Poems by Merin Manjooran



Translated from the Malayalam by Ra Sh (Ravi Shanker)



Octagonal land; Olive trees
grow thick on the borders!
Triangular lake with daffodils
hedging it! An octagonal island
in the middle! In it a triangular
lawn! An octagonal pond in it!
When she dives through the
Triangular tunnel and keeps swimming
avoiding the common carp and
murrel fish, she enters a forest with
no angularities. Zebras graze there!

Escaping the eyes of the martial artists
wearing triangular loin clothes
she heaves herself up the tree house
on the tiger’s claw tree armed with
only a bow and arrow left behind by
tribals. Achayathi shoots down every
martial artist hiding in the bush!

Kill them! Kill them, girl!

The assholes who howled that
shooting the guys who were just
peeping at the women bathing was
foul play warned that they will
unilaterally switch off their Play
Stations to protest! Get a life!
To Achayathi who argued her case that
no such rule existed and won it, they
pleaded that it is still not fair play.

Achayathi has not broken any rule.
Shove octogons up their….!!!

Achayathi: A term used in all these poems to denote a Malayali Christian girl.



Who da fk ‘re you,
he asks Achayathi.
Shoud’ve said,
everything is Achayathi herself!”
He is a slow learner.
“Achayathi nd
the being of Achayathi
are not da same.

I, or the self are not
different from
the i’ or self-apostrophe.
The self as non-self
denoted as duality of
the indivisible essence of being…
so simple! “

Elementarily saying
“if you look at it dialectically
in a theoretical infinity,
the schubimbo of atman
is not different from
the second element
of the mechanical self.”

The guy who extracted
only da word bimbo from it,
he is cool!

Didn’t he sell in da black market
of artificially intelligent toys
the bundles of her deeds
that speak in a coded language?
Wasn’t he, the night walking vampire,
who captured da images of da
pulsating breasts of his betrothed
while she enjoyed her bike ride
near da stream and mailed them
to da young monks in da deep jungles
of Africa?

Is n’t he da traitor to the clan
who wired to da orderlies of
the NATO commanders,
her vital statistics,right thumb impression,
moles of her daddy and da first communion
date of her aunt’s kid?

Isn’t he that rascal who mortgaged da
collection of antique watches of da
ancestors to da man from china and
gambled in the token market
in the unknown island where da
jungle gods were dead?

Don’t stick your head into da
trading chart and stare,
you will go blind.

When he is warned thus,
pat comes da reply
“ let my eyes go blind, you bimbo.”



The Whatsapp uncle bragged that
my Great Grand dad’s photo
leaning on his walking stick
with a brass handle in the wharf
where the boats with rice bags going
to the bazaar were moored
was snapped by a foreigner and
its copy was to be found in a ramshackle
studio in London. He bragged again
that when Great-Grand-Dad arrived strutting
on a rickshaw pulled by humans,
the school masters used to stand and bow.

Fresh news! Fresh news!

The Great-Grand-dad’s daughters
escaped to posh nunneries in foreign lands
and the sons all joined the air force.

Finding no one to look after him,
Great-Grand-dad adopted two robbers
and three adulteresses
who were brought to trial in his courtyard
and we are their descendents,
confesses Chivas Regal.

Hambada! It is not for nothing that
no amount of adultery
satisfies Achayathi.

*Hambada: An exclamatory remark.


About the Author

Sketch by Anubhav Som

Merin Manjooran is an independent graphic designer based in Dubai. She completed her MFA from Accademia di Arte, Florence. She also attended lectures at Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence. She is interested in researching the material culture of Kerala Christianity and her versification in Malayalam is derived from the socio-political impulses of Syrian Catholicism in Kerala.



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).