriff And its husky voice flowing from the lower lips Seemingly moving in sync with the intimations Of mortality, like the rustle of autumn leaves. A poet sculptor disassembles the female lip And makes it a lamp for a sleeping bed room With lights off for curvature to work smoothly. She puts it on a light pedestal for public view. But curvature disappears from the public view As quickly as it has come ,like a lightning bolt. Bodies undone seems to work better at night. Their curvatures turn luminous on dark nights As reduced to their essential component parts . Filed under: Uncategorized

11

Visions
January 19, 2013 Your postprandial visions come a tad early For poems to appear on a green landscape In the leafy edges of summer's bird-less sky. You hallucinate a pail of water from a nearby Sink-well with silver streams falling to a crop Like snakes of water flowing to earth's music And lie in stupor on a string cot under the tree. That is when visions undulate in camel humps Flowing in miasmas of desert sands of wind As if wind is water reverse-flowing to the sky. The words then transform your wind to water. In the midnight's music the words transpose The night with a desert of sands in miasmas. The visions turn thin poems breaking as light Streams from a tube, as words reverse flowing To the darkness , below your room's balcony. Filed under: Uncategorized

12

Giggles
January 18, 2013 As we gleaned the night, words came out As giggles from an isola , in just parenthesis, Sometimes mistaken for the goggles of girls With bare shoulders, watching from pavilion Over popcorn popping , pomegranate seeds Of scattered giggles, an act of ball's running Of eleven men with it on sweaty afternoons. It may not be giggles for a man in two- light And may have been just googled as giggles In a supercilious maturity over giggling girls With a long future history of devil-may-care But with a tinge of pathos for eye-wetness, In old eyes with light that may soon go out. But words are no girlish giggles with goggles Nor pony-tailed girls playing in the moonlight But are serious business for poets in two-light Caught in midnight wanderings of sickle cells In a paper that may certify the end of all irony. Filed under: Uncategorized

13

Oblivion
January 17, 2013 Heading towards oblivion the poet is a river Flowing to the bay with not a stone to swirl Around on the way, just a word in the night. Pity he is not a mathematician with alphabet Dividing finiteness by zero infinitely to horizon And/or a hairy yogic torso stretched to roof So he could view his birth event topsy- turvy Beginning with a sky and ending with dust. His words are going to end in a sky of birth. Of course his words belong to others' oblivion And his own non-existence point from where He can view his sky clearly from holes of eyes. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: oblivion

14

Gods in mountains
January 17, 2013 The mountains tail had stirred in a dark movement , Further down, where we went to see a phallus god . Their torso lay here with a man-lion-God in a hole, Who from anger fell in love with a mountain belle. Their head slept in the dizzy heights where beauty Rested in fragrant camphor, red in sandalwood Trees and heaven's silky yellow flowers that waved In our winter mornings of pilgrimage, with tea cries Piercing a morning calm like early morning birds. There we felt warm and tea in stomach, but cold Under the skin with bones shivering in anticipation. God would grant a moment's sight of flowery smile Among hairless men and women waving as flowers In a warm sun flower bed, against a blue winter sky. The mountains lay in torpor in a translucent sky Their red tongues licked the warm cloudless sky. We come to these mountains to meet our Gods. Filed under: Uncategorized

15

Anger in a car
January 15, 2013 He sneezes in anger as in a common cold of nose Sitting in a bucket seat in a front of car watching Shadows on the windshield moving like life events. Anger gets better of him like cold of his red nose. His rage is a sneeze, a seizure , an innocent donkey The last laughter being of others in the back of car. Anger makes donkeys of us in the back of minds. Filed under: Uncategorized

16

Concentration
January 15, 2013 The temple is beauty cast in flowers and dust A concentrated thought by a chisel in a spike And a still beauty being explored by creatures Living for their death’s immortality benefits Where they lie in niches they project a horror, A darkness of soul in bodies thought and lost. A man- lion -God lies Concentrated in the stone A horror of a stomach pierced by a denied God In a stone pillar of a chi|d’s love remonstrating A father’s egotistical demon ripe for his death A picture of God ‘s anger, a child’s beauty grasp A stony concentration, an exquisite stone child. A music of times lies concentrated in temple air An ether of gray skies lost to myth and history, The wind continues to blow in music of transience. Death is neither here nor outside but in doorway. (a visit to the Ahobilam temple of Lord Narasimha, the man-lion God who slew Hiranyakasipu the demon who refused to accept Vishnu as God) Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: narasimha temple in Ahobilam

17

The van
January 12, 2013 Look the van is on the fringe of the river Where water and bridge and sand meet Taking ceremonial annual bath probably Its driver sleeping on the steering wheel Wonder what the van is thinking in bath As we trudged up to it in sandy footsteps. A man is passing by, our man, to touch The waters in reverence, for purification. He comes from hills holding a stomach In good care under city doctor's scalpel . The van is not actually thinking in bath But only synchronizing sleep with driver's. This man is walking up with his glass eye Blinking to catch beauty in sleeping van Against a sleeping river under its bridge. The river is moody for the rainy season But sleeps in restraint when its ego swells Less with no rain in the far off mountains. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao

