dominic alapat





Dominic Alapat
is a poet and journalist. His writing can be found at

A selection of his poems is showcased below:
Everyone Loves The SeaI walked The FirewallThoughtsYou SaidNow This Open SpaceTangled in the City Lunch BreakRoundThe RoadSand


Everyone Loves The Sea

I had two old beds;
their headboards
of blue sun mica
were the most beautiful
things in the world.

There’s World War II
over the yellow buildings;
you can see the fighter planes,
the pilots in their
helmets and goggles at night…

Broken, shabby houses…
run-down bars
animal people talk…

Naked men and women,
emaciated, speaking
some strange language
join us in the streets…

In the morning when I wake
I notice the sky has backed
deeper and deeper
into the sky…


I Walked

and walked in
the noonday sun
till my clothes
turned into a river
I swam through
the heavy traffic
asking for directions
no one knew the place
I wanted to go
I walked back and reached
the railway station
with crowds swarming
all over the bus depot
the streets the restaurants
the tea-stalls
the street-food sellers’ carts
rickshaws puttered everywhere
then someone pointed out
the building
well I had passed this place
but never thought it
would be there
off the street
in a cluster of several others
I was looking for a seven-storey building
and not spotting one on both sides
of the road
had walked on and on
entering its cool foyer now
for a moment I thought
how nice it would be
if I could forget myself
forget my purpose here
if the lift with its sliding iron doors
forgetting its role too
could take me straight to the sky
where large white clouds were blowing
unthinking in every direction
unmindful of anything
that happened here.


The Firewall

is on fire
hearing-aid tractors
blow to nothing
in the stillness
which is still nothing in your mind
hello you say to your shadow
forgotten lost in dust
where the gas cylinder used to be
the redness with its view
charging at you
in the afternoon
this sullen day steamy sunk
so seemlessly in your blues your blacks
walking through
the old ghost
of the world
its scaffoldings its distances
and the sky so sorry
so tired
only wants to sleep
in your eyes.



I am a quiet man
I have imaginary conversations with no one
All day my moods shift like waves on a beach
Speaking of the beach I love the sky and birds
I love the buildings of Bombay the sight of lit windows at night
Sometimes my mind gets charged with murderous thoughts
Making me sink like a dead animal’s skeleton in sludge
I hate crowds and noise if it’s hot I sweat a lot
When I was younger my hands and feet would get chilled in the evenings
A boring book can send me into dim despair
Amidst trees I am sad and gloomy amidst mountains and breeze serene
I love to watch sunlight on things
They become magical they take me to my childhood
If I can’t dream it’s death
I love taxi journeys bus-rides
Trains I love their sonorous horn at dawn
I love elephants
I love to watch large white clouds move slowly across the sky
When I get stuck I burn away in anger
When I see glowing streetlights snaking along the road I am lit up a 100 lifetimes over
I become a traffic policeman
I become a prostitute
I become a telephone operator
I become a waiter
I become a stray dog
I become a beggar
I become a magistrate
I become a local train
I become an aeroplane
I become the falling rain.


You Said

you were walking
with a bucket in your hand
you said God was in the bucket
you said you walked for hours
along this road in a foreign country
while cars went zzzupp zzzupp
in the afternoon
many years later I met you once
outside my house
you were drunk
you played your piano in that hall
and hit us
we sang
on a sea of song
we sailed to Rome
O captain at the helm
see this soldier
marching off to war
in his helmet and armour
his mother weeping
we ran like deer through the woods
chased by a burning moon
we sang and the hall rang with our voices
vive la vive la vive l’amour
your wife had died…
many years after your own death
today I think of your dark glasses
your grief.


Now This Open Space

this view outside my window
is the best thing in the world
that white metal bridge
is better than any modern art
I’ve seen
freshly painted it’s a mesh
of sloping pillars
an apparition risen from the earth
and the old grey world behind
closer a crowd of buildings
so beautiful
stirs this paradise of air
last evening Faredoon my neighbour
was looking out the hall window
he was talking about his college days
in the US
some hillbilly classmate called June
how she was the dumbest girl in class
the hottest too
how she got through
and finally became a scientist in NASA
I was half asleep
in the soothing dusk
sprawled on the sofa
but after he left
when I went to close the window
before I hit the bed
I saw once again
how beautiful the white buildings were
with the green trees around
and the blue mountains in the distance.


Tangled in the City

I walked for nearly forty-five minutes;
the cars were waves beating forth
endlessly all over the place. Steel, glass,
noise and speed, I was engulfed in it.
Their horns were a sad music playing
in my head. Then, relief at last! The beach
appears, almost fading into darkness.
There is still light, and the boats and the houses
form a strange maze, a kind of silence
travelling in my mind, as I slow down
and walk around the upturned boats
blue, white, yellow, lying like friends
on the sand; the small thatched houses,
the windows like people looking out at you
and not seeing anything.


Lunch Break

Under the shade of the trees,
in bright afternoon, two friends,
classmates, are sitting close to
each other on the railings
at Five Gardens. They are
sucking on Lakhan’s famous
kalakhatta gola. This has
become their routine for months.
Wisps of smoke rise from the
ice-chill of the purple drink
in their glasses. The boys
have hurriedly had their
lunch and rushed to their
rendezvous. Now, as they finish
with their first, small stop, they head
to their next – Murli Dairy Farm,
just behind their school.
There, they have plates
of samosas in tangy-sweet red chutney.
Then, it’s a brisk walk to
Wadala station and further to
the right towards the video-game
parlour. The slot-machines
await them and the jangling of
coins, the thrill of money.
There is still time to spare,
so hurry, hurry reader to
the hawker selling pieces
of mango, tamarind and other
fruit mixed with rock salt.
This is not an adventure
reader, this is a fairytale
and it exists where all
fairytales live. Ask the boys,
they themselves believe it.
Only, you may not venture to
do so and now the bell rings,
making the boys run towards
the school-gates.



Their bodies weary with play,
the boys walked round the colony,
the twelve lime-washed buildings.
The evening light was mercy pouring
into their lives, the trees their breathing.
There were so many of them; tamarind,
mango, baer, like a universe out there
that was theirs. Children went cycling
by in groups, round the thin strip of road.
The boys walked by chatting, their faces
alive in the light, comprehending; the
world pouring into their mouths, as they
laugh and keep walking.


The Road

The road is the memory of excitement.
Of lamp-posts in darkness, wind.
And buildings which looked out on them,
old, lime-washed, two-storied with red-tiled roofs,
dreaming a perpetual dream. A magic world
of stories drifting in the air, lovers in cars,
music, parties. And how all this fitted into
the ultimate dream, serene, in changing light,
like grace on our tongues, our lives, the
only reality we knew, that made sense.

********************************a name=”sand”>


My eyes take in the long
stretch of beach, the sea.
Time, which has passed
like sand through an hourglass,
has stood still today.
The waves lash the beach
on and on. There are just
three people splashing
in the water. Beyond the sand,
there are homes and hotels.
Old bungalows so quiet,
the mind too stays still.
As though anything that
enters this quietness
could be silent, at peace;
like the rocks here, like the sand.
And over there, the three
who were splashing
in the water are returning
to their guesthouse.
Their clothes wet, they walk
in the sun through the trees.
I follow them with my eyes
to the verandah they
are now entering.
Water drips from their
clothes and bodies;
and sand has got in
everywhere. What
a day, endless, ever-present,
beautiful! I catch
myself looking at
my own shadow.

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