Thachom Poyil Rajeevan | A birthday poem

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – 2015 Yusef Hawkin’s face is gone and now this child’s face has also been totally erased from the world. I believe her name was Janelle Lynn McCleese, born in 1987 and died in 1990. How did she die? I have imagined that she was hit by a car. The mural lived much longer than she did. Perhaps brevity really is part of the beauty and function of these murals—that their eventual loss further reflects the neighborhood’s demographic changes, the passage of time, the brevity of life. I won’t ever forget Janelle’s face and her lovingly fixed hair. She lives inside all of us who passed by and took notice of her as we walked down Lewis Ave.,-- us, the lucky living, wondrously and briefly animated by life.
PRIVATE 40, p. 34-35, photo Michel Lozano, text Thachom Poyil Rajeevan
PRIVATE 40, p. 34-35, photo Michel Lozano, text Thachom Poyil Rajeevan


by Thachom Poyil Rajeevan

I am to be born today.
But, yesterday
My star turned into a black hole
My tree perished my bird, my animal
All died out.

My king’s name is not Herod
My uncle is not Kamsa*
I am not to be a Jew, or a Communist
I won’t fall in love with the princess
I won’t lay any claim for the kingdom;
I don’t know then
Why all are afraid of my birth

The love you keep for me is being wasted
And that I keep for you now hates me,
My dreams betray me before I dream them

I don’t figure in the register of the living
Nor in the roll of the dead
I’m in exile in a country
Yet to be discovered,
For an offence no one knows.

Like the ones for the dead
Some rituals could be there
For the unborn like me,
I wish.

* A mythical cruel king who was killed by his nephew, the Lord Krishna, as the uncle’s cruelty exceeded all limits.

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