The Lost Needle
— "Kalanjupoya soochi", 2019, translated by A J Thomas
After a needless brawl, the sun was sunk in the sea at noon
And the last needle of the sun too fell far, far away.
Grope about in the sea
If you say grope about in the sea, will you get back the lost needle?
Grope about in the sand
If you say grope about in the sand, will you get back the lost needle?
Grope about in your lap
If you say grope about in my lap, will you get back the lost needle?
If you say keep quiet, will you get back the lost needle?
If you Chhe, will you get back the lost needle?
If you say hush, will you get back the lost needle?
If you call me Kazhuvēridémolē, will you get back the lost needle?
Don’t twirl your moustache
Look up at the sky
There, it’s there at the other end of that white twine
Is the lost needle
The sharp point of the moon-crescent
That strings flowers for females
Even at the darkest midnight hour.
*Kazhuvēridémolē is an expletive
— "Pretham", 2012, translated by A J Thomas
The whore-sunlight walking beside, grazing
The harlot breeze blowing the dhoti high
The strumpet shadow twining on, following, tenaciously
Seducing towards night—
At a dusk, crimson-darkening—
Just as turning at this bend, where
The loose casuarinas on both sides
Sway in commotion
All the women born till then
Their faces powdered,
Wearing flower-bunches in their hair
Wiggling their wide hips
Walking full on the path
Inviting for a riotous, giant orgy of lust…
At the spectacle,
Shocked up and erect
Sinking, rising and sinking again
Into the fathomless water
Countless lips, breasts and nether-mouths–
Upon this very same
Fruit, As it is
— "Kaycha Pati", 2007, translated by C S Venkiteswaran
She who paints,
on the branches of the jackfruit tree
and on the roots
just as they are
not fashioned as breasts on the female trunk
Not as split body parts
as openings and wounds
as if two minutes ago
cut it in two with a knife
and laid it on the bare floor
Its skin, innards
the slippery seed–husks
each not drawn separately
The body fully built in thorns
the burden a woman straightening herself bears.
The sticky stain
that refuses to be erased –
the seed that falls at the foot of the jackfruit tree
that rots and sprouts –
the smell that spreads all around-
When women who do not paint, look
with babies growing inside their bellies,
they see fruits
stuck to the jackfruit tree trunk.
The Tale of Blood
—"Chorayute Katha", 2013, translated by J Devika
Countless rivulets cannot match
the leap of its torrents, quickened by
Red hibiscus bursting over fences,
Red flags that fly in every street-corner,
They can’t match the red that it sheds.
Not all the martyrs together
as much salt on this earth.
In the waves that rise and fall
In the foliage’s futile rise and fall,
It gives forth –
It gives forth
for the unborn.
— "Ezhuthu", 1998, translated by C S Venkiteswaran
the water stopped
all of a sudden
the rusted pipe
came to a stop
the body shivered,
its fingers through the window,
a trembling wind
For a moment
I felt like
And off flew
in unruly summer,
I forgot modesty.
The strands of hair
Like a tree
on the body
just a line
—Translated by C S Venkiteswaran
Mint – Four or five leaves
Sugar – Two tea spoons
Juice – from three lemons
Two and a half Vodka
In the plantain-leaf land
Along narrow paths, pitch dark
The moonlight that sways hither thither, enchanted
You, a man or a woman?
The moonlight that spreads like a wild song, brimming over
Who are you to sunlight?
The moonlight that showers without respite, exuberant
Are you true ?
Oh the crystal clear moonlight, vatted red
And matured blue for two and a half generations
That stumbles and falls all along the green leaves
Are you Me?