‘Caged’: Nonfiction/Essay at Cafe Dissensus

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Caged woman. Image Source: wewastetime.com

My heartfelt thanks to Cafe Dissensus journal and the editors Mosarrap Hossain Khan and Bhaswati Ghosh for publishing my personal essay ‘Caged’. More than an essay, I would like to call it an ode to the concept of femininity in prose, inspired by Jamaica Kincaid’s narrative style in her bold, gritty nonfiction piece, ‘Girl’. It is my privilege to share my thoughts and writing as a monthly column writer for this wonderful online literary platform. This piece appeared as my monthly column there on September, 2014.

Sharing an excerpt from the opening section of the piece:

“The caged bird sings with fearful trill

Of the things unknown, but longed for still

And his tune is heard on the distant hill

For the caged bird sings of freedom.

…But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

His wings are clipped and his feet are tied

So he opens his throat to sing….”

(Maya Angelou: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings)

You were probably right. Being born a girl, I should have felt the warning rattle at the door. I should have heard the noisy presence of heavy feet stomping the old cement floors. I should have braced myself for invaders taking direction, seeping through the damp, concrete walls. Being born a girl, my mind was quiescent and tame. I had sunrise, I had hope. I was simmering in my pretty looking prison. I was simmering in arrogance and expectation.”
Do read the rest of the essay here and leave your valued comments:

http://cafedissensusblog.com/2014/09/17/caged/

To Ravaged Nymphs

Stop abusing women. Image Source: Therightimpact.com

Note for the readers:  This poem is born out of sheer anger keeping in mind the recent news of the rape and molestation rampage plaguing the women in Kolkata and West Bengal. I dedicate it to all my sisters in India and also worldwide, to their bruises and tears, while knowing that this is the only form of protest that I can do now.

Today I am angry, writhing, moaning.
My lips are full of venom and pain,
My breasts are heaving, malignant
With the burden of human sins.

Let me not sleep in silken slumber
In the vain masculinity of your arms.
Let me not spread my legs and
Drift ashore in the ocean of your lust.

For once, today, let me break free
Of your smothering kisses,
Your broken sentences, 
your overused bed sheets.

In the humming silence enacted
In this room of practiced orgasms,
A shrill cry tries to distract me,
Calls me, breaks through the door.
A cry that pushes through my cervix,
A cry that burns within
This cherished cloak of femininity.

A cry that reminds me
Of the indomitable ulcer of RAPE.
Every minute, one out of three of us
In every corner of the world
Is crushed between your legs,
Your masculinity, a curse,
A puked reality in our lives.

For once, today, my love
Let me untouched,
Let me light the candles
For my sisters in pain!

Copyright: Lopa Banerjee
September 18, 2014

Purveyors of Sin

So honored and delighted to have this poem published in the ‘Woman Inc Poetry Project’ today! Thank you, Pooja Garg Singh, editor of WIPP and my fellow writer friend, for this. Do visit Issue 1: Nov-Dec 2014 of the online magazine dedicated to the journey of woman through the art of poetry:

http://thewomanincpoetryproject.com/2014/11/02/issue-1-nov-dec-2014/

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Violence against woman. Photo Courtesy: free stock photo from Dreamstime.com

Purveyors of sin, let me close my eyes and drift off to my own shadows. 
The sun doesn’t have enough radiance for this crescent night to fade away.
You pounce on my blindfolded body, lusting over my flesh, 
Your filth, saliva and masculinity trickling down my skin, 
Skittering across my face. 
I am a maimed, deformed corpse, an unrecognizable mass 
That you trample away in the blinding traffic of the day.

In the dark, thick smoke of death, 
The world will come to mourn my impending doom, 
Snip me of my pride, screams and sobs ripping up the air. 
Whom will I tell that not my body, not my female organs, 
But my heart, my being, my conscience 
Has been dug into, cut open, beaten up?

I lay hapless and worn, the scars in my soul 
Infected with the germs of your horrendous crimes, 
Falling off the precipice of your lustful minds. 
Let my wordless mouth shut by your filthy, hurtful hands 
Plunge from this deep, dark abyss 
To a world of light and sanity, 
Where I can reach out and shout. 
I need to shout and give vent to my scars, 
I need to pour out like a rainbow in pain.
I need to dance again in the radiance of the sun, 
I need to bleed again, as the wounds seep into me.

Purveyors of sin, cut me open, and crush me again, 
In the deadly alleys of the night. 
I am but a dissected wound, lying on this cold bed of humanity, 
Pounce upon me again, in the ignorant darkness of your lust. 

P.S. The inspiration of this poem came from one of my longer personal essays about the experience of sexual abuse in India. The essay has been published in a blogazine named ‘Incredible Women of India’ and it is a pleasure to share with you the link below. Read on:

http://incrediblewomenofindia.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/to-ravaged-nymphs-a-journey-through-blood-bruises-and-tears/