What decides the plain

What decides the plain, the folk
from an abstraction of the jungle

and sorted through filch and facts
and darts of logic? What derides

the gulch, the periphery of the
unsung, but the bard, the poem’s

math done for the sake of the pen.

What gives form the languor of
form, the sweep and swing of it

is the float of a butterfly’s
thrust, its widespan of dare &

snatch of an eyelid shut, a broad
sash of light with slit vertebrae.


the song that sings the chord

the song that sings the chord
that meshes with gears that

mingle with the river growl,
the hum of the focal bird, the

vocal tenacity of this rock
right here in front of your

liquid eye: the song in tandem
with the template of the small.


The forgotten metaphor

The forgotten metaphor is just
That: forgotten. The elided

Verb goes past the mistaken
Now to an edifice that bakes

An incomplete bread, an idea
Of leavening, groping and brine.

Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.” – Noam Chomsky


Scoundrel times

The antic of the grown up mouse
is ancillary to purpose, to
meetings that sell power and
vocabulary to pools of pus

And vermin, to ghouls of a
dependency that is not
contingent on the human but
on the abstract necessity

Of a cull, of class, of
hyenas shrilling the voice
of an unknown past on to
an unforgiving scoundrel now.

“We live in scoundrel times.” Eqbal Ahmad


To breathe through the poem

To breathe through the poem
The trees and

The hours of a resplendent
Fear that tocks

The gazelle and chimes the
Blueness of sky

To read through my eyes
What transpired

On the page with the ink
Bending spacetime.

A worm tells summer better than the clock,
The slug’s a living calendar of days;
What shall it tell me if a timeless insect
Says the world wears away? – Dylan Thomas, from “Here in This Spring” – Collected Poems

The apple of my revolution

Can you explain the workings
of a rancid apple

To the stingray that glides
Past the bluefish?

Can you write your essay
With words that

Slide and tremble at the
mention of a child?

And will that sink the boat?

“The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.” – Che Guevara
“A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery.” – Mao Tse Tung


the ungraven

the reason that the grave sits
open is written on the epitaph

of the ungraven, the unsolid
peripheries that govern the

trepidations of a broken look
and a carnal swamp; look again,

and the puerile gash on your
salted tomb is an antipathy, a dot.


the dark globule is a sin

the dark globule is a sin from
night’s ravine

caring to sift river silt from
reasonable doubt

and pinprick of gain; no salt
of heaven will

seek compense nor draw from my
dagger’s hearth

crossed within an artful con,
my redacted sun.


The die is cast

The die is cast in a cathedral of
Loam; the principality of error

Grunts a jovial truce that bumps
Power against soil; whether you

See whole depends on what invades
Your vision: the trim or the cut.

Here then is my song at your
Feet; the repetition of revision

Will attempt to steal a whisper,
The jacket of mist collating the

Vagaries of form with the wish of
Opened soil and undead proddings.


The dagger sinks in

The dagger sinks in
Where grass has no
Home, where death took leave,
Where the bright claws of rust
Meet corpuscles of greed, lost
& felled, the maker of
Halves and halves not.

I have heard it said that one who excels in safeguarding his own life does not meet with rhinoceros or tiger when traveling on land nor is he touched by weapons when charging into an army. There is nowhere for the rhinoceros to pitch its horn; there is nowhere for the tiger to place its claws; there is nowhere for the weapon to lodge its blade. Why is this so? Because for him there is no realm of death. Lao Tzu.

For what
shall I wield a dagger
O lord?

What can I pluck it out of,
or stab it in

when You are all the world?

O Ramanatha?
Dasimayya, translated by A.K. Ramanujan.