Tabla Tarangam!

Yogesh Patel



A recent report exposes short comings of many publishers in the UK.

Albeit, to call the behaviour racist would be unacceptable. I have met many and they are anything but. However, a burrito of ignorance and arrogance spiced up with exclusion of talented BAME writers and poets is at the stall. Readers buy what is in shops. The gatekeepers are responsible for their bouncers’ practice. The culprits are named and are in wordplay with no concrete action. Though, I admit it is far too early to see the remedies falling into place. We have been here before with a similar hoo-ha. Will the elephant now get up and move? When the talk shops have folded their tents and moved out we will be left with the litter around and no one claiming responsibility.

Here is my poem in response to huffs and puffs that will drift away soon…


Tabla Tarangam

You don’t know him; I do.

I have seen him up there
with kingfishers, with his sharp nose.

They designed a new world together
but the world wouldn’t have it.

Every time he felt hope he would say
life is yoga, whatever that means!

He pretends he enjoys Blackpool rock
but behaves like Haribo Tangfastics.

Once seen aboard the ship Windrush,
he is lost at sea in Komagata Maru incident.

Some say he is a coconut from East Africa
but he is a curry, a very British invention.

They played the tabla on him.
Since then, he is Tabla Tarangam.

He tells me he is still looking for his Viola
and that love is black and white!

Everyone’s talking a report:
Tabla is out of tune.

I don’t know why he still sings!

©Yogesh Patel


Yogesh Patel has received an MBE for literature in the Queen’s New Year Honours list 2020. Internationally celebrated, he editsSkylark and runs Skylark Publications UK as well as a non-profit Word Masala project to promote South-Asian diaspora literature. Previously he has received the Freedom of the City of London. With LP records, films, radio, children’s book, fiction and non-fiction books, and three poetry collections to his credit, he is a recipient of many awards, including an honour in April 2019 at New York University as a Poet-of-Honor. Amidst many venues, he has read in the House of Lords and at the National Poetry Library.

His writing has appeared in many important literary journals, including PN Review, The London Magazine, Asia Literary Review, Under the Radar, Shearsman, IOTA, Envoi, Understanding, Orbis, The Book Review, Confluence, on BBC TV and Radio, in newspapers, and more. His work also features in The National Curriculum anthology, MacMillan, Sahitya Akademi and numerous other anthologies across the world. By profession, Yogesh is a qualified optometrist and an accountant. Author’s Websites: www.patelyogesh.co.uk and www.skylarkpublications.co.uk

“Tabla” by Sang Valte is licensed under CC BY 2.0