Through a Mirror Cracked

Right is funny sometimes.

This is the side of the car I mis-enter 
outside Arrivals 
with the fresh sting of a tropical lungful of air.
This is the earthing-wire limb of Nataraja,
the useful arm of God in the Sistine Chapel,
the hemisphere of the brain
out of which paint flows, and humming-birds fly.
This is where the choir of rhymes stand in an ode,
where you would lay down 
the first syllable of an Arabic haiku.
Where Hitler leaned, 
and Italy -- and italics.

Left is hilarious.

This, and not that, is the hand of Tendulkar that drops
the mushroom autograph.
This is the hand of an acquaintance you glimpse
for a ring, to trace their bliss or misery;
the hand of mine that holds a teacup in restaurants 
because my grandmother had suggested
this cuts down contact with public spit;
the lively hand of a protein --
the only hand of a neutrino.
The eardrum of Caesar that had ceased to stir.
The ear Mike Tyson 
lets you keep, if it is yours.
The ear Vincent van Gogh
lets you keep, if it is his.
Hither hover hearts; here 
Once, I dreamed I walked this way on the number line
-- passing all the numerals in a fencing pose
(and I could swear they were getting bigger, 
only, I was told, they were getting smaller) --
until I encountered a sinister southpaw
from the occident,
who seemed a bit on the portly side.


Proceedings of The Ornithology Society

"Was it a warbler you met?
Does it fly? Get wet?
A brand new breed of bird?
We stand in need of word."

"Aye, a brand new breed of bird,
The kind of which's unheard.
To describe her we need
Words of phrasal breed.

Finefangled is she, and in new fettle,
She builds her dint with loggerheads and lays eggs in a kettle.
Her dudgeon's short and shrift is high,
A riddance reddish in her cry:
A brand new breed of bird,
And that's just the first third.

Her down -- at least from what I saw --
Was spick and beck, and kith and haw,
Kit and whit, and not a caboodle.
All in all, a jetsam doodle
Was the brand new breed of bird
That I had encountered.

She bandies a shebang raringly,
Drinks neap and petard sparingly;
She wears her bill in kilter,
Up skelter and fro helter.
A brand new breed of bird,
A true crossword absurd."

Clerihews #14-16: Sudarshan

Ennackal Chandy George Sudarshan
Preferred introversion.
He was only partial
To interactions axial.

(Speeches by
Weinberg, Glashow, Marshak.)

Ennackal Chandy George Sudarshan
Felt for Sweden aversion.
He pardoned the indifference,
But not the incoherence.

 (robber barons, disgruntled giant)

Ennackal Chandy George Sudarshan
Took a diversion.
Thanks to this foresight,
He arrived ahead of light.


Descent of the Daystar

He's up there, high up, and I frown as I re-consult my sunset tables.
All right, it is nigh; the final sweep always the swiftest, I remind myself.
I perceive with amusement the masculine pronoun that travelled from Coleridge into my mental notes.
Was some Ra-like one in the back of the mariner's head, or did he only contrive a convenient rime for "sea"?
Lo, the hasty farewell has begun, the headlong plunge to the horizon, like a -- the azures are crimsoning -- like a marathon athlete who's saved the coal in her muscles for the end sprint.
I dig my fingers deep in the sand and watch.
Something's very wrong about these settings and risings, I say to myself, like the old streetside trick with the magician vanishing the coin and retrieving it from behind your ear. 
I can more eagerly digest the Norwegian fireball that swirls about my head than the African version that swings from scalp to sole and back.  
The blazing rim is but a whisker's breadth from the steel-blue parapet of ocean. 
I lean forward, almost hoping to hear a clang.
The doughnut is poised to dunk.
No, the coffee is poised to rise -- the sun ain't setting; 'tis the earth rushing up to draw a curtain over it,
And as I balance this astronomical technicality in my brain, my eyes wander, and I miss my moment:
The sea has already taken a bite out of him.
And that initiates the ebbing of light; the grays begin to surround me, deepening in sudden jerks as the planet's eyelids droop.

"Isn't it a lovely sunset, Mr Robert Frost?" remarked a young lady at the balcony of a party, to which replied he, "I never discuss business after dinner."

I roll the anecdote across the draft for a groove to slide it in, stopping only to witness the shiny bald top of the glorious thing slip quietly into the waves.

I become aware I'd been holding my breath, which I unclasp as I prepare to disembark the dune.
On the climb down I turn to the wispy clouds and warn them, Soon, out of your sight, too.
As far as I can tell the universe is now a whimsical gallery of purple and orange, the silhoutte of my sedan somewhere in it -- a bridge to the world of dinner, detergent and bed.
I trudge my reluctant way thither, which is when I'm struck by the happy thought that the photonic sun has set; the neutrinous knows no nightfall.



