culture

The chores I hate

I hate sweeping floors and mise en place
and to do for people, things
I know they can do themselves.

That is why, I create lists upon lists
of the chores I hate,
knowing that I will find solace
only in a few moments
of unguarded poetry.

But then, one day
my father told me
my poems were no longer poetic
and my words, no longer enough.

So I decided that day,
I’d stop writing
if writing was to be a chore. (more…)

Politically Correct

If I was not careful with my words,
diplomatic, biting my tongue and lip –
I’d say, Godse’s spirit runs free today
like an untamed horse galloping
on no man’s land.

But then I won’t say it, for fear
of being branded with the anti-nationals,
grouped with the seditious.

Screw it all.
I just want to teach peace
and quit the violence the way
the whites quit India.

Political associations are the bane of my destiny. (more…)

This Summer and That Summer by Sanjeev Sethi

I’ve been reading a book named ‘This Summer and That Summer’ by Sanjeev Sethi and I have been enjoying it greatly. If you’d like to read my review on the book, check it out via this link-

https://5feettall.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/a-book-review-on-this-summer-and-that-summer-by-sanjeev-sethi/

For now, I’m going to share one of my favourite poems from the book.  (more…)

Boys and Girls

Narratives are often exaggerated
for fear of unaroused laughter and silent
mockers. There are those that wear diamonds
in their ears and walk around with side swept hair
and burnt broccoli in the pockets of their white collared shirts.
They do not care for comical stories of unrealized
imaginations and dreams of blemished rejects,
dark skinned and unlike their distant loves.

The world may talk of new beauty beyond sizes
and colors. I know white creams and botox
still make the most money.

Photo credit: kissabug via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Featured Post- The Dancer

I am happy to post a submission by Willie Gordon Suting who is a poet and writer from my hometown, Shillong. For me, it is always heart warming to read poems from one of my own. This poem is laced with imagery and a subtle message of hope for the hopeless. Willie’s style is prosaic, simple and full of raw potential. His writings have appeared in the Sunday Supplement of The Shillong Times, a daily from Shillong and also in The Northeast Today (Online Magazine) .He currently works as a schoolteacher in Shillong. (more…)

Song in Antalya (Freedom Imprisoned)

Where the birds of steel land and take off all day
Where seagulls glide on the wings of salty breeze
Where sailboats of blaring techno drift on waters
Of ancient history and few respond to the call to prayer
Beer and laughter are not enough to set the slaves free
And the cries of sexual pleasure are soon followed
By screams of fleeing friends drowning before the eyes
Of their mad captors who had made much already

On buses of air-conditioned relief ride men with faces
Determined to earn a living and skimpy women with hair
Bleached into blondes and sunglasses like tentative butterflies
From sidewalks of cafes and retail headscarf mothers window shop
And talk with string-topped adolescent daughters
From parks on cliffs wrinkled men with walking sticks watch
A sun dipping into the ocean of the other side of the world

On the fringe of the city lives a dying community
Where the drug peddler grows his marijuana
On a terrace and buys a second hand car
Where the wounds of a diabetic man are not healing
And the fingers of his arthritic wife are crooked
Where the good hearted foreigner goes to help
And he takes his friends with him and they wash
The children’s hair and give them chocolates
From America and try to speak their language

Beyond the haze where water ends and mountains begin
Between verdant ranges where cotton-clouds waft lazy
Shepherds with their virgin sheep feed on healthy earth
They tread the paths of yesteryears and know a little
Of life across the sea where buildings and parks
Men and women from countries that have lost hope
Supermarkets of yoghurt, lamb and things processed
Cobblestoned streets of trinket sellers and ruined churches
Breathe like a middle-aged man knowing half his life has gone

________________________________________________________

This is a guest post by Almond Syiem. He is passionate about poetry, songwriting, jazz and Jesus whom he has been following for two decades in weakness, mostly. His works have appeared in several journals and magazines including Indian Literature, The New Welsh Review and Poetry India’s Soulful Whispers. He recently brought out an e-book, Sleepless which showcases a few of his poems set to stunning photography by Tim Wallis. He is married to Bameri and has two teenage children, Beth and Hamesan. Originally from one of the creative hubs of the country, Shillong in north east India, he now lives in West Bengal. (more…)

Highway Observations

Some days ago, an old man with black bamboo legs and thin snowy hair picked up twenty kilograms of white stone for twenty rupees. He took it down the steps to dump it near the trucks by the river. I don’t know if he had a bed to lay on that night. He did not even have slippers on his cracked feet.

Not far from him, sat a homeless angel with the smile of a magazine cover model and the dirty covering of an African Chief- red, yellow, blue. His hair had probably remained unwashed for a year or two. But with all his dirt, he was beautiful.

Today, I watched him again. He was not smiling anymore. I wonder if he was hungry as he watched the young men who sipped cabbage soup some forty metres away.

On the other side of the highway, in a makeshift shack, a young boy sat and sold flour dumplings that his mother had made. The money would go to his father’s drinking perhaps. He and his mother would make do with leftover flour. (more…)

The Song

I have been singing your song for a while now
recommending it to every mouthpiece
that caught my distracted attention
I did not know I’d find myself singing about
terrible things you say I’ve done.

You sing of knives, fire and pens
of how I hurt you when you were already weak
of what I do when all you want is love.

I am hatred, envy, prejudice
I am not yours anymore. (more…)

She walked like a penguin

She walked like a penguin and had hair like a lion’s mane.

We laughed as her eyes
mocked other girls we knew.

She taught me cuss words
And told me she did not know their meanings

So we danced as the sun cried.
Then, we promised
We’d never say them till we knew.

We cried both ways-
When we were sad and betrayed, and also
Because her stories were getting funnier each day.

She would make the whole hundred and three of us laugh
But I was the only one who would laugh until
My body bled water made of hilarious gossip. (more…)

You are not a poet

Virtual showrooms are fashionable

these days,

almost too good sometimes.

I order pink, white and red things

that are expected to be delivered

some ten days later.

But he said,

Materialism is not for the poetic

He knows I was overjoyed

when neat brown packets came, some five days early.

I like pretty notebooks

that are wrapped in clear plastic.

But poets cannot be like that, he said

You smile too much

and your curves too showy,

you are not a poet.

Poets dress like they’re homeless

and have glasses as thick

as the skin I’ve developed.

Poets drink cheap rum

and of course,

large gray beards are always appreciated

I never thought you’d be smart,

girls without glasses

or stretch marks never are.

You’re far too thin

and your thighs, too big

you cannot be a poet.

If you were a poet

you’d have shadows beneath your eyes.

Poets always have miserable lives .

You talk too much

You talk too little

No, you cannot be a poet.

Photo credit: Nhoj Leunamme == Jhon Emmanuel / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND