Hemorrhage: A Prose Poem

“Hail you, woman, who do you love so, the bleeding yarns of your footwork nudging his needs? Is it a ramp, or a catwalk in seductive slivers of silk and embroidered, perky clothing, where you float around, your kohl-lined eyes, barbecued in the carnival of sweaty, sloppy, alcohol-littered breath?


Painting: by Sufia Khatoon, poet, social activist, curator of Art Fair, Kolkata and co-founder of Rhythm Divine poetry group, Kolkata, India.

“Soon enough, you would grow up, your breasts would ripen, bounce, in the wilderness amongst beasts”, the world had whispered in patches and freckles of adult talk. The feet had then blistered and burnt in the gushing secrets of your newfound shoes, as you crisscrossed, hopped through the sylvan steps, trailing through blocked, clogged pores.

Whose name do your feet scribble on the banks of the insistent scarlet flood, as the shards of the night come over to you in spurts? Whose name do you call out, huskily, rustling, while your fingers and bones fail you, scraped, twisted, painted in the graveyard of your bridal dreams?”

Some excerpts of my prose-poem ‘Hemorrhage’, which is inspired by a painting by Sufia Khatoon, published in Incredible Women of India on the occasion of the 6th Woman Scream International Poetry and Arts Festival 2016, initiated by Jael Uribe, a poet and activist from Dominican Republic.

The recording of the entire piece in Youtube:

To read the full poem published in Incredible Women of India, do visit:


DeJa Vu

You and me have traveled that tattered soil before,
Look how its nameless rocks beckon us.
The streets, like molten lava, the harvest moon
Bleeding, the chipped edges calling out our names.
You and me have drifted, swallowed our distances
of several different births. Had this land devoured us
When we dipped our rusty nails in waxy sands?
Look how we resurface, our unfinished story ablaze in the land.
Look, how the lamp still burns, I encase your warmth, flickering.
I track your musky breath in the city’s labyrinth.
The sepia temple echoes my grief in crushed ashes.
The vermilion, smudged, straining, awaits our hushed voices.
Look how the sand stones carve our last, intertwined breaths.
Look how the ruptured skins of our memories
dance, splutter around the wet, rainy fields.
Do you see those kohl-rimmed teardrops, pirouetting in the rain?
Do you see the jagged edges of the river banks where we slept?
Your silver touch, licking my dark spots, my sun-kissed orchard?
Look how the river song seeks us again, surreptitious, vicarious,
Come, let us hold hands and plunge, nude, surrendering.

Don’t Fret

[Inspired by the award-winning Bengali film ‘Nirbashito’ (The Exiled), a directorial debut by Churni Ganguly, based on the exile of the fiery feminist writer/poet of Bangladesh, Taslima Nasreen, followed by a riot in Bangladesh resulting in the banning of her radical literary works.]

She doesn’t fret her jagged journey, not anymore now. She had questioned who the intruders were, once, when they pounced in her den, but she knew her voice and her dissent were cursed; she was walking, threadbare, on thorns.

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image source: Wallpaperup.com

She kissed the silken weaves of her verses, her blasphemous words, when servants of bureaucracy shoved her in a black, indefinite pit. The route to her exile was preordained– they blindfolded her in a black scarf and off she went, peeled and chipping away, to a faraway land, an exile where she didn’t know if her runny ink would scribble those fiery words anymore.

In the cold land, sheathed in her exile, she froze, imagining loose papers in her bedspread and craving to burst open in verse, her fearless lover who would never cease to make love to her, his masculine musk lingering in her thirsty lips, her navel, her abdomen.

The aroma and the sting of the words, tugging, tucked in her, had come out like froth, in shameless confessions of a girl in puberty, seduced by her uncle, tainted by her own kith and kin. The words wandered in the pages, wayward, dangling in the crimson, auburn, blue, green scattered splotches, scraping, tearing her chastity to pieces as her voice shone in them, unfolding her life.

The tags had come along, hurling in quick succession: “What a bitch! What a shameless zenana who talks about desires, unzips femininity, abuses the holy Quran, befriends, sleeps around with men, and more vicious, pens them with such deft brazenness!”

