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  • 1. The hibiscus A.J.Rao
  • 2. The hibiscus A poem a day written in June 2003 A.J.Rao
  • 3. This file was generated by an automated blog to book conversion system. Its use is governed by the licensing terms of the original content hosted at hibiscusandgrowing.wordpress.com. Powered by Pothi.com http://pothi.com
  • 4. Contents Who is this hooded man? 1 Scraping the night 2 Money 3 White clouds 4 The god of the hills 5 Stages 6 The super-moon 7 The jungle flower 8 Well being 9 Sleep 10 Agape 11 Own 12 Lines 13 Smile 14 Inchoate 15 The wild elephant 16
  • 5. Cats in the clouds 17 Closure 18 The hibiscus 19 Password 20 The silver mountain 21 Voice 22 Conversation 23 Unread 24 Enema 25 Phone gossip 26 The reluctant old man 27 The driver’s mustache 29 Derelict 30
  • 6. 1 Who is this hooded man? The women are at their frivolous pursuits At lake, with a shameless crow on the tree. Soon the crow will be black in wistful air With a princess’ jewel, to women’s shouts, Their delicate fingers pointing to the sky. There is a Krishna- flippancy to the crow That flies away with a jewel hiding shame. The women walk on their hushed whispers. The hooded man seems a crow running away With the princess’ beauty on rising bosom That went up and down on the golden jewel. He is in fact a self-redeeming black soul A bored painter of languid women of myth. These women are figures from his canvas Bored with pointing fingers at crows in sky. (Raja Ravi Verma’s painting: Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: raja ravi verma's painting, who is this hooded man
  • 7. 2 Scraping the night I have to be a cat scraping the night Confusing between idea and thing. You may call me a soft landing cat On night’s tin roof with no hot feet. Its corrugations collect windy leaves Having lost the previous day’s sun. The cat is missing and since gone . Rain snakes overflow corrugations With blowing yellow leaves to floor. But the cat is messing and not gone With a kitten held by a loose scruff. Mom cat is searching for other night On another hot roof, in scalded feet. Kitten turns small night’s scraping. The scraping of the night is a sound In the inner lobe of an ear’s poems. Cats are poems on your hot tin roof They sky-drop and flow as rain waters Snaking through night’s corrugations. (A gentle recall of Raja Rao’s novel The Cat and Shakespeare) Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: scraping the night
  • 8. 3 Money Times we feel warm and upbeat in pants With money ,as with pebbles from beach Near a sand castle built on our child foot. We bring home pockets of cash to forget Hot flushes, our years hot with knowing. We know oldies with their gleam in eyes About certain money schemes hatching Gold ducks , the gold from duck stomachs Dropping as Sunday’s eggs in bare fundas. And later, on four shoulders towards dust, The gleam would go home to their sunsets Beyond rocks, their children smiles gone. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: money
  • 9. 4 White clouds In that sky, like preternatural birds , Lay soft white clouds, full of rain Drops for red roses by the lakeside Lying in wait for somebody ‘s car Boot to pick up so as to lie in wait With the wet clothes on balconies. The white clouds are wet clothes Hung by the sky gods for drying. As they drip-drop they will turn rain Drops on lake roses lying in wait For cars to pick up, to lie in wait On balconies with drying clothes. Meanwhile , soft white clouds will Turn temporary cat’s eyes peering Down in our camera’s pure view To lie in wait permanently in eyes. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: white clouds
  • 10. 5 The god of the hills All the machinery is there ,a siren’s blow A blade, a voice to the right, some words. The blade cuts through ice, mud and lies Saying it is words from the night, a sleep. It is bodies in their own words from space A chopper on its way down , men stopping Short, other people living and some dead For a hill visibility that is missing from life. Silence is all ,a stone phallus in the hills Snug in the cave ,a light from earth lamp A blue and dusted god with a river in hair And a moon no longer super, far from us. Words are his dreams, a god in snow hills, A god submerged in the stream of his wife. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: the god of the hills
  • 11. 6 Stages It turned out their world was not a stage But many stages as players looked down Their eyes popping out in disbelief about The growing years of mustache and glory Turning to mud , in cloud dust and rumble. A handful was the rat-slime about a temple That turned eyes to pearls, passing stages. And nothing of them that doth change but Doth suffer a river change, a rat that came Crawling from the trapped valley of a glacier. (Thousands of pilgrims to the Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath have perished ,caught in a flash flood triggered by a cloud burst : Those are pearls that were his eyes Nothing of him that doth change But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange The tempest : William shakespeare Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: stages
