Meena Kandasamy

1984 - / Chennai / India

He replaces poetry

Two months into love and today I turn into a whore
Hunting for words, tearing them out from soiled sheets
Of mind or pinching them from the world like removing
Jade-green flecks from tiger's eyes. . . And poetry refuses
Entry into my mirrored life that is bequeathed to him.

I try the mad-woman's antics: I have pulled my hair and
Bruised my thin wrists and bit the insides of my cheeks till
They have bled a warm red sourness and I have starved
In arrogance to call the words home to me and thrown up
To clear me of him but he, strong dark man, refuses to budge,

Give way or take leave. My dark nights of savage tears have
Gone in search of needy shores deserting me (with the devil
Of a lover who sleeps half-a-dozen streams apart) and so
Have the words that once made me the sad lone woman
I was, and pretended to be. I am happy now he says and

I nod, like a Tanjore doll in breeze, and reply in cloying tones
This is happiness. I know I do not indulge in lies or delusion but
This is happiness and happiness is a hollow world for fools to
Inhabit, where all the dreams eventually die by coming to life.
Love has smothered me to a gay inertia and I long for a little

Hurt and pain that will let me scream and I wait for offending
Words to row me into worlds where I shall cry wildly for whole
Nights like the lament of lonely, old and greying seas. . . Then
Sadness shall come back with its dancing fairy lights and nail me
To wailing crosses. . . Poetry, in the end, shall replace all of him.
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