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VISITING POETS



C.P. Aboobacker:
Occupy My Heart
Nest is Empty
If I see the sun again
Singing in the chorus
Love
Bridge
For Lovers, Of Times To Come
Millipedes
Past tense of a rain drop
Funerals
Angels
The Shepherd of flames



Poet, essayist, critic and journalist C.P. Aboobacker edits and publishes Thanal Online, a bilingual literary journal in English and Malayalam. He has recently published a collection, Before the Journey, which includes original poems and translations from Malayalam. Other writings include Murivettavarude Thadaakam (The Lake of the Wounded) and Kavithakal Ezhuthunna (Writer of Poems), articles on media misuse, Indian Dalits, American Indians, the Harlem Renaissance, and many others. C.P. is a retired professor of history and is active in anti-war and anti-terror movements. He blogs here.



Luis Benitez:
In The Flower-Bed, Razed By Cold, He Resisted
We, The Ancient Perfumers
The World's Bazaar
Trouts in the Southern Sunset
One heron in Buenos Aires
Saber teeth



Luis Benitez, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1956, has had nine books of poetry published, most recently The elephant's afternoon and other poems (2006) and The Venenero and other poems (2005); two novels as well as essays have been published in South America, Mexico, and the USA. Luis is the recipient of many local and international awards, including Primo Premio Tusculorum di Poesia (Italy, 1996) and Concours International de Poésie, accesit (Paris, 2003). More at Famous Poets and Poems.







by C.P. Aboobacker:


Occupy My Heart

Occupy my heart
I am in the winter of discontent
Not in the summer of suffering
Nor in the spring of desires
Nor in the autumn of fading hopes.

I hope for your cuddle,
For the warming dreams,
For a bridge to connect our hearts
And for a tender caress.

There with you flow the rivers
Reverberating the surfs in the ocean;
West and East meet through your land;
Occupy my heart.

Snow falls in my veins
Fog has wrapped up my pain
I shout in silence over in my cabin;
Streets echo me in louder strains,
Crowds sing in chorus the tunes of class war.

Winds become stronger
Bush asks why the crowd flies in its bosom
Dishevelled gorges see bright-eyed cats
Ready to jump up to the noises of liberty.

Occupy my heart;
Cities cry in thundrous tunes
Markets sell flowers to cuties
To garland their loves in the march.

They march in peace
Hunger and poverty in unison
Black and red are abysmally empty
White has a little mirage in the pots;
Occupy my heart.

Shed your sweat,
It's winter and you are hungry
Below, the bridges of poverty
Above clamour men of pomp
In limousines of affluence.

Occupy my heart,
His barracks might be full of amunition
To fuel the the roads and streets
To return to the streets of Chicago
And soak the clothing in blood.

I am in love, occupy my heart;
You have all the space there
To rest and fight with valor;
Men and women of America,
Come, occupy my heart.




Nest Is Empty

I've always wanted to hear you,
Perhaps clumsy as you claim;
I want your sounds.  Instead,
You write long lines and stanzas on your life
And on the destiny of mankind.

But I want to hear them;
Your sighs, your fragrant tones,
Words uttered, not written.

The nest is empty.
I cannot stay alone in winter,
I can't enjoy the bloom of trees in spring.
When leaves fall and fly through the air
Autumn goes away without me,
Summer shines and sends me its burning laughs,
Roads tarred with vitumen and rubber
Show me mirages, water flowing ahead...

I have traversed continents and seasons
To hear a sound from you.
I've become a tearful lad plucking grassroots
To write my lines into your eyes,
To hear your cries of ecstasy.

Far distant, you stay within or chirp outside;
You may roar or sing,
But I need to hear you.
I call you in the wilderness,
My noise echoes and returns.
Valleys laugh at my madness,
Still, I want to hear you.

Long passages are written,
Emails fill the trash in the inbox of my desires;
Have you spammed my pleadings?

Once, only once, tell me something,
Scold or praise, pour forth accusations
Or screech in the dense wood of emotions...
It's your noise I lack!




