Monthly Archives: July 2018

indira babbellapati

An anarchic soliloquy

Thick greasy liquid in filter paper

Neither flows nor stays stable—

A dream; a simoom in a summer-desert—

The dream goes digging deeper and deeper

Yet the origins of corruption found in vain!

As the dream enters the depth of downwards

Into the earth’s womb, all we hear there are

The screams of the wooden hammer:

‘Silence…silence!’ Yes, that’s the supreme

Court of law; along the screams are

The sound of explosions from the whistle-blowers.

Leave aside the first citizen, does anyone ever

Attempted to explore who the inessential citizen might be?

Ah, who’s that coolie woman in that joparpatti in Mumbai?

She sits in muck surrounded by filth and washes herself

With red cake of Lifebuoy! Her surroundings are filled

With acerbic red smell. Red blood…crimson love and

Blood-red death–ah, this creepy dream the night through—

Not a thread of clothing on the body, streaking across

The nightly streets of the city. Isn’t there beauty in nudity?

Nude are the markets too! Wonder if at all what we see

Gets denuded or nudity dominates our vision? Further,

The Court area echoes with morphed voices of the witnesses;

Only ceramic lips and acrylic hips! The blazing sun is proved

As mere graphic after much argument! Is last night’s pleasure

Of copulation  mere illusion? Will the currents that bang their

Heads against the reservoir’s retaining wall ever get liberated?

Hey, you’re a useless dreamer—loitering the lifeless midnight

Roads of the city listening to the scenes around and gazing at the sounds

Amid the pahara hushaar of vigorous batons in the deepest slumber.

Tears of blood stream down the walls of the parliament; stretching

Your hands in greed you ask—‘What’s the distance between liberty

And lewdness?’ Time and distance—theory of indices; all a dilemma!

Crime and punishment are two different entities though the Constitution

May state loud and clear that,

All culprits will be punished!

Halleluiah! Halleluiah!

The sinners will be pardoned!

The sinners will be rescued!

A plant attacked by pests needs pesticide however toxic, pungent

And nauseous Monocrotopas might be. Similar is the need of

This generation; fire-treatment is its dire need…suyy…suyy, the fire

May burn the skin. The billions of the country’s population devoid of

Values, ethical discipline, moral behavior, responsibilities of being

A citizen, populace deprived of a history are in an emergency—

They need an urgent medical aid; where’s the right medicine?

All that this generation needs is a hot iron rod to strike them on their back!

 (Original in Telugu by Prof. Raamaa Chandramouli; English translation by Indira Babbellapati)

 

 

New leaf of nascent green

At that moment while sitting on the shore,

She thought moon light with the full moon

Is as attractive as the new moon sky…

It’s always like that when one is in the grip

Of depression and low with melancholy—

That darkness is eternal while light remains

An occasional visitor; when in darkness

The waves annihilate the shoreline, the surf

And sparkles remain unseen—only the rhythmic

Roar that disperses the waters can be heard.

Doesn’t the screech of a train on the verge of

Derailment in spite of the flow of the wheels’ sound

A scare in us? Man trapped like a dry leaf in a mysterious

Maelstrom of one’s inner world, while violently swiveling

Feels the defenselessness of the situation as he gets pulled into…

The unknown within sets the human matter on fire to

Generate energy that goes on preaching, ‘No blunder even if the right

Becomes left and vice versa, go on…swim against the tide…’

Exhausted body, heart and soul slide down the glass pane of

A window, there’s this struggle and effort of the metamorphosis

Of pupa into a butterfly. We fall and rise staring at the bleeding knees;

A burning sensation in the heart…twining soreness as when ice is

Put on fire; if a bomb wishes to spread destruction, it first has to

Destroy itself! Similarly, one who wishes to create, has to first

Create himself…when conscious triggers within, at that

Very moment, one needs a smile, a greeting, a hand extended,

Above all an intoxicating touch. Melody from a flute from

A remote somewhere, while getting doused by the perfume

While walking under the ponnaga on a moonlit night—contemplating

And understanding the difference between a dog’s loyalty,

And that of a wolf that strategically erases its own footprints

With the tail as it moves ahead, there stirs the awareness of tears

That has no identity gaining impetus in the human body;

What follows again is a new vision, a new form and a new leaf

In tender green life surfaces; despair, depression and melancholia

Become confetti; same old sapling that appears tearing the earth

Resurrects the breath…For anyone.

