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The Land of Spices and Pearls  

“Hear me, you, I am incarcerating people into poetical prisons. 

This is the last call.” 

- My First Tongue 

“Perhaps these are not poetic times at all.”

- Nikki Giovanni 

Between the lost the disillusioned the happy

The begging the raging the unputdownable the floating 

My home dismembering the constitutional handkerchief 

Blinding the legs of my second country      you

Read between the lines 

Can you tell the ferociousness with which

They move between each other's prescribed names 


Into an untitled effigy like a corrupt angry deity shot 

Metaphorically carelessly 

Drawn blanks 

In their wounds now fester the crutches of time they drag 

Besides whatever else they must 

But the lines 

Read without warning fester seeds in my stomach 

Like mangoes ripening out of my most ill season 

Here         Hear me                                     you

My voice tide the minutes like wheelchair rides 

Plucked for children like stampeding stones

Clawed open for the message 

Come now / have my guts burn in history

 Come now / crawl to my ashes and invoke your name 

A poem will rise like a slaved tongue

Escaping the crippled embers of my mother’s throat


I blow my god his incense every morning 

He comes up tired of all the cacophony. 

It only gets dirtier from there: the willy mess

All over the sheets, he leaves and pulls on me

His nilly tantrums. So I sit there, say nothing

Cross my legs and just listen. His word is holy 

He says, but mine smells smoky, essential oils / far

From his type: jasmine on days there is love

In the air and sandalwood once the routine jog’s done 

And dusted. It all but lasts ten seconds — 

His bickering, count my fingertips. From then on —

It's all sleep. No fooling, no mischief. He wakes, devotedly

Early morning. And religiously he wakes me, scolding — 

Hard, the butt end of his incense if out. Now carefully, I stay 

All ready the night prior: shot fumed, awake, smelling, in bed.

Kishan Gusani is an Indian poet based out of Mumbai. He is currently pursuing B.A. (Hons.) in Psychology from IGNOU. His work features or is forthcoming in Monograph, Verse of Silence, Bound, nether Quarterly.

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