Poems by Alar Mani




Translated from the Malayalam by Ra Sh (Ravi Shanker)



I see a man looking like a cop
At the junction.
He asks me
Whether I saw.
I ask myself
Whether I saw whether I saw
It seems like I saw.

When I say I saw
He asks me
Whether I did.
I ask myself
Whether I did whether I did.
It seems like I did.

When I say I did
Those who saw
And those who did
Arrive in a gang.
They are all cops.
I conclude that
Those who saw are not those who saw.
Those who did are not those who did.

The junction is teeming with cops.
The market is teeming with cops.

Don’t you want, they query
As they display certain goods on sale
I sell myself to them
And buy everything on offer.



In a nation named Order
All houses
All creatures
Are similar.

All have
The same name
Same bowl.

All poets
All painters
Are involved
In the ritualistic expression of
One imagination.

Handicapped ones are never born here.
In the same dress sizes
All are equally free.

Love affairs
And festivals
Are banned in the
Unpredictability of their

At the zenith of fraternity
Anxiety Jealousy Partiality Hatred
None of them exist.

Just see
How reasonable
Is the technicality of
Equal justice.


Clocks in love

I have now discovered that your notion
that our clocks stop because they remain in severe solitude
is wrong.
I have hung all our ‘dead’ clocks
on the wall.
Since on the same wall
it is not Time that more than one clock is showing
hasn’t love got immense possibilities!
That’s how I came to that conclusion.
O Lover,
It’s just rotation.
Not a quest in void.
Not an attempt to prove that love knows no other motion.
Nor is it inferred from atoms.
(What’s more interesting in that theory
apart from the fact that apples are grounded?)
When I love you
my motion is
It’s because of repetitive rotation that
I kept singing
the same song.
I am now rotation
in the densest fluid.
Songs never end.
They only become unheard.
The lassitude of me and the clocks
is only how you feel it.
It is not that the clocks ever stopped.
Only that they are in love.


About the Author

Alar Mani, born in 1990, works as a software Engineer in Trivandrum. Her poems have been published in some Malayalam weeklies.

About the Translator

Ra Sh ( Ravi Shanker.N) is a poet and translator based in Palakkad, Kerala. He has published four collections of poetry, Architecture of Flesh (Poetrywala), Bullet Train and Other Loaded Poems (Hawakal), Kintsugi by Hadni (RLFPA) , Buddha and Biryani (Hawakal) and a chapbook In the Mirror, Our Graves, written jointly with Ritamvara Bhattacharya.  He has also published a play Blind Men Write ( Rubric Publishing.) He is also a translator whose English translations include Mother Forest (Women Unlimited), Waking is Another Dream (Navayana), Don’t Want Caste (Navayana),  Kochiites (Greenex), How to Translate an Earthworm (Dhauli Books) and The Ichi Tree Monkey and new and selected stories of Bama (Speaking Tiger).