My Encounters with a Peacock | Ramu Ramanathan

my tenth encounter with the peacock
 The peacock sniffles 
Into my kerchief from Karur. 
He blows his nose in it; 
Still no effect, 
He wheezes. 
I’ve muscle cramps here, 
Pathos between my ears 
All that grief... 
I offer him Corex syrup. 
He is addicted, 
Suffers from withdrawal symptoms. 
Hello, he tells me, I am not an alcoholic. 
Saying so, he slurps two more teaspoons. 
Smacking his lips, 
He says, Corex-yum, Corex-yum, Corex-yum.

my 12th encounter with the peacock 

We watch the water buffalo
Pull a simple plough through the fields.
You know, the peacock says, I’m lucky.
If I had been slightly less pretty,
I would have been doing that work now.


my 20th encounter with the peacock 
Part 2 

When It was raining 
I expected the peacock to dance 
Feathers and train 
All five feet of it. 
Instead he whistles a Mohammed Rafi song 
He heard on All India Radio. 

He winks at me, 
As if to suggest, 
You human beings, you’re so full of stereotypes.

Three Poems | Benny Yanthan

Delicious Vowels

This is how you sound.

Like strips of
indecipherable syllables
floating inside a

This is how you taste.

Like the first breath of air
a drowning man sips
when he is finally free
of the echo of the sea.

This is how you move.

Like spoken-word poems
that carry the finality
of the written word in
their voices.

A Fundamental Truth

I didn't know we could laugh like that,
dropping our heads in automatic togetherness,

our eyes - fluently blushing, our hands - interlopers.
But then, I also didn't know your eyes had learnt to
betray the participatory flutter of your hands.
And I fell into place,
transmuted into paraphernalia and poetry,
something that you can pluck out from a sentence,
Its hinges fall on your
deep-set eyes, 
and in them I see the last shriek
of high-tide.

as if that is the one fundamental truth about me.

Welcome to the sunset

The weather has dipped,
and the roses have started to fade –

Around the house, tomatoes have
stiffened into miniature wrecking
balls –

Inside, words drop silently
across a horizon of perforated shadows -

And above, twilight dangles from the sky 


Three poems | Indu Parvathi

*pic courtesy wikimedia commons  

Beyond the shadows on glass walls, airplanes melt into night.
In the lounge, I read tales of those who flee their lands.
Sleep muffled, jaunty phonemes ease into syllables, entwine
into soulful songs of loss, in a thousand tongues unknown, 
rising in wisps from the depths of cavernous valleys in my book.
In perpetual passing they weep, while I slumber.
Forlorn faces, vacant eyes, lines creeping to treacherous lands,
lugging torn bundles of dreams, bedraggled children and old.
Bearing crosses, wielding chakras, stars and crescents rattling,
they leave arid lands where despots build citadels of smoke.
In their world, home is where the heart is not. In the dead
of night they wander in circuitous transits, evading eyes.
In perpetual passing they weep, while we slumber.

 Two questions
(To those loud proclaimers of rectitude)
What worries you?

Do you worry
that your shadow
punctured by
the ragged edges of
all that you hide
would flutter away,
perforated leaf in a gale?
Do you worry
that your soul
bereft of its shadow
naked and nebulous
will be condensed,
its edges trimmed,
to get hoisted
as a flag-
a model soul wafting
In the wind?
What do you hide?

Do you hide
grudges blanching   your soul
to make it unsightly
like the yellowed undersides
of discarded underwear?
Clinging self-doubt about
your actions or inactions
like prickly fungal itches?
Do you hide
The reeking nightsoil of
weathered discontent?
The rank sweat of perceptions?
The flatulence of jealousy?
The halitosis of loneliness?
The blinding migraines
of stinging truth?

What else do you hide?
What you hide
keep you living and dead.


The old place, with its brief comforts
slip off like a night warmed gown
to birth us into another wintry morning
in yet another city, as invisible milkmen
chime their cheery bells in hidden alleys.

We fumble along strange landscapes, hauling
well-worn belongings calcified with regrets.
Our parched eyes map strangers’ faces at
half-closed windows, in pointless pursuit
of smiles and such signs of conviviality.

In our fragmented past, only acquaintances
who know us by our faces, our voices
not by our red hearts. Driftwood, we cease
to exist for our kin. A band of strangers,
we move cities, in search of something.


Two prose poems | Inder Salim

History, what do you say, what do I want ?
Zameen Hamari, Kagaz Tumharey. Vataan Hamara, Hakumat Tumhari.
People sang songs of resistance in different languages,
at different locations against any Occupier in the past.
Before the gun arrived, it was a sword. 
Power flows through the barrel of a gun.
Revolutions begin with a promise, but eventually, lapse into a mass of unarmed people running towards the symbols of tyranny and dislodge the cruel at the helm.
That is a history lesson too.

Yet, a natural way forward stimulates the logic: only a sword can replace a sword, a gun with another gun. Gun is the prime symbol of any discourse about resistance.

But a good lawyer, Hazrat-e-Naseh, jenab A.G Noorani says, “Kashmiri Leadership should prepare a manifesto of the United Movement of Kashmir and take to the streets, after renouncing all forms of violence, and assert their right to freedom of speech and freedom to move in peaceful procession”.

I listen to the aged lawyer, more than what the Namaloom Bandookbardar is doing in the forest.

To hell with the thing called poetry

Pehlu Khan was lynched by cow vigilantes in broad daylight.
His dying -declaration goes into the dustbin, although
Witnesses and his two sons deposed in the case.
The court of law released all the six accused yesterday,
and today is happy Independence day of India.

 Entire Kashmir is locked. People are arrested for no crime.
Tacitus said “They created desolation and call it peace”.

Government knows what it is doing. Or,
It is Nero, who turned his eyes away,
and did not gaze upon the atrocities which he ordered.

Adulteration of air, of food, of politics, is in the air we breathe.
People are afraid to look gentle. Aggression and hyper nationalism gives people  a sense of security. 
 What is more shocking- a strange middle segment, brainwashed
by Hindu supremacists is celebrating unashamedly.

*image courtesy Reuters


Khadijah Lacina | Five Poems

Chasing the Dragon, Roger Kohn


wrapped in rain
light between
trees the soft
of woodsmoke
the sound


damp scent of grief
caught beneath 
leaf and soil
the whisper
of sand
on wood 


flamelit night
throws her best
our bodies
lost still
we stay
the dance


skyloosed bolt
shattered oak
fire warms rain


always moving toward
you forget the sandy
scrape of a cat
licking your hand
the voiceless
shush of wind
through leaf
full trees
the goldshot dark
of the backs 
of your own eyes