Author Archives: VijayNair

About VijayNair

I retired as Associate Professor, Department of English, Government Victoria College Palakkad, Kerala. I taught English Language and Literature in various colleges for 31 years. My Ph.D. thesis was on the plays of Wole Soyinka. My collections of verse include "The City and the Hermitage" (1988), "Doors Swing Open" (2008), "Eyes" (2010) and "Whispers of Light in Darkness" (2013). My poems have also appeared in the International Anthologies "I am a Poet" (2013), "With Love" (2013), "Synthesis" (2014) "Poetic Symphonies" (2015) and "Heavenly Hymns" (2015).

Remembering

I could not understand the meaning
Of your multi-layered narratives
And you could not sense

My unease and helplessness–
But I do remember
Shared kisses in the parking lot

And the unclasping of desire on the beach at night
While time
Slithered out of the forbidden space–

Your hair was dishevelled by the randy wind
And that was when
Monosyllables ruled our universe–

Ah, I do remember we caught
The first train home in the morning:
Our tiredness seeking the embrace of the rising sun.

Of Dreams and Poetry

A poem waits to be written
In the silence between words
In the moment before the mind

Draws its curtains to let the light in – –
And dreams wake up
To speak to you in different tongues

Knocking on familiar doors
Of bombed buildings and betrayals
And stanzas filled with smoke – –

Dreams survive lost addresses
And the shaking of the ground
Beneath your selfish feet, you breathe

The dew-blessed breeze under a clear sky
Though you know you cannot ignore
The awkward lines draped around a seductive lie.

Scented Candles

We felt our words would ride the waves
And that we would be safe: now, our thoughts
Huddle in makeshift bunkers of the mind

Where we exchange stares and synonyms for fear:
Somewhere,the bridges between us
Have been blown up–

And home is just another word
For an empty space:
Under the rubble,a breath escapes–

Redrawing maps to suit one’s madness
And shrugging off the burden of broken pledges:
What was put in must be put out–

A world of wrinkled cowards looks on
At the rising smoke of lies:
Masked, and busy buying scented candles in advance.

Another Journey without a Name

So much was blessed
As platforms and shouting vendors whizzed by
Steering passengers to their endless past–

We were briefly betrayed between two stations
As we entered the dark tunnel of uncertain promises
And you thought you saw the green flag disappear–

Your gasp jolted me out of my berth
And my thoughts were trapped
By the disgruntled wheels, and your worried gaze–

A well-lit landscape ushered us to our terminal:
We got down
At the same platform

With all our baggage and dreams intact
At the end of another journey
Without a name.

Crossing the Bridge

Crossing the Bridge

Awakened by sunlight and your kiss
A cup of coffee awaits my lips:
I remember shadows within shadows

And the scars we shared
While lies kept our love alive
And birdless branches pined for Spring – –

You wrote poetry, and I tried
But drenched by the sudden summer rain
You sneezed yes and yes again – –

Our story stretched beyond belief
Though it seemed sane to us and friends
In those unsanitized, maskless, hugging days – –

You searched for living memories
In the scattered names of lovers in the cemetery:
We crossed the bridge before we came to it.

Some Stories

Some stories hide in the shadows
And fall in love
With other stories, for better or worse – –

And toss a bouquet of queries
For others to grab
In sickness and in health – –

Some stories survive,
Are kidnapped but set free
To be loved and cherished – –

Some stories forget their vows
And try to separate
Mother from child – –

And some stories wait
For another generation
To rewrite them.

A Missing Photograph

A morning lost in reflection
And small talk, where answers
Are offered before questions are asked – –

Where ancient anecdotes draw blank faces
Through unvaried retelling – –
Your voice guides me to a room

Filled with cobwebbed memories
And dead spiders – –
You stare at me

Through a beam of dust
Young and framed
Six feet above the ground – –

There is no smile on your face:
Annoyed by your mother’s refusal to let
You wear that long skirt

You had designed and stitched yourself
“Protecting” you, you said, from the overfriendly
Photographer’s sepia-toned gaze – –

I must now liberate you from this glass cell
And let you out on your last parole
To visit your parents and your husband

Residing, dear mother, in the timeless family album.

Images


You outgrew the leaves
Of the album, and the lyrics
Of childhood songs – –

Now, you speak
With the clarity
Of black and white photographs – –

Hand on hip, your pin-up poster look
Remains unchanged, your lovely face
Beyond the touch of Photoshop – –

Time stands still at the blue
Or golden hour
Weary but waiting

To serve your portfolio
And your will – –
Tongues are silent

When the lens speaks:
Even candid or close-up shots
Cannot frame your hidden thoughts.

Another Lyric for You

As we sat on the beach, holding our breath
We saw twilight clutch at
Straws of sunlight – –

Our names struggled against
The receding tide
But our bodies recited chapter and verse

All through that frog-croaking, sweat-soaked night – –
Our pauses grew swollen with guilt
Not knowing that the answers we sought

Were locked within
Beyond our insights – –
Let us remix shared memories

And search for the right key
For the misplaced lyrics of our story:
Not always in black and white.

One Phone Call Away

We waved goodbye to the secrets of our past:
A burst of sunshine pushed aside the rain
And all the lingering doubts we shared – –

Once, we talked in figurative language
Transforming dull facts into fanciful fiction:
Your questioning eyes wait for my response – –

Suspense peels off the skin of my thoughts – –
Raw, I feel the warmth of your welcoming breath
When words surrender to silent, articulate lips – –

As we walked through the branched light
We realised that all these years, we had been
One phone call away from the truth.