Contemporary Literary Review India | eISSN 2394-6075 | Vol 5, No 3: CLRI August 2018

Ashwin Vijayan



It should be the sea,

I tell myself.

The long arms and the rivulet fingers of the sea

pick rubbles and stones from every crevice of the desolate land.

We walk along the shore.

The breeze reminds us of something bitter like salt,

sharp like a broken-kite thread.

We find ourselves unable to untangle

the knots we wove into each other’s lives.

There’s an urgency in the distant bird call

as we search for each other in some words.

We walk the length of the beach

and back

the sand and the sea melting in our mouths.
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Within the cramped confines of the boys’ dorm

he stands, perched precariously on the edge

of the green-painted iron cot.

The titans who tossed the ball

for his high swing to unhinge the wall fan

have deserted him with an angry instruction

from the beloved warden: “tell him to hold it up

till I come.” She doesn’t come

and he stands there, leaning on the cold walls,

carrying the weight of this crumbling world.
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In the beginning

Under the Handstand Statue Man,

a mongrel dog keeps his watch.

Somewhere in the distance the day

breaks, the noise is unbearable.

At five, mother locks the door,

father waits for her at the gate

and they head to the station

where they melt into the crowd.

In the dispelling darkness wakes

the plastic man: after the siren,

after the alarms and after the father’s rage,

he stirs. No longer at ease.

Time wears on.

Sun bets down and tar pours on to the street

smouldering, near the mushrooming boutiques

where the mannequins keep their vigil.

The man at the counter, asleep.

The bus, its stomach full

with all the children eaten for breakfast,

belches, breaks and the driver shouts

as the plastic man crosses the road.

Sun in his eyes and sand in his sandals, he sits on the deserted expanse of the beach

where tired time wears on.

The plastic man walks, the plastic man

bleeds dewy tears from the gathered clouds.

He sings, he listens,

and the world passes by in a hush of rain and slush.

The flux boards of a forgotten election saves the corner shop

where he settles down for a cup of tea.

Snippets of tea-talk sticks to his teeth

as he sips the too-sweet-tea.

been four and a half months since it rained like this

we’ll all suffer. see, they promised to set it

all right. see. all they do is make it worse. see.

He sees nothing in the rain. He hears

nothing but the rain and he thinks

nothing but about himself.

He wanders and time wears on

to the evening. He is dry and thirsty

like there was no rain that fell.

Cool air and murmur spills on to the streets

from the corner pub

where the yellow light suits his complexion.

The plastic man settles on to the plastic chair

in the plastic corner of this world.

Time wears on and drinks a pint or two.


Aswin Vijayan is currently completing an MA in Poetry from Seamus Heaney Centre at Queens University, Belfast. His poems have been published in Coldnoon, The Brown Critique, and The Sunflower Collective among others. Few of his poems are forthcoming in Issue Six of the Belfast-based literary magazine The Tangerine.

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