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Showing posts from 2017

The Flying Scotsman

Yontbrattlin clood an seelent glen Tweetlin a-lood the ingine skirls this noisome train wi lanely men hame-comin whaur thair lassies birls whit lends thay awe, an whit dets thirls whit ailin mam, whit seekly bairn thair dreams forby the train-smeuk swirls bi new gless tour or auncient cairn
thay ken nae sang, thaur herts made airn thair mynds full o the twalmonth tack regairdless o loch, pen or tairn thay anely think o whit thay lack ay but thinkna muckle o it ye an a, we're an aw in it

Published in Amaravati Poetic Prism 2017 ed. Padmaja Iyengar, Cultural Centre of Vijayawada & Amaravati

To the piece of orange peel in my bag on the trip to Janjira,

You were the only one to stay by my side when all others
Had left me to travel that final stretch homeward alone
And while I had to throw you away after two days
Because of the stench that made me put the bag in the wash
And earn mother's censure onto which she piled older grievances
You did help relive some happy memories of the sea breeze
And the boatmen's chatter and the old bronze cannons’ roar
And cope with those whose IQ is less than yours
And taught me that I was mortal in that ride across the creek
And that like you I too shall one day be stripped of my essence
And confined to the dustbin of humanity

I miss you, orange peel

Published in Lakdi Ka Pul - II The Poetry Bridge 2017 — an international anthology by Twin City Poetry Club

का नाही आलास?

जेव्हा शेतकऱ्यांनी तुला शोधताना
आत्महत्येचे विचार केले
तेव्हा का नाही आलास? बालकृष्णाचे हाण्डी फोडणारे
गोविन्दा चढले पडले हात पाय तुटले
तेव्हा का नाही आलास? गणपती बाप्पा येउन गेले
सागरात प्लास्टरचे तुकडे झाले
तेव्हा का नाही आलास? अाता तुझ्याविना जगणे शिकले
पाउस हा शब्दच विसरले मित्रा अाता कशाला आलास?

Published in Amaravati Poetic Prism 2016
ed. Padmaja Iyengar,
Cultural Centre of Vijayawada & Amaravati


你好! 我很高兴认识你。


昨天 我的生日,我今年十七岁了。

Published in Amaravati Poetic Prism 2016
ed. Padmaja Iyengar,
Cultural Centre of Vijayawada & Amaravati

Six Kannada haiku

ಕೋಳಿ ಸುಟ್ಟು ರಸ್ತೆ —
ಒಂದು ಹೆಸರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಎಷ್ಟು

ರಾಗಿ ಮುದ್ದೆ
— ಹೊರನಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ
ಮಣ್ಣು ವಾಸನೆ

ಕೋಗಿಲೆ ಹಾಡು
— ಹಾಲುಗಾರರಿನ
ಸೈಕಲ್ ಗಂಟೆ

— ಬೆಳ್ಳಂದೂರು ನೊರೆ

ಗಾಜಿನ ಕಟ್ಟಡಗಳು —
ಒಂದು ಟಂಬ್ಲರ್ ಮಜ್ಜಿಗೆ
ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಕ್ಕತೆ

— ಎಂ ಜಿ ರಸ್ತೆಯಲ್ಲಿ
ಏರ್ಟೆಲ್ ರಾಗ

Published in Amaravati Poetic Prism 2016
ed. Padmaja Iyengar,
Cultural Centre of Vijayawada & Amaravati

உன்னைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

நீ வருவாய், நீ வருவாய், உனை நினைத்து ஏங்கும் கண்கள்
கடற்க்கரை நாடும் அலைகளைப்போல் உனைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

மணத்தில் மயங்கி, மலரைத் தேடிக்கொண்டு இங்கும் அங்கும்
அலையும் ஒவ்வொரு பட்டாம்பூச்சிப்போல் உனைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

மலை இறங்கி, நிலம் தாண்டீ, கரை எங்கே கரை எங்கே
கடலைத் தேடீக்கொண்டு ஓடும் ஆறுபோல் உனைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

கடலிருந்து காற்றை வ்ழி கேட்டு, வானை வழி கேட்டு,
புவியை தேடி வரும் கார்முகில்போல் உனைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

ஆயிரம் ஆண்டு ஒரே வேட்கையில் தனை எரித்துக்கொண்டு
ஆதவனைச் சுற்றி வரும் வால்மீன்போல், உனைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

உனை புகழ சொல் இல்லாமல் இருக்கிரான் 'வழிப்போக்கன்',
கண்ண்னைத் நாடி பாடிய மீராப்போல், உனைத் தேடும் கண்கள்

Published in Amaravati Poetic Prism 2016
ed. Padmaja Iyengar,
Cultural Centre of Vijayawada & Amaravati

The Pastorale That Isn't

The subtle play of light
on the tamhan blossoms:
violet turns pink turns lavender;

on a pre-monsoon June morning,
a crow contemplates its nest
overlooking white mounds of salt
by the pans and the raptor –
 perhaps a fishing eagle –
a black speck starring
the day sky.