While Brigitte Bardot keeps off starch
And Greta Garbo hydrates,
Humphrey lets his throat to parch
And bites them carbohydrates.

Rita Rudner lives on crumbs,
Janet Jackson, celeries;
When Orson hungry becomes 
Eviscerates he sculleries.

Dancercises Lindsay Lohan,
Weightlifts Lucy Lawless;
"Burrrp" comes out Denzel's slogan,
You wish he would gnaw less.

Amy Adams turns to pose, 
Lucy Liu winks;
Is that cheese on Joaquin's nose?
I bet his breath stinks.

Clerihews # 09 - 13: Bentley

Edmund Clerihew Bentley
Differed fundamentally
From Boswell and Watson --
Everyone was Holmes, anyone Johnson.

Edmund Bentley
Prepared mentally
To take the blame
For his name.

The pa questioned the mother,
"No more rhymes to gather?" 
They made, consequently, 
Edmund Clerihew Bentley.

E. C. Bentley
Ran into the liquor shelf, 
And clerihewed himself.

Edmund's clerihew and Bentley
Were also lowered gently,
But the sedan didn't go in
Due to the coffin.

Here's a collection by other authors.  


Lines on a Mile High Holiday

Last Tuesday I caught an off-season hill station by surprise.

Ever since, I've been itching to chronicle the things I saw -- "saw".
But I curb myself.
Travelogue, I've come to suspect, is soft writing,
A home-delivered pizza that keeps the saucepan of imagination unlit.
It altogether eliminates having to look a reticent blank page in the eye all day in hopes of teasing inspiration out. 
It guarantees sleep.
It hires a secretary and dismisses the muse.
"Describe the pictures in your head in 500 words or less."
And that, reader, is why I'm not gushing about the orchid petals and the snaking river and the bison and the kurinji blossom and the spotted deer and the luscious kamala oranges and the coffee berry -- or their lack thereof.
Not because they, in absentia, were not fine pegs to hang a tale by, but because I am not that flavour of writer. 
Not because my sleeve isn't brimming with lines like "Seen sights are curious, those unseen are curiouser and curiouser", but because in general I prefer to talk about, say, a stripe of moonlight cutting through the heart of a lovelorn damsel, or strive to fly the word "spezzatura"  amidst the rough weather of an ode and land it on a stanza without crashing it.
Much rather would I indulge in such unashamed birotechnics, than clamp sentences onto sensations past, a labour that bears out little more than powers of portrayal.
Vast as the fascinating gulf between truth and travel brochure is, I oughtn't to give in.
And therefore, with resolute heart, the orchid plant no longer a-bloom will have to be pinched by the stem and pulled whole out of my poem, and tossed to the margins, 
Where it will have to jostle for space with the Cauvery stealing her chilly way under the floor of the cave that wriggles all the way to Mysuru, 
The leafy grounds said to heave beneath the hooves of mountain bison at night,
The kurinjis expected to awaken next spring only to squint at the skies and wind the alarum up for another dozenyear, 
The Deer Park closed on Tuesdays presumably to annoy the town barber,
The unripe oranges swaying in the breeze -- emerald pendulums -- as if impatient to live up to their name,
And the first coffee flower I ever saw.


Interior Decoration

  What misses, rankles; who aimed,  
Back from self-deceit's canal,  
  Thither to ship off wounds, named
Their airtight rationale.

  Yet shall gently weep and richly chide,
For tastes dire,
  Into daughters' ears the merry bride
Who took a liar.


Love Letter Back of the Envelope

Defer the air may, as you inspire it, love, to Dr van der Waals,
But its PV, when from your pretty nose it withdraws, is ever NRT.
That bewitching toss of your head, and the gait that captivates, 
Sinuous movement of hands to the accompaniment of honeyed voice,
These, these more than anything else, at Carnot efficiency pass.
As I yawn, rest pen, crack knuckle and stare out the listless window,
The tune of thought segues into your giggle, dilator of my pupils,
And my world of twenty summers turns over to unwrinkled simplicity. 
Friction becomes negligible, pulleys turn massless, orbits circular,
Flows streamlined, vibrations undamped, stoves are blackbodies, moons balls;
Airless spins the earth now, its density uniform, its gee taken ten.
Appear, quickener of my pulse, in the apple of my pining eye, and 
Batteries as soon lose their internal resistance as Biot-Savart wires illimitably grow.
Closer come, and I relapse to days of naiveté juvenile,
When position-momentum commutators used to vanish
In silence, without my knowing they did.

