Kunjumon | Destiny Poets


Kunjumon | Destiny Poets.

Kunjumon

Sprawled near the shop door
dangling coir, bright plastics, baskets
flimsy balloon balls, flower pots
and you-
a fallen statue reeking of neglect

Irritating to bustling feet
but they stepped over your motionless form
and left the air fouler
with curses that you inhaled

You were the underworld
without the beard, gun or pot belly
ribs painfully embossed
upon your sallow youth
We fattened up our kids
using your nightmare shamelessly

Mariamma
the luckiest woman of all
three hefty sons she had
A thief, a madman and a drunk but no girls
so wasn’t she blessed!

Septic tanks and cow urine tanks called you
armed with a bottle of the cheapest toddy
you swung down holes
where no devil dared to breathe
scooping up discarded human bits

Our girls under your protective stagger
safe as they quickened their steps
from the lonely bus stop to the
lamp-lit shadows of motherly forms
none would look at their budding youth
while you thrashed out your lungs
and limbs at the road romeos

Kunjumon, you fell out of life suddenly
just like you did everyday
but among the fallen
you still stand tall
©Reena Prasad

Wake up~


The bells toll
but these are of bicycles
Jostling and pushing each other
in their hurry to reach where ever.
Small tea-shops, odd assortment
of ties, lungi, vest and shoes
gossip centering around the news.

Bread and cheese ones, in swanky mansions
– the television juggling their views.
Money controlling facial gestures
Get – a smile, take – a frown
Changing mental wallpapers
now simplified
The gory killing on the screen
neither shocks nor registers.
Indifference
and no after effects.

Murder
cold blooded murder
yet not of the person they think it was
Murder of faith as men turn into mercenaries
Misled by hunger- induced hallucinatory
images of being missionaries
Murder of the lone human race
Why kill? Why want something
in exchange of a death?

Humble origins of homo sapiens
maybe we still carry
some blue-green algae in our bloody veins
Our fishes, our trees, our tribe
Now
my land, my state, my country
Mission forgotten
to carry evolution forward
to safely hand over earth
to the unborn warriors
untaught in the chakravyuh of politics.

Exaggerating trivial issues
to the gory point
of a fellow being’s ultimate sacrifice
dividing lives into countries, faiths
amidst noise and hollow victories.

Hear pleas
crafted with the essence of loss
of crushed, sacrificed, innocent buds.
This was the promised land
They too wanted to throw stones
into the pond
to take a rain walk
to dream in the moon shine
But they could not
For their life lines were cut with hateful blades
even though earth had enough
for all.

Generation of blood art
Let us wipe out this unholy graffiti
from human walls
It is not too late.
©Reena Prasad 7th Feb 2012
Published in Brian Wrixon’s Anthology “The poetry of war and peace”

He roams in a human form..beware


Milder specimens of the same species
roam silently all around
caressing outlines of females
who pander to their whims
They hide in the shadows
around every candle held high
Retreating a few steps back
if the light falls upon them
Silent on hearing our collective roars
but hunters when in packs chasing a lone deer
Their strength lies in numbers
in the injured, mutilated psyche of the victim
who becomes one the moment she spots them
She is defeated first by her history of defeat
crucified by the ones donning a protective mantle
and mercilessly crunched with a snigger
along with cups of roadside tea.
©Reena Prasad 29th Dec 2012

Showtime


 

The circus came every year
The billboard cars with colourful posters
of fire-eating men, girls with hula hoops
and a sad elephant perched on a narrow stool.
The skinny lion
forced to jump through burning rings
snarled its discomfiture at the roaring crowd
The clown whose mask smiled
while his tired wrinkles and peeping grey
declared a life wasted away.
Painted girls in sheer stockings
smelling of sweat and unwashed hair
lithe on tightropes, their dreams on hold
under the spell of a screaming whip.
Beyond the lighted tent, could you not see?
The dancing shadows of panicky beings
pouring their lives into fragile nets
while a jamboree of town folk clapped
teaching their kids
it is ok to laugh at slaving sprites
and then to go home smugly safe
to a warm dinner and a cosy bed.

