Chandramohan S is an Indian English Dalit poet based in Trivandrum, Kerala. His poems were shortlisted for Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize 2016. His second collection of poems titled “Letters to Namdeo Dhasal” was a runner up at M.HARISH GOVIND memorial prize instituted by POETRY CHAIN.  He was instrumental in organizing literary meets of English poets of Kerala for the Ayyappa Panicker Foundation in addition to being a fellow at the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa.

Chandramohan S

(Inspired by a famous poem on black lynching)

Jim Crow segregated hostel rooms

Ceiling fans bear a strange fruit,

Blood on books and blood on papers,

A black body swinging in mute silence,

Strange fruit hanging from tridents.

This poem draws is inspiration from the poem STRANGE FRUIT(1937) by ABEL MEEROPOL and is on suicides of Dalit-Bahujan students in institutions of higher education in India. Rohith Vemula is one of the victims (Jan 17, 2016)

Namdeo Dhasal’s

Letter to a Young Poet

In your poems

Do not set your rhyme and meter

To the drum beats of populism.

You may build mansions in their shade

Where synthetic grass is cut to level

And flowers bloom in time for the next election season

With petals the teal of the incumbent flags.

Before your mansions crumble,

I want to send you

To the smithy of the blacksmith.

[Post Script: Do not charge fees to read poems on hunger.]

The Immigrant Word

The immigrant experience for

A word in a poem

Is like being subjected to numerous enunciations

At poetry slams

To rhyme with rest of the poem.

The immigrant experience for

A word in a poem

Is to sound like “Prufrock”,

To be conspicuous

Like fly in the buttermilk.

The immigrant experience for

A word in a poem

Is to be accompanied with a footnote

Like the entire poem has a GPS tag

On one of its ankles.

The immigrant experience for

A word in a poem

Is to be a paper boat on the

High tide of strife—

Washed ashore like the corpse of a toddler.

The immigrant experience for

A word in a poem

Is solitary confinement

In the prison of syntax.

The immigrant experience for

A word in a poem

Is an undecipherable tombstone

in the war memorial.

Plus-sized poem

This poem refuses to be

The world’s wife.

This poem is not pimple-free,

Is printed on rough paper.

This poem has cellulite in its rear end,

Its rump outsizes itself off the market.

This poem walks the ramp with a self-edited gait

Without introduction or foreword from veterans.

This poem does not opt for offshore liposuction

To make oneself eligible for international prizes.

This poem eludes the trap

In the hourglass of time.

License To Kill

Not a morsel of food down her throat

An act of protest against licenses to kill

Her periodic crimson stopped

To stop the crimson rivers flowing down the streets

Of her seven sisters.

CHANDRAMOHAN S