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.
- 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.
- NO TRESSPASSERS
When the owners returned, apart from clay
and weeds, they found a cobra in the
prayer room and a viper in the yoga room.
- BEGGING IS PROHIBITED
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.