Tuesday, February 25, 2014


What remains when the embers are spent?
Distant music reachable only by a distant chord
Ties that bind beyond grave and funeral pyre

The notes in my music books lay dying smelling like the dying do
The pall of their impending demise hung over their bodies
Long before they actually truly died

The conflagration consumed that which had died
What remained was the distilled love of life
That had once been music

It had felt so useless saying goodbye to my music
How do you say goodbye to a parent or a child
Or a sibling who is dying?

You are too close for comfort too entrenched in your ways
With relating to one another over meals banter familiar chatter
Goodbyes such as these don’t have a proper place in these relations

So when the time comes to part ways you just up and leave
Like nothing ever happened like you’ll be back for tea
You’ll talk about the weather the news the neighbor’s kid

So I left one day my music sheets my notes my instruments
And never looked back until one day
They came looking for me
                                                                                                                          ~   Sonali


Saturday, February 22, 2014


When all is said and done

Love remains unspoken

When all the pros and cons have been looked at

Love goes unnoticed

When all is analyzed and accounted for

Love remains unwritten

When love and hate lock step

Love comes out ahead

                                                                                                                                      ~   Sonali

Friday, February 21, 2014


This was a poem written as a response to a painting by Andy Warhol from his Rorschach series.

That’s Maa
You’d better take her seriously now
She’s mad right now
See those hands on hips

The glowering eyes
Yes, she’s talking to you
Look, even the tiger is looking at you
And don’t miss the carcasses of deadbeat asuras
Strewn around on the ground either

                                                                                ~ Sonali

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I have a gut feeling
That this chocolate cake
Will quell my hunger
What’s not to love about it?
Decadent rich awe-inspiring
It will humble the enemy within -
The Fury, the Foe
That rises within
From long suspended animation
It does not know about
My new secret weapon
Sleek quick-acting potent
Chocolate cake
I smirk
Then my eyes glaze over
The fury lies immobilized
Perhaps it is dead
Perhaps it is only playing dead
What if, a little later, it rears its ugly head again?
I’m out of cake
And who cares about later?
I’m happy now
                                                                                                                             ~ Sonali


Monday, February 17, 2014

The last brick

Sharmila's house was built
Brick by boring brick
Over the period of a year and a half
They had painstakingly picked out
The eggshell taupe for the walls
The oystershell nightlights
The crackled porcelain drawerpulls
The crystal chandeliers
And upgraded from tile to white marble
When it had almost been too late
Had it not been for an indulgent foreman
Who wrote a note to the shop
Saying he was not satisfied
With the quality of the supplies
And asked for a refund
Which they honored

It stood in its grandeur
A shelter from the elements
A testament to industry
And upward mobility
But it couldn't stand the pressure
From within
As it exploded one day
From the echoes of a silent scream
Pent up so long in Sharmila's soul
It shattered every gleaming window
The stemware
Every lamp every light
Every piece of ornately carved furniture
Each beating heart in its ineffectual ribcage
And then every brick
Of the once stately manor

That last brick lies on the ground
An epitaph to what could have been
A happy home

                                                                                               ~  Sonali

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sharmila At Home

A house on a busy street
Cold white locked large
Marble floors
A mirror in the foyer
The lady of the house sees herself
A wisp of gray in her hair
A perfect sari
The mirror shatters as she walks away
Stepping on the shards of glass
Like they might be petals
Her footprints a dark rangoli in her wake
Mock those who stop and stare and say
"Oh what a beautiful home you have."

                                                                                                    ~ Sonali

Studio portrait of a young woman in a sari leaning over a painted lotus.

Its rare for me to find a gelatin print studio photo so this was quite exciting. 
The bordered blouse matches the sari which is tied in the Parsi style of the time complete with brooch and the head drape. 

Friday, February 14, 2014


Where is the joy in receiving that which one is past wanting?
The pros and cons have been weighed in favor of the cons
The grief of loss has been bartered measure for measure  –
          That many bushels of despair
          These many buckets of tears
          And a large sum of youthful ignorance
          Which was largely my bliss
For acceptance

I was once smitten with the red Shalimar
The Clown, Shakespeare’s Philosopher,
And the stone have now showed up in the same frame
In this montage called “My Life”

The jester mimes offering me the ruby on a silver platter
With watercress around it and then languishes at my feet
Feigning death as a noiselessly Dying duck

Who am I, I who have been so mistaken so many times in my judgment,
To ignore the Fool’s message?

~Shakespeare's Fool
~Rushdie’s “Shalimar the Clown”
~J K Rowling’s “The Philosopher and the Stone”
~P.G Wodehouse’s frequent references to the “dying duck’
and things “on a silver platter with watercress around” them.