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LEARNING FROM THE PANTHERS: a poetic biography

by Chandramohan S


Why do you write panther poetry?
I write panther poetry –people have the right to bear arms.

Panthers aren’t extinct.

They prowl in the dense jungles.
They are disciplined men.
They upset the natural order of things.

Slogans – rise up
Fly sky high like
The sky blue flag
The sky blue of universal brotherhood.

The panther prowls
With a gait like a bird in flight

They protect their own kind.
Always monopolize a local cliff
To get a wide view of the surroundings
Like birds flying ahead of the flock.

The panthers marched
Had an anthem
Like an epic which would never run dry
With tributaries branching out
Like blood coursing veins of their hopes
Like letters of the same vernacular
With different phonetics.

These wild cats roar
Like reclaiming a lost world
A spine around which
The bipedal panther
Stood erect with its gaze
Beyond the horizons.

The picture hanging on the wall
Of the master of the martial arts
Who gave them the dictum
“Educate Organize Agitate”.

I will not let anyone else pronounce my name.
I will pronounce my name with the
Right intonation,

They rework or crawl up
To the fortresses of lexicons
New coastlines for myths
Suddenly veering off course.

The panthers
Sharpen the claws
On barks of trees
Descending down to its rings
Documenting the duel.

Though we didn’t like our names
We used to refer to ourselves in the third person.

Our name was the spine around which
Our world’s hinge.

Barren rocks
Amidst dense foliage of shrubs
Are receptacles of
Approach them with respect
A panther
Might explode
From shrubs.

The panthers march
Ahead of us
We foray into space
Between pages
In the time’s crevasse
Not to trip on the
Shadow-lines of yesteryear monuments.

Cops trail and tag
Our population
Fuel internal feuds
Force our extinction
Blow out the flame inside us.

We write poems- people have the right to bear arms
Or crops were being ambushed by pigs (colonial term for cops)

Swimming in an alien language
Is seeing ourselves
Or seeking our soul
In the deep sea’s mirrors

Our tongue
Fenced with teeth like jagged rocks.