The Chalk Cliffs: A family lost in a sea of lies, desperation, and love

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She was asking about those of our children who were with me. You see, she had heard that Beirut had been bombed so we were worried about each other. Mohamed's calvary began when he turned to the Arabia television station on the morning of the 15th. I tried to call my wife and children but I couldn't get through. Then after half an hour, Zahra called me to say she was in the neighbouring village of Um Mtut and that people had gone to the UN to seek help and been turned away.

Mohamed insists - though other villagers do not agree with this - that while the UN were turning the civilians away, a van drove into Marwahin containing missiles. The driver was a member of Hizbollah, he says, and its registration number was Lebanese registrations have no letters. If this is true, it clearly created a "crisis" - to use Mohamed al-Abdullah's word - in the village. Certainly, once the ceasefire came into place 32 days later, there was a damaged van beside the equally damaged village mosque with a missile standing next to it.

Human rights investigators are unclear of the date of the van's arrival but seem certain that it was attacked by the Israelis - probably by an air-fired rocket - after Marwahin was evacuated. In her last conversation with her husband, Zahra told Mohamed that the four children were having breakfast in a neighbour's house in Um Mtut. My brother-in-law, Ali Kemal al-Abdullah, had a small pick-up and they could travel in this. He called a couple of hours later to say the road was OK and that he had reached Tyre.

There were 27 people, almost 20 of them children. Ali Kemal drove north from Marwahin, away from the Israeli border, then west towards the sea. He must have seen the Israeli warship and the Israeli naval crew certainly saw Ali's pick-up. The Israelis had been firing at all vehicles on the roads of southern Lebanon for three days - they hit dozens of civilian cars as well as ambulances and never once explained their actions except to claim that they were shooting at "terrorists". At a corner of the road, where it descends to the sea, Ali Kemal suddenly realised his vehicle was overheating and he pulled to a halt.

This was a dangerous place to break down. For seven minutes, he tried to restart the pick-up. According to Mohamed's son Wissam, Ali - whose elderly mother Sabaha was sitting beside him in the front - turned to the children with the words: "Get out, all you children get out and the Israelis will realise we are civilians. There was blood everywhere. Within a few seconds, Wissam says, an Israeli Apache helicopter arrived over the f vehicle, very low and hovering just above the children. I went to get her and that's when the helicopter hit us.

Its missile hit the back of the vehicle where all the children were and I couldn't hear anything because the blast had damaged my ears. Then the helicopter fired a rocket into the car behind the pick-up. But the pilot must have seen what he was doing. He could see we were mostly children. The pick-up didn't have a roof. All the children were crammed in the back and clearly visible. Wissam talks slowly but without tears as he describes what happened next. I just couldn't see her any more for the dust flying around. Then the helicopter came back and started firing its guns at the children, at any of them who moved.

I ran away behind a tel [a small hill] and lay there and pretended to be dead because I knew the pilot would kill me if I moved. Some of the children were in bits. Wissam is correct about the mutilations. Hadi was burned to death in Zahra's arms. She died clutching his body to her. Two small girls - Fatmi and Zainab Ghanem - were blasted into such small body parts that they were buried together in the same grave after the war was over. Other children lay wounded by the initial shell burst and rocket explosions as the helicopter attacked them again. Only four survived, Wissam and his sister Marwa among them, hearing the sound of bullets as they "played dead" amid the corpses.

His father Mohamed heard on the radio that a pick-up had been attacked by the Israelis at Bayada, perhaps 10km from Marwahin. He would have taken them with him. I had another brother in Tyre and I called him. He had heard the same news and was waiting at the hospital. He said it was too dangerous to travel from Beirut to Tyre. He said that my family were only wounded. I said that if they were only wounded, I wanted to speak to them. I spoke to Marwa. She said Wissam was in the operating theatre.

I asked to speak to the others. My brother just said: 'Later. No one who has travelled the roads of southern Lebanon under Israeli air attack can underestimate the dangers. But Mohamed and his nephew Khalil decided to make the run to Tyre in the afternoon. I saw Marwa and I asked about her mother and Hadi and Myrna and she said: 'I saw them in the pick-up, sleeping.

When the ship hit us, I was blown out of the vehicle. Afterwards, I saw Mummy and my brother sleeping. When Mohamed drove to the city hospital in Tyre in search of Zahra, Hadi and Myrna, his brother refused to travel with him. So I went to the hospital on my own and I found my wife and children in the fridge. It was a horrible shock. To this day, I feel like I am dreaming. And I cannot believe what happened. No one came to ask me about Marwa or Wissam who lost a vein in his leg. It seems no one knows that this house has martyrs.

Before the ceasefire in southern Lebanon, Mohamed was called to say that the medical authorities in Tyre wished to bury the dead of Marwahin temporarily in a mass grave. He attended their burial and returned to his much-battered village on 15 August - just over a month after his wife and two children were killed and in time for their final interment on 24 August. He found his house partially destroyed in the Israeli bombardment along with the van and its Hizbollah rockets.

And he blames the world. The UN for giving no protection to his family, Hizbollah's "vanity" in starting a war with a more powerful enemy and the Israelis for destroying the life of his family. We need an answer, a response to f this question. We ask for a trial for this Israeli pilot who killed the children.

He is a war criminal because he killed innocents for no reason. And what has happened? The south has been destroyed. The people were massacred. The Israelis were back on the soil of my land. I could see them when we buried Zahra and Hadi and Myrna. How can I lose my children and then see the Israelis here? We are ignored by the government and treated with neglect by the media and the political parties - including the Hizbollah - who were the cause of what happened. Almost all the "martyr" pictures of the dead of Marwahin contain a ghostly photograph of Rafiq Hariri, the mightest Sunni Muslim of them all, who was assassinated last year.

