Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry

Anupama Raju

Ganesha's Ghazal

There was a time I was the most popular god
Now I sit on walls as a redundant, ocular god

They put me under chatty trees and gossiped
into my munificent ears. I was their jocular god.

I was Vigneshwara, the revered remover of obstacles
invoked in mother tongues: Me, their vernacular god.

Augusts carried me in frenzied parades. They were drunk.
Threw me in the ocean, drowned a former spectacular god.

Saffron gods rejoiced in victory over me. Summers
soured as they abandoned their canicular god.

I no longer digest divinity. A new diet and avatar suit me.
Made of metropolitan particles. Here is your molecular god.

Some hire me for special occasions - they're kind.
Found my occupation as a daily wage, non-stellar god.

I am the solitary Ganesha, sings an incomparable voice.
"Lost deaf elephant in a jungle of prayers - Not a god."

The Time-Eater

He eats time because his bones will need memories
when they are stripped of flesh.

He eats time because whenever he opens his mouth
yesterday's profanity turns into today's poetry.

He eats time because his body is a clock
waiting to fill someone's tomorrow.

He eats time because his days shrivel into ants
gathering around dead conversations.

He eats time because his nights grow into snakes
slinking through aging loves.

He eats time because he needs to breathe:
Against the past, before time eats him.

(This poem first appeared in The Caravan Magazine, November 2012)