Vivek Tandon

Five poems



My family, my home
Circulatory system
Outside of...



The young wonder what will transpire.
They study their unlimited future
in the small mirror of their past.

The old wonder what has transpired.
They study their unlimited past
in the small mirror of their future.

My family, my home

This home that I built 
to protect me from the storms
that occasionally rise inside me
of dangerous feeling
and love for the stranger - 
this home is all that is good, 
and true.

That beggar-child,
aching for ten paisa of love:
I gave him ten paisa;
and he gave me a moment's ache.

What if I had given him more?...

He's a distant dream
that I must keep distant
ten paisa at a time.

These dreams are the enemies
of my family.
They must be kept distant.

This home,
with rafters
of carefully constructed lies,
durable, hardy,
built to last a lifetime,
the method for their construction
handed down over the generations...

In this trusty home,
we will lie easily together,
safe forever
in hallowed sin.


He spent that lazy noon, long ago,
in a hazy spell that spelt out the rhyme
of the lives that lay laced on the forest floor,
interwoven unforced by aimless endless time:
eternity's single, drawn-out, clockwork chime.

That evening he spent in a hut on stilts,
by the lake, by her, as they kindled their lusts.
They thrust into it their physical guilts
to feed a pleasure that rose in sweet hot gusts:
and left behind coatings of unclean crusts.

When barren sleep split at the dawn of day
they found their eyes denuded of love and play.
He turned from jagged eyes to soft forest-cover
and knew with the eyes of a sudden lover
how lust for life can make life its prey. 

Circulatory system

It occurs to me,
just as one's chemical brain
is irrigated, animated 
by the stream of consciousness known as the soul:
Similarly, perhaps,
the flow of all souls is fed by
the stream of consciousness some call God:
a central source.
Which means that life
(and maybe I'm being the reverse of poetic here)
is something like
a giant system of irrigation canals.

Outside of...

Outside of words,
worlds are changing silently.

Each world a huge cog-wheel...
I'm caught in the teeth.

Worlds slipping into orbits that spurt, pulsing,
from your gently blazing mind.

The planet of your love
eclipses your blaze
or slips into your blaze:
as you slip into different moods.

The angle of your eyes
is the mathematically precise harbinger
of the changed configuration of worlds.

Behind the distracting trajectory of little words,
it is all decided:
whether I live
or die tomorrow,
forever outside of worlds.

 Copyright Vivek Tandon

Biographical information

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