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NaPoWriMo'23 Day Thirteen: Meeting a poet outside their poems

Gulzaar Saab by Shruti Sonal

Gulzaar saab,

Come, sit.

You look like you've walked a long way

Here, take a handkerchief,

Wipe that sweat off your forehead

It's summer in Dilli again.

This brutal summer,

It is okay to not be coherent.

It is okay to not speak.

Are you tired of words?

Does it get too much sometimes,

To turn all that you see into poetry?

Do words also refuse to come to you

For days on end,

Like they do with us?

Do you look for your beloved moon

Every night in the sky,

And feel a little lost when clouds devour it?

On some lonely nights,

Do you struggle to hold back tears,

And write about what you left behind in Pakistan?

Do you also miss the people you've lost in Bombay,

The ones who gave their voice to your words,

And turned it into magic?

Do you leave behind Gulzar,

And become Sampoorn Singh Kalra once again,

When you retire to bed?

Or have you forgotten who Sampoorn was?

Do they feel like different people?

Do you fail to ask how the other is, at times?

I met a brilliant poet in an ordinary cafe by Jijnyasa Patowary

i met a brilliant poet in an ordinary cafe

standing in line to get pound cake and

stale coffee. i wonder what he’ll do next.

will he write about waiting on his father’s

love? or will he write about how time has

been cruel to his grandma’s memory?

none of this, you see. he holds his cup

tenderly and works on what could only be

excel sheets. i walk up to him, with a storm

in my stomach - for his poems have

created - and then destroyed - whole

wars in me. i tell him about my day,

he tells me about his.

i know of the magic bones of his hands,

that turn words into epiphanies. but

i listen to him talk about his favourite

kind of tie-knot. i see him beyond

the ruins of his poems. and i think

he deserves some sanity - time moving

as it does for the rest of the world -

not stalling or sprinting, as it often does

for brilliant poets like him.

i met a brilliant poet in an ordinary cafe

he writes poems on everything he ever loved;

but i can’t find a single one about him. so i write

this poem for a brilliant poet who loves bad coffee.

works for an MNC but writes like a fever dream.

a brilliant poet sipping coffee without

any metaphors mixed. and let me tell you,

he is beautiful. he is you and me.


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