Poems by Rizio Yohannan Raj
Exchanges with the Thinker
Your big toe intrigues my eye;
it is a cross connection of sorts
made across your gates of hell--
my vigil, your gripping ideal.
My gaze pierces your heel;
it is an arrow of hope
sent across my gates of hell--
your retreat, my trespassing.
There, on the lintel of time,
your thought spills into my body.
Your calves turn to each other;
it is a classic formation of defence
when an army confronts its equal--
your rumination, my wonder.
My right hand joins my heart
to greet your furrowed shin,
an intense knee, a turbulent thigh--
my want; your rooted waiting.
My lips guard my tongue
as it addresses your sex;
this is a meeting of opposites--
my word, your truth.
Your burnt skin is your cover
against my outrage ;
this is a prehistoric moment--
your stillness, my trial.
Your wings are buried
beneath your long reflection;
what rousing wit, what turn of phrase,
what call of despair might lift your spirit?
My navel is a river of fire
opening on heat, tumbling into love.
It is a wild song—my beat on your drum;
your patient rhyme, my fervent rhythm.
But, your back is an animal in action;
its musculature so poignantly rendered,
a deep movement inhabiting its grooves--
an idiosyncratic cadence, a miracle.
This mad beast is a dream come true;
it keeps time with my tool of daring
that rides your rear like a dark faith--
my labour, your pounding imagination.
Your differentiated arms sculpt
the condition of our freedom;
I am led to a pondering fist
whose isolation is justly mine.
Our stories meet midway, now,
in their unfulfilled aspiration.
I run towards your dangling hand;
it is a reverie that tempts me no end
with its incredibly open imaginary
cast for the glorious human future.
Your solar plexus seems to me a receptacle
of vain tenderness that makes us a collective;
in our movements and in our postures, all
the beauty and pathos in the human animal.
My feet enter your meditative spaces;
it is about time we challenged Time--
together, we move into a prayer for grace
to let us prevail over our passion.
Your face is the mirror of my reality;
an age of tenderness forged in bronze.
I express myself in firmness now,
my toes grip the sand beneath my feet.
Your countenance is mine, too--
my knitted brow, your distended nostrils,
your compressed lips speaking for the whole of me,
our eyes receiving my vision as well as your endurance.
Here, on the threshold of time,
my body spills into your thought.
We are a sculpture cast in memory:
we figure in each other’s material,
my voice appears to your silence in trust.
In my flesh, you become.
We are a thought erected in desire:
we forge each other beyond decoration,
you enter my frenzy in an awful surrender.
In your bronze, I become.
About the poet
Rizio Yohannan Raj is a writer, editor and educationist. Her works in English and Malayalam include three collections of poetry, two novels, and two academic volumes. Her poetry and articles have appeared in various media spaces across the world. She has translated major 20th century Malayalam writers into English and introduced many works from other languages into English. She is the Founder and Executive Director of LILA Foundation for Translocal Initiatives, a public charitable trust working towards evolving an organic model of governance, and a worldwide cultural connective. www.lilafoundation.in
In my dreams,
night is still far ahead,
and you are a red lighthouse.
do not flood
the dark sea,
but your body
the detached azure
of the limitless sky.
perch atop your tower
cooing languorous strains.
Rainbow colours descend
on your windowpanes
gliding into a lazy ensemble.
Caught in the ennui of
afternoon wind, you wait
for my stark white sail
to appear on the horizon.
I imagine your shadow:
on the hot sands.