Hashish, the Hotel Venus in Old Delhi, 1975.

Freshly bathed & shivering
in the cool weak sunlight
of the early morning
the boy returns
to his bed,

the quiet young couple
who sleep gently nearby,
prepare their first
sweet smoke 
of the morning
as a string is drawn 
back & forth inside 
the chillum pipe
to clean it,

& then the hashish is warmed 
so as to soften it before 
it’s crumbled & mixed 
with the tobacco from 
a broken cigarette
kneaded in the 
palm of the hand,

a small stone is placed inside
to anchor the mix yet 
leave room for air
to flow & then 
a damp rag is
wrapped around
the narrow end
to cool the smoke,

the woman holds the pipe
quite intricately it seems
to you at first but it’s just
to create a space
so as to draw the
mix deep into
her lungs,

“Bom Siva Shankar”
intones the man as
she places her mouth
upon the joined hands
and draws that first
fiery draught 
of purest black
Afghani hashish.

The chillum circulates
& the day has begun
as the youth of a 
rejected Western World 
envelop themselves
in the smell of dung
fires, incense, &
the Krishna chant
from the small
idol at the
corner
nearby.