(Original in Telugu by Prof. Raamaa Chandramouli; English translation by Indira Babbellapati)

Prof. B. Indira works as faculty in the department of Humanities and Social Sciences of Andhra University, Visakhapatnam. She’s a widely published poet and translator. She has seven anthologies of original poetry in English and three anthologies of poetry in translation besides several short stories and a novel translated and published by the Sahitya Akademi and the Translation Bureau of Dravidian University, Kuppam. Writing of poetry and translating from Telugu to English is a passion with her. She has participated in many International and National Poets meets in India and abroad where she presented her original poetry well received by poetry lovers.

E-mail : drbindira@gmail.com

 

Prof. Raamaa Chandra mouli born on 08-07-1950 is basically a post graduate in mechanical engineering, residing at Warangal and presently working as vice principal, Ganapathy Engineering college, Warangal, A.P, India. He is an eminent poet, short story writer, Novelist and literary critic. To his credit he has 50 published books which includes 305 short stories, 30 novels, 10 anthologies of telugu poetry and 4 anthologies of telugu literary essays. He has participated as Indian delegate in ‘22nd’ world congress of poets, Greece during july 2011.’world congress of poets’ during march 2016 at Taiwan. Most prestigious awards he secured includes ‘Swarna Nandi’ puraskaram from Govt of A.P (2011),Andhra pradesh sahitya academy award 1984, Telugu university kavitha purskaram(2007), Cinare kavitha puraskaram(2008), Kolakaloori Bhaageeradhi kavitha puraskaram(2012), Dr.Avansta Somasunder Kavitha Puraskaram(2012), Citizen extraordinaire leadership award (2007-08) (by united writers association, Chennai) etc.. He has also won the best engineering teacher award-2000 from Govt. of A.P. He authored 6 prestigious text books for mechanical engineering students. He has penned story and dialogues to 5 telugu movies. Several of his works are translated into English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and Bengali.  

 

           

Chandramohan Sathyanathan

 

The Earth
The earth
Adorns herself alternately
In thick foliage of green and
The capricious ebb and flow of the blue,

Each ray of the sun
chisels  her a garment for her curves of
Mountains and gorges
Like a layer of dense air.

I start unwrapping this onion- like layers of drapery.
They are plaits of soiled bed-sheets
Branching out from her midriff like
rivulets of a river.

I discover cavities
With girths like
Hips of Venus
Or chest of mars.

She hides herself
In different layers of fabric
Through its mantles
Like a poem drifting along
A rainbow -like shard of an arc.

Scrolls of scriptural injunctions
Ooze from her orifices with the hiss of uncoiling snakes.

Certain inner layers are like
Holy books,
Light once entrapped
Never escapes: illuminated for eternity!

The heat from the earth’s core
Drives the machinery of
My muse.

 

THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A BLACK BURKINI
(after Wallace Stevens )
“I created the burkini to give women freedom, not to take it away “-Aheda Zanetti

1
Burkini is a language
Terrifying those ignorant of its text.
2
Cops patrol her tan lines
Like dams patrol
Rivers flowing above danger marks.
3
All you need is in that bag:
Change into a garment
More palatable for the cops in uniform.
4
Some garments cling too close to your surname
Like a metaphor
Too loud for good poetry.
5.
Sea surfing can be tiring
Like an infinite ebb and flow of a questionnaire.
Batting an eye lid can be a tad too immodest.
6
Tether yourself close to the beach.
Do not surf too deep into the ocean.
Never self-intersect in circles of knots and tangles.
7
Bruises sustained from frisking
Metamorphose into festering wounds.
Gangrene could gnaw at your surname.
8
Erase your footprints from the sands.
Waves of time rarely wash the footprints of a scuffle.
Prolonged scuffle can bury us all in a deep hole.
9
Do you remember the first corpse
The sea sucked off a turbulent beach?
The sea spat it out after three days of frisking.
10
The footprints of scuffle
Implicates you from shore to shore,
Blowing up all bridges between you and anyone.
11
During this conversation
Some territory has been ceded across
The tan lines of your body.
12
Your body stripped of the garment
Remains an evacuated language.
Can a language be a scarecrow?
13
History will catch up with you
In your rear-view mirror
Even if you are full throttle in your
Pursuit of happiness.

 

My language

The language we speak now,
Once had no fences;
Aggravated trespassing
Has rendered it barren.

At the frontiers of my language
Deployed with an insidious intent
Is a domesticated erstwhile stray-dog
With its bark worse than its bite;
But carefully tethered to harm no one.

If you frequent my tongue
The rust on your tongue-cleaner
Can cause tetanus to your soul.

Introducing an alien tongue in elementary schools
Is like building dams on rivers
Too close to their origins.
The river will be sedated for eternity.

