Thursday, 27 December 2007


Heavy moon rising above our sleepless streets
To carriage wheels a-clatter on broken cobblestone,
To shrill foreign laughter
That rattles the rafters
Of abandoned townhalls sitting piously alone.

Tonight's the night when gondolas come sailing
Bedecked in the glitter of faraway shores,
And the hot wine keeps flowing,
Red paper lamps a-glowing,
And the dancers at the rumba are keeping the score.

Sweaty-eyed, they're thronging to the fire-eater's pit,
And the caravan where temporal fortunes are sold,
And the old gipsy witches
Will promise you riches
By orbs that tell secrets in silver and gold.

Footsteps crescendo on echoing streets
As the masquerade passes in unbroken line,
Hangmen and heroes,
And black-hooded Zorros,
Kings, demons, jesters, and angels struck blind.

Under the eye of the ivory moon
The pantomime plays till distant bells chime,
Then encores are taken,
The citadel awakens,
And the dark yawning river bides its time.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

The ant inched rapidly towards my left foot. Skirting around puddles of bathroom water, miniscule flurry of many legs. How unfortunate it is to be an ant, I thought. Lower form of life in the most literal sense. Brain probably the size of a dust particle. Confined to a world no bigger than my white tiled unreasonably clean loo. I had time to waste feeling magnanimous. Decided to put the wretched arthropod (I presume it was an arthropod) out of what I was sure was intense misery. So I directed the hand shower at it and pressed down on the pressy-thing you press when you desire water. I still don't know what it's called, so I've furnished the necessary diagram.

Gush. As simple as that. The ant was now floundering in a pool of water mingled with liquid generosity. That was that. I resumed with my book, got through a few more paragraphs. Funnily enough, didn't recollect a word I read a minute after I'd read it. My eyes dragged themselves to the mini-ocean near my left foot. The ant was still a moving speck in it, legs thrashing furiously, not a peacable corpse as yet. This was troubling. In attempting to relieve the pitiable organism of its awful existence, I had damned it to an even stickier existence. It wasn't my fault, really. I was trying to do the right thing. If only the damn thing wouldn't fuss so and just die.

A harder squirt of water directed at it, point-blank range. But wouldn't you know it, when the mist cleared the accursed creature was still kicking and screaming and refusing to go quietly. I fidgeted a tad bit. How long would this continue? Its fragile body was probably irreparably damaged by now, and yet it refused to leave its base earthly form. Every jerk, every tiny squirm seemed a condemnation. I sat there uncomfortably. Ought I just press my big toe down on it and end this terrible game? Why did I feel like such a criminal? It was just an ant, after all.

I ran before very much longer. Keeping my nose pointed firmly into my book, trying to ignore the stirrings of motion that continued on the periphery of my guilty vision. Someone waiting outside to use the bathroom cast a rolling-eye glance at my towelled self and the door slammed in my face.

I stood outside, water dripping from my hair on to the doormat. Straining my ears for the last bugle call I felt sure was coming. Nothing. No gasp of a martyred soul released from Purgatory. Nothing but the humming of the taps, the hiss of hot water misting up the mirror. And the heavy throbbing inside me that found no release even long after the flood had dried.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

I look at you in the aftermath of smoky blue nights,
When the dancing's been done
And the wineglasses are quiet,
Touching the wet air, cold in my palms,
While you pull your solitude round your shoulders.

I'll look away till you're finished,
Till you say it's alright.

I'll count the glowing embers in the shadow at your feet,
And the cicadas still calling even though day is near,
And all the 'what if's in my fickle memory.
And I'll bet you'd never know I was here.

I'll come back on my own when the lights begin to fade;
You'll sit out the evening in solemn company,
Burning an anguish I never could see
In pools of echoing sympathy
And the early mockers' seranade.

Content with the new riddle you've made,
You'll look up to greet the day drawing near,
And, just my luck, in that triumphant blaze,
You'll never have to guess I was here.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

When a night calypso's singing
And the moon's been busy stringing
A thousand stars out on the Milky Way to dry;
When the dew's begun to settle
And the sky's so stark that it'll
Make you want to laugh out even as you cry,

Let the fiercely stinging madness,
Strong enough to drown the sadness,
Lift you up into the passive heavy blue.
For there you'll be free to wander,
Up there hearts are flung asunder,
And a reckless, joyous ride's waiting for you.

