Meena Kandasamy

All Meena Kandasamy poems

  • ThisPoemWillProvokeYou
    This poem is not a Hindu.This poem is eager to offend. This poem is shallow and distorted. This poem is a non-serious representation of Hinduism.This poem is a haphazard presentation. This poem is riddled. This poem is a heresy. This poem is a factual inaccur
  • Six hours of chastity
    The day dies abruptly. Nalayani, most chaste of womankind,Carries the basket-case of a husbandTo his favorite prostitute's place.She sits in a veranda of the brothel andSomeone who saunters in mistakes the devoutWife to be a mistress of guilt, a woman of night.She plays alo
  • Speech Comes After Swallowing
    after many afternoons on my kneesi pinned him down to lychee with a woody waft of liquorice.but centuries into servitude how does a language taste and tabulate another mighty one? does this tongue feel under stubborn flesh, the haste and hardness of the other? learn to figh
  • Facing The Music
    Your lover was lynched For one of those readily available reasons.Too weak for suicide, too mute for murderYou live. Post-traumatically, poetically. You live as if he has never died. Shell-shocked, spellbound, your third eye Clamped shut to keep the nightmare away, Your blo
  • Firewalkers
    Maari had a one-point goal. Maari had a manic soul.Maari made her men wage war, with her rapist's blood, To drench her hair. And then, and then, As these stories go, Maari with her heart of stone, Combed her hair with his left thighbone. Here they are: the dream-chasers, t
  • Lady Justice
    You are sad and you start out sluggishly, Shedding your gypsy skirts and learningTo dress up in gold and Valentino gowns.You are playing Patience to pass the timeAnd you believe every feud has to die outWhen the fighters die. You wait for that. You later learn it does not w
  • Martyr
    A militant, whom my lines cannot hold whom my lipscannot kiss whom my eyescannot hide whom my memorycannot mark with a dateof birth or even death. No knowledge of her villagelaid waste, then displaced and no mention of her songsseeking to seize a state andno sigh of a red s
  • Massacre Of The Innocents
    indra, chief vedic deity andinspirational hate-monger.indra, who went to work inside diti's womb, afraid she would mother the other, the demons... indra who butchered her fetus into forty-nine bits, so that, as the legend goes, they were reborn as wailing winds.i
  • Moon-Gazers
    Fifteen, lost in a room Full of children learning Hindi poetryFor an approaching exam. In a nasal bassTthe teacher speaks of some besotted birdThat watches the moon every moment of the night... I stand up and ask, What does that bird do on new moon nights? Peeved by what sh
  • Nailed
    Men are afraid of any woman who makes poetry and dangerous portents. Unable to predict when, for what, and for whom she will open her mouth, unable to stitch up her lips, they silence her. Her pet parrot developed an atrocious fetish for the flesh of sacrificial goats, so
  • Not That One
    Find me another wordthat is not so ready. I want a word that waits and weeps and hesitates, that knows of other words I kill, and grows afraid to take its place. Find me a word that has heard of a woman afraid of losing a man she does not ha
  • Once My Silence Held You Spellbound
    You wouldn't discuss me because my suffering was not theoretical enough. Enough. Enough. Enough. Now I am theoretical enough. I am theatrical enough. I have learnt all these big big words.I can use them with abandon. I can misuse them. I can refuse them.I can throw them abo
  • ONE-Eyed
    the pot sees just another noisy childthe glass sees an eager and clumsy handthe water sees a parched throat slaking thirstbut the teacher sees a girl breaking the rulethe doctor sees a case of medical emergencythe school sees a potential embarrassment the press sees a headl
  • Princess-in-Exile
    Scorned, she sought refuge in spirituality,and was carried away by a new-age guruwith saffron clothes and caramel words.Years later, her husband won her back but by then, she was adept at walkouts,she had perfected the vanishing act.
