Two poems of memory and madness by Omair Bhat


The country that they ask to forget its name,

It exists in the thought,
That always comes to a mad poet,
Whose tapestries of words,
Run amok,
On the walls in the streets,
About a map, that leads a way into a mural,
In which a memory of a besieged summer on a riverbank,
Contemplates dying as an art,
But, soon, as the river grows fragile,
It turns around and casts a net of a thousand muffled voices,
Weavings, of sufferings,
Over a guillotine, and,
In its veins the revolutions thrive for an eternity.


If you think, because you have denied me my right to step in the streets

1) I will forget the road to my home?
2) I will wander aimlessly and go nowhere in particular?
3) I will perhaps run for cover?
4) I will plead innocence?
5) I will hold my hands up and walk up to you?
6) I will prove my identity?
7) I will say ‘I was not protesting’ and ‘it wasn’t me’?
8) I will say ‘I am a poet and I deal with words only’?
9) In my past time, I will say, I practice my art, Sir?
10) Then, maybe, I will tell you I am not much of a threat to you?
11) And then, will thus succumb to your fear?

You have lost it, my enemy, for time has arrived for me to shout in your face :
– Your prison yards do not frighten me
– Your torture manuals do not frighten me
– Tour solitary confinements do not frighten me
– Your weapons do not frighten me
– Your nocturnal arrests do not frighten me
– Your curfews do my frighten me

(I am prepared for the worse in my mind)
the day,
awash in strange,
mysterious shade of blue.
Remember, date, time: On the walls, in the city, an old mad poet
(who herds clouds in his imagination)
Has written the word.
I will desert my poem and say farewell to words to struggle for meaning of the only blessed word.
I am old enough to smell stone on my fingers.
It is my weapon.
I feel it is a rigid surface in my sleep.
I will fight you with it.

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