Under Dadar Bridge
The three bricks of the sacrificial fire
She used to light
Have sooty ornamental marks- signs of
Charred neem twigs, and the arrogant touch
Of Impalas, choking and dragging with them
The breath of roads.
The ashes of existence float in the air.
She has left
The ruined sculpture of her relics
Under Dadar bridge.
As she tore her ragged hair
In the darkness of frustration,
I, poison-drunk and restless,
Would dig my fingers into the
Profusely pouring black blood into
Her psychic wounds.
‘hey, ma, tell me my religion. Who am i?
what am i?
‘ you are not a Hindu or a Muslim!
You are an abandoned spark of the
World’s lusty fires.
Religion? This is where I stuff religion!
Whores have only one religion, my son.
If you want a hole to fuck in, keep
Your cock in your pocket!’
Stripping the sari off her breasts
On that bridge
She would fling on my questioning face
Repulsive smiles, one after another,
I piss in the bastard gutter which
Has links with high-class sewage water
‘who was he? Who’s my father?’
scraping and scratching at the VD sores
the world’s map on her flower-like breasts,
shriveled during the malaria epidemic,
she would answer: ‘ he was some swine or other!
A star going berserk shot out of the
valley between my eyebrows:
‘ whore! Tell me the truth , or else…’
‘why? Was there only one who mounted
and then abandoned my body?
How many names shall I mention?
Many came and many went.’
‘you are whore , sss!’
a scream like a venomous snakebite
would break out involuntarily from my bloodied lips
she was engrossed in pulling out hunks
from the cat-flesh
boiled in her begging-bowl,
her eyes were sharp like razor edge
that scalps the world.
‘my stomach was on fire with hunger,
and they needed my cold corpse!’
she would take the scab off the green wound
and show me the ancient leprosy coursing
through her blood.
Stumbling through the dense darkness of life
She would callously dynamite my
Most dearly cherished dream-
‘show me my father, or perform his last rites.’
She would bray , that she-donkey of Bhdrapad,
Spitting on the fire in the chula,
Brutally exposing both her nakedness
Then the raging volcanoes of my innermost being
Would break and tear into my heart.
‘I’ll rip your clothes off! I’ll strip you naked!’
‘what’s left with me now? I gave
them my lifeblood,
they gave me only wounds.’
Baring her teeth, like bramble thorns, hissing,
‘ you want to see, don’t you, where you came from?
What path you took?
Take my clothes off. Strip me and
Have a good look at the tomb
That was broken open to pull you out.’
Dashing ice-cold water on my maddened sex-organs,
She would kickat my cold, convulsive
Shudders, and run amuck.
Many stones and much mud
Slid off the bridge.
Under Dadar bridge , my questions echo,
The hostile stars eat like maggots
Into my future, my buried dreams,
The umbilical cord I myself
Had hung up to dry
There in the crevices of the stone walls.
One day, ma died…
When the rudder of her raft broke
In the cruel seas under the bridge,
I was asking these Himalayan people, whose
Heads drift proudly in cultured skies
To allow me to continue living.
Now I sit beside unrecorded memories,
And those scattered sculptures, in an empty hour,
Now that she hasn’t left a lot
Behind her for me.
Hereditary diseases rebelling underskin
Are even now gradually bursting out
All over my face.
When striped and patterned,
I stand under the bridge,
Some white-collared mountain dwellers
Throw me coins
Because of her.
Translated by Shanta Gokhale and Nissim Ezekiel