Sincerely, Yours: A Prose-Poem

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“my black mane, the dark pool of my eyes, my wet soul have been at your arms’ reach”. Image source: bestmodernpaintings.blogspot.com

I know you don’t look out for me in the slender, silent daylight peeping through the window of my room, where I have walked around, barefoot, flinging my wistful nets around you, always. I have never estranged you, nor did I lose myself, nor did I ever tell you to seek me, bang at my window, find my name amid lush letters of smoke.

I have always been moored in the morsels of your hunger, in the water of your thirst, in the nocturnal flower of your bed. When you have stretched out your arms, my black mane, the dark pool of my eyes, my wet soul have been at your arms’ reach, waiting to be summoned, kissed, chased, tied, untied, forgotten.

I have always been there, floating around the arid air in your caverns of want, tracing the tracts of you, headlong, as I hover around the night sky, awake, the old roads of my body shimmering in stardust.

I am the whispering, inaudible song in the wind, the earthy odor of tears trickling, when you rest, lavish and carefree, in your cherished kingdom.
I am the sticky, stale rice as you gorge on the domesticated butter, writing on the pale story of the day with the pitch-dark ink of the night,
and think of writing more, in a language where sounds lose themselves, often.

I am the bird which never dares to hop and jump, rather crosses over, silently, the drunken boat, which waits, at the edge of the river, strange, tender, aching.

© July 2015 · All Rights Reserved · Lopa Banerjee.

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Ode to the Incredible Woman

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Incredible woman you are,

Your silken tresses, your fragrance

Wafting like a cascading reverie.

Incredible woman, your man molds you

In the clay of his lust, as you tug

At his bare chest, his eyes, tongue

Drooling at the artwork of your neck,

The symmetry, the swelling,

The soft petals of your curves.

 

Incredible woman, the sure remnants

Of testosterone smatter your crimson lips

In the clingy dark, the lipsticked pout,

Peeled, laid bare, slain…

Your satin smile, your starched sari

Striving to sugar-coat

The nights’ roaring darkness.

 

Why do you flounce in lacey delight,

Incredible woman? The glittering waves

Of your curves beneath your saffron drapes

Explode and diminish, as you construct

And deconstruct your own saga of love

In charred, burnt out days, nights.

The seedling of your love,

The living skeleton of bruises, gashes, submerged.

 

Incredible woman, did the verdant young lad

Of your dreams let you bloom for once,

A flower, a bird, a sea song,

When you too were young?

Did the red flame of your body nurse

An eager, lovelorn soul?

 

Incredible woman, in the nights

You lay bare, the flame, gripped, grouched,

The dreamy love became a bluff.

Krishna, the daughter of Panchal

Had lost her heart to Arjuna.

But, what did even the losing mean?

The ebbing, swelling, crushing of the waves

Lapped up by five men, calling themselves ‘husbands’?

 

Bit by bit, the beautiful virgin vessel

Dresses up, one molecule, and the next,

The ‘padmini’, ‘the shankhini’, ‘the tilottama’,

Trampled and stripped off, bleeding

In the roaring, cussing assembly of men.

The Sati, the Sita, submitting, being the pawn

Mopping up the mud and dirt

Of male vanity and viciousness.

 

Incredible woman, did your man,

Your eternal Sakha, your paramour,

Your Mohan in Vrindavan tempt you,

Nibble on you, evade you, wrong you?

Twirl and swirl around him in your shringar.

In the dense maze of your being,

Twisted and coiled, he will be undone,

As you have been, for long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHE: Draupadi and the Every Woman

 

My March column at B’Khush, the women-centric e-zine, ‘She: Draupadi and the Every Woman’, a poetic narrative dedicated to all my women friends across the globe, just before the occasion of the International Women’s day in March 8. The piece is developed from an excerpt of my book-length memoir ‘Thwarted Escape’ which has recently been a finalist and a First Place Category winner at the Journey Awards 2014 for Narrative Nonfiction hosted by Chanticleer Book Reviews and Media LLC.

Sharing a small excerpt from the piece:

I was born, in Panchal, bereft of a mother’s Yoni,

Emerging from burning contours of fire,

The river of my body ran and ran, meandering,

Eyes to cheeks, cheeks to chin, chin to my swan neck,

Nativity singing thigh-deep in the river that struggled

To stay still….”