Back to misty golden mornings,
Our old fantasises a-dawning,
And the sweeping tides come rushing to your feet
Carrying ghosts of long-gone laughter,
And the tales of ever after,
And a finished canvas painted bittersweet.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Wanted. For whatever illogical, apologetic reason.

Much to my embarrassment, some sentimentality still perseveres. First Best Friend. The Bestest. Who always gave me the red plasticine when I demanded it. Who preferred tilting back to stare at the domed ceiling till we were both hiccoughing with dizziness, over playing school with the others. The rickshaw trips to and back, twin water bottles danging from necks, banging together, entangling unconsciously in a jerking, spinning ride that seemed to encompass this side of the world from horizon to horizon. I remember crying just after this picture was taken because some undefined 'uncle' had, too insistently, wanted me to smile. And all I have left is this, the taste of cake with sugar roses, and an expression that never changed over the years.

I didn't know how to be sad when I turned four. Didn't know if I had the right to return to the tucked-away house with the washed-out green door to ask for a boy whose name I don't remember. Waited too long. Realized too late. And now some irrational whim begs release. So I ask. If you see him, you need not tell him I'm looking. I'm not, really. Just come back and let me know if there's any sign left of the boy with the solemn voice and the simple words, the boy who is content to follow you to the ends of the known kingdom for the sake of a game and will help you find the way back. I trust you'll know.

There's a lady on the moon who has to endure a lot. If left to her own devices she would spend her hours idly swinging her feet, because pretty feet make for pleasant occupation. Often have I seen her, scrutinizing her reflection in the glassy oceans with a secret gleeful vanity. However, every time she glances down at our ugly little earth, opaque clouds come scudding into her eyes. Only a few days ago she was startled out of her self-contented reverie by the realization that hundreds- thousands- of women, bedecked women straight out of a Fair&Lovely ad, were looking up at her with impersonal stares, a thousand smiles that scorched. Unnerved, she retired, a little hurt, more bewildered. So it has been. Often has she been unwilling witness to hastily breathed promises between skinny maidens and adenoidal lads by the shelter of April moonshine, which is all well and good and ought to be made into a zabardast movie or two, but which in reality drives our poor lady into fits of nervosa. How many times have lovers and murderers alike lurked under the eye of the moon. How often have fervent poets drunk with idealism and cheap whisky written odes to la belle luna. How often have foolish people like you and I leant upon our sleepless windowsills to yawn and gaze and imagine and sieved out inspiration with such careless abandon. Not always is obvious admiration the most welcome form of flattery. The lady I know with the lovely, brittle smile wishes away to distraction that for one season, one night, she would be left alone with her own assurance of her beauty, one night with only her naive conceit to comfort and sustain her.

Nowadays she counts the wrinkles on her white forehead. And wanes gratefully into the shadows as the month dies. The Astronomy Department publishes voracious theses for a month on the altered phases of the lunar cycle and we are momentarily satisfied.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

The plant in my bedroom window is dying. My father, ever enthusiastic, bought it as a young creeper, leafy tendrils venturing over the rim of the pot. I merely saw an overgrown shrub that would repel the morning sunlight from my window and become a free haven for mosquitoes. But I did not deter him. And now it stands, in an obscenely red clay pot, obstinately dying in full view of all and sundry. The sun coaxes it from above the college wall next door almost every day. The wind is kind and the rain obliges with free showers. At least three times a day it is watered, tap water, drinking water, muddy water, leftover water, even some Aquafina I found lying around. But it's a stubborn plant, unnamed creeper, would-be adorner of a would-be poet's window. Die it will, and what a grand spectacle that shall be. Very inconsiderate and thoroughly bad-mannered, I think. If one wants to die, one ought to do it decently, out of the line of vision of those who do not enjoy such displays.

But I will not complain. It looks beautiful now, far more beautiful than it ever did when it was springy and horridly green. The leaves have all curled up into knotty brown bits, veined with dark gold. The branches reach upwards like ancient spidery fingers, clinging on to the grille as an invalid desperate to peer outside. A morsel of life drains from those fingers with every sunset, but they will not let go. It is beautiful, this creature suspended in time on the very precipice of its life, and the vitality ebbs from it, bathing the delicate tendrils and wistful leaves and even the hideous red pot in one last burst of golden light.

I know a satisfied plant when I see one. This one is, for taking hold of death and making it beautiful, even for mine incredulous human eyes.
So I'll make my own lovesong
Dare I be crazy and call it so.

Searching my guitar for a familiar face,
My fingers reach for that special place
Where these words so strange to me come breaking through.

Oh the surprise in your eyes
If only you knew.

The Lakes of Billirubin

Princess Clementina, who wouldn't be queen,
Grew mighty bored of all the pretty boys she had seen.
So she left home and caught a bus to nowhere at all.
Holding on tight to your ticket to ride,
Burning with a fire you wanted to hide,
Princess, would you like to taste the high before the fall?

Come on down, they're saying,
To the Billirubin Lakes,
Where painted faces make you laugh
And hearts are free to ache,
Where you don't need a reason
To a rhyme you want to make.
Let us take you down again tonight.

The dashing cavalier on the foam-speckled horse
Once rescued fair damsels as a matter of course,
But he won't believe the man in the mirror anymore.
His fingers grow stony, each new day is strange,
Graying eyes spend hours staring at change.
Where will he find the key to his imaginary door?

Hey soldierman, they're calling
At the Billirubin Lakes,
Where painted faces make you laugh
And hearts are free to ache,
Where you don't need a reason
To a rhyme you need to make.
Let us take you down again tonight.

The village shoemaker in his crowded little room
Hammers a dull rhythm in the deepening gloom.
He's an honest soul, but nobody remembers his name.
Now he sits on the shores of the Billirubin Lakes
And he's hammering to keep the spirits awake.
Though he hears the spectors whisper, to him it's all the same.

It's our season for living, a season for sin,
By the roaring black waters, beneath the wild wind
You can see the blue moon rise above the hill.
And you may drink deep, and dream, and dare,
You can hear pagan laughter in the air,
And in another world mortal clocks are still.

Come on down, they're saying,
To the Billirubin Lakes,
Where painted faces make you laugh
And hearts are free to ache,
Where you don't need a reason
To a rhyme you want to make.
Let us take you down again tonight.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

The Natural

There was once a girl who liked to make pictures. With a solemn wrinkle on the bridge of her nose she would work, sprawled on someone's floor, huddled behind a staircase, her breath misting up a bathroom window, spiralling out her masterpieces by the dozen in ink, wax, runny paint. Craggy mountains and chalkdust roses she could conjure out of nowhere, foaming oceans and mysterious faces that never looked alike. You could have seen the universe swirling behind her eyes.

The girl grew up, though she did not know it. And then one day, her attention flickered from the picture of Mr. and Mrs. Bear to the printed black marks on the adjoining page.

What was that, she wanted to know.

Words, they said.

Words. So straight upon the shiny paper. Unbending, they did not seem to notice her at all.

Words. She did not want to believe them. Words could not look so ugly! But she learned, as they all must. She learned to understand the words, and decided that she wanted to read a book. And then another. And another, and another again. The pictures still came to her and now they were clearer and vivider than ever. She wanted to try her own hand at making this new kind of picture. And so she did.

Now she draws landscapes and people, laughter and miracles. A spectrum huger and brighter than anything her crayons could ever have made opens up at the touch of her pen. All contained in the narrow blackness of an ink track. Pages and pages she filled, journal after journal as the years slip by. She begins to love the familiarity of her handwriting, love the clean white paper that waits to receive her alchemy. And they say she is a Writer. Headstrong young spinner of dreams. Girl of many visions. A natural.

The thick sheets of her old khata are turning sadly yellow. The crayons, with such delicious names as Vermilion and Aquamarine, have rolled unconcernedly into the nooks and crannies of a busy teenager's bedroom, their labels peeling off like withered skin. The little cakes of paint have disintegrated into mounds of powder, colourful poisons lining the inside of her trash drawer. When she is told to clean up her room she finds them, glances through the stack of drawing pads. She finds the crooked blue rivers and reckless horizons, the gracefully curved waves under a happy clouded sky. And so she tried again. But the drawing pencil lay in her hand like a piece of dead wood. The blankness of the paper was frightening. Then the not-so-little girl packed up the unwanted fragments, locked them away, and lost the key.

She is contented, of course. Budding natural. The pictures never left her, only now they insist on showing themselves as funny black marks on lined paper. Sometimes, when her fountain pen is idle, she catches a glimpse of a young maestro, busy behind the stairwell with a 4B pencil. And she wonders how she can miss so terribly that which she does not remember.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

A title would be pointless here

sdkl cvm,.z';[

That was me banging both fists on the keyboard. The occasion warrants this show of petty frustration. Take my word on it.

