Thursday, June 2, 2016

A poem shortlisted, IIAS, and poems in SCRIPTS

So, I loved IIAS, I loved the conference, and I loved the hills. Who would not love to have the poet Sampurna Chattarji as their very own room-mate for three whole days?? I intend to brag about this for the rest of my life. She also happens to be the sister of one of our English deptt teachers-- well, just gives me more reasons to brag. My paper went well and was well received, hopefully it makes it to the anthology of selected papers!

Okay, in other news, there is a art, culture and literature organisation based in Pakistan which is called Umang, and is headed by Dr Nosheen Ali. This organisation held a competition on the theme of 'Liberation' for the Nasreen Anjum Bhatti Poetry Prize wherein I was shortlisted for my poem 'Kabir Das ki Nagri- Reclaiming My City'. The poem deals with Benares, where I was born and brought up. Nothing to rave about too much perhaps, as this was supposed to be an international competition but could not spread very far and wide, so they only got a few entries, and these were mostly from India and Pakistan. So, nothing to rave about, perhaps, and yet, something to still feel nice about.

Well, alright, I haven't posted any actual poetry in here for a long, long time now, so I am putting the two poems and the passage that appeared in SCRIPTS below.


You said I remind you of your sister
When she was very young.
Sometimes I think I could have been
Your littlest sister. Could have played
With you, read with you and
Grown up with you.
Sometimes I think I could have been Axomiya
I look at your sister, she is like you
But not a mirror image. Sometimes I think
I could be her. I could be her sister too. You, her,
And me too. I could sister-love you, sister-look-up-to-you
And sister-tease you then.
I could take that as fundamental fact
Before I took on the world.
Sometimes I think I could have
Called you Baidew.

An Illicit, Wicked, Scatological Love Poem

To lick salty sweat off your skin
To kiss your hot fevered body
To touch your menstrual blood
To smell it. Hair too. Pubic hair too.
To caress your wounds and itches.
To clean vomit and shit and then again
To love every part of you. To suck
Blood like a vampire or a suction pump.
Is that violent? I did not mean violence.
Is this poem violent? Is it blasphemous?
Is it grotesque? Does it talk about the gross parts
Of you, or rather, of me? But already,
It is becoming inseparable, you see.
You may feel repulsed by this poem. You may
Want to eject it. Vomit it out. My animal hunger.
Like morning phlegm spat out with toothpaste,
You wrote somewhere. Spat, that’s the end of that.
But all this is only fantasy. And I could make the climax
A little more gruesome, a little more profane
It’s just a different way of me being inside you
I could be inside you as food. Yes, you could kill me
And eat me, if you prefer to do.

You have taken residence within my brain, anyway.
In skin vein and limb, dream and whim, your name
the obsessive compulsive disorder of my tongue
I was just trying to get inside you. I thought
It might be a little less lonely.

a short excerpt from a short story 'Dream Desires': 


There were all the tiniest of wish fulfillment dreams, where so much happiness came at the cost of so little. Such as the dreams about the parties, for instance. Planning a party sitting on a side bench with Kopilee ma’am’s sister. Gatecrashing a party at Kopilee ma’am’s house and then struggling to find a way out. Sitting. Talking. Dreams about things much smaller than parties. Parties are grand, after all. These dreams were like Virginia Woolf’s “small matches struck in the dark … “, they were what made life go on. These dreams were about eyes, looks and glances, about  beautifully sweet nothings and random acts of kindness. They were “moments of being”, which get lost in the act of storytelling. The only way to keep these moments is to bind them tightly to oneself, as precious little secrets that can never be divulged or given away. To keep them like the last sweet morsel on the tongue which you don’t want to swallow. To live at night what you could not live during the day. To love the dreams, to rub them, caress them, to preserve their sanctity, to refuse to destroy them requires that they not be written down. Because the written word was rigid, and her dreams were small. 

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