Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín

 

Two poems By Usha Akella


 

UMBRELLAS

This poet,
What is he saying?
His words so sure like granite,
I understand nothing,
except that a poet speaks poetry,
And I am listening,
Hard.
When he turns a page,
it could be another
page from his life
chosen to be sacrificed,
His hand moves on the page, moves
like a scorpion
full of ink,
like a bird
scattering seeds,
it seems like a city in which
you find love young
before death finds you on the street,
someone or something seeks someone or something first,
in the audience there is a girl
showing off her young cleavage
and pink painted lips,
flamingos are born from them       
and stride in the throngs.
A poet speaks  of her love for Beirut,
the translator holds two versions
like two neighborhoods in a city,
young faces like torches lit up,
celebrate the young ones here
send death packing with his
many faces,
let the alphabet of faces
speak a new script,
river of poets,
river of images,
there is no bank,
no shore,
no end,
a couple under the umbrella,
she rests her head on his shoulder
sometimes a shoulder is a wall,
Does she know this?
Shall the poet lean on the wall of the world?
for comfort?                                                                        
 (Why does one man have courage,
the other not?)
A mother cuddles her daughter,
they are garlanded with poetry this evening,
The Lebanese poet says,
“Today my life is mine.”
A child creeps from poet to poet on the stage,
his face a round moon bobbing on clouds.                                                   
The rain comes down savagely
Umbrellas open up like sunflowers in the dark,
The dark is like a silent bat,
torch-fires vanish like dreams into the unconscious,
the people stay under the umbrellas,
the people come, keep coming,
from the stairs,
from the earth,
from the sky as if they are beamed down,
the rain pours, the people do not move,
“You are the poems,” says one poet,
They go wild,
the rain brings a river from the sky,
and a river of people,
and a river of poets,
and a river of faces,
and poetry does not die this evening,
as love does not die in hate
as peace does not die in war.


*Closing of Medellin Poetry Festival an outdoor event with audience ranging in 4,000-5,000.


WILD WOMAN


Wedded to five names like Draupadi:
Aburrá de los Yamesíes,
San Lorenzo de Aburrá,
San Lorenzo de Aná,
Valle de San Bartolomé, 
Villa de la Candelaria de Medellín.

Glittering with jewels,
casting your eye-light about
like a net to lure another,
unsatiated, roving eye
in the botanical gardens there is
gossip with long tongues,
about your shameless display
of charms, reading poetry to lovers*
from the books of many
countries fluttering your eyelashes,
stealing glances,
heavy pauses and flourishes in intonations
plying your silletas high,
flailing flowery robes,
you tango giddily, your perspiration
blooms wild orchids, coins jangling
in the pouches of Pinocchio
you snare with unruly thoughts
that flare as lilies, carnations
agapanthuses, sunflowers, bridal veil,
gladioli, chrysanthemums, rose,
in the balconies of your home you courted Escobar,
he danced  to your charms walking on live coals,
lost his life on the rooftops of your houses,
fickle heart like a mansion with many rooms,

Who is your true love?

Draupadi: Main woman protagonist of the Indian epic Mahabharata wedded to five husbands.
Silletas: Elaborate flower arrangements carried in light wooden box on the backs of flower growers.
*Refers to Medellin Poetry Festival.
Escobar: Famous drug lord who died in the early 90s.

 

May 20th, 2015

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