We are the sunflowers, woven into a garland
With the distance of years
In which we transformed from untouchables to human.
Now you have departed,
I am still waiting to repay my debts
To our no-homeland.
I walk about your city, your dearest whore,
Whom you kissed with your passion
Like no one before.
The night finally seems to rest in the night.
The abandoned dark hole, the untouched life,
We, the broken ones, mocked them both,
With our loud howls.
Our howl now talks with the Sun,
Foreplays with the Moon.
Bombay, your dearest whore
Now changed to its nakedness, and,
Menstruating the orange blood,
She calls herself ‘Mumbai’ now.
But I prefer to call her as your dearest whore
As your children yet to be allowed a home
To keep their humanness in the bedrooms
To eat health in the kitchens,
I see them under the bridge of Chants of heaven,
Or political coalitions,
With bodies covered with half-nakedness,
With stomachs relished in sacred cocaine.
I don’t need to struggle to know
What does it mean to love or to be loved by this whore?
I close my eyes and think of your abode,
I close my eyes and remember your marches
To defend the dignity of the dead bodies of Kamathipura,
I close my eyes and do not want to open them again
Because I won’t bear your absence.
But I must wake up in this morning,
The mendicant is standing here with a sunflower
To enlighten us.
And I will sing the song you composed and set to tune,
To dance on the stage you made with the bricks of your bones
To pay a tribute to our ancestors’ history
That despite being cheated, and,
Erased from the pages of history,
We are the people, broken ones
We are the people playing truth’s drum
We are the people drinking the ocean
We are the people rising above the Sun.
Yogesh Maitreya is from Nagpur and is doing his M.A in Criminology and Justice (2013-15) from TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai).