Romi Jain


It evokes such a fantastic image--
the coolness of the temperament
befitting a doctor who is laconic
and whose clinic has a smell of medicine:
bracketed out of the commotional world.

And those who attribute its comfort in any head
to its stunning tensility, will admit nevertheless--
its persona is nonanatomic:
for if dissection were to be attempted,
they would wearily ask:
“Is there any vacuum? Vortex? Properties? No!

Their absence suggests why
it is liberated from commitment,
deprived of a demarcated border,
unanchored to a mapped destination!”
And don’t confuse its forms--
inductive, deductive, abductive--
with any supposed discovery of its organs.

Ask a poet’s opinion?
Her imagination can draw water
from an empty tank!
Let us not hand her over the scissors
lest logic should emerge poignant like a death scene!

But concede, logic reigns!
We feel the heat
when the flames emerge from intellectual warfare,
from idiotic skirmishes involving fallacies!
And in gauging its stamina,
my analogical faculty gasps for breath,
refusing to go beyond Typhoeus,
and should I accomplish a marathon
unconceivable to human mind
its end will evade for sure,
holding on to its elusive texture,
no matter how strongly
pull the rival sides.

Because I Cannot Be Young Forever

The charm makes my whims tolerable,
imparts liberty to make men restless,
smoothens intricacies in getting things done,
offers delight in being watched
with pretension of ignorance!

Robes stylish in malls please,
generating visualization of my persona
adorned with the grandeur of a princess
and exactly this is when I feel his absence.

And when a day goes bad,
self- gazing comes to rescue;
the beautified face prompts embellishment,
and my hands reach out for perfect ear rings
and shimmering powder,
when I unconsciously decide to go out to show off!

Ah! How long can I reap from fertile, intact land?
the world’s bitterness can’t be put off for long!

When Poets Surprise the World

I know what whims are–the undiplomatic ones–
the wax that knows its course once the fire is drawn close,
the dry, fragile leaves–idiots– in the wind
that drift aimlessly into a room with an open window;
the unrestrained mouth of a child provoked into
uttering nonsense and something that makes sense
to clever, spying neighbors.

And there are whims that carry pretense–
the orchestrated eccentricity clouding
surreptitious preparations to take the
world by surprise,
like a dull bag hiding gold:

the secret delight to shrewd poets
who capitalize on the privilege to appear bizarre
and use the famed weirdness and notorious emotionality
when there’s an exact moment to show
unseen greatness, hidden tastes,
concealed worldly competence.

What would you call them?
The sinking boat that is sailing,
the unambitious ass that’s a soaring eagle,
the vanquished ruler who’s ready to launch an assault.

To them, poetry is the wind that makes
the mind drift into imagination,
digging out the verses of gold.
But they’re aware of their conventional entitlements
and smartly play the clandestine game.


From Hominess to Homelessness

My gay movements—
across the hip roof verandah-facing garden,
full of bottlebrushes,
where a dove tree sheltered blue birds
who would thank me at dawn yawning,
and rising from cozy brown nests,
to prepare for morning strides—
never felt circumscribed
that this cagey structure makes them feel
calling which home
would make a mockery of the temple
years ago I dwelled in!

With hope-offering skylights, the cream rooms
carved beautifully out of the firmamental space
would vie for attention on weekends
and envy the living room for its festoons and balloons
on my birthdays.

And the literary figures would ring the bell,
if for weeks I hadn't visited my library.
The award-winning buddies would relax
when in the armchair I would recline
holding a classic
in the warmth of fireplace.

In the moments of solitariness
when I would look through
the window of my bedroom
watching the white foams of the ocean
partitioned by thick, tall trees,
the trailing purple verbena
looking up like kids, would console:
“Aren't we your babies?
Believe us, the stream of water
appears flowing like milk from your chest
delicately as you handle the can!”

And in the face of desperate need
for letting loose my tears
I would liberate my eyes as one who,
carefree in private, widens up legs
to let pajamas descend down,
and the satisfaction is felt that a baby fed feels.

Ask me today,
when night visions have been conquered
by roads abandoned!

Bathroom, in your glory should I now sing songs?
for showers, you know, I rely on the grace of clouds,
taking care of modesty when men stare.

Tears don’t lag behind when they complain:
“We suffocate, constrained by barricades.
Why do you hide us,
when the world didn’t care
and ousted you out here in the public glare?”

Like a sand house, my dwelling fears
consistent onslaught of waves
that flush me out to keep the places clean—
the solitary paths which no one treads!

Copyright © 2013 Romi Jain

Romi Jain is a writer, independent researcher, novelist, and Vice President of the Indian Journal of Asian Affairs. Her published creative works include The Storm Within (2008; 2011), Poetry! You Resurrect Me (2011), Voices of Rocks in the Dusk (2012), apart from numerous poems that have appeared or are forthcoming in international anthologies and literary journals. Besides, she has published articles of contemporary and current significance in international journals, such as the International Journal of Development and Conflict (World Scientific Publishing Company, 2012).