  • 12. 7 The super-moon My super-moon drifted away to its sleep Behind rain-clouds ,while a super-mom Danced away blues on the small screen. Big bright orb was ghost on another sky. My purest view had to be near a guess Behind rain – cloud, a dastardly destroyer Of men in folded prayers on the snow hills. A moon ghost became far from my truth With men and trees across its luminosity, Ghosts of men and dark trees in a breeze Violently disagreeing with its astral views. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: super moon
  • 13. 8 The jungle flower Near the lazy rock and its green sky A jungle flower would bloom whitely Like whirring wheel of a firecracker, A toothed wheel of tiny locomotion. The breeze stirred its shape into many, With false feet of anthers , disheveled Hair of dancing to a morning breeze. Near its heart is a dash of soft orange Set in a white crystal of perfect view, With contrapuntal note by brown bee Hovering to a hesitant landing away From prying camera for macro views. The rock rose grandly to a summer sky Looking down on a single jungle flower A white pride in its green rock bottom. The bee landed briefly on bee outlines, Many shapes vaguely embracing bee. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: the jungle flower
  • 14. 9 Well being Like the old poet we had a well to look in With a bucket lowered gently to touch its Perturbed waters in their broken moons. Midnight was fearsome with green snakes Lurking in ghostly hibiscus trees standing. A boy in knickers could not bend too low For fear in belly, with no Narcissus -love. Fear perked up like a piece of balcony sky And crawled in half-pants to feet below. The bucket fell to it with deep dull thud As its rope had slithered down a pulley Like a vague water snake searching frogs. The waters came up to sprinkle moons In tiny puddles on the stone saucer rim. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: well being
  • 15. 10 Sleep Sleep is not doing nothing with body But a possibility of switching off Like for instance in sleeping with. You have to sleep with a possibility, A metaphor for love that kills sleep. Just when you turn a blind corner At the corner tree in a windy dance You sleep off your wind in the hair. The wind gone the hair still stands As piece of avant garde reporting. You only have to sleep once with And not do anything with the wind. What we mean sleep we mean with. Or if you please, we may agree to off, And not alone in a midnight pillow. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: sleep
  • 16. 11 Agape While at the stand we keep wondering With mouths agape, forgetting to close. All the time we ask immortality forgetting To desire eternal youth to fading bodies. The cicada keeps its mighty mouth open Its sounds a never ending stream of youth. We open our drawers only to keep them Wide and agape as our mouths wonder. Wonder never ceases while youth is gone. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao
  • 17. 12 Own My own thing is this very empty space Since nobody has claimed this as own Like the dog on a leash claiming his , Shouting at tree’s silences in corners. The cricket claims his own in the bush And around a forgot house on the lake, Now a grand view of buzz- mosquitoes. Poems are buzz- mosquitoes owning all This piece of unreal estate at midnight. Their shrill cries are documents of title. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: own
  • 18. 13 Lines A few red spots turn lines as a sun dies. They are on a body flying southwards. Birds are white spots under fingernails. Fingers flutter wings to call birds down. Tiny red spots disappear from a dusk sky And the body turns to sky at a soft dusk And azure, beyond a brown rock of lake. The lake swirls around the birdless rock And the rock swirls around a birdless sky As the birds turn fingers fluttering wings Calling other birds down from a dusk sky. Birds are now white spots, v’s on canvas May be lines from white spots in fingers. Sky is a line joining white spots of birds. The rock is a line living in the lake’s line . Sky is a fine line living above a lake’s line. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: lines
  • 19. 14 Smile Just this happiness wish at the street corner With no birthday in cakes and songs on lips, As you coast along on a floating noise of feet. A smile curves at lips corner near silver hair. Today is not even your birthday but could be. Who knows somebody is smiling in your back. I for one smile behind my back at your corner. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: smile
