Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Here's the cover photo of my new collection of tanks and haiku being published by Cholla Needles, CA, USA. It is priced at US$4.  ISBN 9781975993849

Monday, September 18, 2017

FOREWORD to VVB Ramarao's 'Looking Within and Beyond'


Perhaps it’s time to think what it means to be a poet writing in English in a country that hardly cares about poetry.  Of course  poetry collections keep appearing, mostly with the poets’ own  money, in print and online, but reaching out to influential media and academia has been difficult.  The general support is missing.

Power and politics apart, practicing poets and editors such as D C Chambial, P C K Prem, T V Reddy, P K Joy, I K Sharma, R K Singh, Angelee Deodhar, Atma Ram, H S Bhatia, Pronab K Majumder, P Raja, Sudhir K Arora,  Abnish Singh Chauhan, C L Khatri, Shaleen Kumar Singh, K V Dominic, C L Khatri, and scores of others have been liberally supporting the potent voices that merit public and academic attention.  Even as they demonstrate understanding of the poets’ relationship to both the present and the past, to the rich literary tradition, and to the sociopolitical system that negates their presence, the problem of literary mediation persists. Their muse struggles for space in the world of Literature.

Unless academic research on emerging and marginalized poets and writers in English locally, regionally, and nationally is promoted as policy, the native literary culture won’t develop. It would not only be difficult but also partial, exclusive, elitist, and negative to discuss contemporary trends and consciousness in creative writing without talking about hundreds of new voices that appeared post-Ezekiel.

If a poet like V V B Ramarao is noted, --  he is an experienced academic, bilingual writer, and translator,-- it is not only because of his ability to carry the message of Indian culture and heritage with dignity but also because of  his ability to communicate.  He sounds collaborative with contemporary life and society and writes with a purpose, which is both personal and social.  Aware of the generational shift, he views the external world with a critical eye and tries to talk frankly.  In the process he turns within to become religious, moral, and interpretative.

His manas, sensitive and matured as it is, creatively explores the conflict-ridden world—“killing, ripping, raping, mauling” with “strange codes for strange outrages”—and transforms into a life of love, goodness, and compassion:  “Will vultures be transformed/into white doves, blue pigeons and black birds?” (‘The Seer’s Eye’), he suspects, but sounds reassuring, when he says, “Suffering needn’t necessarily degrade” (‘Vetting a Poet’).

As he exposes what he observes outside – “Threats of extinction wholesale are on the cards again,” with Laloosaurs, tyrannosaurs, psittacosaurus, Apatosaurus, saltosaurus, and so many other hydra-heads that challenge humanity everywhere (“Maybe the centre cannot hold, things are falling apart” –Pessimism), he demonstrates his strength inside: “But faith I’d never lose.”  He turns positive and calls for order, for looking within, through the microscope of oneself, for seeing what he visualizes as “whiteness of mind” and “infant’s face.”

Most of his poems are replete with images and metaphors that reveal wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and discerning insight: “What is without is within/Look for the infant’s face in the one you love:/Just look within” (‘Look Within’); “Ask not what the world has come to--/Realize what you have come to” (Mall Malady Moron); and “Blessed it is to be in solitude/A consummation devoutly to be wished/That’s all we need to know” (‘Bliss it is’).

The moralist and teacher in him is ever vigilant: “It is not enough to have a watch right on your wrist/You should know the value of time” (‘For Our Grandchildren’); “Spirituality needs wisdom and piety” (‘Seeing through I.C.U.’); “Days of deliverance recede far and farther/Hydra-heads cannot be decapitated at all” (‘Breasts of Prey’); “Between ism and feminism falls the shadow/For Hers is the kingdom/Time doesn’t heal: it only blunts./All is not vanity:/Pain is real” (‘Blunted’); and “Karmic suffering alone purges off dross” (‘Soul in transit’).

Ramarao’s didactic tone in many a poem may or may not appeal the new generation readership but the radiance of his thought may be felt by everyone.  He tastes and shares liberally what he calls “delicatessen” in poesy via saintly wisdom:  “Some tales in our scripture like epics are guidelines for all.”

