Second Skin: Poetry on Photo Prompt

Note: ‘Second Skin’, the prose poem is one of the winning poems based on a photo prompt contest hosted by the vibrant literature group in Facebook, The Significant League. The photograph, a seething document emphasizing on the crass and ruthless impacts of our urban civilization, had been taken and shared by the prolific Indian author, Dr. Santosh Bakaya. 

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What is the road made of, when we wait, deep, eager, in the tail-end of its sooty flesh?

The dirt is our pixie dust, the molecules of our tainted breaths traipsing with the smoke, swirling in the summer of smells. For ages, we wait, in the clogged pores of the city streets, clenching our calloused fists, our crooked teeth.

The streets become our cradles, rocking us in its high-pitched sopranos. We know the glittering place where the horns screech and trample the silence of our waiting, a waiting with its high and low notes, a waiting in its repetitive rhythms.

A waiting which becomes a clenched metaphor, telling our tale of rags and our smudged brown skins, our soiled faces that slap you hard, slap your conceited words, your vanilla-scented clothes, your practiced complacency.

Ah, this street now, at some uncertain end of the labyrinthine maze, stares in our faces. We flop down, inhale the putrid air, soaked with stories like that of ours, stashed away, nonchalant.
This street now, our second skin, is the rhetoric of our unnamed home as we slip into its monstrous bed, sucking full throttle, from its blackened, emaciated nipples.

Hey baby, suck on, why worry when the earth’s crust is but an unzipped black pit, an ashen pasture when you can roll around in the dirt and lick its fevered heat, running your little fingers over it when the blackness bleeds?

Hey baby, clap, clap, clap in your silver swirl as the thumping in our chests turn into a rhythmic chanting. Let our black foams squashed under the car tires be the thick wash of blood between all things terribly shiny and white.

Let them stop in their tracks for once, in their white skins and made up hair, grabbing the flesh of this cul-de-sac where we now squat, sculpting the pathos, the bare-boned poetry of the city street.

All Rights Reserved. Lopa Banerjee. March 3, 2017.

P.S. The other winners of this contest are Geethanjali Dillip, Bhuvaneshwari Shivkumar Sharma, Fatima Afshan and Rahul Ahuja.

The Murky Rain: Attempting a roseate sonnet

 

The little girl slices through the deep blue blush, the rain tears the clouds asunder

Beneath the flickering street light, her thin frame bursts in a hungry deluge.

Moored in the murky edges of the city, where the night traffic diminishes,

In the rain waters she unbuckles, finds her refuge.

 

Strands of her hair misplaced, she had sold framed photos of goddesses

Her bony body swimming through the unending vortex of urban vehicles.

The traffic honked, washed ashore the practiced voices of denial,

A middle-aged woman stopped the car, called her inside in unknown syllables.

 

Inside the damp walls of the unknown ‘home’, voices, flesh and bones

Crisscross, sex-starved beings haunt and whistle, rippling through hungry moans.

 

Rummaging through her, ghost voices swim, fall with a dull thud.

Outside, near the filthy gutter, her little teeth gnash the stale breads.

Swirling in the night rain, voices of her washed out childhood, her lost village

Ebb and flow, the rose bud of her being torn up in shreds.

The Rootless

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Image source: http://www.1zoom.net

 

They plunge in the adrenaline rush of yet another day.

Converge with the faceless crowd, the rough rhythm

And noise, crackling, all around.

They walk, long, irritable steps in the dusty bends

Of the winding, serpentine city streets.

 

The cars, trolleys and the fresh paint

Of the sightseeing city buses brush past,

Nonchalant, no strings attached.

The parched, plastic looks of the buildings

And skyscrapers, the placid nooks and corners

Of the giant fast food joints, a city throbbing

With rootless souls, fusing in transient comfort zones.

 

The madness and euphoria of trampling on

Their forlorn ancestral homes, meandering,

Scattered, cutting through their repainted contours.

The city entraps them, greedy, formulaic,

In long-term mortgage and bills.

 

The lumps in the throat, the cracks in the skin

Forgotten embers rekindle, tongue-tied,

Gather and circle around in speckled, torn flesh

In the murky, wrinkled nights.

 

They had nibbled on the juicy recesses

Of their roots, stripping bare

While the morning coffee and croissants

Numbed their mouths, pale, bitter, tasteless.

 

With mismatched steps, they now meet,

Talk a load of crap and forsake each other

In the dead end of the city, panicked, restless.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Mirror

Image source: pixshark.com

 

The bedroom stains breathe and thrive
On shimmering streaks of air.
Each new luminous morning, starting to smell
The flames of the day.

The mirror, tucked away in a quiet nook
Smells of poetry in its atomic particles of dust.
The toiletries, jammed in the dresser
Bathes in the colorful beauty of the sun.
The mirror breathes in the looming shadows
And light, sings along a mundane, familiar song
With the walls in the room,
Smeared with dirt, ink and old habits,
The golden pulp of the coiled bodies
Smelling of stale, recycled dinner and
The colored promise of the sun.

The mirror is their oldest confidante,
He laughs and cries with the crumpled bedsheets,
The old, unwashed linen blinds.
The mirror takes in all–bodies engraved
In the warm sweat of the room, bodies moving,
Spinning fast, legs and arms bloated,
Dragged in a household of dreams and despair,
The lips that are peeled, sore, yet singing,
Sucking the blood beneath the fingernails.
The mirror luxuriates, reflects and enlivens
The powdered beauty camouflaging
The dark night’s empty crevices.

Lopa Banerjee. April 21, 2015

Note: My attempt to demystify a fairy tale and replace it with an ordinary, mundane portrayal that is close to my heart.