Silk Tassels

We argued over the

pronunciation of "mature"

(was the "t" to be pronounced as "ch"?)

and whether "Hotel California" was an album

or a single (turned out, it was both).

As kids we were buddies,

but our friendship could not last

into adulthood.

                           What kept us apart

was class; you were the rich, chubby chick,

and I, the very scrawny (and brainy?) brat,

but so middle-class.  The world

already belonged to you, while I was

trying to make my way in it. 


I still remember when you took me

to your palatial mansion the first time,

you farted loudly all the way in:

I hope you don't mind, you said,

and laughed heartily.

The solemn servants

did not bat an eyelid.

You were so uninhibited;

I too repressed and embarrassed

to say anything.

Similarly, at thirteen

when you flaunted your smoking,

I was suitably alarmed.

I didn't know it was a part of your upbringing

to show off, occasionally even to shock.


When you went away after our summer together,

we exchanged several letters,

sprinkled with counter culture slogans

derived from overseas—down with

capitalists pigs; make love not war!

Finally, just fifteen, I allowed myself

to feel sentimental about you.

That was the letter you didn't get,

probably withheld by one of your guardians

who watched over you and screened your mail.


The other day, decades later,

I heard you were in town

to sponsor a golf tournament.

You even got my telephone number

from a common friend.

That weekend, I waited and waited

for the call I knew would never come.

But next morning,

I was delighted to see you picture

in the newspaper,

as fat and jolly as ever,

in the gossip columns on page three.

Back to Selected Poems from Partial Disclosure

  Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape