Thursday, 16 September 2010

Last Brahmin Poet

I am the subcontinent’s last Brahmin poet.
I see young technicians from Bangalore
wearing bodywarmers as they take the long,
slow walk beyond their physical selves.
I see Bihari gangsters learning to love.
I see Tam-Bram socialites driving horribly
through Colaba, bellies full of colourful drinks,
knowing that if death should visit them,
it’ll be Ganesha’s trunk on the gear stick
Lord Vishnu’s four hands at the wheel.

They approach me for wisdom,
then try and second guess what I’ll say:
“...Something about lacto-vegetarianism,
patience, maybe virtue, a rhyming aphorism
like ‘knowledge is earned, not learned’,
a cryptic factoid about the largest animal
that ever lived, some unreferenced lines
from the Vedas to make me feel dumb.
Bully for you, Saint Haircut. I choose my caste
to match my mood. Today I feel untouchable.”

Then they hand me ten rupees
and slip away to take a video call.
India, I’m devoted to all your children.
My patience remains unworn.
But should the population need thinning,
let me offer myself to your sword.

-Joe Dunthorne

1 comment:

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