Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Drifting Along

Drifting Along

Sweet Torment

A dripping tap, somewhere;
Jealous sleep finds ways to torment!
Waiting just for you…

I: An Incorrigible Gambler

Fireflies on a moonless night;
Folks at Jantar Mantar may mean nothing but
Let’s bet on the contrast, still!

A Haiku by Basho (1644-1694)*

In the cicada's cry
No sign can foretell
How soon it must die.

* I just copied this one from Basho who is the real master. I really love the depth; more you think about these three lines, more layers of fundamental truth are revealed.

The Last Joker: A Story

A Joker with a lantern is as much a joker as the one without it
But is the same true for a joker without a ball on his nose?
Consider a joker with no make-up on the face,
No funny dress, no pointy boots, no long hat.
I saw one; it was a dead serious face
But for a glint in those expressive eyes
A signal that relayed a shared sense of mischief
A cue for the observant children across the circus tent
To fill their lungs with fresh air ready to blow the canopy
With a blast of synchronized laughter
But it was no tent circus when I saw him this morning
It was a newspaper and his story it tracked.
Still a joker that he was, what a last joke he cracked!
He hung himself from a ceiling fan and the roof came crashing down
Paparazzi, full metal, impregnated editors who went into labor, anon!
The next day on the streets were crawling countless versions of ‘The murder of a clown’
As the clamor grew, the mayor had to do something, so he did:
He awarded his brother-in-law a contract
To build on public expenditure a memorial for ‘the last joker of the town’

In the lazy afternoon hours, the rains comes pouring down
I am drifting and drowning and grappling with something profound
Marking the contours of the story along the burnishing river of time
How an era faded, tastes somersaulted and the crowd vanished
Taking circus tent with them, leaving some luckless bellies exposed
How that fat belly survived and to keep the comic alive what not he tried
How contexts eroded from the consciousness and jokes died
How those serendipitous moments of laughter got rarer
And how after winning those moments the joker cried
He was a hard fellow but he went on living too long
He died long before the ethereal scythe could come along
But he kept carting his wares around the town to sell
Until all his longings and belongings gradually but decisively fell
Then one day feeling too light, he tried one of his ‘Hangman Tricks’
A funny man he was, he did it, probably, just for kicks
I can only propose a theory: why he did what he did
But a more disturbing question the rubble from the fallen roof hid
A rock on the sea shore is a rock but what about all the sand?
Is it still a rock but for us who see it only a trifle grain?
A Joker with a lantern is as much a joker as the one without it
But is the same true for a joker hanging from a ceiling fan?

No comments:

Post a Comment