‘Indian Summer’: Poem Published in ‘Indian Review’

It gives me a heady feeling to see my poem ‘Indian Summer’, written about my long-lost childhood days in one of the forgotten suburbs of Kolkata, India, published in ‘Indian Review’, the e-journal on Indian Literature, World Literature, Critiques and Writings.

This happens to be my second publication with them, the other being a travel memoir, ‘Bon Voyage’, which is now a chapter from my book-length memoir. Do read and comment on the page if you can, friends!

http://indianreview.in/indian-summer-lopa-banerjee/

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Past –Unforgotten

A lovely and endearing poem by my friend Paromita Mukherjee Ojha. Do read and comment, friends!

WordsIllumineSoul

untitled

Forget him, I absolutely cannot Ma

It isn’t so easy that I would be able to do it in a Voila!!

What seems wrong today, wasn’t so yesterday

You cannot sit on judgement on life’s ways

Life cannot be always a bed of roses

One cannot get everything that one chooses

I had to stumble, I had to fall

To learn life’s lessons, from this past treason

I know I am getting married tomorrow

I will erase all animate traces of my past

From today onwards I have left my mind fallow

That has withstood deceit so callow

I will not let my past destroy my future

Any gaping hole in my heart I will painfully suture

No matter how difficult the road ahead looks to me, I‘ll endure

I have always embarked on unchartered destinations

Without an iota of hesitation

Like a phoenix I will arise and plod ahead…

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The Faltering Night

In a party today, my throat parched.
I slit myself, edge to edge, in the plastic night.
Looking at the men and women, known faces
And their unmistakable steps, hips shaking
to the practiced rhythm of recycled songs
and greetings, the leering, turning around,
cowering, ignoring, letting in a faint light of moon
dance wayward between lipsticked mouths.
In familiar photo frames, they stood, hung on to
each other’s lies.

In the hungry tide of the night,
they have tried hard to oscillate between smooth talk,
munching on juicy gossip and yawning.
At the dinner buffet, their half-baked words
and grin, ear-to-ear, attempts of blushing
at vain compliments float around
the crisp air aromatic with food and foibles.
They stutter and fumble, raising toasts
and breathing, shallow, contrived, perishing.

In the party today, I licked my lips, lonely, ornate,
I looked into the prancing and preening of kids,
the male gazes, the lame old stories
that vanished and resurfaced.
From a far-flung corner, I smiled back at the faces,
Surveying the lies of the night, running wild.

For a Father in Rubbles

baba and ma

My parents together, in Chicago, US, six years back, in March 2009

He looks for her, in patches

Of remembered sunlight,

As the cigarette stubs burn in the green ashtray.

In between his staccato coughs and

The pungent smoke tickling his nose,

He loves her back, his throat and lungs full

As he looks around the room,

Rolling down in the incense of her presence.

Whistling, pleading, wanting

The chunks of time that had them intertwined,

Their errant words, fights, silences and togetherness.

 

The journey of vermilion and silent temples

A promised shade of red, obeisance and tolerance

That danced in her tongue as her only love.

The fresh, pulpy taste of meals well cooked

Has sunk into his teeth, and explode still.

He had swallowed the baking heat, his skin

Toughening as he touched her cold body and face

For one last time at the crematorium.

Back home, Bengali songs in his voice danced,

Twitched, swirled and twirled.

 

Back home, amid the steady influx

Of relatives, neighbors staring, his eyes blink.

“He had wronged her.”

“He never listened to her.”

“He made her work too much.”

Yes, he had crossed the line at some points in time.

Over the phone, in the ether waves,

His voice is jittery, as his jaws loosen.

His love is the fruit bits fallen, scattered

On the floor, picked up, wayward, chasing.

 

All Rights Reserved. Lopa Banerjee. June 3, 2015.

Note for the readers: This happens to be the first official poem written for my father, following the demise of my mother in 2013. Have been compelled to write this poem following a writing prompt initiated by the Rejected Stuff Poetry and literature group in Facebook.

Song of the Road

car_on_road-t2

Image source: wallpaperswide.com

My legs dangle in the car
In the seat, I settle, awkward
The jagged outlines of
the interstate and the green
On both sides lighting up
Like tattoos.
Bollywood Hindi refrains
Gyrating, recycled, served up
Like frothy, milky chai
in old, verdant train stations
remembered with a child’s eagerness.
In our mouths, between
Our silences outstretched
And our tongues sticking out
Parched, tame, scanning
The flatlands and the ripples
We seek out our
love song for the road,
The tangy and sour essence
of the small towns
That ebb and flow with
the shrill rain,
the murky flood waters,
The turmeric-stained sunlight
That we taste, bubbling,
resting on our backs.
The tires push down the
Buttery roads and I am
Wrapped in the childhood raincoat
Where the playlist
of the songs become
Promises, vows, stillness grasped.
In the mirror, strands of hair
Dance to the orchestra
Like pesky birds,
Grey, trampled, bronzed
With colors, behind a veil
Of shrinking, errant drapes.
The wind and the light outside
A thin stick of pungent smoke
I inhale like a stealthy lover
On our way back home.
Soon the roads, robust
Against our limp bodies
Will bend and waltz,
Tweak and twirl, to
the stairs leading home.
In the brown, saucy night sky
Our road songs,
ingrained, left behind,
will jump, float away
in scattered lines.

Lopa Banerjee. All Rights Reserved. May 30, 2015
Note: Written while returning from a long distance trip by car on route Texas gulf coast to the plains of Nebraska, US.