White noise

What’s the name of this night?
Black, says the light.
What does silence look like?
clean, says the night.
Where do words come from?
Nowhere, says silence.
What’s outside the window?
You can’t see it, says the world.
Whose voice is that?
You can’t hear them, say your eyes.
But what are they saying?
Nothing, says somebody.
And what are you listening to?
white noise, says nobody.


Some times I wonder what I see in you
why I hold on to you like an old habit
to what end this loyalty
till when do I wait for you to admit
that you too yearn for me.
But when I remember how I feed off
your smile, your skin, your silence
I wonder what you see in me.


The room has no view
except for a mirror.
Face, hair, long, thin.
skin, soft, hard,
away from sun.

Paintings on a wall.
Phenyl, fingerprint
whoosh of brush
silence, hush.

The window cannot open.
Rust binds.
Rage chirps.
It’s not even night.

The room now has a view,
mountains can move.
The mirror can see.
Crack it open, fly out.
With a twist of soul,
fall right. Glow.

The room now has a view.
Check out tonight,
But you can’t come with me.
This is a solo flight.

Our white noise

I wait for you a long time.
At last, you call.
You say nothing,
you speak of no one.
We hear each other breathe,
heavy as nightfall.
If no news is good news,
if in silence we must love,
I choose the bad over good,
I choose not to love.

When all else fails

There’s nothing left to talk about.
Candles are all out.
Rice has stopped growing.
Rivers have stopped flowing.
Nations are falling.
The children are dying.
No one left to follow.
No one left to lead.
There’s no time for friends.
Not enough hate to kill.
Forget about passion.
Faith is out of fashion.
This is the right time,
to go out and unite,
this is the right time,
to go out and fight,
when all else fails,
declare a bloody war.

You know me

There are days I wished
I was as silent as the grass.
If I could just be, let the
magpies feed off me.
If I could just feel the oxeye daisies
without breaking into frenzy.
But you know me
I speak too much
and wish too little.

Book shelf

Kahlo and eyebrows,
wilder than the light.
Maya Angelou, let me take
my time to rise.
Plath, Das, stay bright, sting right.
Tolstoy, Aristotle, Voltaire,
teach me to think, not think.
Vasilisa, the beautiful
pull out your doll for me.
Italo Calvino, your mute cities
where my feet don’t bleed.
James Bowen, your street cat fights
Suketu Mehta, I owe your maximum city.
John Biguenet,

Anupama Raju is a poet, literary journalist, communications professional, translator and the author of Nine. A Charles Wallace Fellow at the University of Kent, she was also Writer-in-Residence at Centres Intermondes, La Rochelle.