Like a seer-poet, he movingly uses his metaphors to convey what may appear unpleasant but is true.  He critically meditates on various social issues of the time and communicates his own personal vision, revealing the experienced scholar he has been and searching his own salvation.  His poetry defines the way he perceives the world around him and demonstrates what lies inside him.  There is a touch of faith in what he says. To that extent, his poetry is criticism, with clarity of thought and diction, and added humour, irony, satire, and moral tone that draws him to the ways of the self with the same zeal as he commits himself to bhakti or devotion to the divine.

In fact he flirts with the muse to experience the human and divine as a seeker (cf. ‘Winter Rain’ and ‘Foul Play’).  In his ‘Winter Blossoms’ and other poems loaded with sex, he seeks to stress how “amorous sex” is  a means of fulfillment.  If one desires more and more of it, it is because, to quite J. Krishnamurti, “there is the cessation of self-consciousness, of the ‘me’… complete self-forgetfulness.”  It’s a condition to free the self, a self-free spiritual state, “seeking to be free of conflict because with the cessation of conflict, there is joy. If there can be freedom from conflict, there is happiness at all different levels of existence.”

When Ramarao’s narrator talks about give and take, yearning for ebullient warmth, in absolute oneness of physical union, he seeks a greater continuity of pleasure, and an escape from the deadly sense of emptiness, isolation, loneliness.  “Loneliness is hell,” says he.  The poet seeks solace in the advait philosophy of unity, but cautions: “Libido is not all—it can ignite another flaming hell” (‘Vetting a Poet’).  He continues:

         “Hidden arsenals haunt a devil mind
           Eager to add lusty continents to
           The globe bursting at the seams.
           No point chanting mantras for navigation benign.”

But love is its own eternity just as discovering the ways of the self through poetry is Ramarao’s meditation.  The volume is a discovery of truth which everyone may relish. I am happy to be a part of it as a reader.

April 4, 2017

Published in V.V.B. Rama Rao, Looking Within and Beyond. New Delhi: Authors Press, 2017, pp. 5-8. ISBN 9789386722300                         

Saturday, September 02, 2017


shaped like a bird
a drop of water lands
on her breast:
my breath jumps to kiss it
before her pelvic flick

Published in Endless Love Poems  in the Category Great Poems of Love http://www.e-lovepoems.com/poem/kiss-by-Ram-Krishna-Singh

Thursday, August 24, 2017

FOME, my poem translated by Adao Wons. Editor, Cotiporã Cultural, Brazil


Ram Krishna Singh- Índia

Porque eu não pude entrar
na vida dela de mentira falhei
Meu próprio instinto, agora culpo
Feito fome atrativa
Dentro das paredes do campus
A verdade permanece sombria
Até um subi
Sua pele tateia o oculto
O corpo fala estranhamente
E lentamente pelo ato
Mesmo que não seja feito
Através do aumento, queda e
No vislumbre do crepúsculo
Fissuras e cantos
Quando vestida de noite, alguém
Luz do silêncio nascente

Tradução: Adão Wons

Published in Cotiporã Cultural , World International Connection Peoples, Edição: Julho e Agosto de 2017 Nº70

Edição e produção: Adão Wons. Rua Marcílio
Dias, 253 – Térreo - Centro. CEP: 95335-000
Cotiporã – RS E-mail:adaow@ibest.com.br -----


Ram Krishna Singh, India

Horas de silêncio
E muitas caminhadas:
Sem palavras fáceis
Sem moldura
Sem paranóia
Nenhuma peregrinação
Mas cantando dentro
Durante o dia em declínio
A acústica interna
Em uma colina
Sem nublado encantamento:
Suspiro para nirvana.

tradução: Adão Wons

Contato em Inglês:

Published in Cotiporã Cultural,  World International Connection Peoples, Maio e Junho de 2017, Edição: Nº69.