If I see the sun again

I have no poem today.
Tomorrow's sun may rise with a couplet;
It might say that you are there
eager to hear my song,
and I am here
eager to chew your words.
Or it might be a quadruplet,
a Rubaiyyath from a mind
filled with an ocean of sorrow
and a mountain of suffering.
I have a fragrance in me;
it is the experience of reading
your words of consolation;
a boy ran to me yesterday to say:
grandpa, from the janasa
the dead body has raised a revolt;
it wants a few couplets of love
and a mobile phone
to speak to its spouse from the grave.
I had to smile at him;
son , I called him,
it's love; love is what he wants.
So, my dear,
I have no poem today with me.
Perhaps tomorrow,
if I see the sun again.




Singing in the chorus

Singing in the chorus
I forgot myself;
A clap from the crowd
Solitary and sweet
Reverberated in my bosom;
Oh, are you in the crowd?

I sang into my fathom
Bringing the last drop out.
The chorus was magical.
Again a clap in the crowd
Solitary and sweet;
Are you alone?

Lights are dim and pale
Life a fairy tale;
From street to street,
Town to town,
The wagon moved;
Hamlets and oases covered,
Camels stood beside the camps
Heads rising, attuning to our chorus;
Infernal birds slowed their wings
To receive our vibrant songs.

Mountains had throughways to enter,
Orchestrated by the passing of time;
Warriors and seers passed by
Accompanied by the stirrings of history
And the tambourines of victory
And the melancholy harping of losses.
The chorus moved along,
Pedestrians of the ages.

Through deserts and mountains
Plains and shores
I heard your clapping
Solitary and sweet
From eternity to eternity
You travel parallel
To the paths I traverse
Singing to generations
In the moments of sighs.
Between the strings of notes
I wonder whether you could identify
The strain that rose from my  bosom.
Did you ever identify me in the chorus?
I could never find you.

As time passed by
The last flute was separated from my reed.
My bosom was empty
No note was sung.
You clapped still
Unto the last breath
I piped into the flute.

I saw a glass jar broken
At the spot where you clapped.
It remained in pieces
With no contents showing.
A breeze was blowing
Along the passes I came,
Wet and warm.
It touched my cold and dry arm.

 


Love

To extend its hands

To distances far

Love doesn't require a wind

Or any wave;

It can always reach

With no reed or flute

but a sigh for the beloved.




Bridge

I constructed a bridge
Linking the banks of the rivulet,
I crossed it several times.
No one came to me from the other side,
Still, I went on crossing and returning.
It dawned upon me like the morning sun,
I am crossing the bridge from both sides!

I shouted silently to my conscience,
You have won, you have won,
Be patient, I am coming
from the sides, from the top, and from beneath.

Dew drops fall from trees and flowers,
Young grass grows on the earth,
Huge elephants run wild,
A snail moves at its pace.
A bridge can connect all creatures,
Not merely humans.




For Lovers, Of Times To Come

I.
Oh, beloved,
You shouldn’t speak of floods;
Frightened,
I would curl tightly around you.
Shores are far, far away;
No bird is seen in the empty skies
With soil-stained beak,
Or an olive twig in the claws.
Deluges are lives
Lived between
Birth and death

2.
Yonder days,
It was a trunkful of kisses
I sent you;
Derailing stars
Masked into bunches of fruit
Hung in arrays on mountain trees

3.
The sweet dried figs
And dates from deserts;
And the colours of dreams and jewels
Mined in caverns.
Hasn’t someone said
That shades where fig trees
Wouldn’t bear fruits will come,
Saplings of ages and dreams
Would lose their seasons,
Check dams would be made in oases
And deserts would be spread over mountains?

4.
I know you have preserved my kisses;
Love can be a great flood,
Or a steep fall,
Or even an ocean.
Still I knew then and always:
Love would remain uneroded.

5.
You swam in the endless empires
Angel hadn’t seen;
You flowed smoothly in the torrents
Where zebras bathe and roll around.
I saw the footsteps
You left on the hills
Where coffee shrubs had flowered,
And in the fields
Where tiny flowers bloomed,
Spreading fragrance of love and sweat.
Still I knew then and always:
Love is an eternal sprout,
It never ceases to flow.

