Leena Manimekalai: A Pair of Daring Poems

by Sampsonia Way    /  June 26, 2011  / 1 Comment



Last week Sampsonia Way‘s posted a revealing conversation with Leena Manimekalai, an Indian engineer who abandoned her profession to act, film and write.

Manimekalai, who already has published three books of poetry, considers herself an evolving poet. Her first Tamil poetry anthology Otraiyilaiyena (As a Single Leaf) has seen three editions so far. Her second book, Ulagin Azhagiya Muthal Penn (The First Beautiful Woman in the World), has provoked mixed reactions: It received the Iyal Poetry Award for 2009, a call for its banning by Hindu Makkal Katchi, a Hindu People’s Party, and repressive attacks from “some ultra left fanatics.” Her third poetry collection Parathaiyarul Raani (Queen of Sluts) has just been released.

Hindu Makkal Katchi has filed a case against the author on the grounds that she is distributing essentially pornographic material.

“Obviously, my poetry is dangerous to religious and ideologically fanatic minds. Language is my first enemy; its norms, design, and usage are controlled by the dominant patriarchy,” said Manimekalai.

The following poems are reprinted with permission from the author and from the translator, Rajaram Brammarajan.

What do you want?

Finally when I met him
He happened to be a fish
In my ocean he swam
With millions of scales
Never once did he
Get caught in my fingers.
Whenever he plays the brown blue serpent gourd
And convulsions die down
He drinks my spirit.
In his thirst
I kept drowning
Whenever I tried to grab
His light-ball face
with dark mossy lips
he slipped away
With the ease of a snake.
Asked him to let me know at least
Which part of my body he liked
He snatched my breasts
And disappeared.
Now I am scorching
Like a desert.

The Ocean that exceeded the tongue

Like a bamboo forest
My lust rattles.
The one who lit a fire with wetness
Had gone leaving behind his tongue
Whether it is a storm
Or rain
Or infernal fire
The air is befuddled.
In the embrace
Giant waves shattered like
Magical birds
In the scream of a cruel voice
The earth turned musical.
The one who swallowed the ocean
flutters like a butterfly.
The play continues.

Read Sampsonia Way’s interview with Leena Manimekalai

About the Author

Sampsonia Way is an online magazine sponsored by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh that seeks to protect and advocate for writers who may be endangered, to educate the public about threats to writers and literary expression, and to create a community in which endangered writers thrive and literary culture is a valued part of life.

View all articles by Sampsonia Way

One Comment on "Leena Manimekalai: A Pair of Daring Poems"

  1. rishvan January 15, 2012 at 9:21 am ·

    nice to read… thanks to share…

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