Sunday, November 28, 2010

what's in a name

like a magnet, certain names,
all of a sudden attract bullets,
out of nowhere…
or the silent touch of a knife that slice open the veins
in the midst of a prayer…

certain names, they say
like a sacrificial lamb, may
always be destined to the butcher’s knife.
oh mother, will my name attract his knife?

‘what’s in a name’ so
sung the bard, long ago

just because of a certain name
you may disappear, without a trace, in no time.
statistics may tell your name was latif
muhamad, ansari, or hanif

thousands of such names
with a TAG attached
been knifed or pierced
on the wayside of listless encounters.

oh mother, what is that TAG
they are going to attach to my name?
a terrorist, a dalit, anti-indian, or anti-social, or a christian ….
is that certain?

in those streets
that hold the night like secrets
scores of names are even burnt alive
so the sun will never, ever thrive
on those names.

and when the secret crumbles
like the citadels that kids make on the sand, tumbles
what you unearth, if chance permits
is a piece of nameless bone
that failed to record the pain
or a piece of frock, torn
that resisted the decay, in vain.

oh mother,
why did you give me this name?
- there is something in this name
there is something in this name
that attracts a knife
when time is rife
or a bullet, or worms in a gutter

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