Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ten shorts from Tamil Nadu (May 2009)

# 1

He read a big fat pedantic tome
Full of phantasmagorical words
That tickled his palate no end
But unknown to him

She used to swot house flies
With the same book
While he had his afternoon siestas under the oak tree

# 2

He saw a herd of donkeys
Crossing the street, purposefully

In a rare moment
Of honest incandescence
He forgot who he was

And started to bray

# 3

Very confusedly
He paid obeisance at the memorial
Of the martyred leader
On his 17th death anniversary

He muttered a silent prayer
For the lengthy life of the martyred leader's assassin
Who may or may not be alive
Or dead
According to the people of the land

Who no longer distinguished good from evil

# 4

Her seven daughters
Had nimble fingers
With which they collated splints
Transformed them into matchsticks
With a sulphur dip
Than anyone in the district

Not that anyone
Not that anyone

# 5

Not knowing
Where he was born
He uprooted trees
With his bare hands
In order to reassure
His inner self
That all things have a root
Of some sort

# 6

For 58 years
He plastered movie posters
Of all shapes and pedigree
On the city walls

Genres appeared and outgrew their purpose
Movie stars ebbed into wilderness
Golden Jubilees celebrated

He knew it all
Until one day his vision faltered
Due to c-grade adhesives

His grandson double-seated him on a bicycle
En route to the optician
That's when he asked his grandfather if he had ever seen a movie in his living life

# 7

One by one
He fed wrinkled pages to the fire
To ward of the winter chill
In his index finger
That had once pencilled words
One by one
On those pages

For hundred and one years

# 8

The elephant is no no more
In fact seventeen elephants are no more

The elephants had survived
The Aryans, Buddha, Moghuls, East India Company
All the Gandhis

Until it raided a semi-solid shed
That stocked chewing gum
Which the hungry elephants swallowed ...

# 9

He tells me
Mosquitoes invaded our township, saar
Causing allergy, malaria, malaise

He hasn't slept from full moon to full moon
So he dozes in the office
His children scratch their skin, incessantly
Instead of solving algebra and calculus papers

But my wife is happy, saar
Our relatives will not visit us
You see, mosquitoes have invaded our township

# 10

The river has changed it course
Tanks, wells, spring channels are dry

All that remains is sand
Which is being stolen

By the people of the land who have three choices ...
- To Steal
- To Migrate
- To Search
For water, 500 metres below the ground ...


Leewhys said...

Loved every one of these Ramu though No. 6 I liked the best! I love how you have captured everyday experiences into small poetic vignettes. The topic/style of your poems reminded me of this one particular poem which I realyl like... "The Former Miner Returns from His First Day as a Service Worker (at a McDonald's somewhere in Appalachia)"

Unknown said...

2 is too good. This whole section is graphic.