  • Sangharsh Karna Hai
    here, the hurried truth: day after day after dayof battling death and keeping him at bayyou became the startaking struggle in her strideand we became the bodybreaking free, we becamethe scream cutting loosefrom the curse of silence,we became the protestthat poured like bloo
  • Screwtiny
    For an affair:Trust any man who is allergic to children, Carries a civil war in his eyes, travels a lotAnd speaks up when you are subjected To society's customary stone-throwing—This hero has a history of scandals. He keeps secrets like slave-girls.Trust this man to
  • Straight Talk
    Everyone speaks of him. Hands dancing in airthey gush about the power of his words his flourishes of rhetoric his direct approachhis raw reproach his felicity in ferocious Tamil his three hours in the sweltering heat rousing angry young man rally speeches that make men out
  • The Belt-Bomb Girl's Suicide Note
    The King had sent captains of the army...Their sins and their lawlessness, I'll remember No more. I have blotted out, like a thick cloud,Your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins.My strength is made perfect in weakness,There is but a step between me and death.I'll be
  • Why She Writes Of Her Love
    ~ with submissive indrawn breath on nights that smell of freshcut red, she writes of a love to which her language denied even words ~love, he squeeze-spliced into seven typesand threw the two crooked corners away.lt.col.grammar mapped moods on zones—meet and mate by
  • THEIR DAUGHTERS
    Paracetamol legends I knowFor rising fevers, as pain relievers -Of my people - father's father's mother'sMother, dark lush hair caressing her anklesSometimes, sweeping earth, deep-honey skin,Amber eyes - not beauty alone they say - sheMarried a man who murdered thirteen men
  • BECOMING A BRAHMIN
    Algorithm for converting a Shudra into a BrahminBegin.Step 1: Take a beautiful Shudra girl.Step 2: Make her marry a Brahmin. Step 3: Let her give birth to his female child. Step 4: Let this child marry a Brahmin. Step 5: Repeat steps 3-4 six times.Step 6: Display the end pr
  • EKALAIVAN
    This note comes as a consolation: You can do a lot of things With your left hand. Besides, fascist Dronacharyas warrant Left-handed treatment. Also, You don't need your right thumb
  • REVERENCE :: NUISANCE
    On walls of reception countersand staircases of offices, hospitals, firmsand other ‘secular' institutions -pictures of Hindu Gods are painted…so that casual people walking in (or up or down)fear to spit on the adorned walls.But still looking around or climbing:y
  • A breathless counsel
    curiosity will catch you dear for you are a writer and it is your license to startle the world with a hundred thousand words instead of a dazzling smile or those occasional winks and i don't want to probe for after all you are renouncing all the time and i don't want to sto
  • Advaita: The ultimate question
    Non DualismAtman SelfBrahman GodAre EqualAnd Same.So IUntou
  • Amnesia, selective
    When memory decidesTo no longer bear the burdens—Of pain, or even plain indifferenceShe has her winsome wicked ways.Some day, years later,Life requires you to unearthSome event long past and youSet about browsing your brainLike a desk-full of office files and thenâ
  • Becoming a Brahmin
    Algorithm for converting a Shudra into a BrahminBegin.Step 1: Take a beautiful Shudra girl.Step 2: Make her marry a Brahmin.Step 3: Let her give birth to his female child.Step 4: Let this child marry a Brahmin.Step 5: Repeat steps 3-4 six times.Step 6: Display the end produ
  • Blackboard poems
    S P A C Eis a problem unlike your never-endingpaper or the maddening blankness ofyour word processor where you can go onand on in anguish or insanity or boredomon one-hundred-and-seven degree Fahrenheit afternoons.(To write the next lines
  • Cinquains
    Morning SongWet pinkAnd dusty greyThe sky begins to blush.Some sleepy careless charm welcomesDaybreak.Even SongAzureAnd pink gold huesThe smug sky at twilightA final flush of fulfilmentNight falls.
