“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Monday, October 20, 2008


To bite into a chicken’s fried leg

And tear it with a twist of the head

Lick the morsel stuck on the cheek

With the gravy dribbling down the chin…

To light and draw deep on a cigarette

And watch the plume rising

Or the rings reluctantly vanishing

Gazing at the clouds rolling by…

To fondle a glass of whisk y

And listen to the ice clinking

The nip in the air fading

As the cool breeze waltzes by…

To stretch back on the park bench

And ruminate on nothing

Content, still, fulfilled

And admire a young girl passing by…


Your woman glares –

For the cholesterol is rising

Your doctor preaches –

For Hypertension is bounding

Your friend patronizes –

A prognosis of Cirrhosis

And your mind – please don’t!

Playing tricks of geriatrics…

Why do simple pleasures come

Gilt in guilt?

************** Balachandran, 20-10-2008, Trivandrum

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Way We Came

The other day I was reminded of my mother’s vagina

By the driver of a car.

He shouted, “where the fuck you looking at,

You mother-fucker!”

I had to slow down,

Sidle up on to the left embankment

Switch off and light a butt.

I was struck, not by the common obscenity

The one we men believe to be the ultimate sin

But by the banality of it.

It rolls so easily out of our mouths

Fornicating one’s mother

Which is the standard insult

The first one, they say

To leap, frothing, from the mouths

Of our friendly, neighbourhood policemen.

I was in fact, struck by the realization

That whether we ever thought of the way we came.

As my mother lay as she would have

Relieving herself of the baggage that was me

Knees raised and hip thrust forward

As the midwife urged, “Push! Push!”

Heaving, panting, groaning, moaning

She now lies like a cockroach, propped belly up.

I saw the way I came

Cleaning her privates, as she lay paralyzed

And oblivious, thankfully, to my presence

For she could not remember the past

Or be in the present any more.

It didn’t make me sad

But it saddened me when I wondered

If she knew.

If she did, she would have seethed with anger

At the utter helplessness, the abject humiliation of it.

I do not know;

Perhaps she would have loved me more, if she could.

I am a son; I never delivered a baby.

I do not know;

I am a man.

I do not know

Whether bringing a child to life

Is merely a biological function

Or the sublimation of life.

I do not know;

I am a father.

I am bereft of an umbilical cord

That I envy my wife for.

In the newspaper, article on hapless mothers

Left in old age homes to rot like dying trees.

On the streets old trees sawed off to make way for cars.

We are forgetting the ways we came

The shade they gave

The care they gave

The fruits of love they bore for us.

**************** Balachandran 12-10-2008, Trivandrum

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Late in the night, there is a time

When silence is total, for sometime.

Traffic stops then; tramps slump

Dogs stop barking, cats stop yowling,

Breaths are bated; leaves are frozen stiff.

Later, in the stillness of the night

When I must have slipped deeper

Into a slumber that is akin to death –

My old dog let out a howl.

There is an explosion deep in the heart

Shaken up from a dreamless sleep

A sense of regret, having to return –

I shush him, snuggle deeper into the sheets.

Slowly I must have wafted back

Into the swirls of sleep once again –

This time the howl was louder and longer

For the younger one now joined his father.

My head was being blown apart –

Jerking up, I shout, “SHADDAUP YOU DOPES!!”

Dropped back like a stiff nudged down

Struggling to remember my shattered dreams.

Why should there be a third time always?

The best of three or the worst of three

Why on your mark one two three

Why in myths, boons are always three?

I just sat up, blinking my eyes, feeling numb.

Scratched my groin,

Groped for a butt,

The beginning of yet another sleepless night.

The howl did have a beauty to it.

It began on a low key, skipped a couple

Went up piercing the moonlit night

Like a shaft of sorrow splitting my heart.

It was a ghoulish, mournful howl

It went ow ow o wow as if in pain –

As if death was on its daily prowl.

Beyond the gate, under the lamp

That streetwalker bitch was hanging about

Her eyes glinted in the light of my torch –

My old dog turns, looks at me -

Humble, gentle and apologetic.

“Don’t you know, master,

That I need my bitch

Just as you do yours?

Look at my boy, he needs one

To sow his seeds, as you did.

Let me out, let me be free

For a night to run with her.

To roam the streets, rumble with the boys

Let me be me just for a night.

Early in the morn

As you very well know,

I will be home wagging my tail

Your friend and servant, faithful and true.”

The stone must have hit

Right on her teats

For she let out a yelp

And ran into the night.

“Go to sleep”, I tell my dogs.

Tails are wagged politely

Doors are barred

Windows are shut –

Silence returns

Though sleep doesn’t, to my lonesome side.

************* Balachandran, Trivandrum 12-10-2008
(Apologies to Allen Ginsberg )