Jim Thorpe — All-American. The life and football career of Jim Thorpe , portrayed by Burt Lancaster. The Guy Who Came Back. Injured, aging athlete Paul Douglas refuses to accept that his playing days are over. A college gridiron star and a Rose Bowl princess fall in love. The Bowery Boys discover a miracle "vitamin" and join the school's team. Bonzo Goes to College. A coach Edmund Gwenn is so desperate, he lets a chimp be his new quarterback. Trouble Along the Way. Based on college career of Elroy Hirsch , playing himself. A quarterback Tony Curtis deals with hazing and hardship at a Chicago college.


John Goldfarb, Please Come Home. They Call It Pro Football. The Longest Yard. Burt Reynolds as a convict who plays on his prison football team. Fictional story of stadium sniper, starring Charlton Heston. Disney tale of a mule that is able to take a slumping pro football team to the Super Bowl by winning with the ability to kick field-length field goals. Black Sunday. Fictional story of a terrorist attack on the Super Bowl by use of the Goodyear Blimp. Based on Dan Jenkins pro football novel, starring Burt Reynolds.

Heaven Can Wait. A remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan , but with football as backdrop instead of boxing. Warren Beatty as owner-quarterback of the Rams. Made for TV. North Dallas Forty. Based on former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Peter Gent 's novel of the same title, starring Nick Nolte as the character based on Gent's career. Coach of the Year. About Rocky Bleier and obstacles he overcame after return from Vietnam. Grambling's White Tiger. All the Right Moves. A high school football player Tom Cruise 's contentious relationship with his coach Craig T.

Nelson may derail his plans to get a college football scholarship. Quarterback Princess. Against All Odds. Pro receiver Jeff Bridges develops fatal attraction to daughter of team's corrupt owner. The Best of Times. Childhood friends replay their biggest game, starring Robin Williams and Kurt Russell. Goldie Hawn as a high school football coach.

A star high school quarterback Anthony Michael Hall must choose among a number of colleges vying to recruit him. Everybody's All-American. Dennis Quaid in adaptation of Frank Deford football novel. Necessary Roughness. High school bigotry story with Brendan Fraser and Matt Damon.

True story of quest by Rudy Ruettiger to enroll and play at Notre Dame. Tom Cruise as a pro athlete's agent. An Oscar for Cuba Gooding Jr. Angels in the Endzone. Direct-to-video sequel to version of Angels in the Outfield. Adam Sandler as a backward boy who helps Louisiana school's team. Air Bud: Golden Receiver. In this sequel to Air Bud , the title dog learns to play football. A Texas high school star quarterback James Van Der Beek struggles with pressure from his coach and father.

A Miami coach Al Pacino tries to rein in a quarterback Jamie Foxx who is rising in both talent and popularity. Marshall University: Ashes to Glory. A history of Marshall University football in the late 20th century, starting with the plane crash and ending with the school's successes in the s. Based on a true story about a Virginia high school coach, starring Denzel Washington. The Replacements. Keanu Reeves in a fictional story about strike-breakers on a pro team. Brian's Song. A remake of story of Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo. Ryan Gosling as a Montana six-man football player. This ESPN-aired drama depicts the lives of the Cougars, a fictional professional football team in an unidentified city.

True story, with Cuba Gooding Jr. Friday Night Lights. Based on a true story about Texas high school football. Remake of the film of the same title , with Adam Sandler. Two for the Money. Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey , gambling big on football. Matthew McConaughey in true story of college team's plane crash and aftermath.

Dwayne Johnson as a man who creates team at juvenile detention center. Pro quarterback Dwayne Johnson discovers that he has a daughter. George Clooney in fictional story of s pro football. Harvard Beats Yale Factual account on life of Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis. Based on a true story of the first girl to play in Pop Warner league. The Band that Wouldn't Die. Explores the history of the Baltimore Colts , the team's controversial move to Indianapolis , and the NFL's return to Baltimore , through the common thread of the Colts marching band.

High school career and recruitment of Michael Oher. An Oscar for Sandra Bullock. Chronicles dominance of University of Miami program in the s and s. Examines Mississippi high school star Marcus Dupree , his injury-prone career, and how he affected recruiting process. Run Ricky Run. Relationship between Raiders and minority fan base during — stint in L. Six players followed over six years as they try to make it to NFL. Unique look at journey from high school to professional football.

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A history of football at Southern Methodist University , including scandal that shut down the program for two years. On intense rivalry between Alabama and Auburn , and how devastating tornado and act of vandalism placed rivalry in perspective. Chronicles season of Manassas High School, a doormat of Memphis football seeking first playoff win. Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. A year retrospective on at University of Mississippi , marked by an undefeated football season against backdrop of violence over the school's integration.

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Examines the cultural impact of the notorious Notre Dame—Miami game. The story of Brandon Burlsworth , possibly the greatest walk-on in the history of college football. Multi-part documentary series three in theaters, five on TV for ESPN Films and the 30 for 30 series focusing on the life, football career, acting career, and criminal cases of O. Looks at the team that ended the Permian High playoff run immortalized in Friday Night Lights , Carter High from Dallas—with more than 20 players receiving major-college scholarship offers, but soon afterward seeing six players involved in an armed robbery.

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Michael Douglas as fictional Olympic distance-running hopeful. A scientifically enhanced girl Susan Anton trains for the Moscow Olympics. True story of John Baker , a girls' track coach dying of cancer. True story set during Olympics. Four Academy Awards , including Best Picture. Mariel Hemingway in fictional story of women's track and field. Biographical film on the life and career of Billy Mills , starring Robby Benson. The Jesse Owens Story. True story of legendary s athlete Jesse Owens , portrayed by Dorian Harewood. Run for Your Life. Italian-British production starring David Carradine.