The Feeling that makes your bones go hollow. And stuffs your lungs full of vacuum. And chalks boundaries around your brain that separate the desperate laughing drama that Is from the insidious cynic that you suppose is Reality.

Desperate because I can't help a friend I say I'd do anything for. Desperate because I'm trying to be the hero (or the heroine? The attempt to be politically correct isn't even worth it) in my own story and nobody seems to be noticing. Desperate when words are just black marks on a computer screen and you know there's no one reading on the other side.
Came home yesterday, been a long night out;
Came back like a foreign tide to a place I know well.
I'm keeping my footprints up against the wall.
You say you waited up for me? I couldn't ever tell.

The alarm clock is broken and it's just another day,
Breakfast in bed, the bills still unpaid.
I won't bother asking; I know you can't stay,
All I want is this morning, then I'll be on my way.

The papers didn't come but today you won't mind.
Warm liquid silence hanging above our heads.
I carried this story many miles to tell you,
But on second thoughts, think I'll leave it here unsaid.

Pillowfights and coffee nights- isn't hard to remember
The useless different people we both tried so hard to be.
I hear your ride waiting; you can lock up the door,
'Cos I'm walking back with the evening tide into the sea.

The alarm clock's still broken and it's just another day,
Breakfast in bed, the bills all unpaid.
I won't bother asking; don't need you to stay,
Just give me this morning and I'll be on my way.

Saturday, 28 July 2007


It was open warfare. Crash of tin pots, clatter of cutlery flung asunder, shrill cracking of glass, thump-thump as something rolled down the carpeted stairs, finally ending up in a scuffled tumultuous heap in the courtyard. Laughing, panting, the two children surveyed each other warily. Right on cue, both jumped up and prepared for the final duel. A few minutes of struggling, a muffled shriek, the world flying upside down in a tangle of bare limbs and swirl of green-gold-brown, and the smaller of the two boys was sitting astride the other's chest, grinning widely.

Neer squirmed ineffectually and then deflated. "Get off me, Chhotu!" he said at last, "You've forgotten what I told you!"

The boy called Chhotu looked at the other doubtfully. "But you said we were playing War! I won!"

Neer managed to shake his head. "No, you forgot. I said I'm the Americans and you're the Japs, remember? The Americans always win!"

Chhotu looked unsure, his hands loosening slightly on Neer's chest. Before either could move, a barefooted woman came out of the house. With a loud exclamation, she lunged at Chhotu, hauling him up by the arm and whacking him so hard that it was uncertain whether she was brushing the dust off him or attempting to give him a thrashing.

"Can't take my eye off you for a second! Rolling in the dirt like pigs... and why were you sitting on Baba Sahib like that? Get inside!"

Neer got up and dusted himself off while Chhotu wriggled away from the woman and tried to get the feeling back into his arm. The two boys trudged back to the house together. Inside, Neer ate his favourite puris and talked loudly about his conquests in War. The woman we have met earlier praised his bravery and filled his plate again and again. Chhotu hovered in the background and collected the dirty plates when his mother had taken Baba Sahib upstairs for his bath. He washed the dishes slowly, reflecting on a day of boyhood glory. He waited impatiently for Neer to return so they could play again. Even though he knew by now that he would never be allowed to win.

Friday, 27 July 2007

These are the days

These are the days when we fight wars to end violence. Sit back and watch murder, live, coming to your homes. All for the greater good. And later it is so easy to point at The Boss, The Media, The System as the root of all those problems no one is willing to define. As easy as drawing a pair of horns over a picture of the Headmaster, a couple of hasty giggles, then the board is wiped clean. And you know that you have been clever indeed.

Not many people saw him fall, and those that did pretended they hadn't. He didn't look disfigured at all when I last saw him, sleeping there on the cold pavement. His arm was bent behind his back and his chin tilted up towards the broken window nine storeys above. There were yellow cordons and the jarring scream of sirens in the night. The body was carried away in the early hours of the morning. The police crew grumbled about the paperwork.

A three-inch report on page seven covered the robbery, squashed between the matrimonials and the civic letters. My neighbour used it to manure her begonias.

