Friday, January 29, 2010

The calm cool face of the river asked me for a kiss, Poetry

Translations of few of my recent poems.


Animal Show

He wore a shirt
That cannot be removed easily.
Its black and white stripes
Proclaim the certainty of
numerous animals hidden behind
When confronting truths
buttons rip open
and tigers snarl and bite.
When the friendly chirps of birds surround
stripes thaw out an ancient sword
Slash the voice
dipping it in blood.
It is heard
that the corpses do not like
This shirt that supervises nudity.
Because the skin’s ripeness
Can’t be smelt
Fairies too
Reject the appeals
For the untying of the body’s knots
His shirt pockets resembling screens
are full of nurses.
For the putrefying
foul smelling wounds
the tongue gives heat
The nurses occasionally
Tear the shirt along the hairlines
And crawl.
The shirt not easily strippable
Captures and retains
     His buttocks
Like memory.


What do you want?

Finally when I met him
He happened to be a fish
In my ocean he swam
With millions of scales
Never once did he
Get caught in my fingers.
Whenever he plays the brown blue serpent gourd
And convulsions die down
He drinks my spirit.
In his thirst
I kept drowning
Whenever I tried to grab
His light-ball face
with dark mossy lips
he slipped away
With the ease of a snake.
Asked him to let me know at least
Which part of my body he liked
He snatched my breasts
And disappeared.
Now I am scorching
Like a desert.


The Ocean that exceeded the tongue

Like a bamboo forest
My lust rattles.
The one who lit a fire with wetness
Had gone leaving behind his tongue
Whether it is a storm
Or rain
Or infernal fire
The air is befuddled.
In the embrace
Giant waves shattered like
Magical birds
In the scream of a cruel voice
The earth turned musical.
The one who swallowed the ocean
flutters like a butterfly.
The play continues.

Poems translated from Tamil by Rajaram Brammarajan

A brief about R. Brammarajan, Transalator.

Rajaram Brammarajan is a poet, translator, critic and editor. He started writing poetry in the late 70s and brought out his first collection of poems Arindha Nirandharam (Known Eternity) in 1980. His last collection of poems was called Zen Mayil (Zen Peacock)[2008]. So far he has published 7 volumes of poems. His Selected Poems (2004) contains selections from all his collections excepting one. His keen involvement in the process of poetry and poetics led to the writing of essays ranging from Modern Tamil poetry to Anti-poetry of post-war Europe. All his essays on poetry are collected in the book titled Vaarthaiyin Rasavatham (Alchemy of the Word)[2008]. He edited the notable anthology called Contemporary World Poetry (2008)spanning all countries excluding America and England. His full-length introduction to Ezra Pound was published in 1985. In 1987 he presented to the Tamil readers a selection of Bertolt Brecht with a highly structured introduction.

His translations include Jorge Luis Borges’s Stories (2000) and Calvino Kathikal (Stories of Italo Calvino). His translation of Gabriel Garcial Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude is forthcoming. He has also translated from Tamil into English many younger poets. For Sahitya Akademi’s Indian Literature he translated a selection of Siddhar poems. (“Second Tradition: SIDDHAR POEMS”, Indian Literature, Jan-Feb 2000).

He occasionally writes columns on Indian music. He edited a quarterly magazine MEETCHI (Retrieval) since 1983. By the time when the magazine was defunct in 1992 he had published 35 issues that have made a strong impact on the sensibilities of modern Tamil literary world. He started another little magazine under the name Naangam Paathai (Fourth Way) in 2008. This little magazine has extended its roots to other arts like music and painting. Its 3rd issue is forthcoming.

He has conducted a couple of workshops for upcoming poets in different parts of Tamil Nadu. He has also been instrumental in the planting and preservation of 13,000 trees in the Government Arts College campus.

He was born into a peasant family and was educated in government colleges and completed his post-graduation in English from the Annamalai University (1975) with distinction and University First. Later he completed his M.Phil in Bharathiar University specializing in the novels of Samuel Beckett. In M.Phil too he secured the first rank. He is based in Dharmapuri, a sleepy small town in Tamil Nadu. He is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of English in Government Arts College, Dharmapuri.