These passions, good madam, feel free to requite; oh do quite, only not hastily.
Mixed signals, should you ask me, would be for the moment the very thing.
Of emoticons master the enigmatic placement. My favoured novel happen to be reading.
Forget not the absent turn of head that ends in the briefest of ocular trysts.
Fan the fires of hope and misery in equal turns by means suchlike,
Cede I would the world's wisdom for the electric delirium you shall accord me. 
Some day, I shall the vale of acquaintance tread and adore by very different word and heart,
Having my palate widened by the diet of surprises you have no doubt up your sleeve,
Fondly acclimated to every quirk, conviction and odour.
Today, strawberry pie, less keen am I to account for apsides, drag or Heisenberg.
Today I invent sobriquets for my private whisperings.

Monger of my dreams.
Author of unannounced smiles.
Commissioner of doodles.
Jaggery brick.
Sugarcane juice.

Be mine at some point, but torment me now.


Clerihew #08: Fry

Stephen John Fry
Is a versatile guy
But couldn't be sorrier
He ain't a little Laurier




A Grandfather's Guide to Poesy

Catching her kvetch thusly, we was keen to teach Kim a trick:
"Incapable of completing my poems am I, though they begin with promise."
We prescribed ye ol' family formula, Ocean-Heaven-Joint-Pun:
"To seek inspiration, seafare," advised we. "Hatch a Miltonian paradise.
Attempt cannabis. Should all fail, cast dignity aside and play on words.
Why couldn't you be a gent? All comely women of circular countenance
Spout perennial male poetry from moles located at midwicket..."
Pensioners' mouths, like air conditioners, only stop for autumn --
Free rolled the pearls of wisdom, and other spherical schemes.
Yet civilly did Kim nod her head and mutter,
"You do know this is my bread and butter",
Check the flow of thoughts said, and utter,
"But, Gramp, isn't that our bread and butter?"
Let her bright pink face to redden but her
Tone was even-keeled: "Bread and butter."
Her trouble wasn't, explained she, a deficit of lyrical themes,
But that she possessed an imagination with neither top nor bottom.
It chirped itself hoarse like a negligent mama cricket's kid cricket,
Spiced everything up and set off smoke alarms, like brown tenants;
Kibitzed, quivered and cooed with flying colours, like crayon birds.
Inheriting her clan's sonnet nose, doggerel ears and ballad eyes,
Inflated she with uncontrollable stanzas every revision -- ere quitting at v7.1.
"Sweet child, there is a fix as surely within your reach as your left palm is,"
We suggested pitifully. "Make your rhyme scheme symmetric."

In case you missed it, here's another version.


Little Mortinsen

Now Mortinsen saw an octopus;
She behaved very odd.
Pray, boy, and make no fuss,
Said the cephalopod.
See the pistol in this tentacle?
You, young man, I've been sentacle.
Mortinsen scowled, Mortinsen sighed, 
Mortinsen stood there glassy-eyed. 
His head was elsewhere, his eyes saw through she; 
He picked the gun absently and made some sushi.
Mortinsen met a tramp whose vapours
With everyone disagreed.
About he walked reading newspapers:
They called him Encyclopede.
Do you know about, Mortinsen, sneered he,
What are your thoughts on and heard of the?
Mortinsen stretched, Mortinsen bent,
Mortinsen puzzled over where he went.
He removed his earphones and asked for directions,
And healed the poor tramp of his omniscience. 
Mortinsen encountered a pterodactyl;
It alighted on his bed.
Sir, it would appear I'm a fossil,
The angry reptile said.
Now and then I nap, and a few million years pass --
This time I wake to find me displayed under glass.
Mortinsen squinted, Mortinsen yawned;
The pterodactyl Mortinsen gazed beyond.
When at last he saw it he once or twice blinked,
Fed it some birdseed and made it extinked.

Mortinsen dashed into a troika of dots;
Their talk was elliptic.
They had no more than two or three thoughts,
All apocalyptic.
The planet, they cried, is growing ovoid,
To hatch one morning that none can avoid.
Mortinsen grunted, Mortinsen scratched,
The bombast of the dots he hadn't catched. 
He leaned forward, put his lips near 'em,
Whispered So? and disproved their theorem.
Mortinsen came upon four little boys;
They seemed just as him.
They had his coiffure, they had his voice --
Three of them were dim.
"Mortinsen, I your doppelgänger", "Mortinsen, you my clone",
"Our time machine works, Morty!", "Ich? Ein tzwin of your own."
Mortinsen mumbled, Mortinsen frowned,
Mortinsen smiled and jot something downed.
He pranced home with joy, his soul blithe as bubbles
And cut off his big toe to tell him from his doubles.


