Hanging upside down, like a giant lizard
I cling to you with unblinking calm,
draw waves along your length.
I dream of ways to inhabit you again,
my Marsyas, as your voussoirs shelter me
under nine arches.
Out from under the First, I regain balance
on moss-retaining tiles, checkered red,
laid at 1:5, turn away from its faint stench.
Rants of a cutter-armed friend
ricochet off mount boards, I complete
my model as she saves my ass under the Second.
A ninja jumps out from under the Third
negotiating a bush, watered from above.
A puddle forms in broken asphalt.
I am privy to a red-rose proposal
under the Fourth, where level differences
match heights, and hearts.
Perpendicular runs under the Fifth, midway
on steps that bite into the plinth,
stage ephemeral greetings, impromptu baithaks.
T-scales dumped under the Sixth –
the ancient bearer of unreadable results
that wears a baroque egg tiara and watches on.
Vapour swirls from tea, served in paper cups
held by Dumbledore Longbeards,
spilling out of seminars, racing to reach the Seventh.
I wade through a copy of the new Shilpasagar,
on a table, as I peep into the Principal’s cabin
under the Eighth. Sore
from an overdose of architecture,
I turn to the fine arts, a gallop away,
to contemplate an escape under the Ninth.
I don’t act on it.
Oscillating between volume bursts
You are Newton’s cradle,
I come to you, to go nowhere.
This poem was written for the ground floor corridor of Sir J. J. College of Architecture, Mumbai, where Pooja studied for almost a decade.
Pooja Ugrani is an architect and a teacher from Bangalore, who writes from memory and personal experience about the small everyday things in life that intrigue and engage her.
Photographs taken by Mustansir Dalvi