MAGIC IN RAJASTHAN
Fantastical Raj Mahal.
He lays his head on my lap. India is outside the window like a dejavu, untouched since last November. The clouds are dark above Jaipur, the pink city’s late monsoon.
We return to the Naila Bagh Haveli, where we feel home under the ceilings with Maaza and Moong dal in the lobby
Perhaps I desire a garden on the Nile where I can plant my roses. A geographer on an armchair to point me towards Bethlehem.
None of these luminaries to illuminate my spelling mistakes on letters I write to those forgetting me.
A Maharaj, one rather large, to lend me rubies as large as pomegranates.
Steps that lead to Mother.
And maybe an altar.
Yes, that too.
We became a race obedient to the stars, smelling for the rain, mantras with a softer tone to please the Goddess. In the hunt I dressed for Hollywood. In death I saluted a babyhood, became woman and waited for instruction. In the desert I was a camel, in the jungle a Lion. On earth a child, in heaven ready to try again.
I heard about Diana when a man dreamt of my mother.
Could you have been an Amazonian warrior in one life, a muse in another.
So I become a spectator in your gallery of incarnations.
CENOBIO DEI DOGI
I got over my Adolescent sadness when I found out about karma, that perhaps I was still suffering from the spoils of my last life and he was gallant because of his.
So we became wizards and hid in pink houses on the Riviera.
THE ORIENT EXPRESS
The whistle announces the train's departure.
The light bulb flickers, its battery still sore from the time a Russian magician attempted time travel in compartment 28 of the Orient Express.
CAP DU EDEN ROC
Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden
Now the Eden was a Roc on the Riviera.
And Adam´s legend was luxe,
and Eve caused parlour talk for every bygone era.
It all went from auspicious to Ritzy,
but there was a spark to it all,
especially when you could dive into it all,
into the blue of sea, the blue of eternity.
I wore the muse of another man,
because in Venice the muse was never I
and the man always another.
BLUE IN A PINK CITY
I saw who I wanted to be in the mirrors of the Palladio in Jaipur
But there was fear too, a fear of always feeling blue in a Pink city.
The Narain Niwas Lobby
The closer we get to Jaipur the more pink the sky turns.
Stripes of rose, six stripes to be precise.
Pink blessings over the pink city, heaven constantly throwing pink petals, and the same wonderful peacocks cry at the pool of the Narain Niwas. We seem to be the only guest, I say I want to wear
red lips tonight and he says, do.
He looks handsome in India, exhausted by the bazaar, dinner in the Palladio, shivering with the loss of the sun.
Blue lips, Pink city.
“The smell of the Imperial hotel. The smell I associate with worshipping the Goddess and all her deities. I have breakfast with the smell of the Imperial hotel. The smell I associate with worshipping the Goddess and all her deities. I have breakfast surrounded by the fragrance.”
Paris bar. No french waiters. Berlin
We thought we would drive through the Thar desert this September. The drive is traffic full, his right mirror broken, the goats look at us thoughtlessly, candy sold inside walls, bangles shimmer in their boxes, police drink chai in pink cups, the alphabet painted on the walls.It's karma on the highway
If only Noah embarked in Venice and opened the gates to hoards of horses and flamingos,
to drink the canals dry so gondoliers no longer could lead us to dark corners and empty our pockets.
And if the canals were dry there would be a path to the lobbies, not separated from us by rich waters, for the rich quarter.
And if penguins owned cafe Florian?
Perhaps then I could be allowed the dignity of sitting, and not banned to stand.
The fire of dragons would melt the golden lions on every door, and then the golden lions would roar.
And then the owl hoot and the wolves cry,
for only Venice and I.
BIZARRE ON BAZAAR ROAD
Bags of spices overflowing their edges and spilling on earth for the roosters to peck on.
An iron fan spinning a sort of lullaby in the decks where the women run their fingers through curry powder and masala.
Stardust is what it could all look like for me, a foreigner.
RAJASTHAN ON THE RIVIERA
And it was afternoon on the Riviera when they smelled
an unfamiliar perfume and heard the roar of a Tiger.
Silence, fear, curiosity, awe.
It was the parrot that spoke, and it called,
“A Queen! A Queen on the Boulevard."
SOHO HOUSE UTOPIA
There is a magical sadness to the construction of the building, raw concrete walls and columns left bare, left timeless, with falling chandeliers in the shape of a crown not yet placed.
If Fitzgerald had ever taken Zelda to Delhi,
they would have hired a Chauffeur to drive them in a Rolls Royce to Rajasthan but then Zelda would have pointed to the Bullock Cart and said,
"I want that!"
