This Poem is Deliberately Untitled – by Dr. H S Anupama (tr. Kamalakar Bhat)

by TBLM

If my clothes get torn, I mend them
If soiled, I wash them
If I find no clothes
I will walk nude like you, Akka, but
How do I wash the dirt on a dress not worn?

If my sandal’s straps come undone, I’ll repair them
Left with a single shoe, will put it away
I could even cross the thorny, stony paths barefoot, but
If the path begins to devour the feet, Akka
Where should I place my step?

*

All across the body the unbodied slithers
At the blossoming of breasthairabdomen;
Life flounders,
Anthills sprout all over the body,
Their mouths become vaginas,
Snakes silently slither in and out;
The body of thousand vaginas
Menstruating all the seasons.

War is not waged elsewhere
Violence is not only for extremists
It is not the sound of bullets alone that terrify;
This body
That rots, turns to ash, to dust
With secret terrors of its genitalia,
The warzone where captives combat;
It is a field for violence and suffering,
Because this body
endures, bears, gratifies.

Scared to hum Jack and Jill… with eyes shut,
Scared to utter Jill came tumbling after,
With the skirt held up at the playground
And the tiny tits bouncing
Mom is scared to bits.

It is said, there was a bold one
Who sang forth upright naked and alone,
Not mating, not bearing, she was wedded to god;
And it is said, there was another one
Who became pregnant to Sun by just desire.

O, God
I have no more words…
Give this boon
That the duality ends and
life is no more born of vaginas.

*

Hunger, sleep, copulation devour the soul;
The river flowing cold in the ravines devours time;
The meandering path devours dreams;
Thus, this village amid the hills
Is faced with an unending evening.

The surrounding dark green hills
Consume all noises,
And stillness spreads
Where no screams,
No slogans,
No celebratory chatter,
Make a sound.

With the tear that rolls down without a sound
A mountainous silence booms, devouring the hills.

*

Oh, cowardly words, you hide behind
The tears,
The bent head,
The panic-stricken sobs of the little girl,
The sighs from the ICUs;

The cawing of the crows,
The hissing of the snakes,
The squealing of the pigs,
Too have meaning.

If you,
Who can’t turn heartaches into song,
Have any shame,
Plunge into a volcano
And take a rebirth to be born with
Raised voice
Clenched fist
Upright stride.

***