  • 20. 15 Inchoate In the hours before a night crashes Our meanings are formed as wings. Wings are a shambles of flimsy art Exquisite art of a silver filigree done In sleep and dreams between sleep, The mothwings left on a rainy night. Marginal words are inchoate ideas A shambles of thought , a silver filgree Of wings that pile up like fallen leaves To be scooped up the next morning To throw away behind a white wall. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: inchoate
  • 21. 16 The wild elephant The tribal guide would not not let us down Into the crunch of leaves and tiger pawprints. From such height you can see the mountains. The secret is to hold on and not let it move To mountains over thorns , low-slung bushes With blue clouds at the top presaging storm. Witout ankush it takes us to the inner animal Wth trees uprooted, mountains pulled nearer Without the dusk shining from the rear flanks. Muthu teaches us to wield ankush to it to go Where we want to go, to the blue mountains. (The mind is a rider on an elephant. ‘My own mind used to wander wherever pleasure or desire or lust led it, but now I have it tamed, I guide it, as the keeper guides the wild elephant-Buddha) Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: the wild elephant
  • 22. 17 Cats in the clouds Rainless and cotton-white it had turned A whiskered cat staring down from eye Over the spiked antenna of the neighbor A picture of a ghostly vision of a feline. How can it disappear from my picture? It is as if cloud cats jump walls to disappear In the bushes to the other side of tree. The eye-hole stays but the rest of the cat Has gone , cat-silent and rubber-footed . A cloud-eye is what remains of its ghost. Cats disappear from the virtual picture The same way as they do in the real sky. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: cats in the clouds
  • 23. 18 Closure The dad’s absence hole is waiting closure Of a grief never felt, yet staying open in The space between us and a body’s sleep. We live alongside a grief’s body staring At the ceiling fan that has never buzzed. The fan was never really meant to buzz For the tiny blood flowing up and down, A bundle of baby flesh shrieking closure. The gaping mouth in its mother’s breast Stays open for closure of grief never felt. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: closure
  • 24. 19 The hibiscus We have never looked deep in its heart It carries at the top waving in the breeze Loving a bee and the colors of butterfly. Cognition names it hibiscus for poems But poems are no hibiscus, with anther, At summit sprinkling pollen on breeze. Airy creatures will land on the summit. They will make it a hibiscus pure view For a stamen to nod in excited whispers For the breeze to carry a floral message. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: the hibiscus
  • 25. 20 Password You say it and shall pass like Change of guard in Elsinore fort. But the lockbar does not slide Like half-open toothless mouth . You shall remember who mom Had been before her marriage. You remember mom all the way Before she was dead and gone Further back to silly giggling girl Before she had worn that finery To her new life, your new birth. Her own lockbar opened to enter The half-open toothless mouth With a password open sesame. One always forgets it to return. The captcha is hard to decipher. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: password
  • 26. 21 The silver mountain The silver mountain disclosed answers To a meditating saint in its deep recess Now sky blue with priests interceding For us on behalf of a phallic stone god. Then were no blue – red painted pillars Enclosing people bathing phallus gods With smooth gluey banana milk paste, Just a saint and his god in banyan trees Sprouting from silver recesses for wind. The saint would look for beauty in jungle And in silver mountains, on his cross-legs Blinded by a gold of sun , a child’s doubts A flicker in the mind like a child’s smile. We search beauty in blue stone pillars Climbing kitschy colors engulfing men. Their beauty flows in white guey paste Around phallus gods in silver mountain. The mountain is no more silver but blue With white clouds about it as gluey paste. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: the silver mountain
  • 27. 22 Voice Thinking is a language’s voice stopped Wind in coconut leaves brieflystopped While cock crowed a train in woman’s Voice embalmed in sleep before coffee. Train will arrive soon on the sun’s back And find voice of woman on its clackety. The milk van is on its feet finding voice On the slurp on kids’ lips as eyes bleared. Soon it will be the voice of school on back Little girl giggles of memorising formulae On ponytails ding-dong on uniform backs As buses blow ready horns in road corners. Coconuts find dancing voice before dawn In lost moons and wind gains,before eagles. Eagles will arrive to find voice before trains. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao
