Canto 90: Terrorism

De todo
un Poco
tengo para todos

Pablo Naruda


Each pace precipitates an infinite staircase,
Each gesture the nucleus of a new cosmos.
If the wise sows not, he is but barren reason
Alejandro Jodorowsky

Some say Bollywood is monotonous,
Verdict of thirty thousand King & I’s,
But life is better led monogamous,
Too many fingers & too many pies;
Pluck’d from the street
An extra was I made,
Thro fancy dress & heat & thousand rupees paid.

I met her in a dressing room,
Fair actress of the Deccan,
Both hearts beating a little boom
As though we duelled at Tekken,
The jewels of romancing bloom
Well, that’s what I reckon,
For from this pretty princess of the Raj
An invitation to dine at the Taj.

My life blended with India,
O diamond in the crown!
The emperor, the hag-beggar,
The pale-face & the brown,
The gutter-dwellers looking up the godheads looking down.

November 26th 2008

Angels of Death

So warm were they, with destinies
Like straining stars that lustrously
Bore Goethes, Newtons not to be
Olive Tilford Dargan

The Kuber grew dense with the stench of death,
Decks sticky with the dead crews’ bloody pool,
Their captain panicking breath-on-sharp-breath
Beneath such bullies barely out of school;
“Tis Allah’s will
&, with Allah willing,
Five thousand we shall kill, kill & keep on killing!”

Each lad was born in poverty
Midst the slums of Pakistan,
Each son was bought for no small fee,
Little pawns in grander plan,
Up in Thatta’s rugged country
Hard train’d the Taliban
& the keen-eyed Lashkar-e-Taiba,
Melding proud, young footsoldiers together.

When them just ten miles from the shore,
They cut the captain’s throat,
With bag & oar ten ‘students’ pour
Into a dinghy boat,
Flinging Islamic retribution ‘cross the Mumbai moat.

The Arabian Sea
November 26th 2008

First Landing

A man may tear a jewel
From a monster’s jaws
Cross a tumultuous sea

Night nestled midst the vast financial core
Of our globe’s most massive democracy,
Where twenty seven million or more
Live in a state of guarded apathy;
The terror threat
For Mumbaikers distinct,
But far too fast to fret vast lives in living link’d.

Three wallahs watch the rubber craft
Slip inside their slummy quay,
Ten kempt lads leap ashore & laugh’d,
Shaking off the liquid sea,
An old man thought this rather daft,
Asking who could they be?
Mind your business,” spoke a lad in blue,
Not in Mharati but fluent Urdu.

They clasp’d each others shoulder-blades,
& there did pray awhile,
Ten young, outrageous renegades
Into five pairs now file,
& flag down five black hackney cabs to fly the final mile.

November 26th 2008

Last Supper

Before the bed of death
No ghastly spectre stood—but from the porch
Of life, the lip—one kiss inhaled the breath
Friedrich von Schiller

Full unaware he bore Death’s messengers,
Their shifty ambience so strange & cold,
Mohammed dropp’d off his young passengers
Outside the bustling Café Leopold;
A famous place
Racing with western dress
Whose smiling, happy face would soon be bloody mess.

At first a hand grenade goes off
In momentary stunning
Unpitying the gunmen scoff
At cowering & running
Aiming their train’d kalashnikov
At them all down-gunning –
If you were eating in this place that night
A bullet would have been your only bite!

The gunmen smugly stroll’d outside
Into an empty street
The shutters slide as all folks hide
& fleet are fleeing feet
As two young Muslims move along these murders to repeat.

November 26th 2008

Victoria Station

Men watched the drama from the foreturret,
Perched on the crosstrees, on the yards & masts
In an exploded pyramid of caste
Douglas Dunn

Still dripping in her British Empire bling,
Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus,
To temple, village, wages & wedding
Carries half of India’s passengers;
Fifty-four lives
Buy their one-way singles,
Amang men, bairns & wives random murder mingles.

As Ajamal sprays cold bullets wide
He feels the floor vibrating,
The sadness of his suicide
This moment satiating,
His friend & team-mate by his side
& them hyped awaiting
The Heaven that a martyr hopes to gain,
Thoughts amplified by infidels in pain.

As policemen leapt into battle,
They instantly leapt out,
Pot-shot pistols, jamming rifles,
Were never in the bout,
Where should be gushing bravery but fluster-headed drought.

CST Sation
November 26th 2008


How beautiful it would have been
Living under that roof
The two together always
Manuel Acuna

The Rabbi kiss’d his nappied son to sleep
Whose nanny said he’d been quite strange all day
Now down a squeaky staircase he did creep
Protecting infant dreams of cakes & play
What loud KERBLANG!!!
No all is roar & spin
As arm’d with claw & fang twin demons roam within.

As the Jews are band of brothers
So their enemies are too
A young couple & their mothers
Slaughter’d without ado
For they feel that fifty others
Balanced by one dead Jew;
But some still live, the Rabbi’s family –
His wife Rivkah, their son & his nanny

Like actors in a tragic play
The gunmen centre stage
Whose bullets crazy ricochet
In quaquarversal rage
More murder in the streets, below these lions in their cage.

Naruman House
November 26th 2008

A Small Matter of Timing

Alone at the bar, strangers everywhere,
the waiter is filling my glass with wine
glass after glass
Mohammed Bennis

As gunmen from the sanguine Leopold
Make contact with a fellow battleteam
For the next part of the raid to unfold
They must now strike at Mumbai’s social cream;
All gunn’d down at the dawn
Such brash militancy the world has never known!

So, as I felt a movie star
Soaking up the superb views
Some Maharajah at the bar
Sparkling in his diamond shoes
My soul sensed Vishnu’s avatar
& there began to muse
On this moment’s explosive catalyst
A thousand thoughts too terrible to list!

I’d never felt alive before
Our streets now the front line
As more & more the art of war
Moves through this life of mine
First nervousness on undergrounds now gunsounds as we dine!

The Golden Dragon
November 26th 2008

Attacking the Taj

I pity all that evil are –
I pity & I mourn,
But the Supreme hath fashioned all
Robert Nicol

As gunmen from the sanguine Leopold
Make contact with a fellow battleteam,
For the next part of the raid to unfold
They’ll have to strike at Mumbai’s social cream;
Gunn’d down quite merciless,
Jumpit militancy,  girl slumps dead in a dress!

I felt a modern movie star
Soaking up the superb views,
Some Maharajah at the bar
In his sparkling diamond shoes,
Soul sensing Vishnu’s avatar
& there began to muse
Upon this night’s explosive catalyst,
A thousand thoughts too terrible to list!

I’d never felt alive before,
Our streets now the front line,
As more & more the Art of War,
Moves through this life of mine,
First nervousness on undergrounds now gunsounds as we dine!

The Golden Dragon
November 26th 2008

Death of a Bell-boy

Alas ! that death-like Sleep, or Night,
Should power have to close those Eyes ;
Which once vy’d with the fairest Light
Richard Leigh

Inside the Trident Oberoi hotel
The bell-boy stuck to that boring routine,
Of guest, & bag, & lift, & room, & bell
That strict path ground out since he was sixteen;
What was that sound,
Like cars cought in a crash?
He fearing spins around to see the front doors smash

& caught a bullet in the gut
& fell like Balfour pheasant
Losing sensation in his foot
His vision deliquescent
He slowly let his eyelids shut
His heart grew hesitant
Then beat its last & as his limbs relax
His brain shuts down like wick-flame doused in wax.

As gunfire rattled floor to floor
All the guests grew fearful
Phoning the law, bolting the door
For something horrible
Was happening in their hotel, something incredible.

November 26th 2008

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