18

Idle
January 11, 2013 Some times idle, just a stone in the lake You look to a humming bird and a moth And the least letter of the word for work. Words are humming birds of green pocket With a heart beating just behind warmth. Others' phrases are tiny palpitating moths That die by the firelight of your old winter Leaving heaps of fluorescent wings in gaps Of doorways, in balconies that precipitate To abrupt darkness of wordless mid nights. We scoop up their fluorescence to pockets But our work lies elsewhere, in other words Beating warmly in our chest of furious work. Our idleness is words working to warm light. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: idle

19

The color of ruins
January 11, 2013 We fear the color of our ruins has changed From green to yellow, in the eyes of woman And later to pearl-white in their plastic opacity. Our memory recall keeps changing the color. We love our ruins in tact from the same time In the same place , our own, woman our own The woman we owned in man egos, in money And servants overhang, with the wash of linen Now to be done by the whir of a white machine. Our servants are ruins, woman's eyes ruins. Woman is ruins of kids away in far off islands, Their shadows floating in drawing room tubes. Grand children are shadows of changing color, From green of our eyes to white of far off lands. Colors change according to time of viewing. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: the color of ruins

20

Radio
January 10, 2013 Radio is a gift from our dead, no more playing But visually in the room in memory’s corners Of a man who has since gone out of the system Like a radio made obsolete by retrievable music, He whose ancestors had belonged to snow hills But could not step in the hills of hatred and fight. O’Hara had his De Kooning with an orange bed And a radio to perform Prokiefieff of a week ago. Bukowsky’s radio got flung on the roof playing In the woman’s back against a highly orange sun. Our radio plays from a light to a tiny arrowhead. Radio is dead but it is still orange in our sunset. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: radio

21

Birthday
January 10, 2013 We are primarily tuned to a new birthday Of a child of long years,seeking its growth To a world of awareness, strings not pulled Horizons not yet explored, walls not climbed He that is inured to the loneliness of night. The child’s own melancholy had returned Sweaty in fear and flight ,a panic in attack Years ago,when a grand mom of stories went Away casually to the outer darkness of fears And the mind went in search of a body lost. We now have our newer stories to recount. Our stories shall be without old melancholy With newer grand moms still in the making Their stories with new hopes yet formulating. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: birthday

22

Love
January 07, 2013 Love never took the wind out of your sails On the seascape but the fight with waves. It seemed like phone waves up and down Through a milk bird in a running train's eyes. Your eyes are full of tear love, wet in regrets But with a click in throat enjoying every bit And the salt of it is fine on a lolling tongue. Love dangerously leans on your sleeping bed And would peep behind your wooden pillar A presence registered for your own peeping Behind your wooden pillar rounded in glance. Love is a few phone wires going up and down And bit of peeping behind well rounded pillars. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao

23

Riffling
January 07, 2013 Riffling through pictures ,as of yesterday We have made our overdue poem today The pictures are long and signing in dust From an old attic, with some lively ghosts As the wind chimes keep singing somberly On a morning silence minus a train blare. The pictures are sometimes real images Of men ,children wading in dream waters Their trousers rolled up to their wet knees Men are children confused between states Sleeps alternating between night and flood. And pictures are real of women climbing The attic for long overdue green pickles And the dream stops in confused states Of men and children, in mixed up states. The women are yet to pick up their wet White widowed cloths from the wall peg. The pictures are real in children and men In confused states ,in snakes and planes When the latter fall on the falling former In Freudian sleep mixed up with nose cold. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: Riffling

24

Lonely
January 05, 2013 Others not being grows on us like Dust forming in time lapse of a fan Stirring through months of hot air And whirring to gather noise in dust. The fan collects most of a monsoon In loneliness of whirring for nobody. Loneliness grows on park benches That are as lonely as fans whirring For nobody, with the bums away in Hotel rooms clutching their heads . Bums gather moss of lonely rooms As they do not roll in dusty streets And other bums have other rooms. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: lonely

25

Flowers for worship
January 05, 2013 Flowers are not art but science of beauty Where they sit softly on walled pictures. Here they are not taken apart but add up To the canvas of beauty in its fragrance With a camphor flame raising its dancing Hands on the glass covering gods frames. When taken apart they are flung at pictures. Their beauty adds up to the walled pictures Of gods standing shirtless,in bow and arrow Their necks heavy with old painted flowers That will not wilt nor smell less in beauty. Flung flowers would make up our mountains Rising in a glass casket as in snow hills Where our three-eyed God gently meditates. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: flowers for worship

26

Everything and no one
January 05, 2013 I dream a blind poet ‘s everything and no one The tiger that burnt vividly new year after new Everything , no one in particular, not just blind To the unreal library of other men’s unreal lives Asking God if transience is real, a hallucination. You have got to be slightly daft to be a poet, It is others who are daft without being poets. Yet you are not you , in needless stratagems, Afraid of turning a pair of stiff feet jutting out Of thin white sheets, among yellow marigolds. Even transience is unreal in library, floor to roof. (taking off on J.L.Borges Dreamtigers) Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: everything and no one, J.L.Borges Dreamtiger

27

The mind of winter
January 05, 2013 Sure one has to acquire the mind of winter Before one is born and raised ,in the snow Among gnarled trees encrusted with snow. Raised is a continuous snow falling process Where whiteness falls deader and deader, When we are born in the snow of old Santa A wispy beard caught in wisecrack flakes . We are now sufficiently winter in beards. We are awaiting the gray gnarl of its trees. In the meantime we listen for the sound Of the land which is the same wind as ever. We have been cold all these days ,you see. (taking off on The snowman by Wallace Stevens) Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: the mind of winter, wallace stevens

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