6.
At last we rejoin now.
Oh, beloved,
You shouldn’t speak of floods;
Let us speak only about love,
About changing springs and summers;
Let us kiss in intense love
And then shrink into brightly-lit stars;
Let us dart as stars arrow
To the lovers of times to come.




Millipedes

Oh, Sun,
Millipedes creep beneath
Revising revelations,
The seven horses drag
The golden chariot.
Oh, Sun, God of Energies,
Hymns and chants melt under you.

Enraged, the sky asks:
Lord,
Shall I fall on them
In the form of lightening,
Thunderbolt and flakes of fire?
The sun smiled at the sky
The smile spread a cool paste of sandal
All over the sky.

Angered into huge surfs
And burning into splashes,
The oceans ask:
Shall we drown them into
The tsunamis of our depths?
The sun smiled at the oceans.
The smile bloomed as seas.

The intolerant earth asks:
Lord,
Shall I devour them
Into the lava sprouts of my cracks?
The sun smiled at the earth
The smile covered the earth
With a tender breeze
Man and beast received for love and lust.

The serious mountains
Heavy with humility ask:
Shall we push them into naught
By pushing our largeness on them?
The sun smiled at the mountains.
The smile settled on the mountains
Great layers of light and heat
Glaciers crystals shone
On the silken tails of yaks.




Past tense of a rain drop

Transformed in to
The weightless depth
Of celestial tears
Flows unaware
A tiny rain-drop

Along the lanes
Array of shadows
Shedding love
In soil upturned
That grows corn and gold
And on trees blossoming
Before plains are reached
And in the boughs
And the soft lands
Embedded with
Fallen leaves

It flows slowly
Through the plains
Through the lives
Where sands pilfer
And sounds rhyme

Then it flows
Into the infinite ocean
Where it'll
Become a spot
Of past deserts




Funerals

Funeral ashes are still hot,
Sermons loud,
Chanting still heard;
Seasons come and go,
Cycles of sorrow and joy repeat,
Death, taxes, weddings, births...
Corpses petrify.

Souls testify eternally,
Decades of war and peace intermingle;
War for Peace, Peace in War.

Bushels of bombs and detonators lie ready,
Crackers explode in the joy of slaughter,
Gorges shelter unnatural copulation,
Desert bushes camouflage soldiery masturbation.

Love and hate decay in war,
Love-making a distant dream;
Spouses pray and betray,
Conscience creeps as millipedes,
Cockroaches overcoming violence and nonviolence.

Man dies for peace in war,
Hitler embraces Buddha,
Chief Seattle mourns his clan.
Old water still flows,
Funeral ashes are still hot.




Angels

Angels are a burden on my shoulders
White as snow, cool as marble
Filling corals in creeks
Swimming with golden fish among sea-rocks
Pouring flower juice on sleeping men

Angels weigh heavily on
Creation Existence, Destruction
Paradise, Inferno, Purgatory,
Religions faiths…
Their age is the beyond,
Before nature was created
Before water, mineral and air were born
Before thoughts and strains were awake
Before Sun and Moon rose
And Stars shone
And hill and seed sprouted;
Before whirlpools twirled
And hurricanes raged,
Before God sat on his throne
Before temples were made
Angels weigh in all history,
They support the universe
Above and below;
Weightless phenomena weigh heavily in them,
Mountains, oceans and all
Pains and pangs of victorious battles
And consolations for defeat
These angels painted flowers with blood
And poured life into them
And poured dreams into them
And poured fragrance into dreams
And frightened with their fragrances.
When, at last, Devils surrounded the temples
Angels fled in horror and fright
And came to me, the poet:
A new responsibility
Among other burdens
And unbearable duties




The Shepherd of flames

The shepherd of flames
Eats with his tongue extended
He has no hands
In the end
He has only the will to destroy
In the oven
In the chamber of suicide
On the battle fields
And in wild fires
Black tongues remain
That can't be seen.

He has limitless wealth
But it's of no use to him
Soon
He will combust
And after
Fly in ashes
In breezes.

