• AFTER ALL YOU SAY

    For me
    The scene of writing,
    Torsioning out word-chains,
    From the seams of the earth,
    An endless movement.

    In writing too
    Pressure and stress inflecting sounds,
    Repeated in a weave of inter animation.
    Force re-gendering
    Words
    As lines of people,
    In-surge in movement.

    My self seems
    Inscribed -
    Forces that lived me and awaiting future
    Lives.

    The blood on the sweat smelling
    Person's forehead is indelible
    I try and mop it
    I can neither touch nor soil
    The glorious sun-scape stretched into the stellar space.

    As I pore over,
    The work in my hands
    Moves me in to the hands
    That is in the work
    Unknowingly moving into them
    If I spread the work
    On my self
    Feeling, it is indeed!

    Reading in silence
    I feel unblinking looks
    My tongue plays when the lips move
    As the vital chords of myself
    Reverberate encompassing gong waves.

    I feel
    As if the work
    Has uttered in me the clues
    To this cryptic universe.

    Yet I know
    This is only empathy
    And haven't lived through the work.

    I am only shaking awake
    The multitudes to encounter from my bones:
    Taming the volcanoes
    And tending the spring-currents
    From the innards of my earth-self,
    Perhaps like the Pavlov dog.

    But for me -
    Used to reading man as a text
    Can the book become a substitute
    For the world?... more »

  • THE BARD

    When the order is amiss
    And billowing pitch-clouds of time
    Strangle the throat
    Neither blood trickles
    Nor tears drop

    Lightening swirls into thunder,
    Drizzles surge into deluge, and,
    Absorbing mother's tears of agony
    Purl out from prison grills
    Voice of the poet's missive.

    When the tongue pulsates,
    Tone manumits the air, and
    Song turns missile in battle
    The foe fears the poet;
    Incarcerates him, and
    Tightens the noose around the neck
    But, already, the poet in his notes
    Breathes among the masses

    The scaffold
    Like a gravitating balance
    Disseminates into earth
    Challenges to death
    And hoists the paltry
    Hangman colonist... more »

  • THE DAY OF NAMING

    1

    Can the empire acquiesce
    If insurrection makes
    The vagrant and untitled
    Valiant?
    Heroes must have lineage

    When people of the forest converge,
    Gather mortar, wood and stone,
    And build;
    Can this become a saga?
    History must have foundation

    Do you light a lamp on the mountain
    For the rag-worn
    Bullet-torn gonds?
    Lamps must be lit only for the nobility

    2

    Indeed, even if I am queried about their hamlet
    What can I say?
    Making all the towns
    They departed into forest womb -
    If I am asked to count
    Numbers sixty or thirteen,
    I can only sight the stars
    Whereas you can flaunt indemnity lists

    Who cut the cord and christened the one
    Delivered and discarded in the forest?
    Maybe you got them first
    Into the census roll
    Or voter's scroll;
    Perhaps eliminated from Adilabad hospital,
    Or mopped out with the monument today
    These cannot aspire for titles

    There,
    The wood and pit, valley and pinnacle
    Bird and reptile, water and fire
    Man and beast, crop from the cleared forest, and nest,
    Darkness and light,
    All of them bear just one name:
    The forest
    The forest is both mother and baby to itself

    Alarmed by the aborigine,
    Evolving in the folds of the forest
    And the forest nestling in the frame of the aborigine,
    It is you
    Who labelled them

    Fear struck
    In Bodenghat and Pippaldhari
    Indravelli and Babejhari
    And in Satnala
    You wrecked their lives
    Shored up with bamboo

    With canisters and cartridges
    Mining blood and sulfur gas
    You commemorated their baptism
    In the seams of the earth's folds
    With all accomplishing
    You can never slay them again

    3

    The valiant emerge
    From the very annals these engender
    Can one mark which day
    The aborigine was born?
    While you brand
    April twenty year after year
    For the current account
    But this time
    Staggered by the flash of history
    Already on nineteenth March
    You dashed to Devak's dungeon

    4

    There the gusty wild-floral wind
    Turning in my heart
    Now swirls over the mountain crests
    The firmament turning the forest as sight
    Rummages the dust for something.
    Unable to see, the Godavari
    Shrivels and languishes in the bed

    5

    People of the day before may be missing yesterday;
    Yesterday's cairn may have gone today.
    Yet, Indravelli prevailed yesterday, today and the day before

    Indravelli may not belong
    To the before folk
    Nor could yesterday's Cenotaph own it:
    But it will not abide by those
    Who bulldozed it today

    Nurtured in the flesh and blood of the tribe
    The forest will abide,
    Fused in the primordial vitality
    The soul will prevail;
    The kiss of the martyrs will persist

    Ganga the life current remains
    Stick and sword will caringly sustain
    Even when the whole forest is ransacked
    Camouflaged fire shimmeringly survives

    But, Indravelli,
    Turned into a town the other day
    Will prevail as an emblem in insurgency
    Yesterday the monument was
    A memory trace

    It will be a millstone for those
    Who destroyed it

    Indravelli will hold out
    As struggling people's
    Peak of vision... more »

  • THE OTHER DAY

    Not that my coming is without intimation
    What needs be said always remains unsaid
    Not an unanticipated occurrence
    But yearning for the propitious in the unintended

    No word chain disrupted
    No effort aborted
    And each experience . . . halfway

    Yet that is not the problem
    Time has not come to a standstill
    There
    Time has simply
    Uncoupled us

    Our sleepless wait
    Altering the date
    Was to efface
    The bittersweet divides.

    Our cuddle,
    The nestle of twenty springs
    Snuggled in the nest of feathers
    Dissolving in the bitter actual . . .

