#41. Ra Sh

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Signboards the Flood Spared



The copper plated roof of the seven hundred year old

temple struggled briefly for air before going down.

Hindu bubbles kept floating to the surface till

a Christian boat named Daivasahayam

moored itself to the temple mast.


  1. DOG – BEWARE.


The German shepherd in the kennel could not

break the gate open, but a pack of mongrels had

made the roof their home and knew how to howl

when choppers approached.




When the owners returned, apart from clay

and weeds, they found a cobra in the

prayer room and a viper in the yoga room.





They begged for life on a top floor balcony

to the wind and the rain and the distant thunder of

choppers surveying aerially.


(With inputs by Rajesh Nandiyankode)

Last Global Warning

Dear sluggish earthworm

Don’t burrow the earth

You may be cemented.


Dear sprightly grasshopper

Don’t hop around in vain

You may be skewered.


Dear shiny loony moon

Don’t show your bright face

You may be eclipsed.


Dear sweet mynah

Don’t sing so loud

Your voice may be severed.

Dear green peacock

Don’t dance in public

You may be maimed.


Dear little sparrow

Don’t get raped

You could be jailed


Dear distant pole star

Don’t show us the way.

You may be blinded.


Your genocide is on its way.

Your terminator has landed.

He works alphabetically.


The Unbearable Yellowness of Yellow Deaths

Yellow me lives in a mustard yellow

yello house with yellow walls and a

yellow window from which I can see a

yellow road winding its way to a

yellow hill. a yellow tree with

yellow blossoms greet me every

yellow morning. I sleep on a

yellow bed and watch a

yellow sun pouring in through the

yellow foliage. Beyond the casuarinas tress

yellow plumes rise from cremated kids with

yellow bloated faces and yellow eyes.


Yellowest room of this yellow home houses a

yellow serpent who when roused from her

yellow slumber lasting many

yellow centuries, slither into my bed throwing a

yellow coil around me. She hisses, “hey

yellow poet, write with my forked

yellow tongue. Write two

yellow poems at a stroke, one for

yellow me and one for

yellow you.” That’s when I shed my

yellow skin and become a

yellow phallus stylus pen squirting

yellow ink about yellow deaths of yellow kids.

Ra Sh (Ravi Shanker N) has published English-language poems in many national and international online and print magazines. His poems have been translated into German and French. He has published three collections of poetry – Architecture of Flesh by Poetrywala, Mumbai, The Bullet Train and other Loaded Poems by Hawakal Prokashana, Kolkota and Kintsugi by Hadni by RLFPA Editions, Kolkata. His translations into English include a biography Mother Forest (of C.K. Janu) by Women Unlimited, two collections of poems Waking is Another Dream (Sri Lankan Tamil resistance poems) by Navayana and How to Translate an Earthworm (an anthology of 101 contemporary Malayalam poems translated to English) by Dhauli Books, a collection of essays Kochiites ( Bony Thomas on the migrant communities in Kochi) by Greenex and two collections of short stories Harum Scarum Saar and other Stories (Bama) by Women Unlimited and Don’t Want Caste (stories by Malayalam Dalit writers) by Navayana.

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