©Reena Prasad 5th Dec 2012

 

 

Time-less


No time to live life, the way I love

No time to sit back or scroll through my own thoughts

No time to smile back at the smiling virtual faces

No time to type the words as they hurry past

No time to day dream about the rain

pouring upon thirsty grounds in a place far away

The world is too much in my way

as I tie up loose ends,unpack some memories

Real or unreal only time can say

A season too hot to venture out

A sentence coming to a temporary end

counting the last weeks till I fly home

packing bags with stuff that apologises for my absence

from the meaningful days in the lives of loved ones.

©Reena Prasad 7th June 2012( a Vacation post on fb)

Evil eye


Dry red chillies thrown on a pyre
Watch out, there roams an ‘evil eyer’
A baby cries, its finger caught on an errant thread
More chillies perish, acrid smoke spreads

An old woman, bent and wrinkled
sadly turns to go
The thread breaks, the baby smiles
Chillies have burnt the envious eyes.

©Reena Prasad 20th Sept 2012

Ponnonam


Silk rustled as young girls ran by

Jasmine buds crushed by impatient feet

yet serving their purpose

a fragrance fresh to match the green

of the hundreds of stacked banana leaves

washed and waiting.

 

 

Rows and rows of school benches

converted into dining tables

Mustached males in hitched up ‘mundus’

wiping the leaves, filling tall steel glasses

with steamy hot, karingali water.

 

 

All the gold hidden in the Godrej nooks

now hung out in blatant display in the glinting sun

matching the gilt-edged white sea of set sarees

Yet all that glittered was not gold then

Kanchipuram reds, Benarasi greens and Pochampalli blues

proclaimed a day off for the kitchen queens.

 

 

Songs of the spring, of flowers, of happy times

of good, of the forgotten land,

blared from loudspeakers

evoking nostalgia for unseen things.

 

 

The hall with a fascinating array of footwear

on the steps outside

frayed edges, threads of sarees caught, high platforms

polka dotted baby shoes, pink Cinderella heels

now I know why they fascinated

though I never wanted to own any.

 

 

Thousands of petals formed a floral dream

but it saddened me always

having seen them bloom under Dad’s care.

knowing that the broom was just behind the door.

 

 

The feast began and ended

Predictable in content, fulfilling the comfort cravings

of men probably because it reminded them

of a time when they were only sons

And of the women because it was one of the rare times

they could eat something not cooked by them.

 

 

I remember the speed with which parippu was followed by

sambar, then payasams of two varieties, brown and white

then the yellow pulisserry and the cool sambharam.

 

 

Then they sat out in the lawns

in the shades of the mango trees, the office

re -entering the conversations

while the kids formed gangs based on gender

and schools.

 

 

I sat on the low wall behind the community hall

Watching the cows, the dogs and a naked kid

rummaging through the torn banana leaves

feeling sick.

©Reena Prasad 28th Aug 2012

Jai Hind


Manoj Kumar’s defiant face
his forehead dripping with blood and sweat
rises as a phoenix
as patriotic songs play  over the radio.
Compelled by ingrained instincts
to share a few pictures of Indian pride
we march with our jawans  in spirit
from behind the laptop…
Exchanging virtual hugs, images
searching for that most apt quote
that would fetch the most number of likes
establish our patriotism once and for all
We all love our motherland
but we give only what we don’t want
yet march and demand all that
the poor Indian has never dreamed
Free are our thoughts but our actions are bound
Our freedom ends where our fears begin.
   ©Reena Prasad
15th August 2012

Independance day sambar


 I am making the simple sambar

 simple to those who know how to

like the tamil cook from the vegetarian hotel

near my home

who can make sambar in his sleep

 The vegetables are a strange assortment

 You must put in ones that won’t

mind the presence of the others

 or at least will tolerate it

 The dal goes in at the bottom

 like the feeling of Indianess

 among Indians.

