Poems by Ravi Shanker (Ra Sh)




The Ocean of Love

I loved in five languages.
Made love in four.
Dreamt in three.

One made me her master.
Asked me to flog her.
I used a horse tail whip.
Her blood was honey.

One made me her slave.
Peed all over me.
I licked my body clean.
Her pee was nectar.

One made me her son.
Breastfed me.
I drank to my fill.
Her milk was ambrosia.

One made me her dad.
Asked me to tuck her in.
I read stories to her.
Her finger was a bloom.

One made me her friend.
We went fishing together.
I caught a whale and she a shark.
I ate the shark and she the whale.

She waded into the ocean to lay many eggs.
I sprayed them with sperms.

Now, from the ocean, we watch
the shore receding
and the land dwindling,
cities crumbling and
earth drowning.

The ocean of love gently ripples over them.

(With due apologies to Kamala Das for the first three lines.)


Ima*, Unborn

Ima, ether, sperm of the mist,
brewing like wine in her womb.
I see her like a vision
in a crystal orb
sparking spasmodically.

Ima cries beyond the opaque foliage/ garbage heaps,
the stabbing drop of the cliffs/ the glass towers,
the prenatal seas that echo her first howl/the ambulance wail.

Her mother / night’s traveller / gentleswayer/ seductress,
blood moons rise on her flanks.
Her diktat is my fate, a dark star on the rise.
Her laughter freezing my image in the pool.
Her breath, a twister sucking swan songs in.
Her womb, a dragon egg wrapped in graphene foils.

She wields a guitar.
She wields a gun.
She wields a quill.
She wields a brush.

In bed, under the quivering sheets,
on the wind swept wobbling ocean bed
where blood runs dark and words cower in fright,
she draws me firmly into her crater,
crushes me in the vice-grip of her thighs,
and screams – skewering the dome, the sky, the globe-
give me Ima~my~ baby~of~the~fire~spitting~mountains!

Then, she –
Snaps the guitar strings/twang!
Shoots me with the gun/bang!
Drives the quill into my heart/ugh!
Paints me off the earth with her brush/swish!

I am reborn when Ima is born.

Ima* – a female baby name.


God’s body yard

I regret, gal. U been injected with one shot
of Genuflik Fatero Mortalis fluid. Am not sure,
but u’ll now go thru a scattering of dna
putting flora and fauna stuff into ur system.

U naked on the chrome table and me observing
ur organs close.
There u see changes happening.
Ur right nipple turns into a green grape.
into a sweet cherry.
Ur lips are now splits of an
open peach.
Nostrils two hibiscus flowers.
one a blue and the other a red lotus.
Ears two
conch shells.
Ur neck is a slender giraffe.
a dry lake.
Pubic hair a pine forest.
Vulva a violet
apology for an igloo.
Clitoris the kohinoor of
the great coral reef barrier.
Anus the mouth of
a volcano.
Bum two halves of a ripe jackfruit.

Mutation is a celebration as the Garden of Eve
turns more colourful and imaginative.
The Tree of Knowledge is not just a tree,
but a fish, a bird, a reptile, a toad, and a
trans man/woman/animal who all wait
silently for the x-beings to evolve.

Note: The above poems are part of the collection  ‘Kintsugi by Hadni’, the e-book of which is already released and print version to be released soon.

The poems in this collection, basically, deal with birth, death and love. Each poem has an element of creation and destruction that goes simultaneously with the language of love and eroticism. The poem may be using a language that borders on profanity and vulgarity, but the essence or objective of the poem is not that. Birth, Death and Love are simultaneous events happening in the same space. 

About the Author

Ra Sh (Ravi Shanker N)’s poems in English have been published in many national and international online and print magazines. His poems have been translated into German and French. He has published three collections of poetry – ‘Architecture of Flesh’ (two editions)  ‘The Bullet Train and other loaded poems’  and ‘Kintsugi by Hadni’. Ra Sh also translates literary works from Malayalam and Tamil into English. 

His forthcoming books are (1) a collection of translated stories from Tamil – “Ichi Tree Monkey and other stories” by Speaking Tiger, Delhi and (2) a play “Blind men write” –to be published by Rubric Publications, Delhi.