A poet died
back home
and I,
miles away
couldn't make out
what it meant.

He had died before also,
almost, I mean.
Like a frog run over by a truck
many a times he had
fallen down on the black mud
of the streets,
drenched in blood,
in wine,
spread eagled,
almost dead.

There were his other deaths too,
less physical,
but more intense.
Mostly murders, i guess.

Love hate lust
and folks like you and me
together had him dead
at the cross, many times,
and yet, from his blood,
holy in its unholiness,
they had risen like fire,
burning their way 
right into you.

They called him an addict,
made fun at his back,
but were silent as the stones 
when he rode,
with his 'bird' and the 'snake'*
like a king 
on the streets 
in the rain 
of molten, acidic,
black ink.

I asked a friend of mine
what it means when
a poet dies;
don't know why, but she said
probably it was a 
'trick question'.
May be 
that's what it could mean
when a poet dies.

A trick
to end the agony 
of being shackled to life.

A question
that keeps screaming
in your head, 
never letting you 

* In memory of the Malayalam poet A. Ayyappan who passed away recently. The poet who had led a tumultuous and lonely life remained lonely in his death also. His body remained unidentified on the roadside for hours.The poet had recently won the coveted Aashan prize.

* The poet's favourite metaphors, the 'bird' and the 'snake'