Vasudha: The Earth

Note: Inspired by and dedicated to the fiery woman poet of Bengal, Mallika Sengupta, whose verses on the essence of womanhood often shake me out of my gender stupor and compel me to see myself as ‘Vasudha’, a being of the primeval earth.

To the frothy waves churning in the oceanic core
To the mermaid smell, the mélange of Ganga and Yamuna
That coalesce in my shore,
To my Indus soil, bearing the imprints of my winsome horse trails.
To the crimson surge of thoughts whipping my fertile brain
As my womb, my moist flesh becomes the ‘Vasudha’,
The earth that they feast on.
To the hands, the supple fingers that feed the alchemy of dreams,
I whisper my name. I tear my name into zillion blood-dripping petals
And scatter them into nameless directions of this urban wasteland,
In cobbled sidewalks, in forlorn alleys, in bare-bone street corners.

My ‘Vasudha’ had still not risen from her mother’s womb,
Her sheltered core… her contours were still not formed, well enough
When her shackles were created, the flowers to dangle in her hair,
The gold anklets garnishing the feet, to hopscotch within the ‘laxmanrekha’.
The iridescent sky, looming above my questioning self,
The insolent sun, lavishing his rays on my wild, volatile skin,
The voluminous clouds, bursting forth in torrents, had claimed to be my paramours.
I took them all in, they penetrated my fertile core and I became whole.
My ‘Vasudha’ has been the earthen nymph,
her arms have been entwined with the sky, and with her primeval man.
And yet, they have bound me in shackles, left me sunless,
called me barren, loose, wanton.

There, my oceanic core calls out again, the mélange of Ganga-Yamuna
In my bloody ripples. My ‘Vasudha’, the earth that they feast on,
Is the womb, the blood riot, the mantra of this life, flowing, rippling, gorging.
Let them not taint the earth that they feast on.

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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?

Sufia_artwork

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:

https://incrediblewomenofindia.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/hemorrhage-a-prose-poem-by-lopamudra-banerjee/

The Firebird

 

And then, they hit me, just below the belt,

woman strength

Image Courtesy: Pinterest.com

And shoved me to a corner to preach me
With their habitual sermons of sanctity,
Just when I was clasping the clay molds
To turn them into spitting images of myself,
My everyday girlfriends, sisters, dainty rivers prancing
and preening around fire-lit open courtyards.

And then, they sucked the lilting rhythms of a female fetus
Out of my hungering womb, and left me to die every day
With the barren shrieks of a hopeless nothing,
My femaleness, a tough, bottomless pit
which they entered again, and again, and again,
tirelessly, until a male offspring is borne.

……Did my river bleed when my trident perforated
demon skins? I ran, and ran, and ran
Like a beast, chased, driven away,
Until the unscathed horizon took me in.
Who is it that chases me still? The rough undone
of voyeur fists and limbs? All I have sought for
Is a man sheltering my hidden pores,
A chapati between my hungry teeth, my chapped lips.

…….And then, they smothered me dead, because as Draupadi,
My fiery red cajoled them into hostility. As Sita,
My chastity made them push their boundaries.
As Kunti, the unblemished terrains of my want
enticed them to father my legendary sons.
As the black, ‘dalit’ girl, the earth and water of my being
was a living proof of profanity, a sacrilege
that they sanctified by feasting on the tar of my flesh.

And then, you who have crushed and torn my silky petals,
You who have made me sing lust-ridden songs,
You who have taught our mothers to kill us in the womb,
To mourn our birth while their cherished sons blossom
in their milky warmth, you who have made us
The sacrificing Sati and Behula, brimming with fortitude,
You who have sold our flesh for six pence, will sit at my feet,
Prostrate, when I am the naked, elemental Kali,
at my apocalyptic best. And then, when I adorn my forehead
with the toxic blood of generations, my scarlet tongue,
spread out, larger than life, glitters, gleams with peril.

Let me be the savage cry, the dark, scraped beast
Before you call me the Goddess and the whore, yet again.

All Rights Reserved. Lopa Banerjee. January 27, 2016

Unbound

I, am myself.
I am unbound and whole.
Do not look for me inside the painted walls
And the crushed mirage of the old concretes.
Inside every brick and mortar
Inside every chipped, peeled crevice
Of my body, freedom breathes
In its own symphony.
I will not tweak or twist
To take in your doomed definitions of fortitude.
I soak in my own sunlight,
My cloudy mane waxes and wanes
To the spring of my footsteps.
Inhale my quaintness and bounty,
As my crushed contours,
My defiant dreams die and resurface
Over and over again.

All Rights Reserved. Lopa Banerjee. October 4, 2015

The Supernova

Durga-Puja-Wallpaper-for-Mobile

Durga

Markandeya Purana: “Durga came into being. The unique light, pervading the Three Worlds with its luster, combined into one, and became a female form”.

Let me be the Goddess in shining armor,

Let me be the surreal creative feminine force,

Let me regain my ten mighty arms, my fiery red clothes, my infinite power.

Bring me back my thunderbolt, my trident, my lion and lotus flower.

The cosmic rampage, the reign of terror is back,

Unleashed on earth. All forms of human–horrifying, grotesque,

Clenching, hungry–surround me, threaten me, mock my prowess.

A nemesis is here, an invisible cauldron, boiling along with

Black sins of human demons. Today, as the world invokes me

In temples and pandals, inside sacred places,

Let me creep inside the being of every woman,

Let me be the burst of elemental energy inside all of them,

Let me break my proverbial omnipotence, my impetuosity

Into thin slices, and bestow each one with a handful!

Within each of them, Durga, the unique light, the synthesis

Of beauty and power, would be dancing, rippling in waves,

Sputtering in myth and mystery. Amid the abysmal darkness

Of diminishing humanity, let me rise thus, from my ashes

And be the ‘Every Woman.’