Vol XVII Speakeasy

This volume’s poet is Kuzhur Wilson.

Kuzhur Wilson-Poetry-Anita Nair's Literary JournalBorn in 1975, Kuzhoor Wilson is the strong and different new voice of Malayalam poetry. Wilson, who has been writing poems from 1990, had his first book of poems published, when he was 24. From then till now, he is active in Malayalam poetry. To him goes the credit of owning the first blog for Malayalam poetry – www.vishakham.blogspot.com.

Kuzhoor Vilsonte Kavithakal‘, the book that DC Books brought out in 2012 got wide recognition. India Today selected it as one of the best 10 books in 2012. 4 books of poetry and a collection of essays have been published till now. He has been the recipient of N.M Viyyoth Smaraka Kavitha Puraskaram and Arabian Sahithya Puraskaram. He has visited 7 countries with his poems. The poems have been translated into languages like English, Arabic and Tamil.

Visit his website – www.kuzhur.com

1.

On the 9th

On the 9th, I was driving in a hurry from Jerusalem to Jerico, laden with kisses for you. A cop waved me down at the Bank junction at Aluva. Unnerved, the car hit something. All your kisses scattered on the road. My hands, legs, face and bosom blushed with gashes. My kisses for you lay around in the middle of the road. The orphan kids from Janaseva were picking them up. They packed them in their sling bags. A beggar woman who was passing by picked up one to smell it. College going kids make fun of my kisses for you. A cop tramples one of them with his boot. A pock marked tipper truck crushes it under its wheels. A procession agitating for drinking water marches past it. My kisses for you are strewn in the middle of the road and holler for the moistness of your lips. Covered in a sheet woven with wounds, I lie on a hospital bed. Lamenting `my kisses, my kisses’, you catch a flight and land in Nedumbassery. You come to see me. In haste, you forget to buy me oranges.

I kept looking at you.
It was raining outside.

I looked at your lips.
Then, all the flowers in the front yard roll in laughter.

I look at your throat.
Then, a white dove takes off from a mango tree.

I look at your ears.
Then, a thrush flies off seeking its mother.

I look at your strands of hair.
Then, the plumeria leaves pick lice from each other.

I look at your eyes.
Then, the well in the court yard gives a missed call to the sea.

I look at your nose.
Then, the glare outside sketches the spring.

I look at your arm pits.
Outside, yellow woods sing a song.

I look at your breasts.
Outside, bird’s eye chilies stand sharply erect.

I look at your cleavage.
A mother who bore six squats outside and coughs.

I at your navel.
Outside, a thousand bats.

I at your feet.
Then, a sweet gooseberry falls on the yard.

At knees.

At tender thighs.

Always
Always then
Outside, the drum beats of a road show grow in crescendo.

I trace pictures of our kids on your lips.

Then, in the middle of the road, the souls of kids crushed under wheels queue up with oranges to meet us.

When you and I wail without a sound, a slice from it falls on the ground. I make up a simile that tears are the slices of oranges that drop from the hands of those who have not had enough of loving. You give me one more kiss. I stash it away doubting whether you will be near when I die. Our kisses attack us asking us whether we will abandon them again. We lie on the hospital bed covered in wounds from the kisses. A bunch of angels come with syringes and bitter pills. We run away without paying the bill. Our kisses follow us like a procession of bare bodies with running noses. Unable to bear the sorrow, you hug them right on the highway. I buy a cigarette from the petty shop nearby and, puffing on it, watch you.

2.

Varghese has no home

Varghese has no home.
Stays in his workplace.
Jesus’s very own man.
Big rosary around his neck.
And a matching wooden cross.
He gardens around the yard
On days of no work.
Holds a deep grudge
Against the trees around.

Doomed are they the moment
His eyes settle on them.

Asked him once whether
His rancor was because
Jesus was crucified on wood.
Or, was it the wheezing that
the Acacia trees caused?
Or, was it the itchy worms
from the soft wood trees?
He said time and again
‘Brother, I love the trees
More than you love them.’

Have seen many times
The birds from the trees
Chopped down by Varghese
Looking for their nests.

Clearing the bushes along
The road to the office was
Varghese’s job for the day.

When I went out for a smoke
Glowing was he about
How the place gleamed.

Midnight, after work,
Was driving along the path
Shorn clean by Varghese.

In the blaze of the headlight
A hare dashed frantically
Looking for its bush.

3.

Painter girl, you with the lambs

Since I have no other way
And am in utmost need,
Painter girl,
I filch one of the eight lambs
You have made plump with
Green jackfruit leaves and
Thin gruel with paddy bran.

