stephanos stephanides


jaya devi


I chose the following poem (written in 2004) in dialogue with Tina Troickaja, whose name I drew from the hat. I sent Tina some poems of mine translated in Ukrainian in Vsesvit magazine a few years ago. She read them in Ukrainian and in the English original, and I asked her to choose the one that spoke to her most directly. She chose Jaya Devi.    


Jaya Devi


Goddess, tonight you are dreadful

Last night you enticed me

In your watery blue

Even the moon was blue.

Why tonight do you shake and pump my body

Until filth flows out from all my orifices.

On my knees I heave and puke

And beg you wash me clean

With warm liquids

Laced with turmeric and neem.

Instead you shower me

With a deluge harsh and cold

I shiver and you throw me down

An empty shell.

Why Devi? 

I know I am your baby and

Don’t I know your pestilence and stench?

And how often have I seen you dance in burial grounds?

I also know your lotus touch.

Heal and let me sleep. 

Tomorrow I will speak.

If you want I change my voice

Don’t show me all my shit and muck 

Just prod me a little more gently

And again I’ll sing your praise

Jaya Devi Jaya


 In Delhi after the blue moon in January, 2004.