Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year-end Grant

[A poem I wrote in 2009, at a New Years' party. Setting it free today. Ainwayee.]

I had heard of human love, thwarted
by the underworld: one backward glance
and all is lost! 
For the gods are cruel and quick
to snatch.

So I expected no generosity, stepping over shards
of sozzled gloom, I stalked the night for
sandpapered hopes: It's new year's and I've paid 
my dues.

On every floor, a bruising joy
brushes past like a metaphysical conceit
that no longer expects to be understood.
Glitter lines two streets - those eyes! - and hair hangs
heavy on balustrades.
Knees pump, sucked-in bellies, a yowl
of beseeching.
The air parts - warm cake 
with rent hearts
of strawberries.

I turn away, but
too late!

The gods have sidled up
and caught my hair, icy hands
on my neck, they whisper: Now! 
Make a wish. Quick!
The countdown begins: ten, nine...
We give you, here, someone to hold.
Eight, seven, six... Scream, hop about, 
kiss... Three, two...

I creep up the steps, tumbling
like plastic glasses of abandoned rum,
I try to hide in a loo where a woman weeps 
(except it is a man: beads, cleavage painted on);
A god follows me in, grim
under that sussurating yawn.
He pretends concern, says: Come!
This is not done. Make a wish.
We're happy this year. Really. 
And even for gods, good times don't last
Don't be this way, don't piss me off.
It's new year, come on, 

The gods are cruel and quick
to snatch, and I had heard
of human love, thwarted
by the underworld: one backward glance...

But when a god stood there, screaming: Ask! 
I lost my head; I felt cowed.
And that was how, this year too,
I went ahead and asked for you.

(C) Annie Zaidi


Crazyfinger said...


I remember way back when, the first time I came to know of your writings on the net, it was poetry like this that drew me to read you more and more. Nearly everything in this poem is a charged mine, though I winced at the choice of word "loo"... Thanks for posting this.


Annie Zaidi said...

Thanks you.

Anonymous said...

Ahh! Its funny what can pass for poetry nowadays (I mean in the circle of the pop culture followers).

Anonymous said...

Annie, I love it!

Anonymous said...

Dear Annie, Will you consider doing a story on the nurses strike in private hospitals, in Delhi, Mumbai and now Kerala which I think is like a mini-Arab spring in the way it has spread.

Mainstream Malayalam media gave good coverage to the strike in Delhi etc and it was framed as "our poor hardworking girls v. greedy Northies, but not a word when the strike spread to private hospitals in Kerala ha!

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