AFTER ALL YOU SAY
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.
As lines of people,
In-surge in movement.
My self seems
Forces that lived me and awaiting future
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.
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 »
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
Like a gravitating balance
Disseminates into earth
Challenges to death
And hoists the paltry
Hangman colonist... more »
THE DAY OF NAMING
Can the empire acquiesce
If insurrection makes
The vagrant and untitled
Heroes must have lineage
When people of the forest converge,
Gather mortar, wood and stone,
Can this become a saga?
History must have foundation
Do you light a lamp on the mountain
For the rag-worn
Lamps must be lit only for the nobility
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
Time has simply
Our sleepless wait
Altering the date
Was to efface
The bittersweet divides.
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
Even as you agitate in agony
Alas, do they already take you
Even while you look on
I am shackled
Like the broken tear
Slashed through the
Squares and rectangles
Of the gratings at
Our counter meetings.
I can only pityingly
The escort van roars
And stirs up dust.
As I turn my view inside
Rifles and Khaki uniforms do
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
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
And go on moving.
The enemy has four legs
Tele-ear, tele-gaze, radio-mouth
And armed palms.
The rapacity to live on
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
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?
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,
For the overlord's eyes
I am a Communist
As if nothing can surpass it
He arraigns me as a
Let us persist to actualize it exactly
Let us perpetuate ‘treason'
For the purpose of multitudes... more »
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,
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
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
- 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,
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, 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,
Without this booming resonance
How will this scene,
Cryptic for so long in the eyes,
Once again I must learn to utter
In communing with and listening to
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 »