Apr/May 2004 Poetry

Gandhiji, Me and My Blues

by Sumanta Sanyal

Art by Janet L. Snell


Gandhiji, Me and My Blues

You know I love tigers
and flowers.
Their hard teeth and thorns
prick my being aflame.
You know I love vastness, untotalled, savage.
You know I spare pity for the strong
that will break, ultimately.
You know I hate
my moments of lucidity.

You know I love Pataliputra
and Byzantium.
You know my penchant for the azure Riviera,
that I'm dragged down by communism
and plagiarized by capitalism.
You know I'm Muhammad Jaluluddin Akbar,
Grand Moghul in my dreams that travel
at the speed of light.
You know India travels
at the speed of the bullock-cart.

You know I hate Pakistan, as all good Indians do,
that I conform, keep within walls.
You know I know that Kofi Annans are prickless
without American dollars and the whole world's prickless
without American dollars
and the Americans are prickless with American dollars.
Putin is no Rasputin and the Middle-East
will always be the Middle-East.
There will always be blood on the streets of Jerusalem,
and I'm prickless when I'm sentimentalizing,
and you know that I blame you for that.

You know that I'm unattractive
and my fingernails are blunt
from constant punching at the keyboards
and I'm blunted and diminished in the first water
and blessed to kingdom come
by the sobriety of the maid with her retarded boychild
and the perspicacity of the electrician with his tattered
red shawl and nothing fixes me better than scented
betel-nuts from Bapis pan-shop.
You know that my feudalism is only skin-deep,
and if you scratch me deep enough,
I'm ready to give democracy a try.


Previous Piece Next Piece