He can be reached at his email:

And some more to follow

1. Me

me leenaa

i reside in
Lankai Indiya Cheena
Affrika Sarayevo
Bosniya Turky
Irak Vietnaam Boliviya

i have a flourishing career-
to keep my legs spread
at all times

They who demand new nations
They who give the call to jihad
They who look for revolution
They who wage wars
They who demand their share of the empire
They who evangelize commerce
They who wear saffron
They who rob
They who are sick
Whoever They are

i am trained to
inflame their hardy lust
with pruned labia
groomed black hole vagina

my mother grandmother aunts-
they have instructed me
from time to time
on how to mop up
the goo that collects
in gallons
between my legs

i know
the secret of
how the pricks of
the knowledgeable the sick the artist
the lumpen the broker the emperor the commander
the thief the computer wizard the warrior
the dope peddler the medic
the wage labourer the sailor the farmer
the husband the father the brother the son
all look the same.

i know no language
no skin tone
no elite ways country flag government
culture army law currency
take a good sniff at them
to get the stench
of my blood.

Brahman Vishnu Sivan Budhan,
Jesus Allah Indran Krishnan,
Sooryan Karuppachamy Ayyanar,
Incarnations Epics Classics
are nothing but
the embryos
stuck in my Womb
despite efforts to abort.

nuclear bombs chemical warheads,
rockets landmines
the grenades flung at me
may shatter my body.

the Vagina knows no death.
Nothing dies in the Vagina.

2. Me Him

at the peak of coitus
with the squirting semen
he inscribed my insides
with the word

then with a shake of his body
he disentangled himself
and blabbered
and gave the call
Workers of the World Unite

i yanked his head
betwixt my thighs
he parted my pubic bush
calling it the surplus value
swore at my navel for its relations of production

he offered my vulva with
Lenin Stalin Mao Ho chi Min

kneaded my breasts and exclaimed Che Fidel
like an infant with a baffled mind
sucked at my nipples murmuring
Perestroika Glasnost

some time with fire in his loins roared Revolution
and with quickening breaths gasped Socialism
gave me his prick to suck

The Berlin Wall crumbled.
The Soviet collapsed.
Stand Erect he commanded.
Yelled America and rolled on a condom.

wrestled him down
and asked him to lick the salt.

he mumbled Coca Cola

hugged him till he swooned.

into his mouth
now drained of words
i threw my pubic hair
strand by strand

and beamed Deconstruction

October Poems

Am looking for her
who parted my breasts in twain.
Were you the one

Was it so that your hands
could both work on them

Or was it because it was more than
one mouthful

It must have been your infantile dream
to stretch a cloth between two hills and
cradle yourself in that

Did not you do that as you cannot stand
the sight of my baby
suckling on it

You say that my child has mistaken
honey for milk

You name it different everyday
to impress me.
Mayflower chithirakkani thorn apple screwpine
Hibiscus lily eggfruit whatnot

Am not able to shoo you away
My nipples grow tender like adolescent girls
at the approach of your
tongue’s desirous touch

The images you make
with your teeth marks
come to life forms
as days pass by

Each day an archaeologist arrives
to buy those organisms
The blouses that you tore into
Where do I store the nude


How does he look
A folded page of history

how do you know
he was always in the nude

Did his body resonate
yes, like the middle of the ocean

what did it say
one hundred years of slumber.

yes, inside me, at the mouth to my womb.

did you savour him
the saltiness of sadness.

the lines on my tongue were erased.

I was conquered.

Why then

Did you tell him
no, I did not. I was famished.

how do you feel now
like a dart.

how did you find him
he was in my dreams before.

what does he remind you of
a sea gull.

why do you cry
I cannot forget.

why do you cry
it is crippled in birth.


The moment
you parted
I flung my nudity
at the broken mirror.

poured acid into the chambers of the winds.
scooped up all the torn fragments of my existence
and gulped them down.

I cursed the artists for selling dreams
to go fuck as tapeworms.

Rid poems of their puzzling
and threw them to the dogs

My bones seethe with rising anger.
Blue cockroach
My lust is a raven plundering the ocean

I swim this torrent of a rain
in search of the spring of your sperm.


Menstrual flowers

To my loveable boatman
I offer these menstrual flowers.
in the roar of the oceans
crevassed by deep kisses
command signals for adventure
hop around like fish.

