Tag Archives: poetry

WEEPING WOMBS

WEEPING WOMBS
 
(An outpouring of grief and outrage over the unspeakable violence and heartbreaking massacre of over 120 children in Peshawar’s Military School on 16th December, 2014)
#IndiawithPakistan #PeshawarAttacks
 
Sob #1
 

I walk under a canopy
of hatred
and on a carpet of bodies.
The songs I hear
are the screams
of children,
hungry,
wounded,
dying
and dead.

We live amongst beasts
and everyday is
Armageddon.
I could lay down
with lions
and feel safer.

There is no merciful god.
There is mythology.
In different tongues
and forms
and faiths
all expounding one essential lie —
that you don’t matter,
that your existence is not valid
if you are not one of them,
and therefore,
you don’t deserve to live.

The human condition
is putrid.
Today
the Earth
is oozing blood
from all its pores
and there are empty,
bleeding,
sobbing wombs
lying about in disarray.
The sky bleeds
and the rivers hide
as ugly beasts
thump their chests
and howl at the weeping stars,
dancing around the bodies
of massacred innocents.
Promises,
first loves,
and life-dreams
snuffed out
in this macabre reality show
called life.

And what of us?
We are wounded zombies
glued to the images
being played out in front of us.
We’ve lost our voices.
We’ve lost our senses.
We’ve lost the remote.

 
Sob #2

Knock, knock.
Ummm…
hel…hello?!?

I don’t know where You live,
whether
it’s in Mount Kailash
or Vaishnodevi
or Jerusalem,
Mecca,
the Vatican City
or in this wonderful sounding place
called
Heaven.
I don’t know
if I’ll find you in my mother’s
puja room
or simply inside my heart,
because that’s a bit difficult to believe
since my
heart
and
head
have been at war
for as long as I remember…

You see,
my head sometimes says
that Your time on Earth
is up
and You had to move on to Mars now,
and then You’ll go
to Jupiter
and Saturn
and so on and so forth.
If that’s true,
I’ve gotta say,
Your timing kinda sucks.
Then,
at other times,
my head says
You’ve gone back to
where we got unicorns,
tooth fairies
and hobbits from.
Then in that case,
this won’t matter…

But,
just in case You are there,
that tiny,
infinitesimal chance,
that You are indeed
the Harbinger of day,
the Maker of moons,
the Grand Perfumer,
the Master Builder,
just in case You are all that
the screaming multitudes
say You are,

I would like to,
very respectfully ask,
what the fuck just happened?

Sob #3

Shhh! Little child!
Be quiet,
don’t say a word!
Just lower your eyes
and whisper the great names of God.

No little child,
don’t ask me questions!
I can’t answer them,
knowledge is not your right.
Just lower your eyes
and whisper the great names of God.

ABC’s are not for you
and you can’t play with numbers,
you can’t play with toys.
You can’t love your neighbours,
and must never ever sing!
Dancing is for the devil.
Just lower your eyes
and whisper the great names of God.

You mustn’t reach for the stars
or stare at the moon,
the grass is not meant to be played on.
Don’t listen to the birds
or feed stray pups.
Just lower your eyes
and whisper the great names of God.

And when you are shot
in the back of your head
or right in the middle of your chest,
the stars you quietly wished upon
will fade,
the grass you secretly touched
will soak your blood,

and your eyes will be closed,
your voices stilled.

Sob #4

The silence in my house
this morning
after I sent my boys to school
was not of the usual
shoulder-relaxing,
tension-exhaling
kind.
The shouts of
‘I love you!’
and
‘Have an awesome day!’
hung about in the air longer
than usual,
and yet the silence
was deafening,
almost oppressive.
My daily desire
for a cup of tea
and the newspaper
was lying comatose
under the knowledge
that across the border,
my sisters’
wombs are bleeding
and they are thrashing about
in pain
at the forever silences
that now hang from
every corner
of every room,
resting on windowsills
and living in beautiful faces
frozen in photographs.

Their pain
cripples me.
The stilled voices
deafen me.
And the handfuls of Earth
are a burden
on my soul.

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All Mine, Never Yours

These are my tits,
that’s my ass
and this —
this is my cunt.

