Poetry: Sreekanth Kopuri

Sreekanth Kopuri
The Barred Dreams of a Ground Nut-Seller


A ground reality,

stares at the

the stone-hard emptiness

of the Sun-filled

village roads

 

emptied of the daily grind

and cuffed by the deafening 

stillness of a hard and fast

wooden-faced gavel

 

a quivering, basketful

of silence, he gapes

at the sky's, that blues

 

the nutty tomorrows

heaping the decayed

windfalls on the

stretching shadows

of their thatched hopes.

 

He's like a

reminder of debt in

an unopened mailbox,

 

or a hardened reality

still shut in a rinded dream

 

waits for the sunlight

to walk into, a freedom

masked far away from

every morning that loomed large

with the mosaic of hopes in

 

the morning twitters of

the school children,

around his hand-rolled

paper-conefuls

of their nutty brunch

in the morning break,

 

the curious peeping calls

jammed in the traffic

 

the dripping

beach-picnicers' hunger

that would run

for those roasted bites

cracked out of burnt-pods -

 

all staple crumbs that would

bread and peanut-butter his day

 

and

 

all these fading colors of silence

his paper-winged dreams

buzz around, and clock towards

from the iron bars of his insomnia.

 

In the dusty verandah

a sudden breeze blows off

a cluster of broken shells

like a clairvoyance.

***

 

The Dying Lepers

Bethany Colony, Bapatla

 

While silence blinks the night’s

eye, emptying the light from

the blinded lamps of the lepers’

 

thatched hope, scurrying in

and out of the garbage heaps

with mouthfuls for a rainy day,

 

the leprous goldsmith searches

his face in the sooty mirror of

broken future, and evasively asks

 

his wife once again, should I still

wait or leave? A reply hangs down

her eye, tosses and creaks on the

 

telltale charpoy, counting the terminal

throbs of the invisible wooden-faced

clock in her blood, presaging

 

the end of a goldsmith’s generation.

Somewhere an elegy struggles

to break the suffocating shell,

 

egging on the enigmatic fate.

What lies beyond those worn

out clay Ganesha and portraits

 

of all those armed Gods? Perhaps,

the bloody vermilion that cracked

her head every day, the diffused

 

face of the gold flake king size

cigarette smoke and the truth

know. At least, the innocent

 

offerings of the coconut bowls,

and the skyward looking incense

sticks are fragrant and sweeter.

 

A familiar gush flickers the credit

of bank notes on the table, awaiting

a bottle of wine or a terminal journey

 

to his concubine in the HIV colony of

Bapatla, and the world beyond for the

flaming tongues of the ultimate communion.

 

Note: Traditional married women of India draw a straight line with vermillion on the head along the parting of hair as a symbol of sacredness.

***

 

 To Jean-Paul Sartre

after visiting Sartre’s tomb, Paris

            

At Montparanasse

I pick a stone

to place above your slab

for it exists unlike flowers, flesh

or the nothing of those

nothing-born maggots.

 

A Seventy-five-year existence

of hypertensions between

the disappeared carbon rings

turned down an earthly honour

that couldn’t transform

the meaning of an existence

 

but still the beatitude

of a meanest flower

and noontides give the

testimony of a shoulder

that hasn't shrugged off

the atlas and its pain.

 

Behold the footprints on the

splinters of a blurred glass

beyond the Whitmanisque

multitudes where The Word

builds life from the melted

clocks, dust and ashes.

***

 

 

At the Visitors’ Auschwitz

 

It is only the ashen gray the digital

pages preserve in our irrelevant eyes

now our learning fails to feel the

 

death pulse of this bone white earth,

tired of too many unknown footprints

frozen by the winters of time. When

 

we buy some meanings from a guide’s

habitual extempore, the shame on the

stony faces of surrounding fence-posts

 

and their iron knotted questions prick

our numbed conscience, may be more

dead than death that our knees do not

 

know the sack cloth and ashes that may

bring the bones to life against the crisis

of meaning hardened as the dark blood

 

that still groans stoj! at our trespassed

cams eager to capture our proud smiles

unfeeling to the shrieking silences of the

ashy graveyard’s pulsating heart beneath.

***

 

 

Another Rainy Morning

 

An hour more

and another morning

will unwind at my pillow

startle me out 

of this dream

like a thunderbolt.

 

My neighbour’s cow

will low out the day and

my hand will reach the pillow

for the snooze button.

The routine scribbles

and warm tea-sips

will try to draw out

the alluring fragments

of the last night’s dream

 

and some tidings will be

emptied by the screens

and papers contesting

for the day’s space.

***

BIO: Sreekanth Kopuri Ph.D. is an Indian poet. He is the current Poetry Editor of The AutoEthnographer Journal, Florida, former professor of English and Writer in Residence, Athens. He did his Ph.D on the autoethnographic poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra. He was poetry editor of Kitchen Sink Magazine New Jersey. He presented his research papers and recited his poetry at Oxford, John Hopkins, Heinrich Heine, Caen, Gdanski, Banja Luka Universities and many others. His poems appeared in Arkansan Review, Christian Century, A Honest Ulsterman, Chicago Memory House, Two Thirds North, Heartland Review, Tulsa Review, Digging Through the Fat, Expanded Field, American Diversity Report, Plants & Poetry, The Rational Creature, Nebraska Writers Guild, Contrapuntos IX, Poetry Centre San Jose, Vayavya, A New Ulster, to mention a few. His forthcoming book From an Indian Diary is the finalist for Eyelands Book Award 2022, Athens. His book Poems of the Void was the winner of Golden Book of the year 2022. He lives in his hometown Machilipatnam with his mother.


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