Bitter neem  paste
Smeared around my
Birth-mother’s nipples
To wean me away from my vernacular-
For me to go and kiss the world.

Our minds like bedding with synthetic bed spread
Love betraying us like
My muse calling out the name of her ex-lover in ecstasy.

It requires an inter-generational
Surgical procedure
To remove white man’s bullets
From the spine of my book of poems.

In the autobiography of my vernacular
There were a few suicide notes
Transliterated with an indelible ink
Like the legacy of slave owners
Passed on to the hardbound of my poetry book
-once a stepping pedestal for imperial boots.

My language
Was a tax-free transit point
At one of the world’s shores
Like the Cape of Good Hope.

Now, history of mankind
Snores in my language.

The Muse in the Market place

In the Neo-liberal world
A dog with a collar crosses
The road at the zebra lines.

The vernacular was never its surrogate womb
This poem was not conceived with translation in mind
Will never let itself be adopted
Or exported to worldwide markets
Nor will the metaphors mellow down
To make it amenable to translation
Into an alien tongue.

This poem refuses to undergo painful procedures
Like the long intrusive questionnaire
Cleansing its tracts
Before it is granted a visa
To be read at international festivals.

To be frisked
Through its taut contours
Of line breaks and paragraphs
At airports and check points
With every image bent like a question mark
In ludicrous submission.

Portrait of the poet as a young woman
Her hair
Freshly harvested dreadlocks
Unedited gospel of love
Off limits to combs.

Tresses like streams
Of eternal fire
From the arsenal of her body.

Poems conceived in a celestial tongue
When stars align with caesarean precision.
It is our own language.

Her verses
Are neither left nor right aligned
Time zones hinge at every line break
Like sunflowers UN-aligned to the scorching heat.

Every evening, on her terrace ,
she lets  her hair down and flies kite,
Her verses tell vivid stories
Stitched together in myriad colours.

Her verses gurgle like rivers let loose.
She never braids them
With her bare hands
Before a poetry reading.

When her poems are read
No boyfriend or pimp is allowed
Inside the reading hall.

Her kite, un-tethered to her surname,
Soars high, till it gets entangled with the stars.

Attempting to translate her poems
Is like making love to a capricious mistress.

Her curly, kinky stream of verses
Sway to the rhythm of her gait
Untamed by the clanging of her anklets.

Her book of poems,
a treatise on dishevelled hair
and tresses on fire.

 

Killing  the Shambukas
(Inspired by a famous poem on black lynching)
Jim Crow segregated hostel rooms
Ceiling fans bear a strange fruit,
Blood on books and blood on papers,
A black body swinging in mute silence,
Strange fruit hanging from tridents.

8.My psychological lynching
(written after watching Shankar’s “I”)
I was at a movie-hall the other day
the hero hailing from the slums
speaks in an uncouth slang,
his Angle Saxon girlfriend sets him right
with a tight slap!

From then on
The hero sways in sync with his heroine,
a paler version of his former self.
Keep the body ,take the mind.

plus-size poem

This poem refuses to be
The world’s wife.

This poem is not pimple-free
Is printed on rough paper.

This poem has cellulite in its rear end,
Its rump out sizes itself off the market.

This poem walks the ramp with a self-edited gait
Without introduction or foreword from veterans.

This poem does not opt for offshore liposuction
To make oneself eligible for international prizes.

This poem eludes the trap
In the hourglass of time.

 

When cops come to frisk you

1. Batting an eye lid
In the midst of an excruciating questionnaire
Could be a tad too immodest.

2. He could try mock intimidating techniques
Like the cacophony of revving a car
Engine with gear set to neutral.

3. Learn to steady your breath
Like an undercover cop
In a trigger happy gang.

4. You both have each other’s face
To ascertain the time epochs
Each of you is living in- untranslatable in time.

5. He could lop some withered branch
Of your family tree and ask you to
identify the leaves.

6. If he greets you in your rustic dialect,
Return the serve.

7. He may try to ascertain the blood pressure
Of your privilege coursing your veins.

This whole conversation is jarring like a poem translated
Into a language with no word for the missing rib.

UNTITLED 

I
A poem curled up  in a wrinkled
piece of paper- I read it.

Every reading
unfolds new layers
of previously pulped
meaning

between the lines
between the bars of Guantanamo Bay.

II

A word
lost from a poem
asks another for the way
back into the poem.

Both the words
accompany each other
to the poem.

III
When the police come to frisk you
They will first give you a name,
then distance themselves from you!

Grapes of Wrath
(A poem on migrant labourers in Kerala)

The displaced of capital have come to the capital- Anne Winters

Faceless migrant lads
Tread landscapes of tongues
To be greeted with a lisping embrace
At God’s own country.

 

 Caste in a local train
Caste in a local train can be deceptive
like the soul
of a Pakistani fast bowler camouflaged
in a  three piece suit
and Anglicized accent.

Though seated opposite me,
I can feel him charging on to me.

If my surname is too long
I could be –caught behind.

Will I be trapped leg before wicket
If I attempt a bloodline crossover?

I try to camouflage
into stripes of concocted ancestry
along fresh water currents.

Can I switch over to
My mother’s surname
like switching from
active voice to passive voice
in the midst of a harangue?

Hope I do not lose my nerve
at abrasive queries like bouncers.

I try to find myself a place
in his skull
beyond his caste mark, amidst his eyebrows:
like trying to find my way around
an ever changing map!

He tries assessing me with an in swinger first
“What is your full name?”

Then he tries an out swinger that seams a lot
“ and   what is your father’s name?”

By this time, he loses his nerve
And tries on a direct York-er
“What is your caste?”

 

 

UAPA
(A protest poem against UAPA)
It is like a virus, all of us could be tested for it.
When you are being tested for this virus
And if the test turned out to be negative
The cop will plant the evidence from his
Kit,
With your signature coerced on it.

It is contagious,
If your friends protest your
Being injected with this virus,
They too get infected.
The virus attacks after long gestation periods
Of surveillance.

This virus feeds on its excreta.
Those inflicted and quarantined behind bars
Act as deterrents for anyone who might
Want to mess with those in power,
Even long after their release.

This virus takes various sizes and shapes
But always the teal of the flag opposing
The incumbent .
Tomorrow it could be your turn
And silence is not always golden.

 

Chandramohan Sathyanathan is a Dalit poet based in Thiruvananthapuram .

Bhisma Upreti

A Full stop
Sarthak Karki

I stand
without moving
like a thing devoid of life
like a full stop.

A full stop might mean
end of an opportunity or of an idea
a full stop might also mean
a base for dawn of another opportunity or of another idea.

Where and how should one stand
so that it implies an end
so that it indicates a new beginning
so that it means a hiatus during a journey
oh! to stand might mean so many things!

I stand
without moving
like a thing devoid of life
like a full stop.

Translated from Nepali by Sarthak Karki.

 

Bhisma Upreti is an award winning Nepali poet and writer. His 8 books of poetry and 6 books of essays have been published. His works have been translated into English, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Serbian, Slovenian and Tamil and have appeared in various international journals, magazines and anthologies.. He is Joint Secretary of PEN Nepal and also a Coordinator of Writer’s Peace Committee under PEN Nepal.

 

 

Sarthak Karki prefers ‘non-fiction’, in the true sense of the word, i.e. honest scholarly writing that at the very least presents unadulterated facts and a fairly diverse school of thought in a subject even if it subscribes to a single school among them. ‘Literature’ (reading) is a hobby and filler, albeit a savory one. Sarthak is an amateur translator at best. English-Nepali and Nepali-English translation of literary works which he likes is as much a preferred manner of spending some extra time on hand as a partial repayment to the authors of these literary works who have given him much intellectual delight. But of course, Sarthak is mindful of what Nietzsche rightly remarked about translation in general – differences in ‘tempo’ of languages (among other things) makes this endeavor a rather futile enterprise in general! Sarthak was born in the year 1986.

 

Deepankar Shivamurti

Songs of Jogi

Renunciation of King Bharthari

Holding Sarangi in his hands

Bharthari walks on the pathway to the forest

The gloom appears to be all around!

Renouncing the royal palace, his majesty became a beggar

Bharthari wanders, wrapping tatters around his neck.

Getting his garments suffused into saffron

Hangs about begging, Bharthari

Rubbing cinder all over his body

At the behest of Guru Gorakh

Bharthari wanders, wrapping tatters around his neck.

Clinging to the tatters, Shyamdei (the queen)  beats her breast

Mourning in many ways

‘Now which fruitful bough

I shall tend to, my lord?’

Bharthari wanders, wrapping tatters around his neck.

‘Listen, queen!’ says Bharthari

It is vain to lament anymore

Take your realm n reign and be merry!

My lady, I do not desire kingdom anymore

Bharthari wanders, wrapping tatters around his neck.

In an agonized tone, Shyamdei cries

Listen,  Bharthari, sagacious sage!

If you were to become a monk

Why did you tie the knot, then?

Heeding nothing, king Bharthari, firmed in resolve

The queen fell unconscious on the bed and darkness spread all around!

Holding Sarangi in his hand,  Bharthari walks on the pathway to the forest

The gloom appears to be all around!