And then there
are the gulmohar and amaltas
with pods like ugly brown penises,
their spring crowns thinking
and last the welcome canopy
of the rain-tree.

I sigh.
It could have been an idyll,
a pastorale even,
but for the  electricity pylons,
the rows of false ashoka
and the dour grey of a building
under construction.
I'm in a belching taxi,
late to work again.

(Published in Setu Bilingual Journal, August 2017)

A Wanderer's Funeral

I come at last to a wanderer's grave,
My sexton is the vulture's jaw;
He'll bury me by the wanderer's law
In open field or cloistered cave.
The buzzing flies will make up my shroud,
As the wind howls my death lament.
While I convulse through my last torment,
They chant my rites clear and loud.
The vagrant at last shall come to stay,
In the maggot's fattening zest.
May I think I've found eternal rest
As my tissues ferment away?
But for peace I shall pray in vain,
For my bones roll on upon the plain.
(Published in GloMag, December 2015 p72)

Learning Portuguese

On the way to saying it, I find that the snake
eats pineapple and that the tiger eats bread,
the butterfly writes a book and your horse eats salt

and that I have a pink plate, the last one quite
unexpected. I’m so far não entendo but
eu trabalho, I am still working on it.

Desculpe, desculpe, I know I will get there
They’ve got me to perdemo você and oh
how would they even know I miss you, how would they?

On the way we get to eu quero você -
of course I want you - and then they let me say it:
for now and forever - eu amo você

Published in GloMag February 2017, ed. Glory Sasikala;, Allahabad, 2017. ISBN: 978-93-85945-78-6.

Narrow Road Vol 2 is now live

Rohini, Paresh and yours truly are happy to announce the release of the second volume of our journal of flash fiction, poetry and haibun, Narrow Road. Featuring authors from the Philippines, India, Denmark, UK, Canada and the USA, this was our first issue with open submissions. You can read the journal here:

Saluva Timma, Mahamandaleshwara

Saluva Timma, Mahamandaleshwara
Shall I tell the story of how you came to be
Blind beggar at the shrine of Venkateshwara?

When your dying king bid you blind his young brother
You deceived him with goat's eyes, what vile treachery!
Saluva Timma, Mahamandaleshwara!

You who crowned Krishnadevaraya emperor
With all the Coromandel as your demesne
Blind beggar at the shrine of Venkateshwara!

The king's son was poisoned; he charged you for murder.
He put out your eyes and granted you no mercy -
Saluva Timma, Mahamandaleshwara!

The truth was discovered, you regained your honour
He sought to atone and restore you to glory -
Blind beggar at the shrine of Venkateshwara.

Beware a kings' whims and all his behaviour:
Let that be what we learn from this tragic story.
Saluva Timma, Mahamandaleshwara
Blind beggar at the shrine of Venkateshwara.

Published in Indian Periodical, 16 July 2017

War is Necessary

Yes, war is necessary.

But let my wife not be widowed,
Nor my children orphaned.
Nor let my mother and father
Spend life’s last lap looking
At the photograph of me
Saluting at my passing out parade
Trying desperately to stifle a tear.

War, however, is necessary.

But my career is also necessary.
That US visa, that VP designation
And that Thailand…
Well, whatever happens in Thailand.
And that 5-crore sea facing flat.

It’s necessary, war is necessary.

I am aware that the men in uniform
Fighting the blizzards of Siachen
Or sudden fire on the Line of Control
Or fearlessly facing militants
Martyr themselves for the Nation,
But I fulfill my responsibilities too
And have never failed to offer
Koti koti shraddhanjali
On Facebook and Twitter.

War, however, is necessary.

But it is not in my fate that I,
Clutching a mug of cold tea at 3 AM,
Fight a jihad against sleep; nor,
Wearing body armour (If I get any)
Depart for a crusade against
The searing heat of the desert.
And I must forget altogether,

This Tendency to Die

Pets are prone to it. As are grandchildren.
And the little birdies and kittens
You bring in from the cold.
All you can do is rage - in impotent disbelief,
And sorrow, and anger, and desire, and hope,
And go through what they call the four
Stages of grief, but what man was so heartless
To coolly count while a woman smashed
Her bangles on her wrists, fresh-widowed?
But it’s a tendency we cannot avoid,
And while we may clamour, in foolish lust
For the hanging or shooting or electrocution
Of someone we have been taught to fear;
Our own papa or hubby or Sox or Puppy
We were never taught. Oh yes, there it is
In the Vedas and Quran and the Confucian texts
And maybe we could use it for our own time,
But for papa or hubby or Sox or Puppy
We never could learn, never could be taught.
All you get is vague notions that are inadequate,
So inadequate, to fill that rising emptiness
Called life hereafter. And yet we fill it and
‘move on’ till someone else expresses, unwantedly,
This strange tendency i…