He worked for a small eatery part-time, delivering Chinese food to the IT sector. Used to ride that secondhand motorcycle down electric wire roads in the dead of night. Someone replaced him that evening. The last paycheck was labelled 'Return to Sender'. You see, he had become just another one of those persons who get snuffed out every other day, caught in the crossfire between behemoths like The Law and Crime and Politics, entities so much bigger than the individual and obviously much more important.

At least India's population is being kept in check, they said.


The portrait had been waiting for many years now. Through biting winter rain and sun that scorched the very sands, it waited. Standing on tiptoe, it peered down into the sprawling multicoloured city where overloaded buses trundled along and thin streams of people kept trickling in and out of many crevices at all hours of day and night. And it waited for a clue. Any odd inkling thrown its way.

Paid hands wiped the fresh mask of dust off the portrait every day. Smell of wilting marigold garlands. Taut fluttering of the green and white flag above its head. Almost every other day a uniformed gaurd would bring up a party of tourists, the adults fanning themselves with yesterday's newpaper, the kids with their mouths glued to ice lollies. They would take pictures, laboriously decipher the inscriptions etched in black on the granite wall, and finally stare at the portrait with self-righteous pride before going down the stairs. The same expression in thousands of eyes.

The portrait screamed as best it could. Through the salaams and the independence day speeches and the 21-gun salute, it screamed. For sixty years it had been subjected to blank looks of reverence on countless faces, adulation and honours and ceremony for it knew not what. Sixty years, and it still did not know its own identity, did not know what meaning it could possibly hold for so many humans. Vanity had seeped away, and all that remained was a desperate doubt as to its own integrity, growing like a cancer bite. If you looked closely you could have seen the frustration rippling behind the smiling canvas.

Lonely Paradiso

Tumbleweeds kept raining down
And we couldn't find a place to stay.
Last hotel on the dusty road
Stretching starkly white to the horizon.
Lanterned windows pulled us in,
Arms coarse with the smell of paraffin
And strange men who only ever stayed one night.

Pinewood bar, worn-out graffiti,
Piano riff, marching,
Pull up a chair, mate,
Happiness comes cheap at two shillings each.

Amid the laughter of strangers,
Men of the highway wind,
Unchanging, like desert dunes
That carried their touch to brush grainy in our nostrils.
While bawdy women stared
Their frank sweaty-eyed stares,
While moths swayed drunken
To the lure of the yellow wick,
Hard-shod feet scraped on wood.

Creak of bedsprings.
Scarlet-lipped smile
Of a man called Delilah.
A hand that I took
Without looking at its eye.

Lonely Paradiso
That's what they call it.
Where you can be a man out loud
And look at a conscience with scorn.

Lonely Paradiso
Haven for uneasy thoughts.
Naive happiness at two shillings each.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Rain, still

Hush the hiss of morning rain
Can you hear that crazy laughter?
The elves they keep on dancing
Though they know they should know better.
And my ribbon's running dry,
There will be no ever after
'Cos the sandman's come and gone away,
And he didn't leave a letter.

Were you watching while the shadow girl slept in the garden?
Must've missed you; do come by again.
I'll have tea and biscuits ready, keep the doorbell polished,
And I'll listen for your voice in the rain.

See that stubborn little boy
With the broken mandolin,
He remembers to forget
'Cos it's an easy place to be.
Now he's smashing all the windows
Just to let the sun come in,
And all he gets is summer rain.
No one told him so, you see.

Were you watching while the shadow girl slept in the garden?
Sure I've missed you; do come by again.
I'll have tea and biscuits ready, keep the doorbell polished,
And I'll listen for your voice in the rain.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

The Ballerina Who Joined the Army

This story is about a ballerina who wanted to join the army. She practised hard everyday in her garage while her brother went out to buy beer. Spread eagles, pirouettes, swan glides across the tiny cobwebby room, faster and faster, harder and harder till her shoes drummed up an indignant patter on the wooden floor. Even when her brother returned, with a little more than just beer, she continued, with only a little moue at the corner of her mouth to show that she had noticed him at all. Later she washed the dishes and listened to Simon and Garfunkel.

She joined the army, or so she told everyone who knew her. She was there with the boys when they cut through emerald wet forests with mosquitoes thickening the damp air. She stepped through the puddles of dirty blood with light feet, her rifle slung over her back, the metal pressing against the delicate knobs of her spine. None of the boys looked at her twice, but she didn't mind. She was pretty when she smiled, she knew it, but no one smiled then. She didn't say much, ate her canned soup with the rest.

