Poems by Manu Mahajan

Safety in Numbers

a poem by

Manu Mahajan

The smell has gone to their heads
Putrid men not yet dead
the five o’ clock shadow
gets cast upon the soul
all is right and nothings wrong, we must be getting old
Don’t look at me, don’t watch my eyes, lets all laugh loudly instead

Rome didn’t fall in a day
because god rested on Sunday
the shine you see in the mirror’s eyes
is it tears or pain or just the fright
of a million men looking into their minds
seeing nothing there but the rot and flies and hoping its all OK

The lady in red called me in vain
The make-up was perfect once again
What do I tell her, the draw is character
the meat I can buy at the nearest butcher
and painted lips and shiny nails
and clinging clothes and vacant eyes, woman, do I look that insane

We cloned ourselves long ago
Straightjackets were always in fashion, didn’t you know
Your father’s thoughts you wrote in stone
your children will just change the chrome
the score will read the game was won
the popcorn was good and the sun was warm and the spectators didn’t go home.

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Four Letters

a poem by

Manu Mahajan

The boy grew up on the dark side of school
learnt four lettered words and got really confused
people telling him again and again
we all love you, so you must have no pain
somethings wrong, he thought in the night
sure they’re right but I got some insight
the word is used as defense
cause we alone right till the end.

The young man now, he’s over the fright
few years later got himself a wife
woke up with the sunrise
blinded and sure he had it right
we all in love, isn’t that great
now eat your breakfast man, you running late
from time to time, the bells they’ll ring
press the button and don’t dare think.

The children now, aren’t they sweet
the sheep being reared for their meat
the look in their eyes the only time
you saw the angels and relaxed for a while
scared again, how will it be
if they grew up to be like me
it’s dangerous all that love brings
step back or you’ll blow a good thing.

Worn out and licking the wounds
the man sat down drunk and bemused
first principles the way of life
maybe the word never had any bite.
Maybe all there is in the end
is the feeling no words to be said
and you will kill and die for these few
and love’s too shallow a word to be used.

And the language and the men
limited in thought, expression and in sense
everything is yours in the beginning and the end
includes all the four lettered words too my friend
all they do is express your view
but on a yellowing page they’re motley crew
and if you really think this through
make your language too, this ones been really abused.

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Inheriting the Earth

a poem by

Manu Mahajan

The considerate s.o.b thought he’d finally found the answer
and the timing of his death was worked out in the plan
Four in the evening was the best, was the minimum of bother
And all the kings’ men would have to answer to the man

He did never comprehend when the deal went badly sour
he was tired, he was jaded and his mouth was only sand
Those he loved didn’t know him, those he hated didn’t matter
And the perfumes of Arabia were all ashes in his hand

Twenty years is a long time to have delusions of grandeur
and have the questions to the answers in a head just gone blank
When you’ve got them by the mind, all the souls will follow
and the angels will weep throughout the cursed land

The mind-readers all pointed out deficiencies in his character
and how neurosis was the reason why his heart was coal black
They said anger was the destroyer, a volcano spewing fire
the ones who said they loved him took a couple of steps back

He has everything we wanted, and all he says is satire
See how thinking too much can take you off the beaten track
If you’re drowning in the mire, be clear with your desires
So you have our reasons why you’re walking the plank

We have facts that will cut you, leave you bleeding and afire
And the three wise men will rise again and play their little prank
and when you’re blinded by ambition, and the cost is really dire
We will call our gods collectively to hack away your hands

The wounded man dragged his own carcass to the lair
licked his wounds, found no answers and sentenced himself to hang
Later at the pyre, crowds gathered, all for hire
Laughed and said he was crazy, should’ve hidden in the clan.

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The guardians of Styx and other stories

a poem by

Manu Mahajan

They said don’t stand
And use up the night
We have a plan
Ages of blood and wine
The family of man
Never had a thought in its life.

Understand
I didn’t really want the fight
Simple math
Two plus two is five
Every man
Determines his price.

The song was sad
But the words were still all mine
The meat was bland
But the cost was just right
They saw the ageing man
But he was much too young to die.

Now we’re glad
He’s lost the second sight
But watch that hand
Still moves at the speed of light
His smile is back
Dr. Jekyll meet Mr. Hyde.

I went mad
They said toe the line divine,
The cage was slammed
Cause the beast had crossed the line
He looked deadpan
But see the fire in his eyes.

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Good Night

a poem by

Manu Mahajan

Woke up in the middle of the night
I thought I heard the screaming
Was it me or was it the mind
Or was the neighbour weeping
Dry in the throat, eyes afloat
The night slowly breathing

In the night there’s no prize
Just the lights of passing cars a shadow inside you
Surprise, hear the lies
Of the generations behind you
The radio man
A flash in the pan
Voice smiling but the tremble is a dead giveaway, mind you
The phone, ringing twice
The wrong number story of your life
And then the bright sunrise
The neighbour sighs but
You’re petrified.
Walk in the street, and hear the cries
The louder they talk the frightened their eyes
And in the corner, little jack horner
Says hello to you and then throws the dice
And you know, with some pride
Its just gonna be the old snake eyes.
And you’re just paralysed.

Wake up in the middle of the day
The sun shines so we have to make hay
And there’s six of us against the might
Of generations of decay
Yet I know inside
They can throw the dice
And I can walk away
The games the same the rules the same
Just the players change
And if you thought you’ve seen it all
Then you can think again.

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Animals

a poem by

Manu Mahajan

If I could relive your childhood once again
I would teach you many things
How the humans crawled out from the ground
And why butterflies don’t have wings
Why the lion doesn’t need a tamer but a wolf needs the pack
Why the man on the moon has a monkey on his back
Why the owl said all that to the pussycat
And why the bird sounds sweeter than a ten-man band.

I lived in this jungle for a long time now,
Can’t see the forest for the trees
The sheep run the race with the lemmings
A moment’s silence for the deceased
Trust the wild and leave this jungle behind,
animals never take you by surprise
Men like bats flying blind, Cheshire grins
without the nine lives
Crabs atop anthills claiming the prize,
winner takes all and tosses the carcass aside
And I can’t watch anymore the deer’s frozen eyes and agonise.

I’m the animal you fear, now hear my story
This is the last chance you have
Tried to cage me and breathe easy,
You the saviour of the land
Now scream silently you’re under attack,
The last straw clutch it or load it on your back
Hide your face again behind that mask;
stick your head quick back in the sand
Safety in numbers is old hat,
call your gods because your days are so black,
And when its over
Play safe and feed me to the rats.

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Semblance

a poem by

Manu Mahajan

Ghosts are making merry,
muscled men of clay
waltz in the cemetery, sins of yesterday
sinking in the quagmire
senses nipped in the bud
too much wood, no burning pyre
all flesh and no blood

Caravans
nomads in search of life
prints in the sand
freedom took them by surprise
they’ve all read Kant
at the point of a knife
All gallant
but not with their wives

Messengers of mercy really
gods of despair
Priests mercenary
crusaders everywhere
descendants of royalty
vampires in the night
vultures picking eyes again
to camouflage their plight

A maniacs myopia
headlines in the news
page five is for ethiopia
the poor have different queues
degenerated utopia
bend all the rules
whoever uses morphia
for medicinal use

Flying flags
while the city’s gripped in vice
here comes the man
and his sons will pay the price
clean cut lads
it’s a very thin disguise
they’ve got packed stands
but they’re skating on thin ice.

That’s too bad
But the pay is all right
scratch my back
and I’ll gouge out your eyes
tortured land
yet even gods must die
take my hand
and leave it all behind.

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