 

जोगियों का गीत- 1

राजा भरथरी का सन्यास

हथवा लेहे सारंगी बन के धरे डगरिया

अन्हरिया चारो ओर से रही!

छोड़ि के आपन राज महलिया राजा बने भिखरिया

गुदरिया गर में डारे भरथरी

जोगी बन के चले भरथरी

गेरुआ वस्त्र रंगाई

गुरु गोरख से आज्ञा पाकर, तन पर भस्म रमाई

गुदरिया गर में…

गुदरी पकड़ि के श्यामदेई रोअईं

बहुबिधि रुदन मचाई

राजन फरी उनईबई केकर लेइ हम डरिया

गुदरिया गर में…

कहे भरथरी सुना हो रनिया, अब जिन रुदन मचावा

लेइल आपन राज रियासत, बैठे मौज उड़ावा

रनिया हमै न चाहे, कोठी महल अटरिया

गुदरिया गर में…

तड़पि-तड़पि के श्यामदेइ बोलि

सुना हो भरथरी ज्ञानी,

तोहका जोगी बनइके रहा, का कर ब्याह रचाया

राजा भरथरी एक न मानी, अपनी जिद्द बढाई

रनिया गिरन सेज पर, छाइ गईल अन्हरिया

 

The Jogi (also spelled Yogi) are a Hindu sect (nath sampraday), found in North India and Sindh, with smaller numbers in the southern Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerla.

The Jogi are followers of Yoga and worshippers of the Hindu god Shiva. They are wanderers and sing the songs of ‘Vairagya’ playing Sarangi.
Translated by Deepankar Shivamurti.

Ritwik Ghosh

 

                                                                          Ode

                                                                     Jurassic life

 

                                                                             1

 

The eternal voyage of the moon brings ripeness,

In the meadows silent stream,

Murmuring memory embraces happy reflection, and

Sweet thought pours in rain droplet counterpoint.

In the warm shade of Caytonia, and

In the cool shade of Kuklia,

Libellulium rests under the venation of the night sky.

Above flies the lofty winged Rhamphorhynchus,

A herd of Mamenchisaurus meets the treetops,

Underneath the canopy Sinoconodon lurks in hidden time,

Life strives to renew complexity,

For the moment is ever falling and without renewal,

All triumph goes to the grave.

In the depth of darkling night, from deep slumber, Spinosaurus awakens.

 

                                                                     2

The magnolia buds open inviting the bees,

Mauldinia and Nathorstiana embalm the dark forest,

By the rivers green banks Simosuchus chews herbs and plants.

Euoplocephalus walks in majestic happiness, easeful and wild.

In the dense forest foliage Parasaurolophus is in melody.

Volaticotherium glide through the green trees,

In rounded joy eggs are cared for by Maiasaura,

Diplodocus waves its slender tail tip in outstretched wonder,

The tender tree top is surveyed by Brachiosaurus.

Stegosaurus leisurely chews its leaves,

Carcharodontosaurus silently walks in the dense foliage,

Its careful stride stipples the ground,

It watches a herd of placid Edmontosaurus,

With agile force the scimitars of Vishnu open,

Gaping blood trickles and gushes,

In the distance, in the nest, Carcharodontosaurus hatchlings,

By Beelzebufo are gobbled.

                                                                                     3

In the strange sea swim millenial polypi,

Colossal turtles, fish and squid swim free,

Elasmosaurus swims its long neck into the azure.

Kronosaurus swims in search of millennial fish.

Mosasaurus with its serrated, sharp teeth, looks for teeming life,

Above the waters soars Quetzalcoatlus searching for majestic food,

Ammonites flow in innumerable joy,

Mosasaurus in searching of Protostega, is bitten by Megalodon.

 

                                                                                 4

In the forests of ferns, cycads and conifers,

Of Weichselia, of cycadeoidea and Archaeanthus,

Tranquill herds of Lambeosaurus gorge, and

Frolic with the babbling brooklets,

A Tyrannosaurus looks through the dark vegetation,

It gently raises its head, to smell the wide world,

It imagines its reign will endure forever.

 

 

Ode

Shepherd

1

The shepherd falls asleep under a tree,

The shepherd dog bravely guides the sheep into their home.

2

The shepherd dog barks and runs to get a sheep that strayed,

into the shed.

3

The shepherd dog awakes,

and attempts to get the sheep moving back home,

from their pastureland,

Misled by error,

the sheep scatter,

The sheep go astray,

each destined to get lost in its own way.

 

Ritwik Ghosh is the author of two books of poems,” The Democracy of dreams”
and “The Art of the Ode”.