beti linepath school jaye, kheti kaun kari
beta christianwa bhaye, pani kaun charai
Not by the sword’s nose, but with books and cash,
to make an army in the colony with one aim,
the English decreed: “Those wanting to letter their tongues
must fetter their hearts by drinking blood and eating
human skin.” Barefoot and brown, Pap and his brothers
were compelled to respell their names in baptisms.
Scarring mouths in the sharp shapes of Rome in London:
machetes to hack om bhur bhuva swah, they proudly drone,
forgetting their home: amo – amas – amat –
to wander lonely as a cloud That floats on high—
Needles to numb the tongue, a mask to conceal
the smashed gods of stone, the coolie in the coolie.
If my daughter goes to Linepath school who will harvest my fields?
If my son becomes a Christian who will offer me water when I’m gone?
aaj sawaliya ham na jaibe bhitar
balma, ulat pavan chal gaya, chadar bechao
You tie your veil to meet me in the courtyard,
though it doesn’t have a neem tree. You wrap your limbs
tightly about mine as jamun fruits betray
their pedicels and stain the concrete with their wine.
The shehenai weeps for us only; inside
my strength has ebbed. Spread a sheet on the earth, balma,
that when weary we may lie on silk in peace.
Despite your wise restraint your morals will scatter
in a fire dance—what god can save us?
I will never escape the body’s betrayal.
The neighbor women jeer at the stains on your veil,
your inviting fabric I pleat between my thighs.
Today, love, I will not go outside.
Love, against the backwards wind, spread a sheet.
he ram, he issa, kama dev ke ka jaduwa ba
ke computer ke onlainiya jaye tohar saiya se milba
Too much whiskey, I go to meet the man whose
thumbnail I’ve clicked and clicked. But I make it late
to the date. On the train I feel the pretty
Queens-queers eyeing me, blood about to boil
over buttoned jeans and then in my pharynx.
I down brown men who bic their pubes, who whirl like
ribbons on sticks. Souse-stumbling I stare back at
Trini dreads who grab their dicks—
track them behind subway maps on the platform.
Flip a gold coin and see. Heads to meet alone. Tails,
Little India. Some top in temple and church.
My predate gives it hard and I take it like a man.
O Ram, O Jesus, What is the magic of Kama Deva
that online, on the computer, you will meet your beloved?