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The Night Soil Man - Part One

The Night Soil Man I Nothing sticks to-get-her like turds No border line nor skin to cross Condescension's never a case for loss High birth's distilled from fermenting curds The day dawns where sleep reigns loud Where the pitchblack venomous karunagam* slithers out from its hideout in the ox-bow touch-me-not underbrush to make its hungry way into Vanar Kampung Sandal-less the coarse makeshift sweat-soaked thalappa* fits his disheveled scalp like some portrait halo yet to hang high Thodti* strides majestic loping down the mired mud gravel pathway (Who defers to whom : the " cobra " or the " pariah " ?) One is out to catch rats romping in the rafters zinc-roofed one-storeyed houses nailed planks on cement stump stilts The other to fetch slippery rubber pots laced with diarrhoeac splashes phlegm menstrual blood the day's un-read newsprint soaked with urine mixed with spermatozoic squirts The spent air breathes carbide dry on the back of the late-afternoon thunder storm the dense morass of foliage the taste of mashed mango leaf the scent of spermatozoa durian reek Late night cinema-goers lie clutching the blind Lata Mangeshkar hits piped-dreams spreadeagled on stained yarrow or atap mats The Sikh guard lays out his elaborate night-out at the Chinese saw-mill gate his un-used one-barrel rifle bedded down on his string-bed fast asleep while the hurricane lamp flickers dying by dawn Crackling frail cicada wings pizzicato symphonic milling frog harmonics organ jamming rapping bagpipes heaving A lone sentinel owl keeps base time stalked by panther pawed musang* in one crook of the sprawling rain-tree's over-arching ghostly lumber limbs The moon's full pallid sick for the earth Road lamps dim into their dull amber cocoons time out of time The jungle-green sanitary van throbs discreet on the overgrown tarmac under-brush sidetable the Malay driver eyes the quasi-un-clad nightsoil women their paps prurient in sack-coloured khadar* sari cloth as they hover on their hinds for the Night Souled Man to bring in the fresh-filled pots the leprous bleach of his hands and feet glint and glower as the whites of his never-opened eyes strain in the half moonlit dimness at every giant distracted step a trail of human dung streaming down his loin cloth Resources *karunagam (Tamil) : a variety of cobra ; *thalappa (Tamil) : a variety of headwear ; *Thodti (Tamil) : " night soil man " in common parlance ; *musang (Malay) : wild " undomesticated " cat ; *khadar (Tamil, from Hindi) : rough un-smoothed-out cloth. © T. Wignesan - Paris, May 17, 2019

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019




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