Click to view Profile
rizio yohannan raj

Mail to a friend

rizio yohannan raj

Photo by Monica Dawar


I had to restore you—bit by bit—you
From expressions that had long lain unhurt
by remembrance; our times are demanding.
My cautious tongue did alert me of how strange
the summons tasted when it uttered your name;
it felt void, a sheer non-imaginary of your flavor.
With fair unknowing, I had to call you
into my wakeful days and waking nights;
I could no more afford any indulgence of recall.
Our time seems loveless—for its sake, let’s walk
side by side as was our wont; or better still, let’s
just transit within each other—not belonging,
merely remaining…to look, perchance to see.
Look, Sappho
urges me to speak out
without shame or fear.
But I hold my breath—the smog
burns my eyes, threatening to blur
my vision, choke its ancient longing,
and blot my future epistles to you.
Death presides over compassion,
I revisit my lesson over and over,
till the dove-coloured karunyam
whose child is tragedy, and vice versa,
washes my eyes pure, my love.
Sadness offers to train me
to dance peace with you.
Rabia provokes me
to defy the hell fires:
If I love you in fear,
or for relief, burn me
in Hell. I invoke Rudra,
the red fury, to temper
my angry lust: Look,
it burns my undersides
till my blood boils and
turns into clouds. Soon
I will rain music into you.
Mira sings consummately
about snapping her fingers
at each of the consequences.
She terrifies and delights me at once
as she downs Kala, horns and all,
draining his mystique venom
to the last darkling drop.
Look, nothing is wasted;
all the controls and filters
have become redundant.
I can now trace your brows,
and eat your mouth
at my leisure.
The lady with the lamp
counts the bodies in pain
and says: If all are happy
with what they have,
the world would never get
anything better than this.
With fever quaking my loins,
I call upon the blue god on the hill,
the enchanting venom-drinker,
on whose dancer’s fitful body,
sweat is but a natural adornment:
Slayer of ills, ravish my aversions,
So I may revel in ashes, snakes,
moon, river, trident, music—alike.
Evita teaches me how to make a promise:
I will come again, and I will be millions. 
I confess, it is hard to be so naïve
with my uncanny mastery in irony;
my age has become too macho, too,
to let me be simple-minded, hopeful.
Yet, every nerve-end of mine
goes about undoing myself,
clamouring to join the musical,
merely to make merry, make love.
Let us interlace, weave each into the other,
we may not come into any millions, but
two can do infinitely more than just tango;
look, we can come again.
Annekutty is clear about it:
only whoever is happy may sow
the seed of luminescence in others.
My little vira is wheatish brown;
quite a golden god, she travels tirelessly
between the sun and the mischiefs of the moon.
With her on one’s horizon, it is hard to swing
between moods, or be confused between loyalties.
In her honour, I shall train my heart in stoicism,
let go of lost years, dry leaves, wasted silences,
and polish my callused hands to set free
my choked throat. I shall turn to you quickly,
singing out gorgeously, my urgent prayer
to play two street-side gulmohars—you and I
burning eloquently into each other’s ecstasy,
far out flaming the reckless Indian summer.
Mother tells me to be faithful
in small things. She asks me
to see the strength that lies in them.
I follow her instruction blindly,
and bite into your delicate green apple
focusing on its incessant tangy shades,
till my eyes are drenched in her wisdom.
Before I can open my eyes, astonishment
moves within me, mixing salts and elements,
churning my waters whose intense longing
for lightness has never known any bounds.
Just as I see, I am on an aroused path—
one strewn with mischievous moonlight,’
and these beautiful flakes of your breath.
Isadora tunes my nerves back
into the wild, signaling me green:
Don't let them tame you.
This mystery dancer is irresistible;
as per her rapturous will,
I shall untrain my muscles
