eight poems.


I’m not black, my colour is

what aquamarine is to green,

some blue but mostly green.

I’m not black, my colour is

coffee, weak, not crushed beans.

I’m teal, like the tint of steel.

I’m not black, my colour is

the colour of rape, many generations,

the colour of cum on old panties.

I’m not black, my colour is

the light of zero-watt bedroom bulb.

I’m teal, like the tint of steel.

I’m aquamarine, green, coffee, teal,

blue like steel, red like rust, just

not black.


Your skin is the colour of night

when lovers meet, after a long absence,

more ink than black.

Your eyes are the colour of a poet’s cup

of coffee,

more black than brown.

Your voice is heavy ash

balanced on a cigarette

more grey than black.

At times, the sound of your anklets

make me search serpentine streets

for the glint of your nose stud.

I’ve lingered in the flower

Market for days trying to find

the smell of your hair, your thick plait.

But today, I’ll lick coconut

chutney from my fingers

and taste your skin.


My man not big

like Mount Kailasa.

But whispering a secret

in his ear makes me feel like

a Russian ballerina.

My man is a tongue,

so tuned it smells and tastes,

till it tastes of only us.

My Man laughs like a rakshasa, so loud

that mountains flatten themselves.

But tell him ‘his post-office is open’

and his giggle will remind you of Anarkali’s light anklets.


A crow is a beautiful bird,

sheltered in folklore

as the intelligent one,

stamped into our memories

as the soothsayer of fortune

depending on the size of its murder.

crushed into our fairytales to

describe a maiden’s tresses.

But no one will say you sing like me.


Baby, I refuse to be political for you.

I’ll be arm-candy at your rock-shows

and drink free booze in the VIP section.

I’ll come for your protests even if

you don’t come for mine.

But I will wear clashing colours.

I will not drink red bull because

your protest has no vodka.

I will not eat ice-cream

because it’s not between your toes.

I will be political for me.

I’ll do shringar before I watch you

shag, excited that you’re thinking

of her.

I will make out with you when your mouth is

swirling ganja smoke

and you’re playing with my dreads.

But I most political in my tongue

exploring your arsehole,

searching for whiskey.


11.30pm doesn’t stop me from

drinking or dancing

because I have a man who drinks

Blenders’ Pride like water.

He will set music

so there will be progression

Mary J. Blige to our kissing,

the Gundecha Brothers to our fucking

Erik Satie to our post-coital cigarette.

The alcohol never runs dry

because his armpits are my Golden Rose

and I don’t need kannada

to get my bottle of whiskey.


The ashtray is full.

A dog barks.

The streetlight hits your eye.

You shuffle around, nervous,

smoke another cigarette

(your fourth pack)

then try to sleep.

You text the time – 02.48hrs –

and hope he understands.


Well, poor Shiva is blue with penis envy,

holding his breath, willing the blood

to rush there so he won’t blush

when he sees you in Kailasa, my love.

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September 2008

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