  • 28. 23 Conversation We did little to further the conversation. Our gestures would vanish in the wet air, Our gait formal and awkward in the sand As cactii bloomed between legs of dogs. Stray dogs jumped and ran to other dogs Beyond the mound, to fishermen’s shacks The shacks that sported colorful garments Before the conversant sea of fishing nets. The nets broke off ongoing converation Between moluscs and hole drilling-crabs Making drag-marks as if of formal nets, Nets broken like holes in mosquito nets Letting in mosquitoes to buzz near ears. The sky stretched like a drying garment Broke in holes to let in sea-conversation With a moon that would listen endlessly. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: conversation
  • 29. 24 Unread I would better smell the unread growing To a huge pile of golden straw at dusk In a read later’s vast continuum of sky. The gold shall disappear at early dawn When a whole new pile appears to smell Fresh dew-wet straw scraping the blue. We always remain unread straw people. We are for demolishing our straw piles To wear their hats in our literary leisures But always put it off to tomorrow’s dusk. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: unread
  • 30. 25 Enema All this sadness is hers and not mine It is her kneecap that is not working To climb the stairs powered by a lift Not working now , sadly, out of power. This sadness is hers she refuses to own And passes it to me nursing my own, My own sadness congealed in blood As the general sadness of humankind. Sadness is not hers but enema maker’s Pain in the arse is mankind’s, not hers. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: enema
  • 31. 26 Phone gossip We call it the possibility of a happening A language of thought, of a meditation A way of happening, not just an event As the phone unfurls on a pair of ears. We construct life ,wall by wall ,corridors In empty spaces of language and speech. In the graybeards exist many possibilities To hymns, God-invocations and silences. The phone vibrates a silence of thought By hand gestures, a pantomime on wall. The ears speak actions jumping on wall, As eyes remain screwed to their ghosts. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: phone gossip
  • 32. 27 The reluctant old man In the beginning it would sound funny Like the short squat cries of brown birds That have come back to a roost season. Any old man has got to look ridiculous And feel it so in short squat bird cries. He did not feel that awkward before birth Why now before a locomotive of a disease That will carry him to the little black dots On starred skies’ map, like dots of towns On a lazy map lying stretched to eternity. Disease takes him there chugging clackety But on foot the old man is rather reluctant. (For my own part, I declare I know nothing whatever about it. But to look at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots of a map representing towns and villages. Why, I ask myself, should the shining dots of the sky not be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? If we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star. One thing undoubtedly true in this reasoning is this: that while we are alive we cannot get to a star, any more than when we are dead we can take the train. So it doesn’t seem impossible to me that cholera, gravel, pleurisy & cancer are the means of celestial locomotion, just as steam-boats, omnibuses and railways are the terrestrial means. To die quietly of old age would be to go there on foot.”)
  • 33. 28 Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh c. 9th July,1888 Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: the reluctant old man
  • 34. 29 The driver’s mustache A wide and long handlebar mustache Trembled with life and a car smoothly Flowed as life, driving its bloody heart But one morning as the sun would rise Its blood trickled down to its last sand. Two plastic tubes could smooth its flow But tubes are the commerce of medicine That flows smoothly, on warm pockets. And the mustache had to stop quivering With all emotion as pockets went cold. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: the driver's mustache
  • 35. 30 Derelict On the upper story is telltale remainder Of a fine smile of yesteryears , a direct Message from Christ, a new shiny star In plastic paper in light, gently swaying To December wind’s Christmas carols A fine celebration over christmas cupcake By rubber man now south with daughter Grown and graceful, a fine Maria of angel A lily fragrant from a monsoon breaking. Our heads are derelict , carrying ruined Walls from yesteryears flaked off by rain Accumulated rain of bitter experiences But the remnants still sport a life-giving A green plant shooting from derelict space. Filed under: a poem a day by A.J.Rao Tagged: derelict