No no!
Oh no you don’t!
Don’t you dare look away
when I use these words!
My mouth is
NOT
what needs washing.

Tits.
Ass.
Cunt.

Look me in the eye
as I say these words aloud
and use them
to label pieces of myself;
these bit parts
that your eyes
have undressed
and invaded
over
and over
again
and again.
These parts which
you have ogled,
grabbed,
groped
and manhandled
for centuries
as if by some divine right
accorded you
by your gender.

Your gender.
That little ugly appendage
that hangs between your legs
and controls your eyes
your hands
and worst of all
your thoughts
and actions.
Your gender.
Which makes you better than us.
Your gender.

My gender.
My bit parts.
My tits my ass my cunt.

Amazing.
The power we carry in our bit parts.
Your penis has crowned you king
since time immemorial.
It has made you lord and master.
The almighty
and all-powerful.
El Supremo.
Your penis has allowed you
your superiority.
It has allowed you
to lay down laws,
pass judgement
and declare ownership.
Ownership of me,
my mothers,
my sisters,
my daughters,
the world.

So smallandugly,
Yetsopowerful.

And what about my bit parts?
My tits,
my ass,
my cunt?
Parts that have been used
to make
and birth nations.
Parts that have been used
to feed generations.
Parts upon which I have rested
my tired
weary soul
while silently cradling
the weight of the world
in my arms.

My bit parts.
These pieces
of my anatomy.
My biology.

These parts
which have started wars
launched ships
inspired poets
and painters
and songwriters,
and given glorious pleasure
to a few
        select
        chosen ones,
have returned the sexy favour
to me too.

The trouble started
when I gave them a voice
and they started to speak.
Mytitsmyassmycunt.

And today they voice their protest,
growl out war cries
and sing battle songs.

No more
will they be virgin territories
claimed
by conquering marauders;
no more the spoils of war;
no more the only things about me
that you see.

My tits.
My ass.
My cunt.

Mine.
All mine.
Not yours.

Not yours to stare at.
Not yours to sniff at.
Not yours to touch,
feel
or grab at.

Mine.
Only mine.
Never yours.

My tits.
My ass.
My cunt.

Mine.

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Fearless

Jyoti Singh Pandey’s horrific rape and brutalization on December 16th, 2012; her subsequent battle for survival and finally her death on December 28th, 2012 have been seared into our memory forever. This young girl’s harrowing and ultimately fatal attack at the hands of those five blood-thirsty, penis-powered, miserable scraps of humankind, has given rise to an entire movement.

Her attack and suffering spurred many candle-light marches and vigils, nation-wide debates, discussions and protests. It brought together women’s rights groups, academics, feminists, students, men and women to come together and formulate a draft that went to the Justice Verma committee. The Justice Verma committe then presented their report to the government.

Another aftermath of Jyoti’s rape and death was the rise of an ‘artistic movement’. And I use the term broadly. A parallel movement along with all the vigils, marches and petitions. A sister movement to “Take Back the Night” initiatives all across India and “One Billion Rising” schedules.

I would like to mention a few here.

Many essays, poems, monologues have been written in the wake of December 16th. Writer, teacher, poet and friend, Sumana Roy wrote a brilliant piece in The Open Magazine about this prolific outpouring of grief, appropriately titled, “Words from this Anger.”

An incredible performance piece that I had heard of and then seen on YouTube is theatre legend, MayaKrishna Rao’s “Walk.”

And then there’s the Fearless campaign. A brilliant initiative by the supremely talented, beautiful, gentle and wise artist, Shilo Shiv Suleiman. Instead of channeling our anger, she urged us to channel our inner strength, latent power and urged us to be FEARLESS. She invited artists, painters, graphic designers to make posters inspired by and including the word ‘Fearless.’ She was hoping for 150. She’s now close to 200 and counting! Yes. The response was, to put it mildly, incredible. The works of art that are still poring in are awe-inspiring. Some make your jaw drop, some move you to tears, some make you want to spread your wings and fly! Many will make you want to smile; many will make you want to dance; many will make you want to stare at them for hours — all of them will move you. The posters are now travelling all over India and have gone international as well. The exhibit in Singapore’s Madder Moon gallery closes today, in fact. You can see for yourself, the gorgeous artwork here as well as here.