Edição e produção: Adão Wons. Rua Marcílio Dias,
253 – Térreo - Centro. CEP: 95335-000 Cotiporã –
RS E-mail:wonsster@gmail.com -----BRASIL

Monday, August 21, 2017



sin-maker or sin-eater
both create the snake in sea

swimming unending love-waves
in colours that cloud the eyes:

bodies of desires float up
passions, dreams and infinity

--Ram Krishna Singh

Saturday, August 12, 2017

30 Tanka in Cholla Needles, USA


Cholla Needles

Love’s spirit descends
and melds into her body
lending it new life:
I’m amazed how the unknown
becomes one with her beauty

a tidal wave
touches the shore to wipe
my naked footprints
and leaves behind some shells
pebbles and memories

a serpent twists
its head to face a dragon
on her shoulder:
their tails on breast in water
swirl to cleanse my kiss on skin

her smile
with a whiff of sandal
makes love livelier:
I search Tao
in the wind’s flavor

her letter smells
the lotus she wore each time
meeting in the dark:
I touch her fingers again
with all the hopes and passion

I love her undress
the light with eyes that spring
passion with kisses
she leaves her name again
for my breath to pass through

before the foamy
water could sting her vulva
a jelly fish passed
through the crotch making her shy—
the sea whispered a new song

his message to meet
at moonrise among flowers
sparkles a secret
on her smiling face passion
glows with charming fervor

a mist covers
the valley of her body
leaves memories
like the shiver of cherry
in dreamy January

shaped like a bird
a drop of water lands
on her breast:
my breath jumps to kiss it
before the pelvic flick

watching the waves
with him she makes an angle
in contemplation:
green weed and white foam break
on the beach with falling mood

a moment of love
and long silence for years:
from dream to nightmare
again fear grips my soul
I sense her presence around

love is the efflux
from her body spreading
parabolic hue—
enlightens the self I merge
in her glowing presence

they watch the bare back
to feel the body through crotch
thank engraving pen
she loves the etching on skin
to enhance nudity

the wine of love swells
in my vessel dark shadows
recede human dirt
between sound and silence greets
the joy and bliss of spirit

drinking evening star
blue green patterns before eyes
no meditation
no god visits to forgive
the sinning soul in quietude

after the tiff
lying under the same blanket
two of us stare
the peeping moon and turn
with glee to each other

tears dry up
leaving no marks where her pain
ends and mine begins
on the face makeup damp
with aching sweat and cold sighs

I thought I would make
tea for her but she was sleeping
I didn’t wake up
our back faced each other
once again cold birthday

near the railway track
she squats with hands on the knees
and hides her parts
in half-dark the naked truth
transforms nature into nude

peeping through the fog
the sun feebly comforts
a sparrow’s nest
built under the window sill:
I hear a new-born crying

weaving no web
a dark fishing spider
mates in the creek
and curls up hanging from the twat
in one-shot deal

on the wall
the window grill’s shadow:
midnight pain
overwhelming touches
indifferent after-taste

along the wall
crouching in wrinkled shawl
an opium addict
dodges his mother waiting
with dinner in the kitchen

over the dried moss
rains have grown new layers
making the path more
slippery for all of us
falling is a postscript now

waving arms of trees
conspire with overcast day
to drench again
the two of us look for shade
under leaking umbrella

the mirror swallowed
my footprints on the shore
I couldn’t blame the waves
the geese kept flying over the head
the shadows kept moving afar

resting his chin
on the back of his palms
he stands at
the dusted railing to watch
the planes take off

waiting for the remains
of sacrifice vultures
on the temple tree
stink with humans and goddess
on the river’s bank

I’m no river
flowing toward the sea:
I must find my way
asking strangers in strange places
sensing soul, using insight


Cholla Needles, Issue 7, July 2017, pp. 9-15

Monday, August 07, 2017

BEYOND THE SHADOW: A few notes and a mystery by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU

To assess this poetry - and not the poet – we have to look at each poem and see
what it brings since it is a collection, hence coming from different periods and with no
connections among them. Then after examining the poems a few ideas may emerge. Here
are some of these ideas emerging from the samsara of this collection.

What is surprising at once for that poetry written in English is that in its form itself I
feel the Indo-Aryan syntax of the native language of the author that I assume to be Hindi
though I have in mind the languages I know, Sinhala and Pali. The second poem is typical
with its numerous present participles that give elements that have just been sort of fulfilled
as if they were preterit participles: fulfilled circumstances from whose fulfillment a vision
may emerge and in this poem what emerges is at the beginning: death of course that
cannot be as long as these circumstances have not been fulfilled. That will lead us to
another remark later.

At the same time his reference to haikus is true and false. These poems apart from
one or two very short ones are not haikus. But it is also true because the poet uses
standard concatenated static elements to build images that are at times striking and this is
haiku-ish. We have thus chains of such concatenated static vignettes or cameos and the
meaning can only come from the samsaric chain and not from each small tableau or any
logical or rational stringing of them. This is true of many poems.

But poem 28 is a mixture of both techniques. It is a haiku by its shortness and its
striking conclusion of “a ship on vacation” that sinks. But at the same time he transforms a
negative preterit participle clause into an English negative causal explanation, which it
hardly is. All the poems should be examined at that level of the intertwining of three
syntaxes from three different linguistic traditions, the Indo-Aryan and Indo-European
traditions that are quite close and yet quite different even though they have the same
origin somewhere in the Middle East probably on the Iranian plateau. The third tradition is
definitely different since the languages of the haiku are Japanese or Chinese, isolating
languages based on the concatenation of invariable nominal and verbal elements.
The second remark is poetical. It is the very extensive use of oxymorons to the
point of being able to qualify this poetry as oxymoronic. Consider the conclusion of the
third poem:

“heaven is a mirage in human zoo”

The use of the copula “is” comes from the English language but is not necessary
and the line without it would be a lot more striking in its appositive or concatenated style
and closer to a Dhammapada verse:“heaven a mirage in human zoo”

“Heaven” and “mirage” are of course oxymoronic, at least if we consider “heaven” to
be a real concept for the poet and not a sarcastic or humoristic reference to something he
does not believe in. That would be trite, not poetic. At the same time “mirage” and “human
zoo” are oxymoronic since a “mirage” is what man sees that is not there. If the zoo is real,
then the mirage is impossible. But associated to “heaven” it then gives to humanity a
gullible and totally absurd reality. They cannot know, even heaven, because they can only
see mirages. Finally “human” and “zoo” are oxymoronic because man generally keeps
animals in a zoo. How can man keep himself in a zoo of his own making? It is this intricate
oxymoronic use of what is basically metaphors that makes this poetry striking.
This second remark leads me to a third one. There is only one allusion to Buddha
but the poems are deeply and pervasively inhabited by some Buddhists concepts.
The most obvious one is “dukkha,” that concepts that states that since everything is
changing (anicca) life is a vast cycle of birth-growth/decay-death-rebirth. The author is
obsessed by his own decay and death. Poem 8 lists his ailments:

“My shrinking body” . . . “devil in the spine” . . . “abusing tongue in sleep” . . .
“bleeding anus” . . . “oozing and stinking” . . .

He refers to that decaying process over and over again. His conclusive formula in
Poem 8, “onanist excursion,” is perfect to describe the hypercondriac onanistic
masturbation of his own self and body, ailments and evils. And this onanism is rightly
identified in poem 29 as “wank without wad” which, beyond the trilogy of initial /w/, the
dukkha cycle, the sterile attachment (tanha) of the poet makes that poet a wanker without
wad hence a sterile wanker practicing sterile wanking producing nothing.

This absolute domination of this totally negative dukkha that brings no rebirth at all
because of the poet’s excessive attachment (tanha) to his own decay (dukkha) is seen as
an evil of the modern world in poem 14. The growth of concrete buildings makes flowers
die, makes tree be felled and disappear, and leaves nothing but a world that produces its
own full sterility and frigidity. A world that has the wank without the wad.

