Ekphrasis poem based on Artwork: Vicissitudes of Exile by Venantius Pinto
Now lute-song turns staccato.
Hymns of home
run adrift on wind. Memory
becomes a pile of pigments
spilling like sand grains
into time's seas.
So what anchor
keeps me from the shore?
In the passage through dreams
I heal heart, close wounds.
I caution myself : this is the place
where nostalgia paints pretty pictures,
and where distance is the beast
crouching beneath sentiment.
YOU DON'T NEED TO LEAVE
Ekphrasis poem based on Artwork: Herstory mixed media on handloom by Anujan Ezhikode (see Diaspora section)
It is there in your veins, and
in the cuticles that you keep pulling
and peeling. Sometimes drawing up
a tiny stinging seed of blood.
It is there waiting
underneath the sockets of your eyes,
yellow with rage.
You. Oddball offspring. Stranger
than the tourists and more idiotic
than the village idiot
who is loved by all in a careless way
for his harmless, mangy brain.
You never deserved such largesse.
Like the snake in your drain
full of rain water. A thin coiled thing
that refused to lower its head even when
you stared it down, stick in hand.
Now you too squat over the drain
dropping the refuse of your dreams into it.
This is your country, your people,
so how can you not own it?
You knead the dung of centuries' worth
of idealistic patriotism and shape
indecipherable codes. No one bothers
to understand your hieroglyphs.
You can howl to the moon for all
they care. They reject you. To them you are
an aberration. A home-grown alien.
You disturb them. Fan their insecurities.
It doesn't matter what you do.
You are all wrong.
Bring that stick down and mark
your spot. You were exiled
right here. You are exiled right now.
There is no way out.
Statement of poetic process: Whether I am looking at a picture, listening to music, reading or experiencing something from life in general, I need to feel the moment and mood intensely for poetry to come to me; and it usually does in a rush. Afterwards, I may do a bit of editing, but never so much that the soul of that first poetic encounter dies. A poem for me succeeds only when it brings to life that first emotion, in the time of its creation, every time it is read. It must jog memory to that moment of joy or pain. My prose writing process is a lot more structured, and less impulsive.