i spend the exact change (i have left) of simple words,
gentle words, neurotic words, hunchbacked words,
to have the evening speak and last for some more time —
every second of the same quality and ruse as the lingering
fragrance of raat ki rani, dreaming dreadful thoughts
and foregoing them in a simple parable – “it is only a phase” –
i laugh at my own conjecture that it will perchance still
get better — normalcy lies ahead in a neo-noir paradise,
waiting around the corner.
“life is like a dubious pile of ash” — but Gulzar has already said
that the ashtray is full — no more space (maybe money) left
to fulfill the urge for another puff.
perhaps it is not, perhaps it is another currency,
unfamiliar in shape/size, when the exchange rate
is not known and sapphires already spent —
the parched mouths do not ask for another name
of the word — the spendthrift work over moments
to make sense of a cloud-befuddled mood, depicting natures
of the orange moon (lost in the haze of untarnished selves).
“there is a worm within us that turns everything into a threadbare
experience, a frayed impression of our yearnings,” you said.
it is good that i have another penny left in the pocket within the
pocket, where words do not reach, budgets do not measure
you can have it.
*raat ki rani (lit. the queen of the night; Night Blooming Jasmine; scientific name: cestrum nocturnum) — the fragrance abounds anywhere and everywhere these evenings
**Gulzar’s poem, Ashtray puri bhar gyi hai; trans. The Ashtray is Overflowing
© Anmol Arora 2018