Degwar, Jhullas, KrishnaGhati

Tarninote, Kotli, Tattapani

Names flicker on my timeline
places I have been to
and places I imagine I have been to

Tonight, there’s no difference
between two –
known and imagined.

Grief unites us,
having lost loved ones
on either sides
to aggressors
imagined and known.

In the TV debates
figures flicker as count
and every death is a
befitting reply
for incursions
known and imagined

And so the collective conscious
is satisfied from
flagellation of distant identities
divided across nations –
some known and some imagined.

doubleOn the bus
to my house
somewhere in California
I dream of Kashmir
and the blue skies
that now seem faint
slopping over the mountains,
so unlike Kashmir.

On my phone
besides photographs
I have forwarded songs
that speak of meadows
and sheeps and mothers.
I tinge,
home returns as a song
faint and nondescript
mobile and farthest.

Geographies of longing
bound memories.
I fly between them
a song at a time,
a sky at a time,
somewhere in California.

I would carry this song across the barricaded city

Lal Ded would tear, a city naked
as her. She isn’t us anymore.
No one can over-hear her songs
or see her verses. Long pauses
have pickets encircling them.
Guns arrest all her words,
in squares, where lovers would meet.
Checkpoints break her verses abruptly.
Her hands, smelled of dried ink and paper,
textured with drowning mist of tear gas shells.

In times like these
treading through poems is fatal.

But, poets would tell you, this city too
is a poem
naked more than ever.