 The yams, the religiously itchy, tough ones

 must be tossed in first

 then the softer, easy -to- mash ones

 like carrots, beans ,eggplants

 potatoes and onions

 like unity, integrity, faith

brotherhood and beliefs

 all must be cut into similar shapes, sizes

 so that none can bully the others

 and all get cooked evenly

 like in our nice schools

 flavoured by salt and turmeric

that like patriotism must seep

 and mollify the jarring, individual tones

 finally the softest ones, okra and tomatoes

go in at the top

 if you want them to

 or die waiting in the refrigerator basket

 pretty much like decency and self-respect.

 The tamarind paste, undoubtedly a hallmark feature

 like the tanginess of bonglish, manglish, and

others we relish

The asafetida, the curry leaves, the sambar powder

 must be added as and when you please

 like our impeccable manners

when asked to stand in queues and wait.

 Then you must boil the holy hell out of

all these wholesome greens

 The humble sambar is now ready

 Come, dunk in your dosas and idlis

 and learn how to eat this country.

©Reena Prasad

15th August 2012

 

To a lone Kalavoor duck


Lone duck in the pond
playing amidst the rippling shadows
White sandy soil and gravel have poured in
causing the last of the mushi and the varaal
to jump out and be eaten
along with two, unclean tumbler- fulls of
of milky- white frothing toddy.

There is a wind in the coconut palms
Whispering to some wandering spirits
Little else moves
Sitting on the moss green stones that pass off as steps
Sending thought rays into the dense foliage
underneath your green waters
as if a kindred spirit would surface
but there is only a neerkoli
peering innocently through the fern borders
Sans any intention
of depriving me of the dinner
which the old woman would soon make.

Limping over the dry, crackling palm fronds
Her sharp eyes never missing any fallen ones
-A coconut this time
To scrape and grind with some tongue -searing,
tiny kanthari chilies and a few slivers of a green mango
that fell in the night gale rattling the red clay roof tiles
to eat off those stainless steel- rimmed plates
which her daughter had brought back
from her days at a steel plant.

Scooping up the earthly comfort of kanji with a jackfruit leaf
curved and pinned into a conical scoop
Fastened with a piece of eerkili,
the slurps continue till bellies proclaim peace
then she spreads a straw mat
turning over her wrinkled thoughts
to the natural stillness of the afternoon
only interrupted by
occasional involuntary sighing invocations
of the goddess’s names in tune
with the groaning of her joints.

While she who sleeps fitfully in the nearby temple Srikovil
after the morning stream of
complaining, confessing, entreating, bribing
occasionally angry or thankful ones have retreated
and the doors closed till the evening batch begins their racket,
has her divine snores interjected by the raucous singing
emanating from the toddy shack
that passed off as the village reading room.
Sleep conquers the Devis
while I loiter around your waters again.

What do you think of such afternoons
Companion of my absent thoughts?
Your water lilies have stagnated within me
I carry the cool waters upon my head
to cascade upon me when the desert sears.

Our silence broken
by the metallic jangle of the Kaadi bucket
overturned by the bored cow again
The tapioca leaves wave their seven fingers
Their long , bare knotted stems sway
Beyond the unseen fence far away
A bicycle bell tinkles as rubber tyres shudder
over the graveled path…..
Earth starts to tear around the sun
And the panorama subtly changes.

I wonder if I am good company
or too loud by my very active absence
perhaps you prefer watching
a younger, long- legged girl in a short frock
discover the fleshy base notes of youthful guiles
and write raw poems upon the absent green surface
under you as you peck and preen
in anatine leisure land
catching your worms like the rest of us do
in our little time by some ponds.

©Reena Prasad

NOTES

For a better idea, read on..

Kalavoor… place in Kerala(Alapuzha)
Mushi and Varaal…types of fish

Neerkoli….water snake
Kanthari… type of bird’s eye chilly, small but explosive
Kanji….rice gruel
srikovil…sanctum sanctorum …
devi….goddess
Kaadi..cow feed
Eerkili… stiff mid ribs of coconut leaves