I want to be sweet and clear and free, as half a line
of Auden, or an episode of the Powerpuff Girls;
I want to be dew, and honest with mine,
like Bob Marley, or Boesman the Boer.
I want to swing and get it right
at the speed of Pollock’s light,
I want to be deep like Zulu,
tight like Tamil,
and trust my sense of Sanskrit true
with little shame for its will.
I want to dabble in the fields
ignorant of what I was doing,
rub myself on the ruins
with a self-induced disease
and gleefully lapse
the hope to be heard. I want to fix
my favourite English words
into the forty-fifth century—
haw, for instance, or luminary—
hiding them in a snatch of prose…
passed over in silence
like Wittgenstein, no evidence
for myself or Laura Riding,
like Bharathiyar going mad composing,
I want to dissolve into our language
printing too little for my age;
I want to be obscure but not leaden,
flippant if I feel like it, then
I don’t mind being called poetically shitty
in a note from Manohar Shetty,
writing into the time we’ve borrowed,
singing from our utter boredom;
I want to hold in me the heat of my combustion
and leave this sweat-smear as a resurrection:
I want to be sweet and clear and free,
insouciant, insufferable, just like me.

Vivek Narayanan, "Deathwish" from Universal Beach.  Copyright © 2011 by Vivek Narayanan.  Reprinted by permission of the author.
Source: Universal Beach (ingirumimusnocte, 2011)
More Poems by Vivek Narayanan