Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Rajeev Anil Roark, Perch, Khan Market

Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Rajeev Anil Roark, Perch, Khan Market

Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Rajeev Anil Roark, Perch, Khan Market

Poetry in the city.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

His life is like an unmentionable dream. During the day, he makes coffee; at night, he makes poems. His necessary companions: Marlboro and Remington. And once a woman posed without clothes for his camera.

One afternoon The Delhi Walla meets poet Rajeev Anil Roark at Perch, the Wine and Coffee Bar in Central Delhi’s Khan Market. Mr Roark, who takes his last name from an Ayn Rand character, is a Coffee Master here.

“When you have a poem read by ten thousand people, then it separates into ten thousand meanings,” says Mr Roark, as he makes a cup of Ethiopian Sidamo coffee for me at Perch’s Coffee Lab. “Similarly, when ten thousand people down the same kind of coffee, that coffee gets rich with ten thousand tastes… and each taste is influenced by what one remembers from one’s childhood or, say, from one’s first love.”

Once Mr Roark dated a woman who preferred a lavender-scented perfume. She is now a historical memory but each time he chances upon a coffee with “floral notes” to it, he ends up thinking of the absent girl.

The bearded poet shares his poem ‘Erotica Ecumenical’ with us. He wrote it two years ago and had originally shared it on his blog Urban Sanyaasi. “The poem is about how a writer looks at a lover,” he says.

Erotica Ecumenical

For a madman or a traveler,

For a man and a woman,

For a person and a concept,

But most importantly, for a lover

The entire being of the beloved

Is erotic.

The forehead is the threshold of affection

The thin sheen of sweet sweat at the root

Of the follicles, the holy water touched with lips

The creases in the flesh, sudden, deep,

The practice of a contemporary dance,

Learning the flow, the rhythm, the fluidity

The eyebrows are the fences across portals,

The deep abyss, moist and wet and warm and glistening,

A prelude to the essence that will be devoured,

Godhead is a teasing phenomena in the skin,

Divinity throws the lover a thousand clues

Before revealing itself in all it’s glory,

Entombed deep within the soul,

Reverberating across rituals and ribcages

The mouth is hot and soft and hard and sharp

The teeth taste of the last cigarette

The tongue tastes of salt and sex and unspoken poetry

The neck is the reminiscent of a childhood,

Where the joy of a slide was greater than world,

Reminding the lover to discard the world

And embark on a journey that is naked itself.

For it is rude to be clothed on the nude highway

If you want to land in it’s entirety,

You have to offer it yourself completely

The shoulders are the little hollows,

Sunken but rising, heaving and hallowed,

If you run your tongue on the rim of the clavicle,

They will ring like the ancient Tibetan chants

And will reveal the endless, countless,

Microscopic peaks on the flesh of your lover,

And make you a god, who can cover twenty peaks,

In a single bite and gouge a lake for the world to come,

The bosom is the pillows,

Bite them in fear and agony and anger,

Lick them in hunger and thirst and curiosity,

Cover them with palms or mouth or eyes or cheek,

Each a soft big cushion that pushes the beloved down,

Yet makes them rise and let you see,

The geometry of a lover’s spine.

Don’t fear when you see the ribs,

They are not a cage, yes it is a foolish name.

Old men can only be pitied for their imaginations,

No, these are ladders to climb down,

The final descent from the wavering terrain,

To the peaceful plains and the tiny oasis,

All the way down to the fountain that defies myths,

By existing at the shadow of the plateau

Rather than the crevice of some wind beaten summit,

Climb down and the land changes,

It sinks your touch inside itself,

It can fold, it can stretch,

It can become feather or rock,

It can become mud or magic,

If you put your head down for a brief eternity,

You can feel the breath escape

Or fill them up,

Wait and listen for you will soon do so too,

You will occupy them and they will, you.

You will empty them, but they’ll never do so to you,

And when you know the music that a lover contains,

With the sighs and moans and tar and oxygen,

Then head down and towards the microscopic oasis,

A smaller Tibetan bowl, runs deeper and wider,

Right above the vertebrae, right beneath the apotheosis,

Pray to it, prey on it, run fingers, tongue, eyes, lips, penis, toes,

Forget the beloved except for this small patch of flesh,

As if you’re caressing a filet mignon before sauteing it.

And soon you will see the wind grow dense

It will change weight and way and waft,

It will run against your cheek and distract you,

It’s okay, be distracted, seek out the fragrance

Collect the floating atoms from the air,

Let them settle on your tongue and breath,

But look for the forest, the forest where the fountain resides

The leaves of the forest are the little bells

clinking, jangling, shivering, shuddering,

a thousand together, all ringing,

making the land itself dance and waver,

Love the leaves. Forget the land.

Smell the damp forest and breath like you just found lungs

And when you will find the fountain,

when you will enter the fountain,

when you will drink the fountain,

you will know what the divinity is,

and you will imbibe it, ingest it, inhale it,

You will not become a god,

You will be something far greater,

You will be the lover,

And for the lover,

the entire being of the beloved is sacred,

And everything in the being, everything on the being,

All of it is divine and all of it is cosmic,

And all of it is yours.

The coffee man’s den


Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Rajeev Anil Roark, Perch, Khan Market


Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Rajeev Anil Roark, Perch, Khan Market


Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Rajeev Anil Roark, Perch, Khan Market


Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Rajeev Anil Roark, Perch, Khan Market


Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Rajeev Anil Roark, Perch, Khan Market


Delhi’s Bandaged Heart – Rajeev Anil Roark, Perch, Khan Market