A last remark along that line is the evasiveness and lack of precise presence of the
concepts of anicca, constant change, and of anatta, absence of soul or self. The latter is
totally denied and never mentioned. The soul I even asserted here and there and the self
is omnipresent. But the former can be found though not constantly. Poem 14 is typical of
that constant change anicca but as a catastrophe, an irreversible evolution to destruction,
what he calls “a calamity” and this calamity, this dukkha, in the absence of any rebirth, is
the end of life, of the world. On the other hand poem 13 is a lot more balanced, probably
due to the reference to Buddha. And he asserts that the “loss” due to this constant change
and decay “returns to wholeness,” hence leads to some rebirth, though “returns” is not the
proper word since it is not going back to what it used to be but a new wholeness reached
beyond the destruction of the old wholeness. “Return” is too retrospective.
We could and should examine the many variations of that theme.

A final remark has to be done about the last poems: they tend to become political,
ideological. The theme was touched already in Poem 9 “politics of corruption.”This corruption is like the rotten apple in a basket of apples. It makes the poet’s “face ugly.” “There is no beauty or holiness left in the naked nation.” “I weep for . . . the faces they deface with clay dreams.” And this clay is not coming from some messianic holy city, but it is the heavy and dirty clay that can be found in any field, in the ground and that turns into mud with some monsoon rain.

But the most powerful poem along that line is poem 24 entitled “Degeneration.” But
this poem asserts the existence of gods. We are far from Buddhism and its godless world,
its soulless man and its selfless (without self) human being.

“When gods are out to teach me a lesson
. . . my prophet friends . . . the palmists . . .
they seek money for rituals, stones or mantras
while God gives us the best in life gratis
. . . now or tomorrow they all delude
in the maze of expediency and curse”

His prophet friends and the psalmists are obviously exploiting the world and people.
But I can hardly accept the idea that god gives anything gratis and it contradicts the first
line, because with all we get from nature, and even from god if you want, there is always a
lesson and the price of this lesson can be extremely expensive.

Poem 27 goes even farther and states:

“. . . a professional loser
. . . strays a preacher
to revolution”

It is clear for the poet there is no honest revolutionary man, there is no honest
revolution which is nothing but a perversion. But this revolution can perverts a preacher,
that is to say “a psalmist” or “a prophet friend” and we know what we have to think about
such people. So a preacher does not need much convincing to be turned revolutionary if
that provides him with the electoral and financial support he needs, he wants, he
contemplates, he greedily craves for.

So, is this poetry worth reading? Probably yes because it states clearly that if you do not have a spiritual inspiration you are reduced to your bleeding anus and exploitation by all kinds of fake prophets and greedy preachers.

One thing though is missing. It is quite obvious love is good but sex is a reduction to
an instant of pleasure, to a wank with a wad, but it leads nowhere beyond that wad. What
about though a sexual partner, a love mate of any sexual orientation imaginable? Let’s say
there is nearly none except a woman a couple of times, particularly in poem 30, the last
poem of the collection. But that evanescent woman is quite special.

“. . . she hates my face
. . . she questions why I think of Bangalore
for treatment of all my ailments
and takes me to Bannerghatta zoo
for animal viewing.”

We know what we can think of a zoo, a human zoo, a zoo that is for human beings
more than for animals. This “she” is not particularly inspiring. She is not a soul mate. She
is not mind mate. She probably is no love mate either, just a keeper and maybe a sex
mate or even only a body mate that likes her men oblivious of their ailments and reduced
to their admiration towards the animals who become an image in the mirror of the eyes of
the voyeur audience of a zoo when the direction voyeur-voyee becomes blurred and the
voyeur is the voyee and the voyee is the voyeur, when the ape is the watching man and
the watching man is the ape.

Don’t tell me such women don’t exist. They might prefer museums or department
stores instead of zoos but the project, the intention is the same: make their partners
contemplative voyeurs as if they were mute mirrors of what they see in front of themselves
and nothing else.


Olliergues, France