  • Composition
    At that brief timeWhen you waitFor the audacious caneTo strike your skin,And the rest of you is flinchingAnd cringing, with part shame,And part pain,Poetry dictates itselfIn your mind. Short linesRip through, like bulletsFrom a machine gun.The poem comes with theFreshness o
  • Ekalaivan
    This note comes as a consolation: You can do a lot of things With your left hand. Besides, fascist Dronacharyas warrant Left-handed treatment. Also, You don't need your right thu
  • Elegy to my first keyboard
    You entered my life when I was twelve. I really didn'thave hormones then. I was lost in a different world. Ofscience, of space, and the small small atoms that we wereall made up of. I wanted to be a spy or a scientist. Ithought you would help me become one.You made me fall
  • Evil spirits
    You are possessed.Witch doctors believe in phantoms,that cause your illness. But, driving out devilscan be challenging. Spirits are given away—We are made to sit opposite you,Force-fed a ‘meal'—bland food mixedwith your hair, nails, spit and pus.Illegall
  • Excerpts from a study guide
    Teach him not to seekWhere he has been taught to find. . .***Lead him into the landOf silences—Ignore his words of praiseWhere all the perfidy hides. . .***Because the climax of a dreamIs its return to reality, let him clingTo your laughter, to your eyes that shine o
  • Fire
    Black satanic fumesshroud the blank blue skiesin puffing jet black soot;few flashy cameras recordglimpses of destruction(for tomorrow's papers). . .Our huts are burning—Regular huts in proper rows.Dry thatches (conspirators-in-crime)feed the flames as we rush outshri
  • For sale
    My school bud, he work hard.He slog. He make money.He grow dam rich.He go to da temple, wherehis po' ol' folks ain't allowed.He buy incense for two bucksflowers for five, kinda shaggycoconut for ten bucks.He also buy a standing placeat da front and da special prayerin his n
  • Frenzied Light
    When you called meTo light up your lifeI could never refuse.But, there are things I ask of you.Love, I can't be a candleFor I know it is an ancient lie.The candle is for the solemn,And for those who yearn a slowAnd settled tenderness. Not for us.It is for those who can bear
  • Fuchsia shock
    My bed smells of textbooksand it is more than a month or so,since I dreamt of sunlight and the sky'sembrace. Even a woman's lush vanities —scarlet silk and shining gold — have been loston me. I am snared in a world of aqua, fuchsia,and lime set dangerously aga
  • He replaces poetry
    Two months into love and today I turn into a whoreHunting for words, tearing them out from soiled sheetsOf mind or pinching them from the world like removingJade-green flecks from tiger's eyes. . . And poetry refusesEntry into my mirrored life that is bequeathed to him.I tr
  • How they prostitute a poem
    It is uniquely easyFor some to sellIdeals becauseBusiness of absentGoods is essentiallyA sacrosanct but mostlyA flimsy transaction.Some learn, early on,To prostitute their verse.So, in all the waking hoursThey scavenge for a simple simileThat matches requirements, fulfills
  • Hymns of a hag
    I fancy myself being a witch.Broomstick borne and black as pitch. Thin, stark-naked and with fire for eyes. Killing men whom I despise.Bewailing the woeful life I led.Casting dark spells, makin' them dead.
  • If everything comes crashing down
    And both of us become strangers onto each otherDo not worry about me.We will look beyond eyes and run into each otherAs usual, for the rest of life.I do not know what you wouldTreasure of me in your mind.But in billboards plantedAcross my fervent heart,I will celebrate you
  • Inheritance
    Helplessly, silent;we watched it being seized away, all our lands.The Government—a fulltime bewitching whorehad promised Jobs. Industrialization. Power, Electric.Everything went, Nothing came.Now, landless, uprooted,unsettled in a resettlement colonywe feast our soul
  • Justice is . . .
    (For Indians only. . .)The first lesson we are taught about lifehas something to do with dharma and karma."Dharma". "Karma" two good appetizingand rhyming words they may come in handy for classic poets.Dharma they say is indefinable,it is all encompassin
  • Lines addressed to a warrior
    come.colonise me. creep into the hollows of my landscape—my eyes click lock: no more the drawing of the gates. set up your home your office the writing desk and the trading post. ignore
  • Love and war
    two thousand years agoour word for lovewas the same.women and menwrote their songs of lovethe intimacies of insideand they spoke of howlove was tirelesslove was a fantasy feastlove was no diseaselove was no evil goddesslove was a harshness, in the partinglove was
  • Maariamma
    We understandwhy upper caste Godsand their ‘good-girl' much-married, father-fucked,virgin, vegetarian oh-so-pure Goddessesborne in their golden chariotsdon't come to our streets.We know the reasons for their non-entry into slums.Actually, our poverty would soil their
  • Marijuana murdered him
    NoonA gray rainy day—On a road less traveled the patrol tracked down much:Him (him is now an it, a crumpled cruel corpse for womenTo beat their breasts about): the wreckage (four black wheelsThat speak of despair and a mangled red car-body awash yetSoiled and the col
  • Mascara
    The last thing she doesbefore she gets ready to dieonce more, of violation,she applies the mascara.Always,in that last and solemn momentthe call-girl hesitates.With eye-catching eyesshe stops to shudder.Maybe, the dyed eyesmourn her body's sins.Mascara. . .it serves to tell
  • Meeting the prophetess
    Leave your books behind.Since memory,Like knowledge, is a traitor,Erase every hoarding of your horrible past.At last, when you enter her worldOf fraying edges and falling angelsDon't barter words where touch will do and be the truth.For once allow her silence to sear, strip