what is the colour of black?


black is the sound of a phone call
through hazy lines, that keeps on
ringing — delayed response,
stopping short of despair — its greys
subdued, in the harsh daylight.

black is the smell of fresh blood, lip-
shaded hurt that keeps on aching,
rising — tendrils of lust reaching out
for a dark, dark touch — i’ve wondered
if i can rise to the height of burning.

black is the nail-paint — matte, you
said — it makes my fingers look long-
err — these short sardonic evenings
to gather at the shore, monochrome
boats returning to a long night’s door.

black is the imprint of a stranger —
shadows and sighs, desire held aloft,
succumbing to these charms — my
hurt getting wider, my lies deeper, as
hopes trickle down in half-streams.

black is the taste of your smile — sly,
shy, standards apart — white masks
falling from our eyes, to see the shape
of nothingness, its skin we wear unto
our hearts, like a hole stretched apart.

i see black remorse — no spectrum
to measure its length and width —
a world missing, where i could be singing
to the clouds, and they would pour down
all the colours, remembered and lost.

© Anmol Arora

Image source (Abstract Painting by Ad Reinhardt; © 2018 Estate of Ad Reinhardt/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

Written for my prompt at dVerse on Shades of Black. Don’t forget to check it out.

when a flame dies


& the way a drunk mosquito burns—roasted
when it strikes a humming electric
racket, sweet pleasure is found

in the touch of a fire, getting
closer, warming undulating nerves,
burning many skins and hearts —

i sit beneath a cornucopia of thoughts,
shaded by empty words and loss, un-
true to the universe, unforgiving of
black nights and their igniting stars.

i want to learn how to perform in symbols
and when there are shortages of voiced whispers,
i need to let go of my vernacular, my colloquial
lips in favour of a rusted language, that
i have borrowed and bracketed for my cause.

i don’t remember the words, not their units
of deflated lungs, alight clay lamps, final
sparks of a flying cracker in the air, so
i absolve myself of all that has gone,
not knowing, not even writing, because
i don’t know how to do that anymore.

© Anmol Arora

Linking it up with “Kerry Says ~ What is Metamodernism?” at With Real Toads
Image source (Untitled [glossy black painting] by Robert Rauschenberg)

a cat’s person


who are you? where did you come from?
your claws dig for the skin beyond the skin.
wagging your tail, you seem to know things,
hear and see and feel all that i want to hear
and see and feel —

you are a monk, every morning spent
in soulful reflection over your own
lithe form, licking the underbelly,
washing away the filth and dirt
of this uncouth world.

you are Mao, your war for space
is without bloodshed (your politics
is shed), you are in a random chase
for what does not exist. you are the one
i think who would kill me in my sleep.

you are Amma, the protector of this realm,
fighting fleas-like-people (thy servants),
birthing new dreams, you are this creative
spirit, it is in consonance with the stars
that you make all the clouds go away.

i seek to understand you, become you,
all of you, each one of you, i want
to forget who i am and exhaust all
my nine lives to unknow
where i came from.

© Anmol Arora

Image source: Dali Atomicus, Salvador Dalí and Philippe Halsman (1948)
Linking it up with my post at dVerse Poetics where I have shared some cat-chy poems and prompted the poets to write on all things feline

from the train

after Munna — a stranger/friend from the train

the train that never arrives
may have already arrived —

he stutters and rushes his way through
many words, obliging the falling dusk
with his innocence and resolve, light
as a feather, sturdy as the city sky
of many colours, all dreams cupped
carefully in some determined sighs.

he had ventured for his truth, a strange
smile on his lips is the worldly gain of
wonderment and curiosity, so stark
against an empty coach and a dark night,
all that we carry atop our shoulders. for
a little while, we can see each other —
strangers, friends of an equal station,
comrades to find the extent of our beliefs.

he lives in a place of a hundred fates,
i can hear him speak in broken-breaths
and amid lilting laughs, that make
the sky a little less harsh, and the hope
of a journey less jarring, and all things

a bit more open to light (not often
found in a new city or a new day).

© Anmol Arora

Linking it up with the Tuesday Platform at WRT.

Also, it’s been eight years since I started this blog. Woot! It’s been so long — I will perhaps make a separate post about the same. I just wanted to mark the occasion here.

a long walk

of those streets — untrodden and unknown — white
blossoms hanging in shame — i tie my knots
to a sun-bedazzled horizon — rites
of passage — grey streets, umpteenth times, (un)sought:

from the beachfront to a temple’s tempest,
there is music in every step — stone-dreams
of our bodies, long dead and alive, blessed
by the lilting lights of a silent scream.

of motorcades and urine stains — these walls
reek of years and litters that have inhaled
the bequest left by the bay’s sunken souls —
plastic pools, sodium sands, holy grails:

where all did i wander through this caffeine-
daze?— not all trees that stand are evergreen.

© Anmol Arora

Linking it up with dVerse, where i am hosting the Poetics prompt this week. The theme is: On Wandering & Observing

all despots create an unfounded rage

all despots create an unfounded rage,
the public eats from this free-handed rage.

blood flows through my land of undoubted hate,
all crops deluged by this unbounded rage.

the veiled villain is but a hounded lie,
we are revealed by our well-sounded rage.

these faultlines bring forth the confounded truth,
we all run on a radar-clouded rage.

who do we blame for these crowdfunded wrongs?
what ‘worth‘ do you know of (dis)counted rage?

© Anmol Arora

A short ghazal written with a heavy heart, encapsulating certain components like matlaa, radif, qaafiyaa, and maqtaa. Linking it up with dVerse Poetry Form challenge, hosted by Gay Reiser Cannon.
More ghazals: your love took all with it but this sweet pain and i wait at a lost November’s altar

your love took all with it but this sweet pain

your love took all with it but this sweet pain,
you rendered your sleek spell in this neat pain.

the skies are split open by the heat’s rage,
i smouldered to the whims of this elite pain.

you dropped all pretense, spilled my discreet truths,
i am left bloodied by our defeat’s pain.

you are not my soul, not a complete stop,
i won’t be richer by your deceit’s pain.

all this loss made us change our concrete ways,
still i lost you to this obsolete pain.

do not go to find your past life’s street-mark —
Priceless, you’ll no more love your heartbeat’s pain.

© Anmol Arora

A half-hearted ghazal — linking it up with The Tuesday Platform at WRT