I will take it to the goat market
And sell it in a jiffy.

I assure you
I will not sell it
To any butcher-
The lamb you made chubby
With sweet sweet words
And much much petting
And nice lilting croons,
Mixing and mixing
Greens with browns.

Don’t be sad, painter girl.
I hear you come running
Searching for your lamb and
Cry out “O my dearest one
Who went grazing in the green fields,”
As the sun in your canvas
Sets in the sea and
The saffron blends with the dusk.
And, see your tears mingle
With the black that you wanted
To adorn the brow of
The naughtiest of them.

Painter girl,
It’s all because I have no other go
And it’s of utmost need.
I could have broken into the
Two-storeyed house you sketched
And stolen the ornaments in
Secret lockers that even
You are unaware of.

Or, I could have
Palmed the golden girdle
Of the beautiful lusty princess
Whose portrait you made,
The one with a nose stud.
Or, drugged her with my kisses
And plundered the harem.

Or else, I could have
Entered the snake shrine
Guarded by the dark serpents
That you often drew
And fled the country with
The precious jewel.

Or, I could have shot down
The birds that you drew
And sold them grilled.

I could have axed down the
Mahagony trees you nurtured
And sold them as timber.
I could have blinded your Kanhaiah
And made him a beggar
To become rich from the alms he earned.
I could have enslavened his Gopis
And handed them over
To the red light streets.

Painter girl,
It’s not for anything of this sort.
I take just one of your eight lambs.
Sell it for a good price
And fulfill my need.

Now, perchance,
If a new tenant comes to rent
My brain where nothing resides
And if they pay me a fat advance,
Painter girl,
Surely will I buy back your lamb.
And tether it in your painting.
Don’t you dare say then
Don’t you say then
That you have forgotten it.
Don’t you say then
You have exhausted your stock of
Green jackfruit leaves.

4.

Eleven thirty, when two people make a world to play in

When we
Are alone,
Me and Ammini
Make another
World to play in.
Like the ever vacant
Sand houses
Some adults build
With their kids
On the beach.

Then,
I will get angry
Even if the gentlest
Of breezes
Passes that way.
She will turn livid
Even if a pussy
Passes that way.

If
Single
Single
Memories
Or sighs
Or their scars
Appear on the face
She will
Wipe them off
With
Kisses.

After playing
For long,
We will fight.

Ammini will holler
Louder than
The way she laughed.
I will keep mum
Louder than her.

I will
Lay her down
Holding her close
To my bosom
That will beat
Ammineee, Ammineeee.

As she pretends
To sleep,
I will shoo her off
Go away pussiiii!
As if the masculine
Of pussee is pussoo
She will shoo me off
Go away pussoo!

I will retort
Go away Poochamma!
Ammini will retort
Go away Pochamba!
Go away Kochambi!
Go away Kochambra!
Go away Pochambra!
Go away Sochambra!

Go away
Sorambi!
Go away
Soramba!
Go away
Soorambi!
Go away
Kooramba!
Go away
Koorambi!
Go away

……

At a loss
For words
She will
Change the tune.
Goaway
Slate!

Go away
Bag!
Go away
Tree!
Goaway
Pencil!
Go aw­ay
Pen!
Go away,
Ant
Go away
Mosquito!
Go away
Matchbox!
Go away
Stra­w!
Go away
Book!
Go away
Cot!
Go away
Chair!
Go away
Window!
Go away
D­oor!
Go away
Mobile!
Go away
Button!
Go away
Computer!
Go away
Trouse­rs!
Go away
Shirt!
Go away
Sky!
Go away
Puppy!
Go away
Star!
Go away
W­ell!
Go away
Girl!
Go away
Boy!
Go away
Calendar!
Go away
Fan!
Go awa­y
Doll!
Go away
Broom!
Go away
Tiffin box!
Go away
Poetry!
Go away
Annakutty!
Go away
Appakutta!
Go away
Am­mikkalli!
Goaway
Appakkalla!

About to lose,
I will show the
Trump card.

Go away
Agnus Anna!

Her face will change.
Hesitantly,
She will say

Go away
Kuzhur Wilson!

Then
An
Intolerable
Silence
Will
Spread
There.

When Ammini
Turns back
To
Kochu TV,
I will
Enter
The bathroom
Shut
The door
And
Puff on
A cigarette.

Then
Another
Kind of
Game
That
Makes
Life
Intolerable
To live
Will
Pool
Around me
There.

Translation : Ravi Shankar }

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