Now, I can’t paint or draw, much to my very great disappointment. I have all these posters dancing in my head, vividly, but I can’t translate them onto paper. And that makes me sad. However, the sheer beauty and power of the Fearless initiative, along with the Take Back the Night programs, did inspire me to write something.

Today being Woman’s Day, I thought it fitting to share my poem with you. More power to you all. Nurture your Inner Goddess. Love yourself. I promise you, you’re worth it.

FEARLESS

Permission, please
to dance.
Permission to speak up;
to be heard.
Permission to marry who I want,
or not marry at all.
Permission to walk the streets at night.

Permission to write,
to paint,
to create.
Permission to study.
Permission to ride the bus
without having your dick press into my back.
Permission to walk the streets at night.

Permission to take the bigger piece of fish.
Permission to run with the boys.
Permission to sing.
Permission to be a doctor,
an engineer,
a bartender,
a model.
Permission to walk the streets at night.

Permission to be loved as much as my brother.
Permission to live.
Permission to not choke on your bile,
give in to your lust,
be used as your pawn.
Permission to wear what I like.
Permission to pierce my tongue.
Permission to walk the streets at night.

Permission to wear a burkha
and not have you call me oppressed.
Permission to show off my cleavage
and not have you call me a slut.
Permission to oil my hair
and wear it in two plaits
and not have you call me a behenji.
Permission, please,
to look the way I want
and not be called
too fat,
too skinny,
too hot,
too ugly.

Permission to get married
and not have you call me bechaari.
Permission to get married and not have kids
and not have you call me heartless.
Permission to leave my kids at home and go to work
and not have you call me ambitious
like it was a dirty word.

Permission, please to dance.
With.
Boys.
Permission to walk the streets at night
and not be called a whore.

Permission to love;
one boy
or many along the way;
or maybe a girl
or two.
Permission to not love at all.
Permission to love only myself.

Permission to dance.
With boys.
On the dance floor.
Or alone.
On the dance floor.
And to not have you touch me
Permission to sing.
Loud.
Or off-key.
Or both.
Or softly,
To myself;
sitting alone
in my city,
with my tunes for company.

 

Permission to live.
Permission to breathe.
Permission to be fun.
Permission to be fearless.
Permission to be free.

Permission to walk the streets at night.

I shouldn’t have to ask.
And I never will again.
Because I’m taking it all back.

I’m going to be fearless,
I’m going to be free.

So take that
and get used to it,
because above all that,
I’m going to be me
and
I don’t need
your
permission.

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Thank You and Please…

OMG!! I am so, soooo, soooooooo very overwhelmed by the love that has poured in for my poem. This was written straight from the heart and I am grateful that you, my wonderful readers, could sense that, feel it and appreciate it. Your love and appreciation only serves as encouragement, and I hope that I can live up to your expectations.

I now have an appeal. A very, very talented poetess, who I am honoured to call a friend, has a poem that been nominated for a competition. I have plans on doing a full post about her haunting poetry, but until I do, please trust me that she is BRILLIANT. Her name is Sharanya Manivannan and she blogs here. Visit her and drown in words, images and thoughts of unparalleled beauty.

The poem is called ‘Secret Theatres’ and you can read it here.

You can vote for her poem, here:

http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/3-quarks-daily-2012-arts-literature-prize-vote-here-.html

If that link doesn’t open, then go here:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/3-quarks-daily-2012-arts-literature-prize-vote-here-.html

Thank you. For the love and the support.

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ok. So I thought I would post something original here…a poem I’d written or a few thoughts on love I’d scribbled. But then, going through my work, I realised my poetry/lines/thought/bits-n-pieces-of-me were too personal, too intense and even too err…passionate, let’s say.

So here I am borrowing from one of my favourite poets of all time and seasons…Pablo Neruda. Man, could the man write! His love poems are like satin sliding smoothly off your skin. There’s a sensuousness in every thought, every word.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! Whether you believe in this holiday/festival/commercial-circus or not, I do sincerely hope that you all believe in love. I hope you enjoy the poem I’ve chosen and I also hope you’ll share your favourite love poetry with me.

SONNET XVII ~Pablo Neruda

I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don’t know any other way of loving
but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

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