skip to content
  • Calendar
  • Maps

Spring 1987, Volume 4.1


G. S. Sharat Chandra

G. S. Sharat Chandra is a Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. A former Fulbright Professor in Malaysia, he is internationally published in journals such as London Magazine, Transatlantic Review, Parts Review, and others. Among his books are Heirloom (Oxford U Press) and Aliens.

See other work published in Weber Studies by G. S. Sharat Chandra: Poetry—Vol. 7.1Vol. 9.3Vol. 12.2, Vol., 15.1  Fiction—Vol. 15.1.


The Absent

Bells do not ring
when our names are called,

we are the no people
who were once the yes people,
we are China in the back closet,
wash left in the rain
with the wind moving our sex.

Our words are awkward
between forks and knives,
between shadows
on the dinner plates,
we're stones fluttering
in your intimate eyes.

Yet you've given us
a place at your table,
it's a tight place
between crowded chairs,
naked we do not know
if you have us here
to keep yourselves separate.


Barbers of Nanjangud

In Nanjangud
there are five hair cutting salons
named after the goddess of India
with the picture of the goddess
inset with circular photos
of Gandhi, Nehru, Subhash. Bhose,
hovering over the curvature
of the globe with India in the middle.

In one hand the goddess holds the national flag,
with the other she blesses
everyone who bows their heads
for hair-cut, shampoo or blow-dry.

But business is slack,
young men have taken to wearing their hair
longer than women or modem saints,
pilgrims are scarce,
there's drought in the air.

The five barbers sit
vacantly in their chairs.
They're bald, wear no dentures,
bet on horses in far away races
after consulting the race guide,
town tout, the astrologer,
finally the goddess on the wall
in whose moving smile
they divine the well groomed horse
that'll make up for their business loss.



I want a vacation
where the mind doesnt stray
from the starry stratosphere
of motel ceilings
to remember it's become a whale
dipping in & out of itself.

I want to bounce on the bed
from the first kiss
to the last hurrah,
to collapse without pit stops
back into the body
without backing into memory.

I want my mouth
not to watch my tongue,
my tongue my words,
my words my brain,
the rage that was relevant
only yesterday
which now makes me say
I'm glad I've lost it.

I want to dream
of youth's cocky impieties,
the inexact ways to your love's certainty,
not this vision of oranges
under the bed,
the world waiting to see
if I get to eat them free.