A poem by Yogesh Patel
On The Rocks
It was easy to speak of all things absurd.
I didn’t drink Jack Daniel’s responsibly.
Yes, there was slur and anger and the spat.
The slur was not intentional. Shit happens!
It was good to speak like a foreigner as
a bloody foreigner. That’s the double malt?
Well, there is no such thing! So a blend!
The blend one becomes with one’s love.
Be neither here nor there! Avoid trouble.
The intoxication reminds me of being myself.
But my independence has never been bottled
or brewed or distilled in any Scotland.
It is not trapped in 1919-1921, nor has it
wandered into the illicit moonshine of 1780.
It is easy to speak of love for all
when one’s empire ends with the lie
that puffs ‘Train to Pakistan’
and commonwealth. The reality
lives in the night after jazz.
Courage is an eternal, euphoric spirit.
And only the spirit makes me
speak aloud. And the trying
freedom always needs it.
I dare it only under the influence!
You should too if you wish to survive.
Always blame the rebellion on whisky.
Be free and speak utter nonsense.
Yes, yes, say, you drank
irresponsibly as it shouldn’t be.
Be glad, enjoy uncertainties.
Everything dances on the rocks;
Yogesh Patel, a co-editor of Skylark, runs Skylark Publications UK and a non-profit Word Masala project. A founder of the literary charity, Gujarati Literary Academy, he has been honoured with the Freedom of the City of London. With LP records, films, radio, children’s book, fiction, non-fiction books and three poetry collections to his credit, in 2017, he was presented to The Queen at Buckingham Palace to represent the best in poetry. He was the Poet-of-Honor at NYU in April 2019. A recipient of many awards, and published in many magazines and anthologies, he has read in the House of Lords and the National Poetry Library.