The Four Minute Mile. Record-breaking run of Roger Bannister , made for television. Brad Pitt and Rick Schroeder as brothers who compete in high school track and field. True story of hardships and success of great U. Another version of life and death of Steve Prefontaine , starring Billy Crudup. Biographical film about Haile Gebrselassie. Story of the Comrades Marathon , an annual mile foot race in South Africa. Christina Ricci in story about a developmentally challenged youth. True story of Gretel Bergmann , kept out of Olympics for being Jewish, replaced by an athlete who turned out to be a man.

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Burn 'Em Up O'Connor. A racing story starring Dennis O'Keefe. A woman Virginia Vale races versus men, then falls for one of them. Buck Privates Come Home. Abbott and Costello aid a young midget-car racer. Mickey Rooney as a brash young driver out to win the Indianapolis Newspaper columnist gets reckless racer Mike Brannan Clark Gable banned.

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Rivals vie in Southern , starring Alan Hale, Jr. Alan Hale, Jr. A mechanic James Darren feels he's perfected a revolutionary turbine engine. Claude Lelouch -directed film set at Le Mans.

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Weekend of a Champion. Documentary directed by Roman Polanski chronicling Jackie Stewart 's racing season. Paul Newman narrates an ABC television insider's look at auto racing. The Last American Hero. Science-fiction about dangerous car race, starring David Carradine. Al Pacino as a famed driver who falls in love with a dying woman.

True story of stock-car trailblazer Wendell Scott , starring Richard Pryor. Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo. The Quick and the Dead. A behind-the-scenes look at Grand Prix racing, narrated by Stacy Keach. Fast Company.

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La Carrera Panamericana. Unsold TV pilot about friendship of a driver and mechanic. Dorf Goes Auto Racing. Direct-to-video short film. Part of Tim Conway 's Dorf series. Hong Kong film with Jackie Chan as a race-car mechanic. Halle Berry as a teacher whose school competes in World Solar Challenge. Sexless Solitude 9.

The River Returns: Tanka Every Stone Drop Pebble 1 1. Peddling Dream: Haiku The River Returns: Haiku Some More Haiku Some Haiku Sequence MY SILENCE She is the tree green and wide abundantly dressed overflowing spreading her sleeves blesses all in her cool shade solitude teems with breezy songs I feel nearer God That autumn tree from this window looks like a young woman naked exciting birds to come kiss and play tomorrow when spring will return she will be too lovely to touch I feel her hyaline influx in my deep love leaps from the soul with subtle glows her breath runs through my veins: this vassal of the flesh blushes as I drink the infinite in her I clasp your hands and feel the blood running savagely through your arteries in tulip silence Is it the perfume or your body that makes the night drunken?

Blind I see her beauty deaf I hear her melody ignorant I partake of her knowledge poor I share her wealth in-drawn her vision reigns my heart yet the darkness of dust veils my being I don't understand the hidden words though I sit under her tree of love she's still away from me just one pace if I could take I enter the pavilion of eternity The best poetry is a woman concrete, personal, delightful greater than all 8 What is this light without rays shining in your eyes?

She is declared a mental case her legs are shackled tight in the street she snails up and down naked without food she freezes in December near the drain curls up unnoticed by pavement dwellers building a bonfire of twigs, papers cast-off shoes and rags under the bridge sipping tea I hear the bell tolling at Raj ghat pilgrims make haste to catch train 10 She stands between two parched trees like a sea of beauty and looks at passing fishermen in the afternoon her eyes are fish yet no one cares the riotous leaves drop down and rest before the flame cools she sees against the hilly ups and downs her broken bangles and hides a weeping rose in her white saree 11 The little heifer eats in landscape of violence lies on grass that is a grave wild beasts and bulls surround who'll hear her agony when gods are begotten from their sperms?

He unpetals a rose searching seeds through tangled fingers in thorny womb it's bleeding hopes She picks out black seeds of some flowers and says: "Papa, these are souls, let's sow them here tomorrow they'll grow as ghosts" 8 As I curled 'long her we became a small rainbow playing earth and sky in half-dream weaving legends of love in moments unmemoried years I leave my memories in prayerful trance float above my body till rapping her fingers at my soul she breaks the silence: "I've come with my dreams promised years ago. Won't you once kiss and melt in me? I'm fed up playing life across the net shuttling nightmare in cold 75 The moon rises with million stars in sky but none worship the dying sun says how alone one is sinking in glory 76 What good will happen waiting to leach through old layers no use stay put here: the leaves have turned moth we cross-leg with crabbed wishes erase one more year 5.

I see milky blood dripping down their nails there is nothing save the spirals of smoke midst the swelling dreams rocked by waltzing sun my thirst for sleep and rest is reduced to orgiastic pain melting down into the sea of barren academics I search the red tears shed on the Cross and face a mirage of abject helplessness as truth carved out of myths between dream and day 46 How long shall I seek freedom in the myths we unmake licking hairy darkness or feeling sweetness of hips through untamable wildness of the heart chase images that abide circles of paroxysm ascending from the mist and raw voices staring spume in the faces as each star twinkles uncertainty crossing the moon what is left to slice out of the passage through red light except old sorrows ready to leap to the bone?

I've used it to the core the raiment is tattered now even ghosts despise it 18 After the night's rumblings prayers add wings to breezes morning's serene calmness 19 Again the stone-cool city frightens the oval existence downward in black moment swamps of labour will vanish in fume I see no prayers: who can hope to dial new angels when most have turned Cubist cock rivalling small spooks underground tempting vulgar feats with awnings?

I wasted my life weaving it into hopes that could never become love or faith: now coping with signs of degeneration there's no magic wand to bring back the lost years -- howsoever unhappy- the dreams of living were true: even now I seek freedom of a wider world eloped with reality I couldn't change with wishes: the destiny shackles and anonymity shrouds I couldn't find a charismatic guru so made the idol one and looked at the red face any time I needed help and guidance in the silence of my restless mind searched for love and life's purpose my ersatz faith couldn't give: the professional spirituals enraged the soul as I ran into the cave to come out of darkness tricksters encircled the exit steps I could feel the shadows spreading their wings my heart trembled at the shock of the ringing bell now I fear opening my eyes to the sun no iron hands could hold to burn the years' garbage How long can I grow without roots or make way for what is approaching in digital noises I can't be inheritor of arrant cowards smelling the arse on their fingers nor can I be the priest checking the burnt tongues to test criminals stiff with cold I'm tired of animal struggle for survival and last rites in candle light digging cursed treasure for night songs others croon I can't decipher names in smoke nor forget the faces emerging from the matrix of tremors that are islands to shackle feet in silence close the cycle of the waters that feed the sea I feel the lumps hinder and pain now it's time to break off and bury the ash in the earth and plant afresh foliage for rains or sun to nurse a destiny I could take pride in My years upon me keep me from finding myself in joys of love-making under a grove of trees or walking down to the stream for a swim together: the valley in grey brown is now a burden I must throw off before the woes of collapse I want to burn the fallen leaves but fear the flame will hurt the trees I can't stand the stench rains bring the backyard is too big to clean I can't rescue my habitat nor trim the trees for better light this all reflects the shambles made for disco of convenience why regret burial by taunting helplessness now?

The earth won't wait for my dust nor the sky hold rains till I descend and someone places a stone to remind how I couldn't live my wild ambition and destiny couldn't leap to being I was not I wish I had the freedom to breathe a moment more or less but I live my ignorance each moment challenging myself it's no spiritual claptrap but a blind can't lead the blinds: my poems without body can't breathe the spirit I want to feel I watch a poem of silence in stone her dignity preserved like the eternal Taj I remember the white tomb of love I stood before and prayed for his grace when aloneness pierced the soul in search of mate intricate patterns appear and fade challenging mind we need a new key to the myth not spoken but felt in moments flapping between the hearts I seek images for my wordless experiences in loneliness commune for meaning in the world lessen lonesomeness for a moment and again suffer the same angst and frustration of failure in haiku silence The poet doesn't know when words become poetry or what he intends to say he just says what he says knitting together thoughts ideas, feelings and memories into a form which looks good at the first glance creating more meanings in readers' consciousness that each one sees different sense denying complete absorption yet thrilling the spirit so much that they read it again and again and be one with the poet Frazzled at the day's end when I smell her flesh she curses my knots and the two decades of living the same routine in kitchen and bed and nowhere to go in shameless convenience I release my tensions: she kicks my image in the little pool of blood and buries sex What is this world with PCs, internet, e-com robots and cloning the moon and mars remain lifeless as here without roads, power and house they dream I T satellites, aerospace and silence cries for water honest bread and peace the hungry billions seek no hi-tech slavery the global cheats promote liberal economy stealthily purvey rights and environment with politics of control doom the future They die of mother's milk and passions that flow in post- modernist exterior it's the same nature in a handsomer disguise the unchanging inside: sewing up the slashed sleeves we are where we were, or as Cowper said, an ancient in a different dress Her site spurts changes hands plead for a little more space to feel presence map out the concealed parts rehearse performances again and again Raising each child— a test of patience, learning each day to live and smile her innocence through aching arms and shoulders 8.

SEXLESS SOLITUDE It's all linked but I don't understand or don't want to understand because I am too much with me and worry about her dying libido and my own shrinking sex amidst salsa chill Bihu fever, Vishu rituals ringing emptiness day and night shake the age- wrapped youth for single-edge play in forked flame carve image of heaven to challenge the jealous God undo sins of races flowing in my blood: I love Him through the bodies He made but they don't understand redemption in churning and parting of the sea they don't rejoice the flames of henna on her palms nor let the lily bloom in the valleys use the clefts and cliffs to deface beauty and spike voices don't condemn me if I am not white the water still flows in my river My window opens to the back of a garage where guards make water at times show their dick to the maid in my kitchen: they care for none how can I complain if boys and girls make love in the bush between the children's park and my backyard?

She hears the voice of unrealized bliss in the coos of koel at the window sill this evening rains love and delight His message to meet at moonrise among the flowers sparkles a secret on her smiling face passion glows with charming fervour She is no moon yet she drifts like the moon, takes care of him from the sky — meets him for a short, waxing leaves him for a long, waning Before going to bed she looks too sad to have any sweet dream: the lonely lamp glints no love and no star peeks through the curtains Yearning to meet him she turns a silk-worm spinning love-silk in cold night — stands in a shade melting tears like a candle, drop by drop Stains of dried dewy tears on the eyelids tell of the load on her mind: clothed in spring the willow twigs reveal the changed relation Locked in the shadows of unrolled curtains her love in the lone boudoir: she plays tunes on the guitar flowers fade at the windows 8.

She senses all things changing as she passes through the city again: should I leave the old house or lie in the grave before death Twisting tassels round her finger fears coming of night in bed: octopus grips the body and buckles into disgrace At the river she folds her arms and legs resting her head upon the knees and sits as an island Is it her quietus that she roars in herself like a sea waves upon waves leaps upon herself?

