Poetry at Sangam



METROPOLIS – 1 by Malika Amar Sheikh

(Translated from the Marathi by Sachin Ketkar.)

A total woman
Complete with a womb

A complete monsoon
A complete winter
A sky and a shore

In her breasts and thighs
You seek the meaning of the world
Or seek the answers to your questions
Or amusement or change.
Wife, mistress, and whore

What is the difference between these?
Only of numbers….

But there is more to them
Than the body
Which you deliberately rebuff…
is bed an answer to all the questions?
When you turn away after sex
You are not even aware
If the one sleeping next to you
Is a woman or graveyard or dung
In such circumstance
I am dolefully surprised
You can speak of poetry
This garrulous living
These false crowns
How long will you play
With these toys of feelings?
Your boats
After going around woman’s thighs
Raise their sails
And head towards some destination
Women say after waving handkerchiefs of wombs
‘Let the poor fellow find his island’
Then they become the third shore
Or you land on their nipples
And cry, ‘America America eureka eureka!’
Or something of the sort
When the seas of her hair surge
You hang your bodies
On her lips and eyelashes
To dry
Your bonfires of delicious overcooked debates
You feel overjoyed, overwhelmed, satisfied….

I never said she would be godlike
But it is necessary for you to cover
Your half-naked souls with her!