To The Tower-Clock That Stopped

Even you broke the promise
of eternity
you bade to this city of finites
just as this sun immersing in golden sea
contravenes the parole of coolness
the next morning.

O the edifice of time
you were unblinking witness to its growth
from its carts to cars
its lugubrious lonely lanterns
littered like moon light on black lakes
to its sodium shafts blazing the streets as on Holi day
its infantile nakedness
to bungling pock-marked nudity.

Why couldn’t you coxswain
this single-souled shallop to
the shore of permanganate future?
its oars became
spears and swords
bisecting it into moieties
to be devoured by
the maelstrom of vanity and vengeance
whim and venom.

You didn’t shepherd it through the miasma
of blood that hasn’t gone asphalt yet
of flopping corpses that hasn’t decomposed in gluttonous gutters
of quivers of baited helplessness and smothered sighs that still echoed
of houses smoking bidis of life
of sore eyes that stopped waiting for Kalki.

You know that after every twelve of torture
comes innocuous one
then why did you stop?
tell me sotto voce
what did the pavement parrot sortilege?
triskaidekaphobia?
.

by Hemang Desai

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