The wind lifts her curved nudity hidden in the water curtain: I touch the strings that whisper love in each falling drop Gods couldn't change the rhythm of the body and its needs: erotic scars stick — after three decades love waves tense the flesh and rock the night When the sun is erotic and the moon lyric the winds turn tempestuous in the orbit of love legs slide by calls of nature You and I alive in cold winter night feeling warmth of your body through erect nipples after days of abstinence Before the foamy water could sting her vulva a jelly fish passed through the crotch making her shy- the sea whispered a new song Swirling spiral of her skirt spills tides of dream and memory: I breathe fire in the dance forgetting bends and twists When I wanted to change seats my friend said she can only if the door's locked the light out and her mom in another city Life limits between whence the sun rises and where it goes to relax: joys of a fleeting moment I see Aditi in your eyes When I have no home I seek refuge in the cage of your heart and close my eyes to see with your nipples the tree that cared to save from sun The smile you weave splits the sun I lose my direction in clouds that cover the banks darkening the white of the lake moon kissed Drinking evening star blue green patterns before eyes no meditation no god visits to forgive the sinning soul in solitude Exhausted she sleeps unaware of my presence this warm night carefree I croon my spring song alone and fill the void with new dreams As I repose in the wrinkles of her face I feel her crimson glow in my eyes her holy scent inside a sea of peace The room has her presence every minute I feel she speaks in my deep silently Love is the efflux from her body spreading parabolic hue — enlightens the self I merge in her glowing presence Looking at her face for the glint of her nose-pin or rise of renku they couldn't finish but form in their eyes together Your vacant eyes reveal this city: dim, humid, absent-minded orchestrating bronchial noises 'quake in the face Living in dust smoke and white darkness I know I just flicker — stand alone like a lighthouse lost in the fog of seashore Afternoon dancing on the waves — receding sea then a lashing roaring wall of water, returning sea What should I do about the mornings that couldn't be: now fog controls appearance of the sun Breathing pipe choked with coloured dust celebrate spring in coalfield: the moon mocks my nightly plight I look for the inhaler The chilly wind blows to freeze my feet and fingers tonight I can't rise and silence the whisperings storming the vacant room A moment of love and long silence for years: from dream to nightmare again fear grips my soul I sense her presence around I lost my sleep over a thought I could not make my own: the sun's antidote changed the voice of the wind Watching the waves with him she makes an angle in contemplation: green weed and white foam break on the beach with falling mood Crazy these people don't know how to go down with the swirl and up with the whirl but play in the raging water They couldn't hide the moon in water or boat but now fish moonlight from sky: I watch their wisdom and smile why I lent my rod and bait A cloud-eagle curves to the haze in the west skimming the sail on soundless sea Digging sand with her little toes the toddler in thin sun awaits her mom from the sea I thought I'd exchange my anxieties for a bit of peace but thinking was easier than happening: I couldn't even sleep Standing at the edge I long to float with waves and wave with instant wind: on the dream water's breast I read tomorrow's wonder My hand held out in the dark remained empty: no one reached it to give joy of the meeting hands The thought is sin she thinks and denies me sex to protest against my mind in the gutter that breeds erotics in verse The truth of our togetherness is more real when we lie filling our body with each other silencing sensation I fear the demons rising from my body at midnight crowding the mind and leading the soul to deeper darkness Sleeps the night with desires wrapped in blanket — spring in the eyes gods couldn't change the rhythm of the body and its needs Awake in dream time he looks for the candle — love's invitation lighting up in the dark and sings the body's song Whirling and giggling with livelier partners in the pool breathless I can't keep pace with her swim my way to the bank The sleep is buried in sex for diversion yoga or prayers: the dawn preserves bitter eyes in the day's bleak passage An insomniac weak with desires and prayers hears the heartbeats rising fast with dark hours survives one more nightmare The chilly twilight- tossing leaves and branches tell of the wind before sunrise she and I cross-legged, cling to each other He watches the mound of dead leaves in the backyard to grow dreams after the end of summer and drought: rains nurture seeds birds buried Muttering Tablet of Ahmad in TV noise he lies on the sofa by window seeking post-lunch nap for change Bored with politics and news of falling sensex he folds the paper and flips through the old PLAYBOYs to see the nudes seen in youth She receives my call complaining why I didn't go to see my father while he says it's alright only gums bleed and joints ache Gentle like a dove love was graceful a night away on the white wave it's a sea searching ways leaps to eternity tonight The bamboo garden we picnicked and made love in is now all concrete — managing environment and pollution control The power goes off suddenly summer heat chokes in bed sleepless she turns undoing a hook or two of her tight bra Wish I could kiss her for letting me hear the angels' whispering new moon rises in Libra promising love and money Greeting the first rains after months of soaring heat the lone rose flutters little petals to the ground echoing our first embrace After days of rain it seems summer again sweating all day now without light at night many thoughts drift like clouds Shining on rose leaves silken layer of dew drops: gloss of her mauve smile she blushes when I tell her beauty of the blooming rose Roses await sun and wind to clear the baleful fog: I fear she'll say no to my love again