BOMBAY´S BOLLYWOOD BLUES
I tell him this is the best hour of the day,
hour of the life, dimmer of the lights.
And shimmer of the sunset on the bay.
Specks of reds and hues of blue,
the dignity of camels, the measured strut of a cow,
the sizzle of oil, the shiver of saris when the ladies bow.
Bangle melody, karma tragedies. ”
In Morocco you drop Kennedy and become Onassis
because the twilight must by nature be another twilight then that of America. And the Atlas mountains must be another pink and pink must also be the dust, the spice sprinkled on couscous and the perfume of twilight, if ever twilight were a perfume.
Then twilight was gone, disappeared with the flutter of an eagle’s wing.
Perhaps had I worn beautiful clothes in the classroom,I would have learnt to be a lady.Had there been flora and a Cheetah,
I would have learnt to have an imagination.
Had I been able to see the sky I would have caught all the shooting stars and fulfilled my dreams.
Where beauty and coffee, dried flowers and powder, muses, nymphs and baristas all exist together. I sit by the bar and swing around in my stool while she smells all the fragrances of the Orient. I order coffee and she vanity. I try cake and she Moroccan lipstick. Coming to Paris made sense for this room, this fragrance and the gazes I got from the goddesses of beauty.
THE BAR ITALIA
April til September 2018
And I would never be okay with the zoo,
So blue I would be in the Zoo.
There was once an Elephant behind the Moulin rouge,
And Giraffes huge under Berlin's moon of June.
They even bare witness to our war,
Hundred times worse than the Lion's roar!
And for what was it all but to say,
“Look at these Zebras that still prance today!”
And I would never be okay with the zoo,
So blue I would be in the Zoo.
Velvet seats where Hollywood is only a memory now,
being a star,
and how the world would bow
encore, encore, they would call
and how the curtain would fall.
But she stood on stage more mesmerised by the crowd,
dashing, sizzling audience.
First row, royalty, last row loyalty
A BABYHOOD OF DEITIES
I had a babyhood of deities,
and I was told they all lived within my body,
which they said was a temple.
So I corrected them and said," no its a lobby"
THE PLAZA HOTEL
"Please don't tell me you don't love me in The Plaza.
Tell me later,
just not in The Plaza."
Sakuni said, "Do you want to play again?"
"What is left?" said Yudhishtira, wearily.
"No!" "Yudhishtira, you must not!" "Yudhishtira, you have carried this too far."
"This must not be allowed." Murmers of protest and repulsion came from the assembled kings. But the fierce insanity of the gambler on a roll blazed from Sakuni’s eyes, and Duryodhana was virtually trembling in anticipation of his total triumph. With a sweeping, humiliating gesture, Sakuni played.
"There, I’ve won again," said Sakuni.
Duryodhana crowed. "We will make her into a serving maid, and she can clean the palace. Vidura, go fetch Draupadi."
Draupadi refused to come. "First," she commanded the servant, "ask Yudhishtira this question - did you lose me before or after you lost yourself?
Bring me his answer, and I will come with you."
Duhsasana had to subdue Draupadi by force. He dragged her out of the women’s quarters and into the assembly hall by her hair. Then, as Draupadi stood helpless, clad only in a sari, weeping with shame
and rage, Duhsasana ripped her sari from her to expose her nakedness.
But she was not naked. She was still clad in her simple shift.
Cursing, Duhsasana reached out again and ripped it off.
And Draupadi was still not naked.
Again and again Duhsasana ripped Draupadi’s clothes away, until the floor of the assembly hall was littered in a rainbow of gowns.
And she was still not naked
She knew about horses, about wine, about India, chickens and their last breath;
about revolutions in books, uprisings in the east, no evolution in mankind, about lavender, the court and the judge, not much about chess, about destiny and motherhood,
and about being a mother or something like that.
She was then saved by a man or a professor, who came by foot because he never learned to ride a horse, and brought her home.
He kept guns and swords in his cupboard to bequeath to his son who loathed him, and she kept whiskey in hers to leave to the maid who she loathed but depended on.
It was never love, and they never intended it to be.
He was a man who desired the queen in poker and sacrificed the queen in chess, and she knew he would never leave because despite her shortcomings she was professionally beautiful and always looked elegant on a camel. And he always promised they would ride into Darjeeling until they missed the Jazz, but they got stuck on the French Riviera, and she stopped believing in the promises he made her by the swimming pool.
“ I learnt in India, in the Imperial Hotel,
that women should walk like elephants and not like horses.
And that you can get an etiquette tip from the Bellboy
before you leave it in the pocket.”