“If You Do Not Give That Name” by Ramesh D K, translated from Kannada by Madhav Ajjampur

Transformation by Edward Supranowicz

Escaping from your crazy grip
I left, righting all of my clothes;
leap-springing from the bed,
opening the door, climbing down the stairs…

The street lamp is still burning,
a child is trying hard to open sleep-filled eyes,
empty bottles lie scattered on the ground,
rice packets in the corporation dustbin;

a wailing stomach,
the sheaf of rupee-notes you gave,
hotels that never ever shut,
syringes that are all crushed,
young boys with glassy eyes,
a car standing by the flyover;

night talk’s reserved for the night,
‘change my nose-ring’ you say;
you bring a blouse that’s new,
you stick coloured paper to the bulbs,
you give a name to me too;

if you do not give that name,
if you don’t at all give me that name
when I think to myself,
what if, truly, I did not even have a name,
the sound of a bird’s flapping wings.

ಆ ಹೆಸರಿಡದಿದ್ದರೆ

ನಿನ್ನ ಹುಚ್ಚು ಹಿಡಿತದಿಂದ
ತಪ್ಪಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳತ್ತ ಹೋದೆ
ವಸ್ತ್ರಗಳನೆಲ್ಲಾ ಸರಿಪಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು
ಮಂಚದಿಂದ ಇಗೋ ನೆಗೆದು
ಕದ ತೆಗೆದು
ಮೆಟ್ಟಿಲುಗಳ ಇಳಿದು…

ಇನ್ನೂ ಉರಿಯುತ್ತಿದೆ ಬೀದಿ ದೀಪ
ಪಿಸುರುಗಣ್ಣ ಬಿಡಿಸಲೆಳೆಸುವ ಮಗು
ಅಡ್ಡಾದಿಡ್ಡಿ ಬಿದ್ದ ಖಾಲಿ ಬಾಟಲಿ
ಕಾರ್ಪೋರೇಷನ್ ತೊಟ್ಟಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅನ್ನದ ಕವರು

ಚುರುಗುಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ಹೊಟ್ಟೆ
ನೀ ಕೊಟ್ಟ ನೋಟಿನ ಕಂತೆ
ಎಂದೆಂದೂ ಮುಚ್ಚಿದಂತಿರುವ ಹೋಟೆಲು
ನುಜ್ಜುನುಜ್ಜಾದ ಸಿರಿಂಜು
ಗಾಜುಗಣ್ಣಿನ ಹುಡುಗರು
ಫ್ಲೈ ಓವರಿನ ಪಕ್ಕ ನಿಂತ ಕಾರು

ರಾತ್ರಿಯ ಮಾತು ರಾತ್ರಿಗೆ
ಮೂಗುತಿ ಬದಲಿಸು ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಿ
ಹೊಸ ರವಿಕೆ ತರುತ್ತಿ
ಬಲ್ಬಿಗೆ ಬಣ್ಣದ ಕಾಗದ ಹಚ್ಚುತ್ತಿ
ನನಗೂ ಹೆಸರಿಡುತ್ತಿ

ಆ ಹೆಸರಿಡದಿದ್ದರೆ,
ಆ ಒಂದು ಹೆಸರು ಇಡದೇ ಇದ್ದರೆ
ನಿಜಕ್ಕೂ ನನಗೊಂದು ಹೆಸರೇ ಇರದಿದ್ದರೆ
ಹಕ್ಕಿಯೊಂದು ಫಡಫಡಿಸಿದ ಸದ್ದು.


Ramesh D K is a graduate in electronic media from Bangalore University, India. A journalist by profession, he has been working in the fields of print, electronic, and digital media for about 17 years. Art has been Ramesh’s constant companion since he was a boy. Besides having his drawings appear in several Kannada newspapers and magazines, he has also produced artwork to complement literary writings. The Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) recognized his work as an artist by organizing an exhibition of his book covers. Though he has written a number of poems, he has not yet got around to compiling and publishing them in book form.

Madhav Ajjampur is a writer and translator. He writes for various reasons, the most important being his wish to engage actively with the world around him. His poems and essays have been published in The Hindu, Firstpost, Bengaluru Review, EKL Review, and Autumn Sky Poetry Daily. He is the author of The Pollen Waits on Tiptoe, a selection of English translations from the magical Kannada poetry of D. R. Bendre.

Edward Michael Supranowicz is the descendant of Irish, Russian, and Ukrainian immigrants. He grew up on a farm in Appalachia and he has lived in Washington, D.C. and Boston. He studied painting and printmaking at the graduate level. His artwork and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in Fish Food, Streetlight, Straylight, Gravel, The Phoenix, and other journals.