By Writing a Poem

By writing a poem I shall now build a palace,
by writing a poem I shall claim a limousine,
by writing a poem though I may not be elected President
I shall demand my fistful of earth:
for eons this world has been indebted to the shepherd's song.

By writing a poem I shall claim Scotch, premium brand, and
a leg of chicken cooked in unadulterated oil, nothing less—
for this poem I shall demand countless odalisques—
or a woman whose knees I can clasp in a public place and crave
sympathy.

Whenever I stand at the level crossing I must hear gunfire—
after writing a poem I shall not renounce my demands—
like a pariah I shall roll in the dust near your feet,
wringing blood out of bones—I am still waiting, begging open
humanness from humankind's eyes—
from the fevered forehead, spit and phlegm I have come for this poem,
like a brutal drunk I have incinerated myself and risen from the ashes,
awake to the sound of helplessness echoing in my lonesome room
I have come to avenge everything by writing a poem.

by Sunil Gangopadhyay

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