Impostors

Note: Inspired by a brilliant artwork by the supremely talented author of The Dove’s Lament, zen-doodling artist, the US. Presidential medal winner, social activist, Founder of Red Elephant Foundation, Kirthi Jayakumar.

Artwork_Kirthi J

Image courtesy: Kirthi Jayakumar

We do not lie when we swoop
From one store to the next, greedily
Savoring aromatic blends to hide that we stink.
We do not lie when seated at posh restaurants,
Lost in the shameless serenading of culinary raagas and soft music strumming,

We fumble for words,
Knowing each one, when uttered,
Can act as a dart thrown, an arrow
Ripping out our hearts, so we choose to be mum.
We do not lie when our car races
Like a mad hound dog, in the blistering summer heat, and we continue to gulp
the anguish, the helter-skelter dance of cantankerous words.
We cannot lie when the streets smell of old smoke and charred meat,
swooshing past our burning eyes,
Sentinels to our daily conundrum.


We have lied and bought home more lies,
When we have kissed and made love
And roamed, hand in hand in an imagined pristine light,
When we have danced, draped ourselves in silken drapes,
hiding the shadows of our own ruins.
Today, some of them I have stared at,
A man and a woman each, happy flames
Flickering in their eyes, swallowing the
mirth of their arms, entwined.
My stare might have been an imperious nuisance,
Even as I walked past them, knowing
Their eyes glinting, even as they chew the lies.
We do not lie when our unspoken wounds fester in cluttered, unlit rooms.
We only panic that our famished selves
Will pirouette in the open, like impure dirt, forbidden, threadbare.


All rights reserved. Lopa Banerjee. July 10, 2016

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Jinxed Interlude

Jinxed Interlude

pain

Image source: Morguefile.com

Tireless, I meander.

The thick, fluffy bed of saltwater tears,
I lay, I roll on it, gliding in its sand granules.
The fire inside, dark, undone.

I stare back, and the waters lap on to the shore,
Billowing softly across my face.
The faint neon lights flicker and blaze,
I kiss them, the groomed walkways,
The pirated dreams they allure with.

The blue bird, a stifled halo,
Aflame at its fallen nest.
Watching it fall, over razor bumps,
Fake voices giggle in bubbling rot.

I walk past, rub against
the sweat and trash, sticky juices
Of a failed twilight.

The jagged edges whisk, simmer, burn,
Feet to head, scattered, scarlet splotches.

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

City-Street-Wallpaper-Hi-Res-Pictures-310922

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.

O Calcutta: Published at Readomania

DSCN3987

A rainy Kolkata noon. Image source: Lopa Banerjee

Very happy to share my second publication at Readomania.com, the online publishing platform for short stories, memoir and poetry. An old poem of mine, ‘O Calcutta’ (written around 2007-2008), from which I had developed my nonfiction piece ‘Thwarted Escape’ has just found its home in the literary portal. Do have a look friends, and leave your valued comments.

 

http://www.readomania.com/story/o-calcutta

 

O Calcutta!

Image

1)   

I don’t know how these empty years have passed, in evanescence.

I want to swim the deep waters of a shady past

Of my rainy day caresses with you.

Here I spread out my arms and light the flame

Look back at quick stings, ruckus and impending doom,

Screams and murmurs alive in a hazy sleep.

Fighting away the memories and stings to free myself,

I am bound up tight in ropes– surrendered to your flames.

One last time, I want to reach out to the trembling and beauty

Of long nights and the smell of youthful, candid smiles

Lighting up the smothering traffic,

Old stairs, shady buildings in twilight haze.

Smiles that ran into the tramways, the busy subways

Of uncertain miles, bring me again, to nothingness

As I allow open wounds and scars of a castaway life

Whip me with a splash of colors.

My eyes walk across the Atlantic Ocean

As I sit at the edge of a slumber, whimpering and pining

Silly old tears of a forlorn city…..

(2) 

You knock me down each time with your quandaries.

You knock me down each time with sins and sighs

Crush my breath–as if the sky is torn off my life.

I keep coming to you barefoot, scattered in ashes and dust

Walk back to you over rocks and thorns,

Stark dead and grinning, every time you grind the pieces in me–

Together and apart, you watch me blown to death.

You cherish me, limp and crazy

The constant cold departures, the sinking away”

While you know I would come back again to your dingy streets

And undo’ ME’.

————————————————–

I am–bits, pieces and splinters of you

The frozen memories, the buried yesteryear sins.

The betrayals, the thwarted passion, the wilderness that bleed

Summer’s scarlet tears in your naked, primal chest

Bleed and ache, whisper and scream, within ME.