Manohar Shettymanu_thmb


Stills from Baga Beach

Vast freckled Englishwomen
Thaw in the sun. Their breasts
Loll out like baby

*      *     *

Flabby leftovers of Valhalla
Diet on bread and bananas.
Their dozing blue eyes stroke
Small boys in torn

*     *     *

The German studies the Vedanta
In translation through chromax
Dark glasses, her oozing
Tattoo  mobbed by

*     *     *
The temple elephant, vermilion
Swastika on its domed
Forehead, lumbers
Unblinking over the buff


The Old Printer

I long for the hot slug in my hand,
The lines in metal I set
Like books in a library shelf.
And I long for the clanking rhythm,
The fingerprints of honest grief, and fresh
As paint the proof rolling out.

Now I sit in a cool cabin, the size
Of my size, my hand wrapped
Round a smooth noiseless mouse.
But to me this is neither home nor house.



Always in the kitchen, mackerels
Decapitated with surgical skill;
Translucent talons of boiled cockerel;
Shelled prawns slick as grubs;
Pighide rolled back like a rug;
The bland plasticity of broken crabs.
An ossuary in the dustbin.

Add to these offerings, cleansed
With vinegar and turmeric,
Gnarled ginger, virginal garlic,
Customary crowns of cloves,
Incense of cinnamon, bayleaf,
Poppyseed and fenugreek,
And the universality of salt.

Serve hot in candlelight.
Use a flowery tablecloth.



Something carnivorous in carving it open.
The two halves, sighing in a fragrance
overwhelming as incense,
rest on their domed heads.
The stem’s acrid milk reddens
my skin, cleaves the knife-edge.
My hands grope in the wholesome
innards, the golden slippery ligaments,
the litter of flesh-coloured seeds,
the plucked flesh heaped in a bowl,
the pimpled carapace
like something disembowelled.
Who would have imagined a blister
to bloat in the ripening heat
to this pendulous
softness and hardness.
Strange maternal fruit,
what unearthly roots
bring such seeds to bloom?


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