I give myself to satiate the hunger of eagles.
The blood oozing from the flesh
makes the forests go mad.

the unleashed harpoon’s flight
redefines the drawing’s lines.
in the expanses newly reached
a whirlwind fire spreads.

As the boatman launches his paddle
I name the lands
where languid tuskers are bound.

As the lands of bloodbushes.


The moment

The shadow
Found my victory stone in the wild spring’s gorge,
Death too
Beheld me.

Like an untamed goat
Of the mesmeric mountain,
My clitoris gorges on bunches of lingua-fruits.

As moisture
Bores through the lightning-scorched tender shoots,
The rope of Death
Whirls above the teeming sprouts
To strike and to draw back for the next.

Legs entangled in the skies,
I shove Death onto his back
And swiftly, as the swishing rope,
Targets the courses of God.

The body, defrenzied,
Commences its rites.


Me, a kingfisher
My body, multihued.

When in the mood
I spread my wings
Imaging the sky.

From its lustre will be born
The dark blue rains.
And its yellow fringes will swallow
The untouched fish dozing in it.

I will tear up the wind
And roll the shreds into a brush
And dab paint on the scales of my victims
With a squeeze of Green.

I will now gulp down my hunger
And free the fish to
Frolic in the boat.

Then, spread my mirror wings.
The gawking fish have begun to soar
To report to the colours.

That poem is not with me.

Something that never comes to a close
works against the terrorists

in the fuses of the linguistic grenades
that speak in different tongues.
Boundaries within boundaries.

This poem does not break any news
Stop the Press.
The Authorities are armed with
the other news.
The readers have been sold out.

Looking for interpretations
in the bunkers.
The television gives out news bullets.
That is when cups overflow with humans.
as coca cola
as bird flu
as the cricket bat
as oversized body bags
as light and sound show.

The War is on.
The war is off.

History alights from armoured vehicles
and walks the streets.

It is neither defeated nor won has need for humans.

This poem is not even like
the final releases from the Government.
Insurance policies, mortgage deeds,
arms in the hands of children.
The word struggling to stop them
is not there in that poem.

It recalls nothing else.

Dollar or Euro
grows in abundance
in nations without countries.
In those global villages
with unmarked dwellings
Cappuccino is served.
Brand new luxury cars
roll out from the paddy fields.
Machines churn out money at a touch.
Nothing to complain

as the Americans have reconciled
to their furies,
how to play the game fair
by the book
is now acknowledged
from the dried blood memoirs of Vietnam.

the flea market of Walmart.
a hole in the map.
Sri Lanka
a gunboat swaying on the waves.

Everything is slotted
after the commercial break.

Nothing to say, nothing to do.
Peace and quiet.

A smile that emanates from the bygone days.

The emperors have left
the pages of the text books.

A brief about Mr.Ravishankar, Transalator.

Ravi Shanker has translated many works from and to English, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi. English translations include MOTHER FOREST, the life story of C.K.Janu, tribal leader from Kerala, and HARUM SCARUM SAAR AND OTHER STORIES, a collection of short stories by Bama, both published by WOMEN UNLIMITED, DELHI. Published translations to Malayalam include Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo and Michil by Badal Sircar. Translations of Women’s Decameron by Julia Woznesenskaya, Secret Obscenities by Marco Antonio de la Parra and The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt are pending publication. Apart from these, some individual works have been published in Indian Literature and anthologies of Dalit writing.

He has written a play Mrithabharatham, performed by Stage, Thrissur. Also, participated as actor, singer and writer in Hindi plays `Om Swaha’, `Ala Afsar’, `Toba Tek Singh’, `Marz se Munafa’, `Pardon ka Parcham’ , ‘Ek Aur Durghatna’, ‘Can’t pay Won’t pay’, performed by Theatre Union, Delhi.

Has participated as actor, singer and co-writer in the play ‘Echoes of Comala’ by Teatro del Momento, a Spanish Malayalam English production for Sangeetha Nataka Akademi, Kerala.

He lives in Palakkad, Kerala. Reachable at


  1. I am reading your poem me him. kind of hard to understand, will chew on it and let u know.

  2. great poems, leena. love your language. wish i knew enough tamil to read the original.

  3. bold writing combined with dark sarcasm..keep it up leena..