Paracetamol legends I know
For rising fevers, as pain-relievers—
Of my people—father’s father’s mother’s
Mother, dark lush hair caressing her ankles
Sometimes, sweeping earth, deep-honey skin,
Amber eyes—not beauty alone they say—she
Married a man who murdered thirteen men and one
Lonely summer afternoon her rice-white teeth tore
Through layers of khaki, and golden white skin to spill
The bloodied guts of a British soldier who tried to colonize her. . .
Of my land—uniform blue open skies,
Mad-artist palettes of green lands and lily-filled lakes that
Mirror all—not peace or tranquil alone, he shudders—some
Young woman near my father’s home, with a drunken husband
Who never changed; she bore his beatings everyday until on one
Stormy night, in fury, she killed him by stomping his seedbags. . .
We: their daughters.
We: the daughters of their soil.
We, mostly, write.
(First published in Quarterly Literary Review, Singapore)
Posted in Poetry, women
Tagged beauty, bravery, culture, identity, inheritance, land, legacy, power, retaliation, Tamil, violence, womanhood, women
The last thing she does
before she gets ready to die
once more, of violation,
she applies the mascara.
in that last and solemn moment
the call-girl hesitates.
With eye-catching eyes
she stops to shudder.
Maybe, the dyed eyes
mourn her body’s sins.
Mascara. . .
it serves to tell her
that long buried
of a virgin soul
have dark outlines.
Silently she cries.
Her tears are black.
of temple prostitutes,
her solace was sought.
It has happened for centuries. . .
Empty consolations soothe
Sex clings to her devadasi skin,
assumed superficialities don’t wear off,
Deliverance doesn’t arrive.
Unknown Legacies of
Love made to Gods
haven’t been ceremoniously accounted
But still she prays.
Her prayer words
desperately provoke Answers.
Fighting her case,
Providence lost his pride.
Her helplessness doesn’t
Seduce the Gods.
And they too
the Depth of her Dreams.
once. . .
She awaits their resurrection.
When she dons the mascara
The Heavens have heard her whisper,
Kali, you wear this too. . .
(First published in Indian Horizons)
Posted in Caste, Mythology, Poetry, women
Tagged cosmetics, devadasis, dreams, feminism, Hinduism, kali, make-up, prayers, prostitution, temple dancers, women
i am living on
because providing apologies is easy
i was making choices
with insanely safe ideas of
i was a helpless girl
against the brutal world of
i was craving for security
the kind i had only known while
i am locked away
a terrified princess waiting
i don’t dream or think
i just remember and wince
i ran away in the darkness
nothing beaconed me more than the
i ran into the arms of the ravishing night
nothing pulled me back: not even the memories
i ran until terror stopped my tracks
for, trembling i turned and saw that the moon was
(First published in Great Works, UK)
Posted in Caste, Love, Poetry, violence, women
Tagged harassment, helplessness, imprisonment, Love, security, suicide, women
“I am happy, life is good.”
Heard at the end of a therapy class. . .
The heavy-duty brainwashing and you
Remember your crores stacked away. . .
Your Harvard airs helps in large doses
Soon, the colors peel away and there is nothing
To do than wrestle with your yearnings.
“I would like to make love.”
Wanna fuck? It is easier saying it this way
For something that you paid for in cash
And cheques and credit cards.
Forget the lesser action, the lack of poetry—
What mattered was how you let go
Of your hate and heat and hunger
But never had the courage to talk
To her of love or loneliness. . .
“You are trespassing on my territory”
You guarded it with LoCs and walls
And barbed wire fences where hatred
Danced like high-voltage electricity. . .
You killed creatures and cleared forests
And wiped away the darker people
And those of dreamy tongues with
Your agenda of a war-a-week, the
Worlds-to-win and vengeance-to-wreak. . .
Your Mushroom clouds and wmds and
Poverty drafts and armchair chivalry and
A collective manhood of nuclear warheads
That explode and penetrate. . .
To make her yours and yours alone,
You pushed her deeper into harems
Where she could see the sunlight
Only from the lattice windows.
Domesticated into drudgery she was just
Another territory, worn out by wars. A slave
Who maintained your numbers.
“Let’s make love.”
~all that you thought~
What’s taking her so long to undress?
~all that you said~
I m gonna fuck till ya faint. . .
“Oh how nice to have made love.”
~breathless~ Iminahurry. Cyasoon.~panting~
Here are the words, again—
I am happy. Life is good / I would love to make love.
You are trespassing on my territory/ She’s mine.
Let’s make love/ Oh how nice to have made love.
On sunny green fields these are the only
Six sentences the male of a grasshopper can ever say.
But what have we done with words?
I fancy myself being a witch.
Broomstick borne and black as pitch.
Thin, stark-naked and with fire for eyes.
Killing men whom I despise.
Bewailing the woeful life I led.
Casting dark spells, makin’ them dead.
Thronging ghettos, to unbend bent backs.
Handing them knives, ’least an axe.
Lot later I fly to temple streets.
Our men firm, I show my feats.
Haunting oppressors to shave their heads.
Cutting all their holy threads.
Experiencing joy as they bleed.
Dance, rejoice my black black deed.
Leave one farewell note, an obscene cue:
‘Judgment day is long since due.’
Ultimately, I’ll lie in the ditch—
Ne’er give a damn, when called ‘Bitch’.
Posted in Caste, Poetry, violence
Tagged black magic, caste oppression, counter-violence, hag, power, retaliation, violence, witchcraft, women
Algorithm for converting a Shudra into a Brahmin
Step 1: Take a beautiful Shudra girl.
Step 2: Make her marry a Brahmin.
Step 3: Let her give birth to his female child.
Step 4: Let this child marry a Brahmin.
Step 5: Repeat steps 3-4 six times.
Step 6: Display the end product. It is a Brahmin.
Algorithm advocated by Father of the Nation at Tirupur.
Documented by Periyar on 20.09.1947.
Algorithm for converting a Pariah into a Brahmin
Awaiting another Father of the Nation
to produce this algorithm.
(Inconvenience caused due to inadvertent delay
is sincerely regretted.)
(First published in The Little Magazine)