His spouse
Will bring sticks to the fire
They will crack and burn
She will romanticize the fire
Pouring olive oil

And after
She will wear
A rope of hemp grass
Or of crushed palm leaves
Around her neck.






Dr. Rati Saxena, C.P. Aboobacker, Sree Parvathy: three
editors from Kerala.





by Luis Benitez:


In The Flower-Bed, Razed By Cold, He Resisted

We were discussing you and I
about things of our huge world,
made of windows
behind which we have kept sufferings and joy,
like in an aquarium
that we deem isolated from what is
boiling, when its magma
explodes in everything we say:
man and woman
are two races which mingle
amidst their perpetual battle.

Farther away, do you remember? We were in the balcony
his unusual melody was bursting in April.
The old cricket, from a faraway flower-bed roared his music score,
in the already cold April
of the Southern hemisphere, his existing was unusual, unexpected:
his sexual symphony, a summer disturbance,
had nothing to do in the middle of a freezing evening
which abandoned in his eagle
that furious child who will always express desire.

In the flower-bed, razed by cold, he resisted,
like an obstinate bulb,
like a seed insisting on procreation,
becoming a father late in years
of minute larvae which had flooded the air
some months before,
when frost did not blur the windshield
of the tired man driving the bus
along a sleepy street.
Farther down, on the street,
someone shouts his rage, hunger and cold;
among the sounds of blowing horns
another one frantically crosses the street in his car
and a salesman recites
his mercenary palinode. In front of the cricket,
we silence our shame
for being almost old and not parents.
His unfortunate violin will never reach
a female: in the dampness of the flower-bed
entities more powerful than his ridiculous singing
will cut off the strings:
the mist of May,
the street wind that will sow another June
will demolish the untimely sound
of the enlarged scraping of his sides
worn-out by an unceasing desire.
When a momentary silence intercedes
for his hardly minute gracefulness, the stupid animal
will allow his humble splendor to be heard all along the street,
that very insistence
of another time simultaneous that we do not see,
we do not hear,
except for a cricket or other eternal thing
forever out of this well-known,
calculated and daily world we inhabit.

Certainly time
is a river
pausing
at the banks of his singing.




We, The Ancient Perfumers

If anyone in a previous century had worked
on the combination of essences as light as the air
and thought of obtaining from his barely predicted combination
an essence capable of returning
to whoever passed by, through reading or a slight aspiration,
the simulation of beauty
condensed in words or exhalations,
just a glimpse, but so powerful, forever opening
his nostrils to a new reality,
so ancient and persistent, for so many and so few,
it is true, hardly contained
in the cipher of a few verses, or poison.

If it were true then that the majority -scarce- hardly breathed,
by chance or grace, the very first notes,
those that are called words, those that fade away first
leaving nothing in the nose which is the mind, are soon forgotten,
its sense lost forever, those which afterwards
return in a casual phrase without knowing,
in the mirage of a vision deemed their own but is somebody else's.

If others, less numerous, succeed in tasting or believe they do,
the centre where the sense "resides", hardly
the first one of an army of meanings
contained in a condemnatory mouthful of understanding in the world,
and don't know that all their further mistakes
will be engendered by that reading and a glimpse of something deeper
that will forever confine them in a false jail
where their lives will start to liquefy,
no less cheated by the appearance
of perfume, of the attractive second deceit
as alert as a spider, as reliable as a rifle.

And deeper, in the notes which are said to come from the heart,
a profound epiphany in ambush, launching its nets
beyond what perfume may capture,
and gather the sense or the words in the night.

Who can go any farther without returning
with a transformed member, with a new organ,
forever changed by the peeping into what exists
outside, so lacking colour and word as well?
The problem then is walking without being seen by the world
with that living prosthesis, that new portion of oneself.

Poetry is a perfume where limbo, hell and heaven
every day contend for something new
that fortune displays over the world.

(Believing what these three latter verses say
is opening your eyes with the fatal flask, unclosed).




The World's Bazaar

A stroke of dice will not abolish hazard.
Stephane Mallarmé.

We live immersed in miracle.
Saint Paul.

