Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Prabuddha IX

This is the ninth part of the translation of Mahagama Sekera's epic poem 'Prabuddha', an exercise that has the permission and blessings of the immediate family of Mahagama Sekera. Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI , VII and VIII were published in
He was hero thereafter

To those who wore bellbottoms and mini skirts

to those with hair gathered high

and stylishly tied

to those thick lipped

and with long fingernails

to married women

lascivious and seductive.


And they cast their lustful glance

with puckered lips all lipsticked

but not for his voice

or handsome face

‘Vernon went abroad

for a conference

how about a weekend, darling,

let’s say in Belihuloya?’


But whatever the gains

whatever the heights he scaled

his mind was steadily impoverished

his soul lay felled and sprawled on the ground.


Those lipsticked lips

were red and full of mindless lust

and mascara-ridden eye-edge

burned with envy;

cutting through the convivial conversation

was hatred, unadulterated.



empty this life is

barren it is.


just beneath the flimsy gold

in the intersection of fragrances

between fingers of hands

extended for shake, for greeting

the contours of hypocrisy

in its full nudity.’



over and over again,

he felt.  


They were at the table

these well-groomed folk

important personalities

pushing away in their drunkenness

the polished silverware

grabbing with both sides

devouring the meats

dripping with juices and saliva

and he thought:

‘I too am like a creature

fed and fattened

for table, for feast.’


‘You are an outsider

among them

a foreigner;

this is no place for you




But I cannot go,

cannot leave you.

I’ve sold my soul to the merchants

just to please your mind

gladden your heart,

sold it to the merchants

to be one with you.

And since then

and until now

I’ve known no peace

just disillusionment

an emptiness



And to unfetter myself from regret

from disillusionment

I spill wine with friends

until midnight and beyond

until freed of memory

until senseless,

gambled in gambling dens

until event last cent was gone.

And yet there is no peace,

no contentment, no relief.

Come consciousness

and the mind breaks into sobs:

“You must leave!”

But I cannot

I cannot leave you.’


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Various absences

When you go away
and when you come
when you weep
tears to addresses
other than mine,
toss name
again and again
float in a teenage stupor
from rehearsal to concert
to photograph and photo-edit
when you sit here
and when I feel I am absent
and absented
through all this and more
now and again
you are