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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Courts of the Dead




Falaknuma Court,
now a Taj for snakes.
Once a lakebed, now a bowl of dust.

A white marble-dust court,
a courtier's gold-inlaid dagger
rusts in a desk drawer.

A pariah dogs court,
yards from many dreams,
a wasteland courted.

No one could afford you.

Court of Shahs, Nizams,
Nawabs court of kraits,
thieves coiled in dust.
Beggar court, Lepers court,
court of Locusts, court of Crows, court of Kites.
dog court
barren Brahmin Cow court.

Court of Skulls.

Udaipur Court,
Your warrior princes
ridden flames to the chhattri,
wife's silent suttee joining.

Horse guts into the Court of Allah,
Jaipur Court, 'Hai Hai!"

They followed on,
thrown onto their lord's sword,
elephant ivory hacked from heads,
charred mistress smiles,
flames of brush and ghee.

A court for dead songstresses,
Fatehpur Sikri, a mute dessert,
sweet memories,
A sandstone court of sand.
a court for old courtyards,
and the Durbar courts therein.

A fast falcon court, hooded, alert.

Poet court, closed, a dream shriveled by thirst,
parched from land and courtly love.

Your Urdu courtier's flourishes,
tiring Sanskrit translations perished,
you abandoned your nightlong fantasies,
and stole the child of imagination.

Letters, poems, silk languages,
now a howling Radio court.

A small insect thirsts
for a courtly drop of dew.

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