Clerihew #07: Higgs

Peter Ware Higgs
Learnt to wear wigs.
When he had those on,
No one brought up a boson.


Limericks -- #16, 17, 18, 19

There was an uninteresting girl from New Highs.
Visit New Highs, it's a gastronome's paradise.
They bake an exquisite pie.
Where was I?
Yes, an unint... you should try their French fries.

There was a planet-manufacturer from Houston. 
He had a set of angular momenta but he'd ousnon.
The dark sides got cold,
Therefore he was told
He could only keep his job if a fouspon.

There shall be a queen from Florence.
To hate aging she will commence;
She'd slit the throat
Of anyone that wrote
Anything about her in past tense.

There was a young man from Kitts. 
There was a young man from Ritz. 
Have appeared in these lines (in bits). 


Second Person Mingular

For your reference:

Company of parrots
Crash of rhinoceroses
Culture of bacteria
Dropping of pigeons
Implausibility of gnus
Intrigue of kittens
Murder of crows
Parliament of owls
Pride of lions
School of fish
Storytelling of ravens

'Send me to a new school!' wailed the daughter trout;
'Not a chance!' said her pa, 'Can't simply saunter out
We've been here too long; our family records indicate
Every link in our lineage swam with this syndicate.'
'What school, blessed parent, are you talking about?'
'Why, the throng we occupy day in and day out!'
Amused viewer, you know what the littler fish meant,
Alluding as she was to her academic establishment.
The collective noun, in our race a stock curse,
Is amongst our fellow evolvers only worse.
Yet dare you blame earth's lovesome creatures
For their short supply of English teachers?
A lone specimen of beast is shrewd and winning;
Cast him with his peers and his sanity's a-spinning.
You don't concur? You remonstrate?
Allow me then to d_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Take crows. You often catch one flying
Between branch and antenna trying
To avert his pals, for nothing's absurder
Than knowing it takes two to murder.
Airplanes give me bad food and a dry nose
Yet that’s not why I shan't fly with rhinos,
For one per flight is already rash --
Haul more up and you've got me a crash.
Now how would you react, sir, if I state
You lack culture in private?
Yet such sociological delirium
Is the fate of the bacterium.
(a) Since three's a crowd and two company,
      Pair up your parrots, but don't clump any.
(b) Dissolve a parliament only if you're prepared
      To have an owl-pecked epidermis repaired.
(c) Never hurt a lion's pride;
      A few have, trying, died.

Haven't your doubts on the subject diminished?
Then don't leave yet, our business is unfinished.

You would presume it an elementary tact
To keep society out one's alimentary tract,
But pigeons of the same feather
Create a giant dropping together.
Mischief, though, is not their intent;
No, sir, that the lab mice invent.
Invention, ah, it fetches to mind the other crow,
The darker-plumed child of E. Allan Poe:  
The heart of the raven must be brimming with myth
For it's storytelling time always when he's with kith.
Yarns of the greatest intrigue would he tell,
Albeit on kittens does he hardly dwell.
[When, however, he slideth into truth-saying mode,
 He walketh the righteous, unsensationalist road;
An impossibility is banned off raven news.
(An implausibility is a band of ravin' gnus.)]

These coincidences, sir, cannot be random,
Hence quod erat demonstrandum.
A passenger on the Ark who had had his way
Resents it hard when he becomes a they.


Limerick #15: The Plight of the Classingtons

There was a young man from Limerick

Whose name was Classington Jim Eric;

For Mr and Mrs Classington, his rhyme-loving parents, when they brought Eric into our world sought for him a suitable middle name, and noticed their town's connection to humoury verse,

And as even all their love for the lyrical had never aided them to summon a word that for every syllable rhymed with their city's name [can you 
find one? Give it a shot], they concocted a brainchild: they settled on 'Jim' and advertised the toddler's name in reverse.

So the coincidence isn't quite chimeric.

Lofty Intentions

The known number of differences between a peak and an acme
Is one
It is akin to the dissimilarity between the turns of phrase 'Fire me' and 'Sack me' --
There's none
One is a word uttered by habitual hikers who in their devotion to scale altitude
Are staunch
The other used by unfit non-climbers who put on constant display, beside verbal aptitude,
Their paunch
This humble bard has authored a tune for the crooning benefit of the former crop;
Hum it:
'Should you wonder how high, measure for every uphill step you take the vertical distance gained, have a sequence of these numbers jotted down and then when you reach the top,

(As written in my mobile drafts on a solo trek up Spencer Butte.)



Jalapenos are not this season spicy,
Nor is putting up a facade dicey.
A coup de grace will lend the land a firm handle,
Whilst Hanukkahs kill the sale of the candle.
Negligees -- they do not any more enchant;
Eons can be short but an angstrom can't.
Jalapeños are,
A façade is,
A coup de grâce won't,
Ḥănukkāhs don't,
Negligées do,
Æons can't and an ångström can.


The Bards that Moaned

'Take out the garbage yourself', said the poets.
'Pick up the children on your way back,
And stop asking me to do the dishes.
Make love I can, if need be --

But my domestic obligations end there.
I'm a poet first and a poet last.
All the time in the world need I to
Polish my rhymes, sharpen my metaphors,
Revise the metre, and alliterate.
What can you know of the joy of composition?
The rapture, the tears of cathartic fulfillment,
The comprehensive car-wash of the soul.
But do you realize how colon-clenching and
Time-consuming it is? Leave me alone.
If I were to die tomorrow, you would
Bury me with a poem in my chest
That never got to know the light of day
Or the scent of paper.'
Ergo, the wealthy man kidnapped them all
And put them in a spaceship.
'Now, ladies and gentlemen, you haven't
Anything to complain about', he smiled wide.
'All the privacy you please, and all of time
Lie sprawled at your feet. We shall fly to
Triton and back; that gives us nineteen years.
Slip a cushion beneath your bottom,
Get all that verse out of your bosom.
I hereby bequeath you the paradise
You sought and ached everyday for.'
Within the first year,
The poets killed themselves.
They had nobody to read them.


Thither Spat James Joyce

agreed a rose by any other
name would smell as

porcelain pots peddled under
synonyms make no difference to the
rod and the cone

a vodkamartiniwithasliceoflemonpeelshakennotstirred ordered as
whatever else would land the bastard a
wanton blonde

and a cadbury square etched with a
hieroglyphic logo still melts its way past
your wagger

while quentin tarantino mischristened
eugene moses bartholomew would scarce upset his
(call messrs. clemens and dodgson what you will, love,
they continue to

as shall quantum electrodynamics known to our chums at the edge of andromeda as some other
fertilizer yet speak

but an onomatopoeia by any other
now an onomatopoeia by any other
name doesn't sound a tenth as
does it, miss capulet?


Clerihew #06: Bardeen

John Bardeen
Was fond of sardine
Try it: you, too, may turn wise
And fly out to Stockholm twice


Clerihew #05: Kirchhoff [NSFW]

Gustav Robert Kirchhoff
Made no time to jerk off
He got himself dysfunction:
Could loop, but not junction


Let's Make a Deal

Inside your idle brain, come shine or mighty rain,
All work and no play all night and all day --
Hardly half a moment of sleep, you see!
Look for me in the details (or check in the fai retails)
When you're loathe to decide -- I'll then come stand beside,
Whilst over your shoulder looms the deep blue sea.

To your petty conceit placate I'll send my advocate
Who'd gladly plead your cases with one of many faces
Of which he has thirty-six, like a pair o' dice.
If lonely and laust, remember Comrade Faust --
You only need to sign on the dashed dotted line,
And I give you on this sorry earth a paradise.

Yet I seek no gratitude, only purple attitude
So that folk may call your air yours-truly-may-care;
How I shall then take care of you dearly!
But I must speak to you because on your soul there is a clause
That you may haven't knone: let's talk this over phone;
Just dial two-thirds of one thousand [well, nearly].

Culinary Wisdom

For the Discerning Madrasi in Yankeedom

Pico de gallo and idli
Is a combination deadly
(They fit like lock and keys)
Never munch on fries
When you lunch on rice
(They're as chalk and cheese)


Clerihew #04: Gavaskar

Sunil Manohar Gavaskar
Must visit Madagascar
He might its climate embrace
And have a few more Sunny Days

[One sometimes abuses one's license.]



The last three poems were inspired by these jewels --
1, 2, 3, 4

At the Beach

A wave slides in, and covers
the Pacific dioxide of Si.
A boat in the distance hovers
like an oil drop of Mi.


Cheat Never in Medical School


Learn from Roberto's Exam Hall Misadventures

Poor Bobby -- would've turned out a fine Dr.
Weren't he caught in the act by the Prr.
Asked about his action
He thought on his feet,
Hesitated a fraction
And ate up his sheet.
For, you see, he wasn't quite the conCr.

Limerick #14: A Haunting Spectre

A Brief Peep into the Life of a
Member of the
Haunting Spectres Society

An abandoned abode was he put in c/o;
When there were prospecting visitors to sc/o,
He rip't out a shriek
And out they'd freak
You got to admire his lungs, or lack th/o