all our riches

a-trompe-loeil-of-paper-money-coins-french-school
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
our wealth.

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

For Midweek Motif at PU
Also linking it up with dVerse OLN
Image source (A Trompe Loeil Of Paper Money Coins by French School)

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “all our riches

  1. “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.”

    Wow! But I am grateful for your last penny, taken from where the daily small change cannot reach.

    Like

  2. sanaarizvi says:

    …… I absolutely love this poem!❤️ The contrast between ” the exact change of simple words” and “another currency, unfamiliar in shape/size” .. portrays perhaps a glimpse into a poet’s world where everything possesses a personality and where everything is alive. The ashtray I am guessing depicts a mind brimming with words and ideas both spoken and unspoken as one strives to make sense of what goes on in the world. The poem has multiple layers and meaning which makes it all the more powerful! 🙂 Especially love; “fragrance of raat ki rani, dreaming dreadful thoughts”.. just beautiful, Anmol! ❤️

    Like

  3. Glenn Buttkus says:

    After a second reading, I’m content this is not a dark or sad poem, rather it deals with the esthetics of words, that words matter, and for poets they are a sort of currency, which we can contribute to society in addition to taxes and votes.

    Like

  4. I’m with Glenn on this, Anmol: words are a poet’s currency. I love the opening lines:
    ‘i spend the exact change (i have left) of simple words,
    gentle words, neurotic words, hunchbacked words’
    and
    ‘it is good that i have another penny left in the pocket within the
    pocket, where words do not reach, budgets do not measure
    our wealth.’

    Like

  5. I do like that words are a writer/poet’s currency to be spent as the person chooses. “i spend the exact change (i have left) of simple words,
    gentle words, neurotic words, hunchbacked words,” These words are amazing. Great spending of the currency.

    Like

  6. Our words are valuable, if one works and treats them that way. To capture all our experience, threadbare or not, into a work of wonder is a gift. I like the quote that begs for deeper reflection:

    “there is a worm within us that turns everything into a threadbare
    experience, a frayed impression of our yearnings,”

    Like

  7. So good! And the conclusion!

    it is good that i have another penny left in the pocket within the
    pocket, where words do not reach, budgets do not measure
    our wealth.

    Indivisible, primal, disregarded by those who measure wealth differently. Masterful structure of deconstruction and question, but oh how quietly powerful is the magic the last stanza reveals its prestige. Penny for your thoughts… 🤔

    Like

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