Do read the full piece and leave your valued comments in the page:

http://www.bkhush.com/dev/content/scattered-pearls-she-draupadi-and-every-woman

Rhapsody: A Tribute to the Girl Child

Sharing a poem about a girl child, about the glory of being a mother to my girls, inspired by a picture shared at the ‘Woman Inc Poetry Project’:

Beauty at its best, when you let your wings flutter
A joyous dance in the rain, or in the quiet confines
Of your own sacred nook. Every beat of your feet
A holy chant, every move of your waist,
A delightful symphony. Absorb the tiniest morsels
Of the life, the moments fleeting away
As you trudge the buttery ground
Beneath your feet.
Your footsteps fade and resound
Eager, firm, fresh, you are the beings
Of a fairer world.

Unlace yourself as you teach us
How to be a petal bloom in darkness
How to make flesh, bones, joints
Speak together in a harmonious chime.
The music of your body
A sliver of light in the pale blue sky,
An orchard in the valley of the Gods.
Your dance, an untainted gift,
Wrapped in earth’s bosom.

Copyright: Lopa Banerjee.

Originally written in September 25, 2014

‘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/

Thwarted Escape: a Personal Essay

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It gives me great pleasure to let my dear readers know that my narrative nonfiction piece, a personal essay titled ‘Thwarted Escape’ has been published in the online journal, ‘Cafe Dissensus Everyday’. Written in late summer 2010, the idea of this piece came to me while waiting at the terminal of the Delhi international airport with my elder daughter, a toddler, for our next connecting flight to Chicago. Just a couple of hours back, I had bid goodbye to my parents, in-laws and relatives in the Kolkata airport, and was thinking how there is this complete switch of universes in the course of one flight to the next.

I was thinking of the meaning and essence of the words ‘home’, ‘homeland’, the edges of which seemed blurred now that I had two different homes, two different set of lives continents apart. My exile, six years back as the newly wed Bengali bride was self-chosen, I had already embraced new homes, landscapes in the most unlikely of places. My life had already been intertwined with the air and water of the unknown soil, amidst unknown lives, but each day, we were coming closer, like fingers kneading clay, leaving imprints on each other. I was thinking about the life, the bittersweet memories that I leave behind in every annual visit to my parents’ and in-laws’ place, the emotional, physical, spiritual upheavals that have been part of both my leaving the places and coming back to them. It was then that I realized that in this act of leaping between continents, in the act of adjusting to the various movements of my heart, there is a story yet to be told, even to myself. This piece is born out of such a quest, framed in my mind in between the transit stops, and is now a chapter from my first, yet unpublished memoir. It is also the stepping stone to some longer narratives where I dissect, deconstruct my pent up, calcified memories, revisit my past in Kolkata and look at my present while inching towards honesty, integrity and self-awareness. It is a personal voyage that is bruised and bleeding, yet marked with reassurance, vitality and the animated signs of life.  

Do read the full personal essay published at Cafe Dissensus Everyday:

http://cafedissensusblog.com/2014/04/20/thwarted-escape/

 

The piece has also very recently been accepted for publication by the 2014 River Poets Journal Special Edition “The Last Time I Ran Away.” It is a print literary journal published from Lilly Press, NJ. To know more about River Poets Journal, go to:

http://www.riverpoetsjournal.com/index.html

The Tanpura

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A short chapter from my dream project, my first memoir that is yet unpublished, finds a home today at Cafe Dissensus, a journal published from New York. The chapter, ‘The Tanpura’ which is a story about my childhood, is based on a sudden awakening, a sudden revelation that I had at that tender age, involving my mother and her compromises. I had started it as a writing prompt that I worked on in a coursework named ‘experiments in creative nonfiction’. Later, I went ahead and developed the story and now it is a chapter of my memoir. I have toiled for quite some time to find a home for this piece, and now that it has found one, I dedicate this to the loving memory of my mother whom I lost to a sudden stroke in August 2013. 

Do read the full piece in Cafe Dissensus and leave your comments:

http://cafedissensusblog.com/2014/04/16/the-tanpura/