The war wasn't very useful. Lots of people were angry about it but they didn't help much either, even when they wanted to. They didn't really know what the boys and one ballerina were doing in the jungles of another country, of how they marched and were ambushed. Our ballerina even had to use her gun. No one seemed to notice her. Or maybe they were ashamed. She didn't know, and no one stopped long enough for her to ask. Some of the boys were shot down right there, and she was sorry. Even though they never spoke to her she had grown fond of them. She was that kind of girl.

There was once a ballerina and she joined the army. She went further than she knew existed, and came back happy and sad when her brother broke down the door and told her to make the bloody bed.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

The Waiting Room- I

The man was looking down at a cat. The cat was gray, with dirty white spots. It gave the man a look only a cat can give a human, but Mr Percy H. Overcoat- for that is our man- didn't mind. He picked up the cat, holding it around its bony gray stomach. He crossed the low hedge between his house and the neighbours' and deposited the animal on the shaved lawn. The cat twitched its whiskers and walked away around to the back of the house. Mr Overcoat stepped back over the hedge and went inside his house. The time was 8 pm and Oprah was on.

Later that night, halfway through Oprah, Mr Overcoat fell asleep and dreamt a dream he would never remember. He itched in his sleep. Even later, with the TV still on and the quiet streets outside falling dark, Mr Percy H. Overcoat drifted over a thin line of consciousness like a wisp of eiderdown and when he awoke he knew that he was dead. For you see he was the first human to have contracted a new virus that was till that day unknown to man. Much later a bunch of smart grownup scientists discovered the impossibly long scientific name of the virus and found out that it causes instant death within 3 hours.

They also found out that it is transmitted through cats.

This eventually led to the whole world hunting stray cats and throwing them into bonfires and lakes and wet cement for quite some time. Animal rights groups had a field day.

While this is all well and good and should properly concern us all, it is not what this story is about.

This story is about Mr Percy H. Overcoat and all the interesting things he saw and heard and did next. Because we haven't seen the last of him yet.


Monday, 21 May 2007

Movies that I've seen

Life In A Metro. Hobos on train roof. Wood people crying. Dizzying lights. Irrfan Khan on a horse. Salty love.

Dreamgirls. Jazzy cars. Big hair. Quirky swirly names. Like cotton candy turned oversweet. Black is sexier. Tambola and mermaid tails. Shine.

The Queen. Dry lemons. Very English dogs. Lady in tweed. Ascerbic Tony Blair. Wittiness. Gracious what inadequacy.

Bheja Fry. Rubbery bounce. Chrome yellow and post-office red. Ok Tata Please. Nymphomaniac. More dogs. Only hybrid-Indian. Toad in a hole.

Blood Diamond. No good good see-see? Ciggie smoke trailing into the blue. Wrenched whiteness, twisted, cracked, pouring into into a bloody chasm. Cloud mountain. Metal wire and pressing flesh.

Spiderman 3. Won't.

Shrek the Third. Shan't.

Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Can't.

Ocean's 13. Maybe.

Friday, 18 May 2007


Jachchole... 15 already, and I've just started being. Got everything I wanted too. Sunflowers, emeralds, blackforest cake. White, lots of it. It even rained in the afternoon, just the right kind of rain. And when we came outside the dust had started to hiss away into the air, the buildings were sharp to see and there was that smell of hot wetness around. I was only one day older than the fourteen-year-old I had been on 15th May, 2007. I don't dare be too presumptuous about my wisdom already. I like my little corner just fine, thank you.

We set sail together one clear April day
To where the green water's a sweet-salty brine,
In a rocky old dinghy; oh what a beginning
With gay sun and high tide and sparkling white wine.

And all that we had was a blue parasol,
An old silver hubcap our mirror to be,
His dog, called Socrates; we know where the bait is,
And Cuban cigars that we'll throw to the sea.

We picked up the line and we let loose the song,
Slid on the wide rocks that stood wetly bare.
So wade in the shallows; the ripples will follow
Below the sharp lightning in clean summer air.

Then back through the silk waves we pleated again,
In darkness and lightness, the chasing began.
With proud breath and wild brow, oh what do you see now?
A ragged-bright lady, a gray-eyed young man.