Poetry

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Wake Up Call

-- By Dr Ramesh N. Rao

i don't grudge
being woken up by my boy
at six in the morning
round, black eyes
peering into my sleep-drugged face

tail straight up
one paw on my shoulder
another at my throat
whiskers atwitch
he makes sweet cat sounds
leading to cat-man conversations...

as i open my eyes and
take his paw off my throat
to kiss it
he mews satisfied
makes me happy to be owned by my cat

Spring

dandelions open their yellow-gold faces
on fresh, green carpets
robins, blue jays, the lowly sparrow and the rare cardinal
vie to burrow their beaks
into their food bowl that is my yard...
it is spring

it is spring under
brilliant blue skies
in this little town
host to crisp, bracing,
on-their-way-to-somewhere winds
it is spring
and before the mowers
are brought out and
the tulips are coaxed
out of their immaculate beds
the dandelions will riot

it is spring...

Our Neighbor's Dog
it yaps, growls and
barks all day long
my neighbor's german shepherd raja

from a playful, frisky puppy
just six months ago
to a bored, frustrated, scrawny dog
fed on rice and ragi balls
he is a defeated king

ignored by the pot-bellied
master of the house
wheeling out his scooter
in the morning and
wheeling it back in the evening
with nary a look
at his frantic, tail-wagging,
attention-begging beast

ignored by the bored wife
with a child on her hip
standing at the gate
watching the world
of the vegetable sellers glide by

on those languid afternoons
when my siesta is shattered
by raja's howls...
i hate my neighbors
and wish them dead
and raja too
to torment them in hell...

Out on the Town

they took me out on the town
some cousins, a friend
to show the returning prodigal
what new bars, what new beers kept 'em
busy, boozy in bangalore

they were generous ordering
the appetizers: papads, peanut masala, chicken tikka
and a continuous flow of my favorite
kingfisher to wash it all down

i begged off when they ordered
more beer, more food,
teased me about my
american-accented “i'm rather full”
i watched the beer and banter flow
amusedly at first
concerned as the talk got crass
and the tongues got sloppy

“hey guys, i would prefer to go home, ”
i said as the clock struck one
and our waiter got wary...
“he prefersh, ” my bank-clerk friend lisped
and my cousins thumped the table
spilling beer, breaking glass

when more papads and cigarettes were ordered
the waiter whimpered
“sir, we are past closing time”

we had a car to get back home
how did this young man
make his way through the
dark, bus-less streets to
his bachelor pad miles away?

they got angry with him
i got angry with them and
walked out to the parking lot
where they straggled boozy,
boisterous, rowdy...

half-way home
a beer-muddled cousin growled
“bloody fucker, minding the clock,
we didn't leave him a tip”

Originally published on Tuesday, March 27, 2001.

 
     
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