1. Killing the Shambukas

(Inspired by a famous poem on the lynchings of African Americans)

Jim Crow segregated hostel rooms
Ceiling fans bear a strange fruit,
Blood on books and blood on papers,
A black body swinging in mute silence,
Strange fruit hanging from tridents.

(This poem which draws its inspiration from the poem “Strange Fruit” (1937) by Abel Meeropol, talks about the suicides of Dalit-Bahujan students in institutions of higher education in India. Vemula Rohith being the recent victim.)

Chandramohan reads Killing the Shambukas 

2) Beef poem

My harvest of poems
Will be winnowed,
If done deftly
The lighter, shallow poems
Are blown away,
While the meatier, heavier poems
Fall back into the tray,
To become the fire
In my belly like
For some poets
Beef is the
Locus of all the
Food for thought in the world
Like Buddha’s begging bowl.

3) My Psychological Lynching

(written after watching Shankar’s Tamil film “I”)
I was at a movie-hall the other day
the hero hailing from the slums
speaks in an uncouth slang,
his Anglo- Saxon girlfriend sets him right
with a tight slap!

From then on
The hero sways in sync with his heroine,
a paler version of his former self.

Keep the body, take the mind.
The psychological lynching of my soul.

Chandramohan reads My Psychological Lynching

4) Portrait of the Poet as Young Woman

Her hair
Freshly harvested dreadlocks
Unedited gospel of love
Off limits to combs.

Tresses like streams
Of eternal fire-
From the arsenal of her body.

Poems conceived in a celestial tongue
When stars align with cesarean precision.
It is our own language.

Her verses
Are neither left nor right aligned
Time zones hinge at every line break
Like sunflowers- UN-aligned to the scorching heat.

Every evening on her terrace,
she lets her hair down and flies kite,
Her verses tell vivid stories
Stitched together in myriad colors.

Her verses gurgle like rivers let loose.
She never braids them
With her bare hands
Before a poetry reading.

When her poems are read
No boyfriend or pimp is allowed
Inside the reading hall.

Her kite, untethered to her surname,
Soars high, till it gets entangled with the stars.

Attempting to translate her poems
Is like making love to a capricious mistress.

Her curly, kinky stream of verses
Sway to the rhythm of her gait
Untamed by the clanging of her anklets.

Her book of poems,
a treatise on disheveled hair
and tresses on fire.

5) A Local Train Conversation

“Cricket is an Indian sport accidently discovered by the English”
— Ashis Nandy

Caste in a local train can be deceptive
like the soul
of a Pakistani fast bowler camouflaged
in a three-piece suit
and Anglicized accent.
Though seated opposite me,
I can feel him charging on to me.
If my surname is too long
I could be –caught behind.
Will I be trapped leg before wicket
If I attempt a bloodline crossover?
I try to camouflage
into stripes of concocted ancestry
along fresh water currents.
Can I switch over to
My mother’s surname
like switching from
active voice to passive voice
in the midst of a harangue?
Hope I do not lose my nerve
at abrasive queries like bouncers.
I try to find myself a place
in his skull
beyond his caste mark, amidst his eyebrows:
like trying to find my way around
an ever changing map !
He tries assessing me with an in- swinger first
“What is your full name?”
Then he tries an out-swinger that seams a lot
“ and what is your father’s name?”
By this time, he loses his nerve
And tries on a swift York-er
“What is your caste?”

Chandramohan S. #Dalit poetry #Dalit Panthers #Namdeo Dhansal #Caste Politics #India # Dalitlivesmatter #Poikayil Appachan #Dalit History #Beef