Wednesday, January 14, 2015


by J. Mark Beaver

It’s tragic
the way that everything falls away
when you name it:
those there, looming over this
here, their darkness,
their ability to catch the light
from that, there, hanging brightly.
It sounds so ridiculous to say it that way,
but there they all are:
the sun in the sky
over the small green earth, the peaks
that pull the horizon so close, so high,
glowing, their valleys blue-black
with shadow.
In our eyes they are the mountains
that we were promised: immutable.
But in word
they may as well be made of sugar.
They melt under their names
as under a hot running tap.
I could say nothing,
I should
give up singing these empty psalms,
hold your face tenderly between my hands
and turn it towards the view.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bragging rights

Ant of thoughts

She thinks,
sometimes too much.

A thought-
abstract and gas like
is condensed.

And grows,
only to become a
stray ant -

that emerges
from the depths of her hair
and starts running along
the loose strands -

which I pluck
and throw away.

I wish,
she would not think,
as much as she does,

sometimes even thinking
about how thoughts
must be thought.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On Constipation

Writing is like bowel movement. Every night after you switch the day's noise off, as a habit, you write.

Yes, schools are about potty training; Literacy they call it.

And there is this. The writer's block. The second childhood.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


This was last year. In Chennai. Midday. I was walking towards a share-auto. I noticed someone in it – Neck length hair, green kurta and meaningful limbs.

As I stepped inside the vehicle I was shuffling labels – woman, man, boy, girl, hijra, transgender, cross-dresser, homosexual and a million other dictionary words. I could not tell.

But, there was a charm. The kind that makes you look again. And again. And linger.
The green kurta sat quite gracefully on those shoulders. Ear-piercings were visible but only the seconds had studs, two polite ones. The eyes were underlined with kajal. Those eyes were liquid. I struggled to keep my attention away, on the window to my left side. I knew they occasionally turned towards me as well. There was a certain pleasant tension in the air. It was a twenty minute journey. I got down and walked away into a peak-hour-traffic.

I yearn for a pronoun every time I narrate this person.

Friday, April 12, 2013


It has been a while and this memory refuses to wane.

I had just rushed into a vilAsininAtyam recital by Swapnasundari at Kalakshetra; I was late by about an hour. She was wrapping a padam up.

This was a jAvaLi in kedaragowLai beginning 'attavAru'. I do not comprehend Telugu much. She translated it for us - a mugda nayikA, an inexperienced adolescent, yearns for a night's union with her beloved before she is taken away to her husband's place by her mother-in-law.

I understand abhinaya and this is my rough rewriting of what i saw.

I was much younger 
and unaware
as i jumped around and played,
my loving mother 
undid my two swaying pigtails
to make one - one plait for each decade that i shall be his -
behind my head,
and wrapped me with other prickly jewelry
and those bangles, whose jingle i fell for, that morning.

I did not get why my cloth 
was tied to his.

Had i known of your handsome self, 
had i known then of you, O Gopala,
i would have cried 
at least a voice louder
that i be yours.

I don't joke when my wedding knot weighs me down.
The sun shall rise soon; They are here to take me away.

Give me this moment. 

A jAvaLi is usually a fast paced piece, as this was as well. This huge old lady transformed into a light-footed child. And the two pigtails, as she slowly undid them, told me what it may feel to actually be 'given-away' unaware. I doubt if i have felt the weight of objectification ever before like i did then; A parakIyA* suddenly made sense; so did the abhisArikA**.

Art made sense.

Many a conversation with my friends have passed where i jokingly argued for child-marriage. I take them back, now. I am sorry.


*parakIyA is a woman whose loyality lies or has to lie with a man other than her beloved.

**abhisArikA is a woman who sneaks out to meet her beloved.


திணை. என்னால் மொழிபெயர்க்க முடியாது என்று நான் இடம்விலகும் சொற்பட்டியலில் முதற்ச்சொல். 'Landscape' என்று அதை மொழிபெயர்ப்போர் உண்டு. 

இன்று ஆப்ரிக்க சமூகவியலை ஒரு பேராசிரியர் விவரித்துக் கொண்டிருந்தபோது, தமிழ்ச்செய்யுள் ஐந்திணை வகைகள் என் நினைவை கிளறிக்கொண்டுவந்தன. 

வகுப்பறையின் வெளி நடைபாதையில் மழை பெய்ததன் அடையாளம் தெறித்திருந்தது. கழுத்தளவு உயர ஜன்னலின் வழியாக சற்றே வழுக்கிக்கொண்டே எட்டிப்பார்த்தால் மூங்கில்களும் ஆலிலைகளும் கண்ணைப்பரித்தன; நனைந்த பாதையின் மேல் இலைச்சிதறல். கனவு ஒன்று மெல்ல பறந்து சென்று அங்கே அலைந்தது. முல்லைப்பண் ரீங்காரம். தேன், இளவெய்யில், மலையொளியிடம். வீசியதோ நெய்தற் காற்று; கடலோரம் உப்பூரியிருப்பவள் ஒரு நசை. தோழி தேநீர் கொண்டுவந்து கொடுத்துவிட்டு இடைநிலங்கள் பற்றி ஏதோ கேட்டாள். 'என்ன?' அரைக்கனவு கண்களுடன் நிமிர்ந்து பார்த்தேன். நாங்கள் இருந்தது மருதத்திற்குரிய நிலப்பரப்பிலாம். வளர்ந்திருப்பது... இல்லை, வளர்த்திருப்பது செதுக்கப்பட்ட அரைவேக்காடு , முல்லையல்ல, சுவர்ப்பாலை - திணையற்றதோ?

(இரண்டு வருடங்களுக்கு முன் கிறுக்கியது)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Brutes, sexually

There are these things. They buzz around like mosquitoes on motor-bikes. Often like house flies – Do what they seek and fly away before getting swatted. They all love mannequins; they love to touch them; they love to stare at them; they get ecstatic, apparently. More lovable if the mannequins were made of flesh and were animated up.  

These things are felt mostly around unlit streets at night. Often they are also propped midst people in crowded buses or trains. There may also be a few around familiar walls. Please do not insult thieves by equating these things to them. These things never take anything that can last more than a snap of a moment. They probably suck much up from the memory later. I wouldn’t know. But, I know that all memories people have of these things are like that of an unclean lavatory, a mosquito bite or a piece of metal in your food – annoying. They can be painful occasionally, even hazardous.

They emanate disgust.

They reek of disposability. Like a dysfunctional, yet grunting machine that may not be repairable. They shall be thrown away, swatted off eventually.

The law of this land tells me that they are living beings. Well, as an ecological egalitarian I think all lives deserve respect. This is my memorandum of warning for those things to grow unworthy of swats.