Categories
Poetry

No warplane has ever flown like a bird

(Translation of Karunakaran‘s Pakshi Pole Parannittilla Oru Yuddhavimanavum by Aditya Shankar)

Karunakaran
No Warplane Has Ever Flown Like A Bird

No warplane 
has ever flown like a bird,
has lost way like a bird,
has halted mid-flight reminiscing a bygone aroma.

A warplane
	has flown evoking a rage,
	beside a war-goddess-shaped cloud
	grunting in the memory of a rage, like an animal.

Not that,
a warplane has ever flown like a bird.

Karunakaran is a novelist, poet and story writer hailing from Pattambi, Kerala. Published works: Makarathil Paranjath(Stories, Pathabedham), Kochiyile Nalla Sthree(Stories, Sign Books), Paayakkappal (Stories, DC Books), Ekanthathayekkurich Paranj Kettittalle Ulloo (Stories, DC Books), Athikupithanaaya Kuttanveshakanum Mattu Kadhakalum (Stories, DC Books), Parasyajeevitham (Novella, DC Books), Bicycle Thief (Novel, Mathrubhumi Books), Yuddhakalathe Nunakalum Marakkombile Kaakkayum (Novel, DC Books), Yuvaavayirunna Onpathu Varsham (DC Books), Yakshiyum Cycle Yathrakkaranum (Poems, Green Books), Udal Enna Moham (Essays, Logos Books.

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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Categories
Poetry

The Girl Who Went Fishing

By Biju Kanhangad

(Translated by Aditya Shankar)

Beneath the blue waterline,

father’s catch basks in the sunlight: a fish.

The gray-black of crows shroud the pale oar.

Reddish crabs reach the shore, transcending

the festered basket discarded by mom.

In the houseboat, the yellow flowers on

the worn rouka* are still wet.

Unable to submerge the shark, remnants of

the blue spreads into the sky, bawls.

*Bodice in Malayalam, can also be used to see connections

Biju Kanhangad is a poet, painter and post graduation in Malayalam literature. In 2005, he represented Malayalam in the national poetry seminar conducted by Sahitya Akademi. He was awarded the Mahakavi P poetry prize (2013), Moodadi Damodaran prize (2015), Joseph Mundassery Memorial Award (2017), Thamarathoni Kavita prize (2020) and other awards of repute. Thottumumbu ManjayilayoKanhangdu, Azhichukettu, June, Ucha Mazhayil, Vellimoonga, Puliyude Bhagathaanu Njanippozhullathu, Ullanakkangal, Ochayil Ninnulla Akalam, Mazhayude Udyanathil are his anthologies of poems. Essays: Vaakinte Vazhiyum Velichavum, Kavitha Mattoru Bhashayaanu. His poems have been translated into English, Hindi, Kannada, and Tulu.   

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.

Categories
Poetry

Katsaridaphobia/Gospel According to Cockroaches

By Aditya Shankar

1

And the insect haters, repellent sprayers, broom

wielders will eventually reside beneath soil:

the second life. The hand that swats thy loved

ones will lie defenseless. Time of cockroaches

and oppressed shall arrive.

2

Soil will erode like the layers of sandwich. The

one who seeks will traverse its depth. The one

who licks the world shall know and conquer.

3

Our itchy legs shall crawl and penetrate the fire

in the flesh and the temptation of the wood coffin.

4

He who comes digging for forefathers and lost

cities shall tremble at our conquest and return to

house of darkness, referred hereafter as hell.

5

Punish them with your touch. Tease them

with your shadow. Crawl in their nightmares.

Appear as rarely as God among sinners.

6

And when you take an avatar, infest his cup-

board and attic with the thousand children you

beget. Fear shall have no face.

7

The army of your lineage shall be the

messenger of colour. Fire, soil, and life beneath

shall have your shade.

8

Eat the sleep of men and women from whose

country, the messenger never returns.

9

Bore holes in their books and clothes. Plough their

notions until they turn into roads that lead nowhere.

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.

Categories
Poetry

The Tiniest Man on Earth and more…

By Aditya Shankar

The Tiniest Man on Earth

Was so tiny

he did not belong among humans.

Too big for microbes and fungus to befriend.

Too small for mushrooms

to feel the entitlement of a rain shelter.

Eliot’s practical cats were too practical

to respond to his queries.

Orwell’s Old Major

was busy inspiring a rebellion.

With none to acknowledge,

his happiness bore no relation to happiness.

His grief bore no relation to grief.

He watched the communion of men from afar—

their greets, hugs, smiling eyes.

He was happy.

But with none to share it,

his happiness hurt worse than grief.

He watched the war of men from afar—

their slit throats, longing, silence.

This hurt him.

But with none to relate with,

his grief grew light and comical.

He roamed the lonely world,

depressed and happy at once,

a microcosm of the humanosphere.

On his epitaph, he wrote:

Emotion seeks a watching eye

and lay in his grave.

But death never came for him.

It did not want to devour a breath

that wouldn’t distill into a potion of loss.

Notes:

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot.

Old Major, a character from Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Annapurna// A History of Food

Mouth opens like the door of a shrine.

God, hungry and veiled by gloom is within.

She clutches her children tight.

Sets her men and women to work on barren lands,

pickaxes in their hand.

They plant crops, harvest the yield.

Chases away pigeons and crows.

War, they charge at rats in the granary.

Time is but the rushes of a never ending film on food—

the land our ancestors moved/ oxen ploughed,

earthworm that wiggled/ lizard fish that splashed,

cranes and parakeets that flew.

Not to forget the much more ancient recordings.

Spears that we darted/ meat that we roasted,

forests that thronged the fields once/

hills that we scaled.

No love story, without an episode of meal.

No battlefield, without a thirsty dying throat.

No captivity, as unbreachable as hunger.

Grounded by roots that we assume are severed,

an indoor sapling channels light.

A hand fed parrot pecks from our digital nest.

Concise and edible in its beak,

the epic of Annapurna, my mother’s fond deity.

Note: Annapurna is the Hindu goddess of food and nourishment

Aditya Shankar is an Indian poet, flash fiction author and translator. A Best of the Net and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Aditya has his poetry translated into Malayalam and Arabic. His poems have appeared or is forthcoming in The Little Magazine, Chandrabhaga, Asiawrites, Indian Literature, Poetica Review, Columba, Periwinkle Literary Magazine, Reality Break Press, Brasilia Review and so on. Books: After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014), and XXL (Dhauli Books, 2018). He lives in Bangalore, India.