I'm no romantic turning sufferings to bliss and delude in heavenly meeting with god or life's grandeur and greatness I'm human and feel their meanness every moment get angry and lose my sleep as the earth writhes in the pain butcher's knives inflict There's little save poetry and prayer to put up with rising darkness in and out and god too is silent Couldn't be happy with my present nor could realize any dreams all these years — there's nothing to look back to say I lived my life well The chart predicts I must keep the company of the righteous but how to find one among the wicked that write our fate Psalms or no psalms workers of iniquity shoot their arrows with praising lips and god flees to see their shrewd schemes Recedes into self: crooked trees and leaking roofs- the city conspires swarmed with listless spirits young and living, slowly dying Hiding or waiting it raises its head when least expected, a snake glitters in the eyes, looks for the moment to reveal fangs Crudity of the stone conceals grace of nudity the image of Kali reveals to her devotee The sun on a mountain grave illumines the path to divinity unrealized in soul With steel flow the rolling water pierces the rocks shapes them into stars turned into river's song She visits a beauty parlour to erase wrinkles and returns with the same wintry darkness Hanging pictures in bedroom and living room the young couple please each other's eyes leaving box of books for downstairs den The lips in her eyes and long hours in the mouth- no moist secret between us to reveal: now our backs to each other All her predictions could come true had I paid her the fees for her writing psychic reflections on dreams I failed to realize in life Wrinkles on the skin remind me of time's passage year by year traveled long distances renewing spirit and waving good bye At the river-front in-drawn with Buddha's image in padmasana eyes half -closed, meditating his eyes not yet opened Stray fungi grow on the broken window frames beside my bed watery smell swells as if a corpse in the river Feeling the difference between a tin house and a weather proof tent: on the Yamuna's bank Kumbh deluge to wash sins His first winter — recalls swirling snowflakes at Chaluka inside the fibrehut warmth of blue waves surging With black and white marks and nest of ants on its skin the tree grows taller shining through the geometry of sun, moon and halogen My voice brown like autumn crushed in noises I can't understand days pass in colours buried The sea smells from far off leaps to the sky I drive through the maze of returning folks with fresh catch on their head The sun couldn't help nor fish protest: river has no sex so it dried up trapped in its own banks I couldn't understand what's Hindu about having fish and onion after prayers by the river in the temple courtyard Fears to see his own image in her eyes so avoids seeing her again betrays his cowardice They watch her bare back to feel the body through crotch thank engraving pen she loves the etching on skin to enhance nudity Peeling the orange with manicured fingers she slits the rind from top to bottom, separates each section with artistry Dancing on the car top a girl holds the mike to express her love twists the audience Slung-jawed awake two grinning skeletons sit bolt upright in bed hear the shrieks next door but too scared to call the police The nightly ghosts crowd my mind's passage to forge gods' names in disguise I fail to scan the face of thought and life in the dark The chill outside deprives me of the bright moon I breathe in my fears: asthmatic bouts haunt and jealousy itches the throat Night's prisoned friends keep me awake with planes flying over the ashram every now and then I watch the directions matter Unmindful of her body's joy the ascetic absorbed in vision or communion with muse I feel the ripples of fire One thousand miles travelling together in tense silence he and she contemplate the next round of duel I can't cement cracks nor save the frames from collapse: the wreck reveals the myth I need not knit new dreams if truth's so cold and stingy The yellowing patch on the lawn won't green with pesticides — the water infects the roots even if I am drying up here Each night speaks to me in flatulence, wheezing and pain in the legs: god intervenes at times in momentary union With years of rubbish he reeks of aborted dreams lives a stagnant pool cut off from the running source rots in the marsh like a frog They own little earth and seek to auction the sky: excel by default god too becomes a party to their flight with wax wings Lying all day with pain in the heels and sinking heart I read tanka and wait for miracle to sleep Burning without warmth one more hot and sweaty spell of summer, restless down with stroke, without light, fan exhausted, alone in bed Ageing he thinks of the ashes and the long trip ahead in spirit feels the earth he would become celebrating life New leaves welcome his shadow near the window the telephone rings perhaps to greet Naw Ruz: I didn't pray or keep the fast Like tramps and dogs they piss and shit I see I'm sucked in my own cracks: now curl and cry but none bother With moral twists name of god or religion they fly planes to bomb sheep of his pasture and expect grace for humankind Preaching peace explode 'plane bomb, car bomb human bomb and bluff the living corpses with politics of terror They claim to kill satan mass murder innocents and blow themselves up: I wonder how god condones vague prophets and their cult From the border rings he's stationed dangerously: any moment war may break out for their follies he must kill and live No cakes or cookies to celebrate my birthday this New Year's eve lunar eclipse and blue moon cheer the cup in foggy chill Vibration of thought with their venom in groups my spirit disturbed I lose desire to live here conceal my angst in tanka Their loose tattle or loitering on the street changes nothing not even the hand they wave to penetrate the body Surging like a wave they image in the air and end up wriggling worms hiding through the thick hedges digging the dark undergrowth Is it the water or sweat flowing from the cleft they queue up to drink?

