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Love, but an obstinate puzzle, a bewitching waltz breaking at dawn,

Its itsy bitsy teeny weeny aroma waves from dusty book shelves,

Giggles with precise ease from children’s color palettes,

Reds with blues, yellows with browns, black with white,

It paddles on a sun kissed wing, a flutter of blue wing,

It embers as silent prayer in forlorn eyes,

Frowns in angry defense and floats into patient discourses.

And hope, an errant plot, lies copiously entangled,

At the tail end of a day. Long is this tale between sunrise and sunset, forever long does this tail twitch in us, follow us,

For long sits the mutant Shredder, the new age virus, Shackled to blue screens and fantastic schemes, Propping up a tilting globe, patching a yawning ozone hole, A diplomatic slash of words here and a democratic kick there, It's tail twitches out of sight and in fright, A blue tooth grows from deep within ears, Whispering secular solutions to manufactured ills, like leeches on tail end, sucking the blood end of hope,

Like it or not, see it or not, hear it or not…

Man, the mutant Shredder.

For long a super bass Sennheiser cups its ears, Blocking out the ‘other’, muffling out backend tales, A loved ones sigh, fragile new born words, tripping on lips, 404 error- status code, no such page is found, Purred in contentment the wise old computer screen.

For long marooned in an island of blue light, the mutant, It's coagulated eyes snakes down a sleek neck, making love, It's fingers embrace a coveted mouse, Click-A frivolous page deleted in an instant. A scoop of joy,

A sparkle of wonder in an eye- click, frivolous indeed, Animals- click, plants- click, rivers- click, mountains- click, Sun, moon, earth- coding error- click, click, click, 2G3G4G5G sprints the virus wagon with not a heart,

Great micromanager, mutilator of love and laughter,

The new age responsive design engine rocks in its chair,

A frantic tap tapping of fingers, nail biting, teeth grinding,

A firewall it erects against nature, setting fire to its own tail,

The mighty bug of an era- coding error, coding error, Sans ears, sans eyes, the flexi grid waits in dead silence, To shed an envelope, embrace a host, inject a deadly strand,

Like it or not, see it or not, hear it or not…

Man, the mutant Shredder.

An anesthetized monkey, its head is served on a plate, The Virion coughs, picks a brain and sighs in prestige, Sharks hauled upside down, brutalized, the Virion regains power, Beef calves and a bucket full of bleeding castrations, Good product quality! The Shredder burps in contentment,

Dehorned calves, cropped tails and docked emotions,

Acidic lakes fume, the woods are aflame, species extinct,

And he blades on gear less shafts, on super flyovers to hell,

Like it or not, see it or not, hear it or not…

404 error code- these pages do not concern us,

Me, Me, I, I, said the mutant, nature is mine to mold.

Ah! Heights of technology- bio engineering, geo engineering, Clone an ancient horse and resurrect it from its icy death, Programmed behaviors with Artificial proteins and logic gates, We tweak a baby, we chip a brain, we seed a gene or a cloud, And the mutant in a trance, as he Oops! Spills a flood here, and

Oops! A drought in the neighborhood, an ice melt and a Covid-19,

Like it or not, see it or not, hear it or not…

404 error code- these pages do not concern us.

A disgrace to the animal world, even they bond in love,

Across all species, they groom, they belong, they nurture,

Sans excesses, sans greed, sans hate.

And now descends a Covid breath to erase all doubts, Here, take a look at the backend weave, the tail end, Where masks are cut and sewed to fit a designer face, Here, at the backend family, a stage built with sweat and soul, Here, at the hidden tail end, love and light grinds to a halt.

Here look, the clown fish and the anemones live together, Here look, the sharks and cleaner fish ride together, And a lichen quietly spreads its wings on rocks, Living together, a river indebted to the contours of a bank, A rain cloud indebted to the mountain peak, The soil to the root’s embrace, or see the soil that embalms, See the moon lit by the sun, or the moon that allows to be lit, Hear the threads of a magnetic lyric, the planets sing,

They’re all in it together, a symphony at play,

There is room for the ‘other’.

Sit it said, a Covid breath, a still and wispy phantom ring, Sit with a father, a mother, sit with a daughter, a son,

With a husband, wife, friend or foe, simply sit with a weave,

In a weave, of a weave. Sit, sit. Sit doggy sit. Hear! Hear! who came first, the wood ants or aphids, Bumble bees or flowers, the ravens or the wolves that fed them, Who came first, the alder or the nitrogen fixing bacteria,

They’re all in it together, a symphony at play,

There is room for ‘the other.’

It shall take a solar flare or a meteorite from the skies,

Sans the speeding arm of a 4G and 5G, it shall finally halt,

And raise its head to the heavens and sense,

An emptiness of sorts, an uneasy calm,

The granaries of words and meanings emptied.

Man feasts at the pinnacle of his hunger,

A Dali clock melts, a stunned time tumbles into lower gears,

And man, thrown back home and at the pivot, with a backend tale,

With a Covid breath poised at the horizon of a wreckage, aware.

It appears in haste, a still shroud, a lost hope that connects,

And behold! The Shredder senses, feels, sees, hears again.

All in a blink, just you and me, and a dog or a cat,

Just a hesitant pair of our newly wed footsteps,

Just you and me and a few chapters we swam across,

A swift recap at the threshold of full stops and commas,

Exclamations and the pauses we rode together,

Not bad at all, there’s room for the other,

Back home at the pivot, as the phantom knocks.

No virtual skyscrapers and the slow and stiff,

Upward climb in sanitized elevators,

Just you and me, back home at the pivot,

A money plant for a window, a bird for a branch,

A cloud for a sky and raindrops on eyelashes.

Fresh is the smell of mud we shared,

Fresh, your eyes soft on mine, erasing mine,

And your smile in mine.

In it together, there’s room for ‘the other’,

Slow and steady says the ringed phantom,

Now you breathe with me, and in stillness,

Now you don't, and in madness,

Now you think, but not with me,

Now you don't, and with me,

Now you gasp, alone, but in me,

Breathless, turn towards a breath enshrined, Breathless remember love enshrined, In a water of glass a loved one served, Breathless remember the lexicon of pain, Sketched into corners of eyes.

And it might just wonder about the bridges burnt, And the babies thrown with bath waters, Wonder about the broken chain and the missing links, And the hearts chopped with such vulgar ease, Oh what a waste of time it will moan in vain, It might just say, there is something in a breath after all, But hey! There is no proof is there, that it is mightier than I,

And then just yet, that I might as well believe,

That I am the breath, fair enough!

In a larger breath, and a larger breath,

Breathing, breathed…

Live and love…

What else?

-an original poem Anuradha Nalapat, April 2020

You might like to view Spotlight with Sandhya featuring Anuradha Nalapat Anuradha Nalapat is a professional artist based in Bangalore and has exhibited her paintings throughout India. She has chosen the visual medium and the written word to explore and delve into the mind for an understanding of the self. She is a published author and poet, and her stories and poetry have been published in journals like the Indian Literature and the South Asian review. .

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