Two Poems

by Ankur Betageri (August 2018)

Trespass, Helen Frankenthaler, 1974
An End to Dreaming
I wish I could live happily
under the trees
collect alms
from loving householders
and move from
public park to public park
I wish I could sleep
sannyasi-like on a park bench
without police waking me up with a stick.
I wish I could gaze at the constellations
at midnight without the dogs barking:
thief! thief!
I wish I could live
as if there was no state regulation
no traffic, pollution, heat and disease.
I wish detachment and god-love
could free me completely
make me immune to cruelty and injustice
and the work-regime of the world.
I wish my enlightenment
could end poverty and hunger
rid the world of slavery and child abuse.
I wish my under-tree teaching sessions
could clear a farmer’s debt or stop
the killing of tribals by anti-naxal troops.
I wish punya was bank balance
and hoarding enough
opened the doors to heaven
I wish the answer to world’s suffering
was to call the world false
and ask to be released from it.
I wish moksha was more than just death
that it wasn’t: ending life utterly and making death eternal
I wish I could believe what the books say the ‘Learned’ knew
and that this poem wasn’t a refutation. 
from its folded
the sea
and ripples
a crinkly
from the depth
of its wavy
her skirt
a breeze
over my
but when
from beneath
the skirt
her knees
press against
the cardboard wall
of my curt
of propriety
loom over us
like a fortress.

Ankur Betageri is a poet, short fiction writer and visual artist based in New Delhi. He is the author of The Bliss and Madness of Being Human (poetry, 2013) and Bhog and Other Stories (short fiction, 2010). He teaches English at Bharati College, University of Delhi. His poetry has appeared in New English ReviewMascara Literary Review and London Review of Books.

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