Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry II


Postcard Aphrodite

Ouranos leaned and pinched her nipples 
Gaia forgot her sons lay in ambush
Even before he detached his thighs flanking the mountains her limbs arched for the meeting
Half swooning for his eyes leisurely grazing  
It was not a memory   had never occurred   
He was always so testy   (sons can be so crazy)
Recurrent dreams of a blade slicing his neck his blood seeding her body
When they sliced his testicles instead
His hands full on her breasts 
Jerked a seizure
She ejaculated disbelief
Ouranos drained
Gaia sank 
Bright downward slash above
Ruddy Ocean below what
Remains of Sky
His pouches open paratroopers
Be anxious  it's
Messy out there -
Wind reluctant   
Waves nervous 
Then laugh o how
Indifferent wave
Of average height &
No distinction
Lands the prize

Recall that other time when the leaky punk Raktabija 'bloodseed' battled Kali
The more she hacked the more he sprouted
Then Tongue stretched
Between Earth and Sky
Licked each drop
As it fell

Fresh froth breaks
Bubbles on speed
Water animates
Hands breasts waist
Crimped hair
Exactly when does she
Express her face
Translucent sea-squiggle
Okeanos marks the moment
With a pause
Every wave rises
Aphrodite gallery
What is Aphrodite made of?
The impossible desire
Carried by Rivers
Buried in Ocean
You and I know it is memory   Gaia's
Aphrodite has none
Of one parent 
She heads for America

One hundred and fifty feet   stature
Shipwrecked hero
Face of commander
Beached on Ellis
Gulliver comes to mind
Little people probe her 
Robe her 
Hand her a torch 
Hoist her on a pedestal 
And crown her Statue Liberty
Poised since then
Open oyster shell
Desire . Liberty


What does Odysseus do when
the Odyssey is done

Memory's man, house on fire
The story ate it all

Back from Iraq
Busy being a shape
A guard

Sleeps in the old bed
Dines the old way
Visitors none

The front hall scrubbed clean
All of Ithaca's young men
chatting in Hades

It's all about the oil they say
Finite fire

Odysseus, son of Laertes, father of Telemachus, 
husband of constant Penelope, family man 

A long night
One half in a dream, the other half
awake thinking about it

Over and over again, of Helen, 
to the countrywomen

To the one-eyed scarecrow 
in the fields said Nobody

Another war-veteran Prometheus

Rocket to space-junk 

Wayward washing 
Ragged upon the crags

Flooded by the moon a startled thief
From the day he is engorged and cannot hide
Till the day he is mute and will not show

In the shadow of the eagle he sees keeping watch
A luscious rested tongue
And thirsts for it

Bheeshma chooses when to die
After farewells, speeches and a drink

Last man standing, Yudhistira, has
a friend, a dog

The rest are soldiers, trees

Star tips

End of day survivors 
count spaces at the table

Face down at the bottom of that trench
Lots of hands and legs

A child-minotaur branded monster 
Thrown in a maze

Expect a labyrinth 
A story

Alone uncastrated public object Minotaur 
awaits a hero

We want a dizzying battle

Dodge! light-footed Theseus

Minotaur froths
Prisoner on d-day

Arjuna retorts:

What do you know, Krishna, 
what it is to be human?

Infant, on your knees
Excruciating waiting on teeth

From alphabet-soup to the world

Pregnant, determinate uterus
Milk in your breasts

Sleeping Dreaming

Two hands, two legs

Breath, bowels

Decrepit in the mirror

What do you know, Krishna