|\ |\ |\ |\ |\ |\: The Right of a Poem


Shriram Sivaramakrishnan

The odds of publishing my debut depends on my coming up with a theme large enough to encompass the score of poems I write during that particular phase in life, which is to say, my writing poems that would lend themselves to the theme and tolerate one another the way lines do for a title. But while a title oversees a more cognate work, a theme works much like the sun to our days when we say the sun is a life-giving force.

If we could strike the earth away like we would a carom board striker, the sun will not follow it to the far beginnings of the galaxy; rather, its light will fall on the object next in line; it is but a joke to call such a gathering a solar system; there is nothing systemic about the set-up, nothing except for a condition of occurrence, like how the third bounce of a ball depends on the first one.

To say that the ball is governed by a scientific theorem does not mean that the ball stays true to the postulate, but that the theorem can adequately represent the randomness of the ball from its first bounce till it comes to rest. This illusion of governance gives us the ignis fatuus of a system. But my poetry collection is not a solar system; my poems, not objects of a centripetal force. Remove a poem from the collection and the others will fill in the gap so seamlessly that replacing the poem will be an impossible task. A poem exists by its own right. It is neither a cause nor an effect, neither the Acknowledgement section nor the Contents page.

My collection will have a Contents page before every poem, |\ |\ |\ |\ |\ |\; if there are six poems, there will be six pages of Contents; the tables of contents will not index the pages preceding them; the first piece in any table will always begin at page 2, meaning, the first and the last page will not exist. The book will come to represent a Fibonacci series if considered from the end, each table encompassing the one before it, though my collection remains nothing more than a recollection at this moment. It is the beginning and there is no book, just a bunch of pages. A page is a coin; you write on its head, the tail wags. But what wags the tail? A page is a coin that cannot be flipped. But it is a door, too; it can move either way; the other side contains a latch to get in here. If a word caves in there, you behold its meaning from the rubble on the other side of the other side.

Read Shriram's poem: To Monica Seles.


Shriram Sivaramakrishnan completed his MA in Poetry from Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry. His poems have appeared in Pidgeonholes, Bird’s Thumb, among others. His first essay appeared in Write Here, Write Now series in 2017. His debut chapbook will be out this June, to be published by Ghost City Press.

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