The sun of knowledge shining through the beer bottle under the neem tree: carousing, singing in praise of gods and ghosts that never drank He takes out the letter and writes a poem on its back recalling the last words winds whispered through the stars that still shine in the sky Waving arms of trees conspire with overcast day to drench again the two of us look for shade under leaking umbrella Over the dried moss rains have grown new layers making the path more slippery for all of us falling is a postscript now Laden with new shoots the trees promise mangoes to celebrate summer: the dust-storm and rain shatter all hopes hanging by snapped wire Waiting for the remains of sacrifice vultures on the temple tree stink with humans and goddess on the river's bank Awaiting the wave that'll wash away empty hours and endless longing in this dead silence at sea I pull down chunks of sky Two moons so far away yet so near like rain landing gently on my open arms Unknowable the soul's pursuit hidden by its own works: the spirit's thirst, the strife the restless silence, too much Conveying the inexpressible her lines and curves: she acts in plots of pain the dumb sense of silence Brooding condemning things not done and unable to undo he prays ceaselessly fails to stop now compelled to make a choice Try to sense her in a moment that she's never been I walk with light in hand how will she know it's me?

My legs heavy with pain don't move: sit still, await someone to lift When I roll within veins crackle like dried wood breathing is oppressed I can't leave the four walls to survive midnight attack Leisurely the birds keep talking beyond midnight hot humid summer keeps me sleepless too It is for their love of God they play loud music or chant His name on loudspeakers but it kills my peace the whole night I can't sleep Couldn't sleep all night darkness of thought spread over the mind with closed eyes I negotiate fear of missing the train and loss She is so upset with my repressed anger she doesn't sleep with me and questions too why I take alprax when it doesn't suit me An insomniac meditates at night and says: call no man happy till you learn how and when he manages to sleep Short nights and long days sleep loss rustles a friction echoing in bed the cycle of cravings over and over again In his ochre robe the rebel sanyasin says he'll drop his ego like the skin's layers torn off and starts peeling an orange Did I kill a snake or do I pass forked urine the astrologer asks to calculate my future I tell him no and yes Unable to see beyond the nose he says he meditates and sees vision of Buddha weeping for us Resting his chin on the back of his palms he stands at the dusted railing to watch the planes roar and take off Silence of birds and moon so miserly I feel homesick: mists, fogs and leaflessness add to monotony On the roof top she waits for her man with moon cake and lantern: a flash of silver showers on the mist-shrouded figure Rises with the lingering shadow of the dream: the serpent of love tickles between the thighs Pie-eyed from the back door enters concealing smell from his sweetheart The maid fans burnt coal and dried twigs fire to make tea for her hubby lying in sun and shouting Filled with worries all her dreams in one basket- runs to catch the train sand and mud dried on hands ghost fish biting the lungs Burns spiders' net with incense stick in the alcove paper deity unmoved by prayers for safe sojourn in the new city In their drunken chant lurks divinity, the joy let loose in rhythm roses colour the spirit drowsily lost and regained It's prayer to sink into her flesh and bury myself in her breast to escape the faithless hands that never became mother Seeks music in love's masturbating keys at his bed's foot the breath of God lies forked like a tongue of briars The cocktail of drink drug and meditation- nightly yelps tease unshared guilt the hell of silence Transparent in a one-piece dress she tiptoes waving from the window not seeing him leave I love her undress the light with eyes that spring passion with kisses she leaves her name again for my breath to pass through It's not ageing but eternal delight: you under me smooth belly nude necking slow stroking parting flesh The beads of sweat on her breasts do not touch her years or face in candle light her shadow is more restrained than my thought A mist covers the valley of her body leaves memories like the shiver of cherry in dreamy January Watching the moon in the western horizon two haiku poets scratch each other's back and mock the rest as neophytes Once so intimate now uncomfortable strangers smile at each other in the party no one says my name even once At the crowded window implores the clerk to process his papers but he ignores, irritates at the end, abuses A black dog moves freely among reporters lying on the ground to shoot militants in Taj resisting the commandos Amidst trees without fruits and the rising jungle flowers a seasonal grace in colours coexist with disfiguring autumn Whatever the rut they mate without the season ejaculating hatred from their mouths and stink- their cum doesn't turn me on Covering with soil their ill will excreted from the anus at my gate in the morning even sun despises villainy Love runs awry in the name of Holi yields to revelry of colour and sex: they excuse all excesses Delayed monsoon may now come early and quench earth's thirst with respite from heat and power cut: I smell wetness in the air Fear of rain and driver's non-arrival at night spoils the cool drizzle this evening can't relish even the drink No one gives him what he needs after a day's hard work in lab — a lover, a good night's sleep and it passes again, waiting Eternity too short to quench love He walks down the aisle looking for the nave to kneel and slide out After prolonged heat wave sky watery explosion earth lovely doom Seasonal change viral suffering, realignment with doctor's bill Each morning the sun shines through window panes, revives the dream for verses Smell of kamini in front of my house excites: hummingbirds mate She wraps nudity in sari turns graceful: love-touch in colour 8.

Each stone, drop, pebble waste of life in worldly self: haiku nothingness After the red the dog, the girl knotted double face In the darkness of backyard he searches his shadow: summer clouds overhang I stir the water to pierce clouds in it: throw memory stones He has no wind-rope to tie waves in the net: sand melts beneath feet She reads my age in the synthetic dark of moustache and whitening chest Willow summer-sways its bough half-rests on the pole light goes off again Silence is sound in the blank of unthinking mind poetry is peace The child lost in letters and numbers spins new designs She waves a quick smile from her new Maruti— tyres screech The sun vanished in the blue morning couldn't last the flower's smile He sees the ape in the glass self-satisfied his own image The blue white dapples on the canvas seeing the eye of silence Sipping gin he says he loves sex each night but hates the smell They are skinny but skilful, can't be swatted: their vibrations haunt He sweeps yellow leaves or gathers years in a heap burns to merge with dust After hours of power-cut cobwebs in the room swing in thanks My bedroom a maze of cobweb spiders breed The red light is on: they all have secrets to hide no use peeping in In nightly silence glides the airbus through the clouds trail of white smoke After sleepless night a drowsy sun tears the morning sky A lamp floating on river breast in bridal grace waves in the gloaming Looking for Taj in grains through sand storm find history trapped between toes Shining from the blade of grass a drop on earth's breast: tribute to sun I know waves that roar I live through silence of shore: the sea grows in me I felt her fingers the strings of my son's guitar unplayed for a long time After hurried lovemaking we drift to sleep: our backs to each other Flickers of peace hide god in heart like running brook love in nudity Monsoon shower after a long heat wave monotony breaks Ripe on the branches mangoes fall one by one end of the season Coal grows golden each moment in quiet corners raw wind singes It hangs like a drop any moment evaporates love is gullible Morning mist rests on a swathe of pond lone fish looks for sun The moon glows and heat wave all through night scalds leaves kills butterflies The mynahs herald the day clamouring for moths Vacating the house he leaves four decades no thanks to any Not age but years of worries — his furrowed face The leaves sway to fly like birds free in the sky Long forgotten the beginning and the end: exist in middle He closes the eyes expanding inner space a short-cut tour Looking lovingly she bends his head down to hers twines like a creeper Unable to change time my watch doesn't move moment at will The rains wash the paints that hide the face The frog in mirror slips by damp towel cold sets in slippy hands Half -fleshed faces track from behind the windows rawness of journey Falling chalk over head clouds understanding: eyes itch and nostrils run Rains leave soil soft — seeds sprout with first sun pearly dawns Frosted faces dissolve in stale rain clutching female body We lie together filling our body with each other's sensation Celebrating forgettable memories at public expense A star shines bright beside the crescent moon: she fakes a smile Through the small windows gaze at the moon hid behind cloud after cloud 4.

Shaking hands couldn't part with the henna on her palms Reluctant to climb the spiral staircase- bathing in kitchen Measures loneliness sip by sip at dining table From the alcove removes faded flowers and kills black ants 8. Thick dust on leaves unwashed by rains for days- stagnant time Oleander and hibiscus blaze with passion- making love in sun Post-lunch nap: in the drawing room counts beads of sweat Two wolves smell the carcass in field heat wave chills Summer vacation: the noisy roomcooler pricks my silence Dust storm this evening- end of the mango season without tasting fruit Throwing stones at unripe mangoes- two urchins Couldn't keep freshness of leaf in water The first rains coming back from the desert home- plateau souvenir One more empty day but in the mailbox a hint of hope tomorrow Where shall I keep the thirty years junk if I go elsewhere?

A sad soul under the mango— my husband Ending the night's long journey her short story Patterns of hair block the flow: flood in bathroom Cooking smoke waves to the afternoon sun: ruddy backyard Chilly night no soul on the road guard at gate Welcoming the sun dew drops on dry leaves-- an epitaph After the walk two women relax on bench exchanging tensions After cleaning the maid leaves behind an oily smell A tiny spider on the marigold sucking its golden hue Seeking its roots around oleander leaves custard-apple A Christ crucified with the violence of music in the hall After the party empty chairs in the lawn new moon and I A dead voice calling up at dawn: drowsy eyes Such a wild change in the mirror beside her- I look a stranger Stoops to set pleats of her saree mid-August Meeting her once and so much love in one night to last the whole life Each sun aggravates sadness moment by moment: watching lonely street Narrowly escape the midair web of spider perched on hibiscus After extraction he gives me my old tooth list of drugs and new bill Collecting fallen twigs on road half -clad women Palms waving to greet the first rain of the season: I wait in the room Craving for a lick of the salt on her skin to become one with her Desire for diamond dies with price I can't afford: curse astrologer Wish I could be part of the quietude this morning: the sun's so promising Between virgin curves he deep-breathes evening mist rests in the hollow A load of wood on her frail back autumn evening Their shadows dissolve and reappear walking along the river On a cycle he sells bouquets and roses peddling dreams A watchman gazes the stars on her body elements clack Alone on the platform wait for the train swatting mosquitoes Summit of silence: crossing the river- feet dry Scars of existence- wintry sun and chilly night crouching on footpath A dead man couldn't keep standing- lies in dust Knocking emptiness I cross the valleys within now stand at stone gate Love's beauty happening in the soul God presence Silence of class test occasion for haiku thoughts lost in lecture To give voice to stone he chisels the soul-image Krishna plays the flute A lamp on the river— the breast in bridal grace waving in the gloaming In the spring sun the lone pomegranate tree smiling with buds The blue-white dapples on the canvass seeing the eye of silence The mirror is so small I can't see the ocean beyond my own look Silent Ram sheds tears over the bodies burnt in temple's name Violence breeders climb power ladder- peace stings Tears invisible on his water face Buddha meditates Through long shadows in the morning remembering gradual death After the 'plane bomb stuck between concrete rubbles a mother and child In the naked grave some flesh still clings to the bones: flies drone the last breaths Lost in black box he searches love to live- smoulders in ash They still bomb lands for peace repeat August 6 They kill and hide in mosques pray, in fear kill more, and flee To hunt the hunters flames mate with flames- touch the sky Her presence- alien sensation in my veins In my courtyard swoop neem, peepal, cheeku leaves: autumn's ballet Between her fingers and lips swaying some puffed rice Still fresh in the hanky's fold- jasmine Soft footsteps of students bunking class test Her smile arrival of spring at the bower A butterfly restless over the other trying to console Ahead of us-- racing hyacinths in the river Two lizards inside the switchboard turned on Two of us at the waterfall spraying love The whole night waiting for the train running late drowsy sunrise The night queen fragrance seeps in from the windows my bedroom blooms She snuggles up in my arms her dimples joy of heaven Her birth- a poem dancing in the eyes Swirling spiral of her skirt spills tides of dream and memory Echoes of night song flutter our embrace in bed: rushing morning rays Drowsy day waning sex and love- seasonal trick Unattached- drop of water on lotus leaf Baked and cracked the sugarcane field melts into mud Receding winter leaves behind allergies One more year hanged with calendar- a new god Picking at a dead frog on the road- a crow A crow picks at cow's back in the afternoon- drooping rag-picker Green velvet from gate to door- monsoon end A moving train- confined in water bottle rhythmic ripplets Two toads croaking in the drain celebrate sudden shower Chased by a cat a rat sinking into the sand Sculpturing psyche in the city of dumb dreams: idols sweat in sun