“We want her head! Burn her printed hell, choke her voice, strip her naked!” The rulers of a fanatic Bangladesh howled, ablaze, its flames catching up fast, relentless, in the sweltering Kolkata air. The docile young girls, brides, rubbing fairness creams in their tensed, taut faces, looked at the Television screens, eyes transfixed, gauging the fire, and the castigation of a woman, a human from their own ilk who dared to spit fire, the fire burning her rebellion to ashes.

In the icy, ghostly exile where she survived, amid foreign friends, she stumbled upon the looming sky, the strange, asymmetric beauty of alien tongues and the river’s foaming rush. Her furtive mind wandered in the quicksand of her dissolved childhood days at the banks of the river Padma, her feet itched to bleed again, burst in a naïve rhapsody in the cracked tiles of her childhood home in Mymensingh.

They had usurped her pen, her writing tools, but the rush of words pressed against her pounding breasts, in the dead hush of the night. Words tiptoed and wrote themselves in surreptitious caverns of the mind. “Do you weep for my red sari, my girly grins? Does your turmeric-stained kitchen seek me still? Do you miss my salty breath, tied around you like a fish bait?” She asked her old house, touching its blood and bones with her unwritten words.

“Don’t fret, if words fail you.” She told herself. “They will be rewritten; even if the fingers are battered, twisted. They will come back to you in splurges of want; lick your fingers and your sari like the lone cat you had nursed.”

She had gulped them all, the crisscrossing traffic, the haywire sky, the wild flowers and the alphonso mangoes of Bengal. The umbilical cord could never be severed; amid indefinite injunctions, the earthy soil of its being spilled over her, in spurts.

“I will come back to you; even if not in glitters of famed sunlight, I will come back to the pleats and braids of my girlhood. Even if in dark fringes of my solitude, I will come back to you. If not as a softly humming maid, I will come back to you as a hummingbird, or a night owl, and together we will scrub our wounds.”

The pale, dusky clouds in the European sky took in the vapor of her furtive words. She knew, they had to rain; they had to churn a teary cauldron in another part of the world, a motherland that had banished her unruly daughter.

Review of Defiant Dreams: by Jean Spraker

Hello friends, it is a pleasure to share a wonderfully written, intensive and thought-provoking review of Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas, a collection of stories about woman protagonists that I have the privilege of co-editing with my friend Rhiti Bose. The review, written by Jean Spraker, our friend from a thriving writing community in Facebook, For Writers By Authors, started out with wonderfully engaging twitter posts about each individual story in the collection and what, according to her, makes them linger in her psyche. The way she dissected each story with her sensitive, powerfully analytic lens was commendable, to say the least, and here she follows it up with a brilliant overview of the book, analyzing its strengths and also its flaws. WE the editors and authors of Defiant Dreams are grateful to you, Jean, for your masterful observation and analysis.

Defiant Dreams_book

The cover of Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas, published Readomania. 

Sharing excerpts of the review here:

About the book

Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas is a short story collection from Incredible Women of India, an online magazine that features life stories of everyday women. In 2015, Incredible Women conducted a short story contest called Stree. The contest had more than 100 entries from across India and beyond. 24 authors were chosen to contribute to Defiant Dreams.

To read the entire review, do visit this page in Jean Spraker’s website:

Review: Defiant Dreams

Do grab a copy of the book here:


April: The Beginning of A Surrender


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April, don’t you know my charred flesh
longs to make love to you?
Come, plunge in the cauldron
where I am simmering, my vermilion,
My kohl, and my libido, bundled up
in a frothy, bleeding fairytale.

April, don’t you see me–twisted, exfoliated,
Blunt, broken, sharpened again,
And again, in your furtive jasmine glances?
Come, I am waiting, the venus of centuries
of want, the flora, fauna of my breasts
Eroding your volcanic rock, hissing, scrawling.

April, my ripe breath chases you, the slain deer
I reach out to you, a smooth arc, blindfolded,
I take you in, my skin, my musk, raining with you.
Come, my salt, my threadbare frame
My chaff and my grain
Are crumbling, into bits of you.