Categories
Humour Poetry

How to Kill a Poem

By Sambhu R.

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It takes much time to kill a tree,

Not a simple jab of the knife- On Killing a Tree, Gieve Patel

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It’s easy to kill a poem.

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If it’s the flying kind,

rip off its wings already slick

with the oil spill of words

and slit its throat

with the blade of your pen

run like a bow across the jugular.

The frantic flapping you hear

is the nerves straining for a final burst of music.

Plug your ears with indifference,

pluck the feathers, and clean up the blood.

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If the poem is Black in its epidermal garb,

you may choke it with your knee

pressed ruthlessly to the back of the neck*.

It takes some time for the oxygen

to be shut out of the door of the lungs.

Be patient. Wait for the last leap of breath,

roll the corpse onto a gurney,

and smile at the spectators sliding mobile phones

out of the scabbard of their pockets.

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If the poem talks too much,

incarcerate it behind thick bars of sense.

Try every trick from bastinado

to waterboarding and force a confession

of its all-the-perfumes-of-Arabia-will-not-sweeten guilt.

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And if the poem is too popular,

chances are that it is adulterous;

then it merits no ordinary death.

Stone it with words

stone it

stone it

stone it

till all its charms are ripped out of its flesh.

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To let a poem live, you need eyes

that can see the space between the lines

as the poem’s right to breathe,

and not as Nazi death trains

into which words are squeezed.

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Killing it is a lot easier, takes no particular skill.

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*Reference to George Floyd’s killing which took place in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020.

Sambhu R. is a bilingual poet from Kerala. He is Assistant Professor of English at N.S.S. College, Pandalam and is also a doctoral candidate. He has published an anthology of poems in Malayalam titled “Vavval Manushyanum Komaliyum.”

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL. 

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