A Delirious Dream

I had a dream
as the delirious virulence
of the virus shook me.

I failed in mathematics
in the Second Year Intermediate.
Now what to do
with my MA, PGDTE and Ph.D
or even with my BA?
Do they still stand,
or get cancelled automatically?
I was gripped by the intensity
of the microbe’s attack in my throat.

We were still in our home town
My little brother thrust a letter from you in my hand
It read: “Forget me;
let’s not continue this relationship.”
Sweat flowed down my spine
drenching my prison clothes.

The next day,
in my next moment
of delirium,
I stopped you at the college gate
pillion-driving Murthy’s cycle;
You turned your face away saying:
“I don’t want to talk to you”.
I was shell-shocked
under the pathogen’s war
on each of my limbs.

Tens of thousands of people
turned up in our city of love
for a right to livelihood.
The police came with a sheaf of papers
The order stated:
“Permission is not granted
to the rally and public meeting.”
What to do with the sea of people
already in communion?
Does the order still stand?
My feverish body
shivered in pain and anxiety.

Your words on the prison phone
the other day started ringing
in my head again and again:
“An exodus of migrant workers
has been walking back to their villages,
hundreds of miles away.”

the attack of the virulent
bug flew away with
your voice vibrating in my mind.

*Wishing you all those days of love and freedom
back soon into your evergreen smiling face.

25 July, 2021
(Written to Vasantha)

Tell Me, O Monk

Tell me, O Monk,
how did you renounce
the worldly things?

When you gave up your garments,
you changed into fine silk saffron ones.

When you started preaching against greed,
you occupied vast lands, and
accumulated uncountable wealth.

When you famously declared
shunning of all passions,
you began to spread hatred
among the communities of people.
And finally, you grabbed
the seat of power
in the name of the Almighty.

Kabir, the servant of people, says,
Does this son of a monster
ever relinquish his greed for the chair?
My wayfarers, if you still have any questions in mind,
see the atrocities perpetrated
by the seat he so firmly clings to.

15 February 2020

Why Do You Fear My Way So Much?

O Pundit,
O Mulla,

I’m not an atheist
for I don’t preach ungodliness
as my profession.

I’m not an agnostic
for I don’t carry a basketful
of doubts on my head.

I’m not your secularist
for I don’t stand
at the crossroads of all religions.

I’m not a rationalist
for I don’t use
the logic of pure reason.

I’m not a heretic
for my business isn’t
to chase after your orthodox ways
to worship and life.

Kabir says,
He’s a messenger of love for people
Why do you fear my way so much?

20 November 2019
(Written to Udaymitra)

Aphorisms of Our Age

New universal truths
emerge out of new experiences
of democracies.

The priests of democracy
enjoy the ease of lying
in the public domain.

The sundry demi-gods possess
high-tech from the past and the present
to run the twenty-first century democracy.

Foul language defines
the sacred games of democracy.

Data is the diet par excellence
of the diabolic elections.

Like money begets money,
data breeds data.

Data greases the palms
of the ruling machine.

Your personal data
shapes your shadow
that surveils every corner of your life.

The prices of crude oil fall
as the data, the new oil of democracies surges
with mystic powers.

To graduate as a super-democracy
produce more data,
less food grains.

The monks howl and prowl
shitting along the holy riverbanks,
preaching cleansing of democracy.

As democracy deepens
in the ancient land,
the monks occupy the seats of power.

In the early days of cyberspace,
all that happened in the real world
could be captured in the virtual.
During its late avatar,
nothing that takes place in the virtual
can happen in the real.

If you commit a petty crime,
the law takes its own course.
Sport far larger crimes,
you end up making laws.

If a nation were a nuclear start-up,
rules of denuclearisation apply.
Build up a huge stockpile of nuclear arsenal,
respect pours in praising you as a nuclear power.

Larger the military-war complex,
superior is your democracy
among the nations of the world.

The farts of a democratic
dictator smell sweet.

2 April 2019
(Written to Sanjay Kak)

Why Do You Fear My Way So Much? Poems and Letters from Prison

Excerpted with permission from Why Do You Fear My Way So Much? Poems and Letters from Prison, GN Saibaba, Speaking Tiger.