and let them rave about loveliness;
I shall melt my impenetrable bones
so they turn into a deluge of sringaram.
Flowing to you with infinite tenderness
feels like a mission, a passion of sorts.
See, my beloved, the marvel of this is interminable.
Rosa teaches me how to say no;
being vigilant, I learn the secret
quickly, of resisting in calmness
the seven unpleasures of reverence.
Hence shall I say no, if your eyes stray
from the intense parting of my serpentine hair
so they may ever remain all afire as hell.
I shall forever deny you access to the sin
of dispassion, so your nostrils never fail
in marking the toxic flavour of my earlobe.
Allow me to exorcise your patronizing hand
from your loving body, if you let its calluses
touch my ardent temple dedicated to caring.
I shall defy work that roughens play, saying
no to the seductions of your hard day’s fruit.
Abstinence, my love, is the most lethal of arms
humankind has ever invented or invested in;
let us stay clear of the eternal coldness it can cause.
In defiance of the histories of ideas on ugliness,
I gift you my unscented sweat, my tears, the blood
of my fertility, my delectable wastes, all at once
on this exquisite lace. Receive my irreverence,
my dear, so we shall spawn our astounding future
that shall not be servile to our longstanding virtues.
Teresa of Avila
comes to my succor.
See, she shares with me
the unsurpassable sweetness
that has made her wish never
to be rid of her excessive pain.
What dazzling wonderment
shall I bring you, my dearest,
which undiscovered shade
of the canary, which melting
stone, what curious aspect of rati,
for you to arouse on my seasoned tongue,
an acute taste for the lawless sweetness
which will terrify the obscure deity
presiding over my time’s bhyanaka rasa?
Sumangalamata sits in the shade
of her own tree, telling herself
how happy and serene she is.
Her eyes are a mark of survival;
they are pearls of ecstasy
only endurance can mother;
I wonder how one can ever claim
to surpass one’s visceral greed for dearth
and one’s profound lust for suffering.
My friend, this nondescript afternoon
seems more than perfect for serenity,
and you may choose slumber over waking,
but remember to sleep passionately,
so I may adorn your eager breath 
with an irreplaceable vision, a marvel
wherein your roots and leaves
may gain their freedom to otherness:
My dear, as in a trance, I shall then love
you as a reverse tree, with roots floating
among the waters above, and umpteen
sky fish nibbling at your delicate feet—
your leaves are happily buried
among a thousand lovely bird nests
deep within the earth’s fiery core.
Beloved, when you are serene,
what a marvel you are!
The little girl insisted on our silence;
your voices become important
only when you are silenced, she says.
She has faced bullets, and worse things
that cannot be named—we must listen.
We shall merrily overcome our last needs
for compassion and catharsis, here and now.
My peace has come from my war with you;
Love, you have brought me my vision
of something way beyond seeing.
I can now watch you from behind my veil;
there is an unspeakable enchantment
in seeing you without your knowing—
in knowing you without you watching.


Feature–Contemporary Indian English Poetry

    Editorial: GJV Prasad

    Abhay K
    Aishwarya Iyer
    Akhil Katyal
    Amlanjyoti Goswami
    Ananya S Guha
    Arup K Chatterjee
    CS Bhagya
    Debasish Lahiri
    Devdan Chaudhuri
    Dhananjay Singh
    Gertrude Lamare
    Goirick Brahmachari
    Joie Bose
    Maaz bin Bilal
    Malsawmi Jacob
    Meera Sagar
    Nabina Das
    Nitoo Das
    Priya Sarukkai-Chabria
    Rajesh Kumar
    Ranu Uniyal
    rizio yohannan raj
    Rochelle Potkar
    Saima Afreen
    Sanjeev Sethi
    Semeen Ali
    Shelly Bhoil
    Smeetha Bhoumik
    Srilata K
    Sudeep Sen
    Sukrita Paul Kumar
    Sumana Roy
    Tabish Khair
    Taseer Gujral
    Uddipana Goswami
    Usha Akella
    Uttaran Das Gupta
    Vivek Narayanan
    Linda Ashok

Copyright 2017 Muse India