And the seed fell from the upper balcony
and some months later gave
these wild boughs, leaves, flowers I contemplate:
it was the fortunate one
with elusive life detached from its sisters,
roots to be,
green structures which were not or will no longer be again
something alive
in the sleepless city, inattentive to hazard's miracles
just as we all are.
So, on larger scales not knowing measure or relationship,
universes burst
and others survive containing this one, where I see
a plague-herb blooming
as if this one and I had nothing to do with metaphor.
I who was not murdered,
I who was not drowned as a child or as an adult, I who did not drink plague-killers,
I who didn't entirely commit suicide in 1975.
Now night is arriving again, and the moon appears once more
for many specific reasons,
as justified as a Carl Sagan's television series.




Trouts in the Southern Sunset

The thread was floating smoothly like a neglected man
in the liquid mirror of cloudy sky.

Nobody had warned him
in his simple condition of substance
that a life being had stretched him out to another one
by a cruel unilateral pact
something that really was not a pact
in an agitated world
for only one hundred thousand years of history

(something that seems a failed experiment:
each year seems to confirm this fatal
intent of nature)
and the liquid and elemental universe

that has millions of subtle episodes
assembled in each drop of water:
besides, it remits to the first times
not to later ones
of this great theater
the loose threat finished on a hook
in the middle of the Pre Historical Patagonian landscape,
where the big trouts still continue
because everything is immutable
and they still continue
like sunsets that are very far away
with the same perpetuity
that has a flee that falls

Plop!

into the water

a hard mouth that emerges from the depths
and brings forward its armed jaw towards death
or the life that we change in death.

Does a sudden leap of mind fit into
a brilliant insight that emerges from the waters,
something that warns that the same life
is in one extreme and another of the loose thread,
being endangered by the following act,
one like the other, being in danger
being always in danger by a determination
based in custom?

The same dangerous custom
of man and of the trouts

and then, this picking up of the thread
and breaking the rod on the knees
throwing away the reel
the baits, the boots
returning without anything to the hut
forever without anything of these precious innocent lives

without anything of this wide liquid universe
forever safe
at least one of us.

And the landlord of the hut
when seeing me from far away
judged me a fool.




One heron in Buenos Aires

Some paint brush described a
thin and white letter S
on the brown water and there
suddenly was the heron.
The tourists did not see her,
but she did see everything and everyone,
quick and motionless on the miracle of water.
A mirror in the middle of the negligent city, transparently painted,
an open buttonhole that she fastened in a sole moment,
all garments dressed by the winter.
She kept to the fatal shore of her own Amazon,
the contemptuous foot folded over and over against her own body,
as if to say, my balance is done
of a perennial profile.
It was a patient harpoon, only paying attention to the calculus
between playful shrieks of domestic ducks;
only she was precise like a tiny scythe
in the Japanese Garden that merrily exposed her graces,
with that eastern serenity that knows nothing
of the brutal murders of a hungry heron.
All have left, but for equal ways I have seen nothing:
a second has been missing among things I believe;
an instant in the following instant
was bloodily jumped over,
but when the heron flew away,
another life than hers was missing at the pond.




Saber teeth

It does not exist, but it existed and only he knows it still exists:
for his powerful framework of tusks and vertebras
any other detail than the curve
of his huge back results in irrelevance.
Facing his clear conscience that looks with yellow eyes
the plain is a sole eternity
and man another animal, and not the best of the moor.
Heavy grandfather of the tiger, he hides
at the step that dissembles and pretends to be another thing,
the rolling of a twig, a reckless scrape,
the wind, the naked surface:
all step by step know that it is him
that stamps those prints
and regarding everything, this contact is enough for him.
Perhaps his bulky ambush
has polished his tactics and has reached
the optimum expectation at an unknown feline scale.
A patient spring that waits since a million years
that we cross the line: our ignorance confirms him
that he should not grant us any grace whatsoever.
At the same time on many sides,
like before and always,
(so he believed and believes our superstitious idea of things)
is this sign at the ground and also and better
that strong shadow that of itself
builds a hill, where at the end of our lives he expects
as a safe and brawny death pet.





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