    Even as you say, alas,
    Will they take you away tomorrow?
    It's already the day
    Today

    Distraught
    Even as you agitate in agony
    Alas, do they already take you
    Even while you look on
    I am shackled

    The scene,
    Arrested word
    Like the broken tear
    Slashed through the
    Squares and rectangles
    Of the gratings at
    Our counter meetings.
    I can only pityingly
    Stare.
    The escort van roars
    And stirs up dust.

    Something smells
    As I turn my view inside
    Rifles and Khaki uniforms do
    The surveillance.

    My self writhes
    I am agitated
    As the petrol smells,
    My wailing entrails move
    I turn in
    My view from you
    In the outer world
    Towards you
    In the inner world.
    Time and I have only two limbs
    Day and night
    With the desire to work a bit faster
    Time grasping its arrow-seconds
    Me clasping my quill
    Move on
    And go on moving.

    The enemy has four legs
    Tele-ear, tele-gaze, radio-mouth
    And armed palms.

    Above all,
    The rapacity to live on
    All alone.

    It is for this
    He annihilated his heart,
    For this he smothers its vibrations.

    In what discourse
    Can we converse
    With the heartless?

    Bloodhound's gasping tongue
    His neck-strap,
    The whip in the prodding master's hand,
    He assumes, from his rank.
    What language can translate the utterance
    That it's felony to shackle reflections?

    Property
    Fractures the human world
    Into custodians and criminals
    But when I assert and declare
    Banishment of the very thing
    Property's cage turns me a defendant, all right,
    But,
    For the overlord's eyes
    I am a Communist
    And
    As if nothing can surpass it
    He arraigns me as a
    Naxalite

    Let us persist to actualize it exactly
    Let us perpetuate ‘treason'
    For the purpose of multitudes... more »

  • UNBURDENING SONG

    Like the East Wind
    You came to recount
    The heart-rending tales that
    The tear-filled Godavari told the sea.

    Stunned like the tree
    Anguished for the very breezes of life
    I opened my mouth.
    Has some invisible hand stood between us?
    Are we, decreeing injunctions on ourselves,
    Turning mute?
    To avoid your sight
    I swallowed tear streams
    Down my throat.
    All day long tears continue to pierce my throat.

    Now, this night,
    The night when the sea has taken
    Godavari into its lap and is consoling,
    Composing tunes, that have gone discordant
    In sighs.
    Breathing into my repressed, harmonium-like heart
    With two hands.

    I washed my whole face
    With the elegy surging from memory.
    Now there are no more thorns in the throat
    Nor in the eyes.
    On this bridge of abyssal time
    Between us
    - We could not open mouths to converse -

    This unburdening lyric I delivered.

    This may reach you either as a bird or flower
    Or even as a mad breeze.

    Won't you be soft in response?... more »

  • WHEN THE MOONLIGHT MOVES INTO THE DARK

    For just a nest no aborigine
    Cuts away the wooded-shelter.
    For the simple slash-burnt crop no man of the forest
    Burns down the nurturing woods.

    Even when the hill people
    Cut the bases and burn the stumps,
    And harvest,
    On the hillside, in the slope, on the brink:
    Whose sweat of the brow turns into whose burp?

    A little moisture of the palm is enough
    For the forest that fells and billows away in the Godari -
    Forest, the target of hewn lacerations.
    Taking forms it fails to find itself in.
    This civilizing forest -
    Who owns this hauled-out wealth?
    In cities and in bungalows
    All the riches hidden behind closed doors
    Are the forest.

    All the power, inciting rare game on the prowl,
    Is pillaged from the woods.
    Forest with its broken back and blown-out belly,
    Dams spreading across its mouth
    From reservoir to granary
    Measuring heaps of sweat pearls
    Burning the fuel of dismal lives-in-death.
    In the wilderness of city
    Cementing with flesh and blood of the forest
    The iron system of justice.
    In ‘safari' robes stitched in the hide of skinned forest
    On the intestinal pages of the woods
    Death sentences preserved in writing . . .

    In the forest reserve
    As moonlight prowled -
    Furiously, when you set the forest dwellings on fire
    Those fires that would show your shady face to the world
    Fires - your hideous greed that would put mankind to shame.
    Those fires of tears that cannot quench your insatiable thirst.

    The blaze smites the vigorous,
    Rising defiant, bloody fires.
    Flames, flames - the bloody crops
    Sprouting in the dwellings you burnt down
    Vines entwined everywhere
    Flames blossoming new worlds.... more »

  • WORDS

    Words, smothered in the folds of the self,
    Must be stirred awake,
    Made to amble and watch
    See if wings can bear aloft
    The crippled limbs
    And soar into the sky.

    Like the first showers after the drought
    To my parched ears, my own worlds,
    Not any other's, remain strange.

    Like the marvel of the sky
    Discovering its lost monsoon
    I long to sprout on a soil
    In the vibrations of a sonorous world.

    Once again I yearn to learn the utterance
    At school and on the commune,
    From pupils and plebeians
    I dream of seizing syllables
    From each of history's furrows.

    Without this voicing peal
    How will this silence,
    Loaded for so long in the self,
    Explode?

    Without this booming resonance
    How will this scene,
    Cryptic for so long in the eyes,
    Scintillate?

    Once again I must learn to utter
    In communing with and listening to
    Our people;
    I must be tethered to the word and abide by it
    What's man's legacy after betraying the word?

    Nothing debases the word:
    In the blazing furnaces of time
    Under the plummeting hammer clangs,
    This, as the fittest moment,
    I go on forging expressions.... more »