Poems| Omair Bhat

Photo : LeeLa


Your absence has become my permanent home.
I wish I could demolish it.

Arrival of the Night 

Night arrives whispering curses
to the curfewed streets.
Night arrives, in the absence of the local transport, on horseback in our country.
Night arrives in the bylanes of Srinagar,
in the Old city, or elsewhere, in the North, in my valley of despair.
Night arrives in the rundown house it owns, before which it pauses briefly.
The enemy soldiers on patrol walk past.
The house is empty. Its inhabitants missing.

The doors are swinging wildly on the hinges. The doors, in wind, are threatening to fall apart.
The windows bear the marks of violence.
The words have been plucked down, from the ceilings, and taken away for interrogations.
The poems have been arrested, in a nocturnal raid, in the courtyard.
Night throws
its immense arms in air.
Its face
turns to the colour of death. The foliage of old moon, under a walnut tree, breaks into a shriek.
It's only then that, to our surprise,
Night reinvents itself in the curfew.
Night redraws its dimensions.
Night no longer remains still and
quiet, no longer
does it sing psalms to the rain.
Night mortgages its grief to buy a boat of hope, which
Night rows upstream, against the current, in the river of time.
Night searches its disappeared like Gelman, till dawn, only to find them dead on a certain morning, in October, after years.
(Night frightens occupations like El Che.)
In the morning, however, Night dies like Lorca.
The firing squad ties the mythical hands of night from behind, blindfolds it,
so the night (even in its death) wouldn't scare the nation of rats anymore.
Night scatters
itself, then,  all over us, like light,
when we prepare for its funeral
so we could pick up,
contrive (for another revolution)
reproduce and disseminate again what
we have lost in the ebb of its voice.


Say now that my memory of you is elusive. It's the cloud hanging low over a tree in your courtyard.
Say now that my memory of you is an abandoned cave (where no one has ever lived except for the memory itself)
Say now that my memory of you is the invisible border between your memory
and my memory of you. There your memory is the sign post which blatantly warns me against an infiltration bid.
Say now that my memory of you is the smell of your hands on my hands.
Say now that your memory of me is ridiculous. It's there, but I cannot see it. Say now
that my memory of you is black. It only traverses darkness. It doesn't
know anything of light.
Say now that my memory of you is the subversive territory of love. I will bear your provocations. I will tell you
your memory is my eternal abode. Your memory is what keeps me alive. I will live to see it fall apart in crumbs.

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