Ranjit Hoskote Poems

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Footage For A Tranc

The hours stop in my veins.
Evening falls, a spotted tissue
draped across dayglo streets.
The clocks go on marking

A Poem For Grandmother

A door. A stair. And two steps inside that dark,
the straight-backed chair my grandmother sat in,
a lace net draped across its mahogany arm.

Speaking A Dead Language

I trespass on sentences that ash has muffled,
the lichen overgrown; then re-kindle tropes
that farmers dropped in their kitchen grates
with the husked corn and blue glass beads

The Postman's Last Song For The Moon

You glide in plain view, gravity's nearest slave,
floating outside our windows, just out of reach,
an ice fruit we'd love to pluck
from the sky's jet branches.


Lover, listening at the keyhole,
married to a whisper on the phone,
the rustle of a dress.


He stares up at the dying stars,
this madman in a soot-black robe.
No door opens to take him in,
this madman in a soot-black robe.


A crust of mountain for breakfast
with a smear of dew to wash it down,
a torn cotton robe against the wind.
His name burnt out, Milarepa sings to himself

The Hotel Receptionist's Confession

What could I do? I trusted them and they let me down.
They'd shamble in, flashing gawky legs, waving bony arms.
Or shuffle in crab-wise, bow-legged, too short
to sit at table. And there I was, thinking how poised

Shore Leave

The sea floods your canals, heaves at your gates:
inside you, our child learns the sail-maker's art.


This feathered leaf must have fallen from the hand
of the woman who turned around to see
if her child had strayed too close to the slope
of the fuming mountain or the hunting birds,

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