Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ghazal ("improvised")

I'll show you my hand   my life of late   is improvised
as time reels me in   I cry   "the bait   was improvised?"

who knows how the map of fortune finds   its imprint here?
the way that you might meet your soul-mate   seems improvised

if crookedness comes most naturally   we learn to curl
geometries of the sharp & straight   aren't improvised

we've scope to make plans   when things appear   half-knowable
our program   where unknown worlds await   is improvised

though tardy in life   I'm studying sastri sangeet
the timeliness in my balding pate   is improvised

the currents of conversation   bring astonishment
the course that the boatmen navigate   is improvised

emotional language can spark   a creative ring
harangues of a man waxing irate   are improvised

when Valmiki sat in dhyana   and the bird was felled
the sloka of one compassionate   was improvised

you glimpse her perhaps across the room   & go to chat
the banter that might lead to a date   is improvised

a camera-dealer from Fez   managed to hoodwink me
the train of thought carrying this freight   was improvised

distinguishing real from false   refines the amateur
the mesh of mind   when we meditate   is improvised

cacophony in the marketplace   is marvelous
the stall fashioned from a mango crate   is improvised

the size of the shoe you seek here   is negotiable
the measure with which they calibrate   was improvised

the birth of the soul!   but you've said   soul is infinite
whatever birthday we celebrate   is improvised

tell me what it means   to spend my life with poetry?
this coin that I spend   if marked by fate   is improvised

for paying the bills   one needs   a certain livelihood
the prospects of my uncertain state   are improvised

new notions appear   from disparate points of origin
the breezes that can cross-pollinate   are improvised

each hour of the day requires   a differing melody
the music that we anticipate   is improvised

religion & science each describe   your unseen face
the features that they extrapolate   are improvised

no sooner we blinked   we gazed upon your   curving cheek
are dreams that the heavens allocate   just improvised?

our yearning for you is basic   like the earth itself
the song that the valleys resonate   is improvised

I wanted to find a sweetheart   who might kiss my brow
imaginings are most delicate   when improvised

the path to her heart   is not described by fixed ideas
can Salome's dance decapitate?   it's improvised

this darbar has yet to hear   the poetry I seek
what Brahma's reluctant to create   is improvised

perhaps Saraswati's vina hides   my final home
the hovels my thoughts now cogitate   are improvised

I've travelled the world a little bit   and washed up here
the waving hand   as it raps your gate   is improvised

verandahs of antique poetry   seem scalable!
occasions when they defenestrate   are improvised

I trained myself in qafia & radif   you know
now beher   the cadence with its gait   I improvise

I've never been schooled in Urdu like   Mirza Ghalib
his elegance I impersonate   is improvised

that Raphael has a heart   we learn through inference
its beat   drumming up a lavish plate   is improvised

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