By Aditya Shankar
If you do not know poetry beyond high school, all poems are odes. They go O…! Haven’t read any contemporary poetry? Haven’t seen poetry recitals except on primetime tv? All poems still go O…! Do not share your new poem in a circle of school friends or relatives. Even if you do, hear their comment ‘Wow! Awesome! Lovely!’ as ‘grow up to an ode that goes O…’. The retired revolutionary poet glances through your poem and says: not even worth the Z-division league of O Germany, Pale Mother. Not even a shadow of O, We are the Outcasts, reminds the senior postmodern poet. Poems titled Orange, Omelette, Oxygen aren’t quite the O poems, declares the lyric poet who reads O Blush Not So! twice daily. A tired and old O Do Not Love Too Long and his pal O Western Wind confess to a friendly new prose poem: we long to idle in our graves. But alas! Here they are, in ill-fitting attire of teleported primitives, holding centre stage in a bandwagon that fades around the corner. As good as a failed interworking attempt between H.323 and SIP or a brand-new showroom of CRT televisions. A retro hackathon in Fortran, an MMO Pacman event or the B side of an old VHS tape. The street is a river, a carnival of clichés and bygones.
O Germany, Pale Mother by Bertolt Brecht/O, We are the Outcasts by Charles Bukowski/O Blush Not So! by John Keats/O Do Not Love Too Long by W.B. Yeats/O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
Aditya Shankar is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominated Indian poet, flash fiction author, and translator. His work has appeared in international journals and anthologies of repute and translated into Malayalam and Arabic. Books: After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014), and XXL (Dhauli Books, 2018). He lives in Bangalore, India.
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