Three Tim Poems

On February 8, 2011 by admin

Akhil Katyal

Tim calls from Brighton

Tim calls from Brighton, panting,
I ask him what’s wrong with you,
he says he wants a bit of friendly
advice but mainly needs my cue
for ranting, I plop myself on the
bed and give him the ‘Go ahead.’
‘If only,’ he says, ‘I could forget
him, all will be fine,’ he’s lonely,
my instinct says, but I listen to
his words an’ keep a tab on mine,
but soon, Tim, without a sense
of proportion, as is usual with him,
lets his grumbling decline from
the high themes of love and loss,
to how his day had been, what he’d
read and what he’d seen, how he
goes to the gym, to gather moss,
for the hot guys, but still, hates
to get on the treadmill. We yack
about his daily itinerary, bitch
about the world, and wax literary,
‘Love, you know Tim, is a bit like
your treadmill, where else would we
sweat so much, with heart-rate
gaining, think about time elapsed
and the time remaining, and run
like that (we don’t want to be parted)
only to end at the point we started.’

Returning from the Piccadilly Cinema

Tim thought it slightly odd
that, after a movie, he would
think so much of him. To
overreact to a film might
seem a little sad to you,
and so it did to Tim, but
movies, they do that to you.
Walking back, he thought of
those days with him, ‘what’s
the point,’ he asked, ‘of looking
into the past, it only tells you
how long misunderstandings last,’
yet this twenty-five year old
kept on chewing the plot in his
head, the guy in the film, he
remembered, said ‘I love you
still, there is no point lying,
in the end we’re all dead, or
dying,’ on his way back, Tim
did not think of anything as
far as tha’, but wished he
knew, tonight, if not how to
set right what now was riven,
at least to know how much he
had to forgive and be forgiven.

(Thanks to Vikram Seth)

Tim’s day out in Falmouth (Cornwall)

As the sleeper moves more south, more west
of London, some place names come weird, the
rest you just cannot say (what we don’t know
(Cornish) we let it lay), it halts at Taunton an’ Truro,
an’ Looe an’ Learkside, an’ when you pass all these,
you reach Gyllyngvase, if you please. Tim had to give
a lecture; that done, earlier in the day, he goes out
into the evenin’ sun, obeying what his supe’ had to say,
‘Cornwall? perfect, don’t forget, once you teach, go hit
the beach, they don’t come more blue.’ That was true
enough (Tim saw some surfers too) but he’d always
been skeptic of small towns, never could stray from
the centre of things, for him, it was always either
London or New York, cities which call a sfork a sfork,
where you shout (you want to) when you talk, look out
(you have to) when you walk, not these one High Street
towns, damn, ‘what to make of Falmouth,’ Tim frowns,
‘these small Cornwall seaside downs,’ so much so that
he feels a bit dismayed, when the owner of the guest
house where he stayed, says ‘Back from the beach?
So you goin’ to hit the town?’ ‘What town,’ Tim almost
said, then felt silly, might as well, ‘can’t just sit here,
shaking me willy.’ He went out, and in about half an
hour, he was glad he was there, the street was full
of the seaside air, not many people but under these
lights, this night felt different from all other nights.
He walked into a pub where 3 men sat, ‘let’s try,’ he
thought, ‘some sort of sea port chat,’ he was afraid,
though, that it would not click, all sea-talk he knew
was in Moby Dick, but Tim, you see, flirts a lot when
he’s on a trip (he trips a lot, that’s another thing, when
he flirts), but three pints down, he forgets the fear and
turns a little loud when speaking to one third of the crowd,
‘What’s your name,’ he asks the red shirt, ‘Chris,’ ‘new
around here?’ and then that is that and this is this,
they talk till they are well past the intro, and are now
poking fun (at each other, when did he do this last in
London?) they ask the full names of the other. ‘Chris,
Chris Weizenbaum’, Tim laughs and says ‘what’s sort of
name’s Chris, for a proper Jew boy like this’ ‘Why, what’s
wrong, did you expect Jacob or Moses?’ ‘No no, that’s too
much, but at least a Leo,’ Tim went on, when he thinks Jew,
he thinks talent, he thinks of Jerry Seinfeld or Woody Allen,’
and slightly tipsy, Tim imagines them passing their
baton on to Chris, and all of Manhattan (Jew paradise)
is suddenly this, and this, here, the Falmouth night
wears on, the nip in the air enters the door, the
barman here, seems to be done, ‘we’ll close now,
sons, it’s already one,’ (urgh, small towns!) they walk
out, more like, they flow, in a bit, Tim gets to know
that Chris is Irish, he laughs, ‘Are you thinking what
I am thinking? Gay and Jew, and Irish too, think of
all the cards that you can play.’ ‘Well it would seem,’
Chris says winking, ‘all three have come to use today.’

(Thanks to Howard Jacobson)

Akhil Katyal is a Delhi writer currently based in London. He blogs at

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