Sunil Sharma's Poems

Teesta Review: A Journal of Poetry, Volume 2, Number 1. May 2019. ISSN: 2581-7094

 On a city, virtual

                                                 --- Sunil Sharma 
In the long hours
of  short nights
or longer Sundays or a holidays
the young couple, exhausted by the day’s repetitive work
and predictable commutes in crowded locals, often withdraw
into empty shells. Often, bored, on stale sheets,

they lie sprawled as corpses
and manage to talk to each other, backs turned, artificial flowers on the vases,
through WhatsApp messages and exchange of forwarded videos
on their narrow marital bed that creaks menacingly, at the mid-night hour,
in suburban Mumbai, creating buffers of seas of
silence…and some me-time and privacy.


                                         --- Sunil Sharma 

All cities look alike
their interiors and exteriors
identically similar
---kind of family resemblance you see in old B/W photographs,
Now rare, in old and bound albums, in special corners of creaking almirahas.

The urban-DNA has become same of these swanky, well-regulated, regimented,
post-modern, post-industrial
centers of unchecked growth
that are, in real life, mere fancy
ghettos; some costly

gated communities
guarded manually and high-tech against the threat of
the lurking and dangerous slums, the swathe of land, in the open, ugly sore;

the vertical houses dominate the space
the malls and the cineplexes; structures that cruelly

suck out the water tables, in selfish gestures

...and a dry and dusty wind
of summer
announces the imminent desert.

Centre and the periphery

                                                              --- Sunil Sharma 

Each suburb---
a city burgeoning.

Each such city
an island
connected with the mainland---the City Major
the power centre, the hub.

With reference to Mumbai
Or Delhi
We call satellite towns as fringes

the places that feed the Main City
its main army of workers, every day, in huge numbers.

We call the outer areas as suburbs
holding Mumbai or Delhi
as the Centre.

The fact remains, however
that the balance shifts in the evenings

and suburbs
ridiculed and downscale, downgraded

become new centers of power

...and Mumbai Metro becomes
a dead city of corridors and empty offices
and dark spots, harboring street-walkers, leaping straight from
a Victorian Age or Dostoevskian

Soul of a city
                                                --- Sunil Sharma 

Is it possible?

Capturing the city
of variegated spaces, moods, personalities
in few words?

To catch a breathless
manic metro in its multiple vehicular and human and animal sounds?

the honking---soft or angry or persistent?
the sound of hawkers in the evenings?
the strident pitch of bored salespersons
eager to close for the night

overcrowded counters?

The yelling on cell-phone
or, of the neighbor?
the blaring of a TV
or, the ear-splitting orchestra and a DJ wearing ear pieces
and strange tattoos on brown arms that rotate like robots?

The job is difficult---like that of sound engineer
or, a man recording the decibels for a movie track.

You don't know.

A city is a gargantuan
a mosaic of different realities for different demographics

it means totally different to the one residing in a flat slum area
a poor frightened migrant
uprooted from a dying village
or a small town in a dusty plain
where time is stuck in the circular
corridors and broken asphalt
of the roads that do not lead to
anywhere but inwards;

and another reality
to a woman speaking accented English
drinking whiskey
in a tony skyscraper facing the Arabian Sea
where a fresh and unpolluted sun gets drowned
for another resurrection.

You do not know dear
about the invisible walls
around certain costly neighborhoods
and the politics and economics of
declaring certain geographies and swathes of land
as off-limits to the poor and the downtrodden,
the perpetual Outsiders.

The city for most is soul-less machine
sucking out the sap.

It kills by increments, while promising the gold
at the end of the rainbow.

Mostly, it is only the sweat and tears
and sawdust street seen by a young Eliot some place sometime
now etched in post-colonial readers for forever..

No moon-time

                                                   --- Sunil Sharma 

i have no time to view the

surrounded as I am

by the sodium-vapor lamps

and blinded by the lights
of the automobiles
in a manic city
where the wind stings the eyes
and the face

and leaves you asthmatic and drained.

Yes. Moons?
For me, it is a distant memory that comforts and
Unsettles both---in the same instant.

But wait.

Well, in one apartment, they
have painted a moon and the stars
on the wall of their children's bed-room.