5/22/16

Poems | Sujit Prasad

Art work : Divya Adusumilli



Song 

How did you do it, mother, 
Stayed, once you were gone? 
In this morning which belongs to no one 
Pebbles in water are lighter 
Than those on land 

Stillness is what you had always prayed for 
Your body, intractable, on a white sheet
Is a promise of return 
While a scar whispers, that only the scarred 
Are beautiful 

You were a thing of feathers 
In this constantly flying cage 
And the body is a souvenir we return 
To the earth to keep 
After Play 

Remember the loves 
You feed the body 
For love is the last 
To leave







A Letter To The Moon Explaining Why It Waxes and Wanes

I lose interest after meeting you. Words look better from afar. Unwavering. Prophetic. A blank page is interesting only if it is willing to herald what you could have written yourself. A haze of living is lifted. You used to remember the answers a long time ago. Now, disappointments have begun losing their charm. Birds think that concrete is what becomes of trees and the deserts are nests. The constant diminution of hope is how one comes to terms with the rusting mailbox. You remember pale letters arriving from an earth which used to write in waves. All unwritten songs stay in your craters. The dark side does not exist, a myth almost equal to a life-affirming sun. What do you think a bookmark does in a torn book? You are a shipwreck searching for waters which never were.







Language

I

We were born of languages 
which do not speak. They
scream and sing, and sometimes
it is my voice doing both together.
In the gloaming, only translators 
meet, talking in glyphs and ligatures
of the darkness soon to come. 

We talk of lanterns blackened 
by their own smoke (light) —
we use the word 'soot'. 

The heart is ensnared 
by the silent river 
travelling (going) up the mountain. 

II

All languages are treasure maps
leading to your body. Each night death visits
in your deepest sleep to assure 
(its) undying love. 

Time keeps a register
where you are inscribed 
as music and silence. 
You in the hospital bed, 
you a deep feather on white linen. 

I tug at you and something stirs 
at the heart of all universes. 


III 

The soul's tongue has forgotten the language of prayer. It speaks an artificial babel derived from things that die. It is in the perpetual escalators of belonging that forgotten words of the body's faith can be glimpsed. There are mannequins in the mirror with folded hands waiting for someone to help them with directions.









How To Write a Poem 

I 

It is always twilight. 

You keep the door slightly open. Never ajar, never more than an invitation. The light that does come in is more than the sum of its parts. Darkness makes the light shine. That is how one writes a poem.

A poem is a breach.



II

Writing is grieving for what we cannot ever have.

 In the space between twilight and night, I occupy a space meant for someone else, like being buried in the wrong plot. 

Your silence in death speaks more than your silences in life.


III


Standing barefoot on wet grass. Damp soil is a poem and a song. I hear the cadences of a Buddhist prayer wheel. There's a cemetery for unpublished books at the end of the world. Flowers have been held culpable for distorting reality. To hallucinate is to make the bed for wind.



IV

Clouds are forgotten poems, roosting. 

When you play with them, you are in conversation with your ancestors. If you have ever covered yourself in mud and clay, you already know your descendants. 

To feel the mynah singing is to make love to beauty. Borges, Oracle, whispers, Yours is the river that flows and endures. 

V

I am asked for a poem, but what do I know of one? What I can give you is a small body that I have kept hidden from everyone. The flesh is the first laughter I had heard, and the bones the first cry. The rest of the body is the river's morning, an alabaster night, a mother singing her first lullaby, all at rest. The face is what I once was supposed to be. It has been so long, and I have forgotten why I hid it in the first place. I have kept it out of habit. Keep it gently.


2 comments:

  1. These are some of the most beautifully put together words I have read or seen in a long, long time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Highly evocative, poignant and soulful!

    ReplyDelete