Poem inspired by Francisco Goya’s painting, ‘The Forge’

The Forge (1817), painting by Francisco Goya

It pulses and pulses in my grip as an erect tail
of a tigress, taming the rippling red as Moses did.

Too dead a weight to hiss and slice the air,
to pick its way to your curse and whet its edge,
the hammer but lets my lung gauge its weight
and the might of my breath, the hoarder of forces.

From up here the metal sees your heads and pauses
in wonder, full of musings on shaping a tiled
skull and blunter palms, a minor sack of knuckles.

The thought never ceases to flow in tender…


Big Tech vs Media Houses: Why Discriminate?

Photo : Connor Danylenko on Pexels

It’s still too early for the world to forget the faces of the tech honchos cowering before the US lawmakers’ antitrust sub-committee, humming and hawing to affirm their firms’ ethical commitments. Bezos seemed stifling a laugh that, if it had came out, would’ve the ring of overflowing coffers. Google’s Pichai kept phrasing and rephrasing what essentially meant “Y’all luddites — you know nothing.” All along Zuckerberg had that boyish air of how-dare-you-ask-it. Apple’s Cook was uninspiring.

News channels the world over celebrated the grilling. So did all the papers. As if it was their holy duty to sensitize people of…


Free-Verse inspired by the painting “Bedroom in Arles” by Vincent van Gogh

“Bedroom in Arles”, Vincent van Gogh 1888

And at dawn
I dreamed of death.

Waves of supreme
silence crawled up
the bedstead to nestle
in my absence
where I’d stashed
the thorns of sobs
in the stoic folds
of last night’s sheets.

I stirred upright
and glimpsed
myself perched
on the chair beside,
moaning me and
the night drained,
face to the window
and eyes elsewhere,
waving off my
parting ghost.

‘The Lord is my
shepherd,’ I hummed
to give the dream
its theme
and lay listening
to my footfalls
leading off
to the corner,
to the mirror.

An eager scramble
of fingers groped
and clawed
at my face…


Inspired by “Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather” by Vincent van Gogh

Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather, landscape painting, Van Gogh 1882

Haul it back ashore,
the empty boat —
the sails, the sighs,
a netful of hopes,
all those hungers
to be quietened
for a night.

Snatch yourself as you’d
a sweat-worn dime
and tame the throbbing
grainy steps and flapping hat.

Pursue the first pair
of footprints home
over the laughter
of a broken wind,
hands bare as the
salty garden where
water and vastness meet.

Duck the shadows
looming dour,
for they have in them
the burnt rainbow
at the end of which
it finds own ashes
in a blackened urn,
floating alone.

Pause and lend an ear
to…


Flash Fiction

Photo : analogicus / 1403 images /Pixabay

As he set down the cake on the table the mother joked she’d been drilling her lungs to blow out all the eighty candles she thought he’d bring along for her birthday today.

He greeted the joke with a grin, nodding. No candles, he said. How like candles the tendons ringing her neck seemed anyway, so lithe and taut, translucent. The mother asked if there were that many. She felt about the neck with a prattle of gnarly fingers. …


How real is the sense of privacy and is it worth it in hard times?

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

Renowned AI researcher and overall jovial Ben Goertzel rarely sounds so miffed. An interviewer just asked him of the role of technology in tackling the pandemic. Goertzel’s view was earnest, yet strong: the progress we should’ve made by now hasn’t been made since most researches are going on in seclusion.

And he’s so right. Most datasets are all too fragmented, siloed in mutually inaccessible lab records. Precious information lie aching to meet its kind elsewhere in the world, destined never to be aggregated, extrapolated, enhanced. Vital cues that correlate viral genomics with medical indicators languish in the confines of some…


A poetic tribute to Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Dr Gachet”

Photo : Francis G. Mayer / Corbis / VCG via Getty Images

It pleases me to pose
for you, the patron-
saint of pain and paint,
the master weaver
of brutish strokes
and ghoulish daubs.

For you, the haunted god.

Your job here is
to lend a touch
of blood to a heart
that rattles so many
walls at once,
soaking each in turn
in meaty white
and fiery pink,
in your sullen blue
of skies gone mad.

Don’t you miss
my droop of brow,
this slant of head
and clench of fist. …


Verse on Van Gogh

Photo by Jean Carlo Emer on Unsplash

Deep in this vase
echo the tick-less
tocks of a crippled clock,
conjuring a pair of hands,
a clasp, a thankless
snatch, an ashen dawn
of endless decay.

In the book of
golden lores we are
but the eyes of Eden,
gouged and trodden,
stolen off winds.

Out in the fields,
in the world of virile
light, where days lay
in splinters of a grand
shattered mistake,
we spent ourselves
slapping soft dust
of long-dead stars
on scrambling feet
and tickling wings,
getting drunk
on mist at night.

There the air hummed
with kiss-and-tells,
a thousand wombs
pounding shards
of rays…


Is the gravest issue of our times brashly overlooked?

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Right now, a fresh wave of discrimination is assailing the elderly. Perhaps, a whole set of waves. Vying for prominence are deliberate discrimination and one out of apparent necessity. If you ignore, starve, persecute or let die the oldest of us — no question, you do it on purpose. But even with much nicer intentions, you might end up isolating them emotionally while trying to protect.

With a virus baying for mature blood in our midst, the most persuasive argument is that there isn’t much we can do about it.

Up until the pandemic hardened its grip, air was abuzz…


Verse on Van Gogh

They begin the day
with their claws
firm in the muck
beneath the grandeur
of hay and harvest —

They end it merging
in the gathering grey,
leaving the world
to its haze and crickets,
jarring the quiet
in snicks and slashes.

Blue-ward they rain,
back to the silence
where they belong
now and forever,
too black to fall
in love with
a trite patch of gold.

Just sanctified weed, all that.

Those and the empty
wind can’t quell
the timeless hunger
cawing
in such mighty guts.

Loathe to think
of blind bats and geckos,
they love to upset
an upturned sleep.
In…

Sethuraj Nair

Lover of words. Lover the worlds, both real and digital.

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