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Umashankar Manthravadi

storkstill and standing by I

storkstill and standing by I
am standing still in a world
running out of patience I am
silent in a world running out
of spaces I am alone
on a wet black stone
in the middle of white waters

- September 14,1973

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Child And Dead Going Back

child and dead going back
meet midstreet
there is no recognition

the child carried anger
sacred a pot of fire

trying to see
the lights and places he knew

one too fiercely shy
and the other ashamed

cross careless as
sticks pitched for burning

could the child have denied
the casual callous acknowledgment
of an omen?

[...] Read more

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Dead Things Thumb And Forefinger As They Probe

dead things thumb and forefinger as they probe
without feeling the origin of the
final event, I watch clinically
the unstaring face for the first half breath
proof of the coming fire. death things thumb and

forefinger probe the beginnings of the
search for life. from the beginning the search
is for signs. of fire life and the pot of
fire that precedes the dead. searching the hand
sowing desire dying beginning the

search for signs. there is no escaping
now in silence a space is won. a sign
is found. fire fills the soft walled room. tide flows
and I walk in the fire. the staff of life
is full and free. do not die before me

Jan 18.1974

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A Blind Man Waking The Scorpion With

a blind man waking the scorpion with
a bent twig. black pendulous upstanding
sting found in the dark. a sharp still bright pain
lighting the spinning hole. brave man. blind man
stick turns to snake if you loosen your grip

didn't you know that? snake smooth the bright sharp pool
opens without assent folds round without
holding. stone falls without ripples through
the womb of strangers. don't you know that in this
blind world nothing wakes to the touch no skin

breaks? hold tight till the hollow tuber puts
its shoots behind the eye. and the purple
pendant stings where it hangs against the skin.
blinded by the growing rot a child bent
upon waking the snake he merely nods

November 3,1973

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