Monday, May 29, 2017

They Keep Coming Back

They Keep Coming Back

Some dreams refuse to die
They may go out of sight
Cloak themselves in an outfit of 
Defeated and dejected lover
Desiring to be known as unknown 
Sometimes even convincing the beloved
Of withdrawing forever from chasing her
Assuring the flowers and the bees
The rains and the clouds
Of never coming back to mingle with them
Till like embers not taken care of properly
They get ignited all over again--

In these perplexing times
You can understand them better 
If you recall your worst nightmares

Kumar Vikram 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Male Bonding

Male Bonding

My mother, my wife, my daughter
My sister in the background--
Their sweet, feminine voices
Their typical dresses—saris, salwars, feminine shirts-pants, frocks

Now only the other species surround me in our house.
My brother, his deep voice gone for ever
Wearing a full sleeved rolled shirt, pair of trousers
and donning a moustache, walked briskly into the recesses of time.

Father, hung his boots at the onset of the last winters
Without a warning, unlike his loud and clear voice
Cloaked in pyjama and kurta, or in trousers and shirts
That woke up us siblings in the mornings for schools like daily rituals.

Lesser number of stallion pair of shoes in the house
Shaving cream of only one variety, single brush
And a razor to boot, virile underpants of single size
Soak on the balcony, reminding me of the ones that were bought for me

For the first time by father and brother
Years back (accosting me secretly into the bedroom
That summer evening, smiling as well as concerned
To check if they fitted me--myself all too embarrassed and proud and confused.)

A man-grove of males gone forever
I stand singled out in the altered sex-ratio
With my odd voice, machogears, and appetite
Like a grown-up sapling among the heap of fallen trees sticking its neck out--

My gynic life-givers protecting me heroically

Taking me for some endangered species.

--Kumar Vikram

[Published in the journal Índian Literature' brought out by Sahitya Akademi, India, issue no. 271 (September/October 2012)]

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Ragpickers

The Ragpickers 

Blessed are those
who can carry on eloquently
about how a dog crosses a street
and how the cutlery looks graciously
as it is placed on the table
or displayed in the showcase.

Certainly the privilege
of drawing little joys
and unlimited laughter
is denied to those
who can only talk about
some unique dilemna
some unsettling
undefined moods
and moments,
some unseen,
hidden facets
of the goings on.

Pity on those
who are left
about people talking
natura lly
about the antics of the dog
or the fine curves
offered by some new outfit.


The habitual ragpickers
left wrapping up
the materials of decorations
of bamboo sticks
and chairs
thrown about chaotically
amidst the stale smell
of rotten food
and used paper-plates
after the actors have left
after the audiences have clapped,
if only they
could go home
leaving behind
the unpleasant job
of delivering the materials back
after tallying
the missing items
and those at hand.

Blessed are those
who can carry on eloquently
about how a dog crosses a street
and how the cutlery looks graciously
as it is placed on the table
or displayed in the showcase
to move on
for another show
throwing words behind their back
to be collected
by the rag pickers.

First Published in 'Indian Literature', March-April 2005, New Delhi (Sahitya Akademi)