Book Trailer: Thwarted Escape

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you/You must
travel it by yourself.
It is not far, it is within reach/Perhaps you have been on it since
you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere—on water and land.”
–Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Watch out for the journey of my book THWARTED ESCAPE in Youtube as it transforms from a Journey awards winning manuscript to a published book and an Honorable Mention awardee at the LA Book Festival 2017.

#booktrailer, #youtubevideo, #bookpromotion, #Goodreads

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The Destitute Verse

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Image source: Morguefile.com 

Note: Trans-created in English, inspired by my Bengali poem ‘Gothroheen, Bewarish Kobita’, composed on Facebook, yesterday, dated July 19, 2016.

Acknowledgements: Mandakranta Sen (poet, novelist)

The heart, my dear, a truant, spitfire girl.

The fire burns, trembling, flickering, grueling embers.

The words lay, scrunched, shards of shattered glass.

dance daintily, prance and preen in the mind’s monochrome pastures.

Let them drift apart, and collide sometimes, rummaged,

unpacked, let them be freed of their planned lines, carefully carved chapters.

I wake up to their cacophony; all I can muster is refusal.

I refuse to pick up, chew on the cuds of commonplace stories,

lapped up by all others. I refuse to be the articulate novel, licked,

sucked, chewed, consumed to bone and marrow.

I refuse to be one more clone of the authors spinning around, in multi-colored masks,

Head to toe, crackling with vain, twisted praise, and sycophancy.

I refuse to be that succulent drink reveling on yet another habitual book release,

The decked up, charming whore of the artsy, snooty intellectual.

In my night sky, I dance alone, my sacred bits and pieces,

The slivers of my shattered glasses, my dying, indomitable embers,

the spoonfuls of my stained blood, the fragile chunks of my words,

my battered womanly pride.

The heart, a truant, spitfire girl,

and its unruly words will live on,

Let the birth pangs and the eager tears rise, and explode.

 

 

Song of the Road

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Image source: wallpaperswide.com

My legs dangle in the car
In the seat, I settle, awkward
The jagged outlines of
the interstate and the green
On both sides lighting up
Like tattoos.
Bollywood Hindi refrains
Gyrating, recycled, served up
Like frothy, milky chai
in old, verdant train stations
remembered with a child’s eagerness.
In our mouths, between
Our silences outstretched
And our tongues sticking out
Parched, tame, scanning
The flatlands and the ripples
We seek out our
love song for the road,
The tangy and sour essence
of the small towns
That ebb and flow with
the shrill rain,
the murky flood waters,
The turmeric-stained sunlight
That we taste, bubbling,
resting on our backs.
The tires push down the
Buttery roads and I am
Wrapped in the childhood raincoat
Where the playlist
of the songs become
Promises, vows, stillness grasped.
In the mirror, strands of hair
Dance to the orchestra
Like pesky birds,
Grey, trampled, bronzed
With colors, behind a veil
Of shrinking, errant drapes.
The wind and the light outside
A thin stick of pungent smoke
I inhale like a stealthy lover
On our way back home.
Soon the roads, robust
Against our limp bodies
Will bend and waltz,
Tweak and twirl, to
the stairs leading home.
In the brown, saucy night sky
Our road songs,
ingrained, left behind,
will jump, float away
in scattered lines.

Lopa Banerjee. All Rights Reserved. May 30, 2015
Note: Written while returning from a long distance trip by car on route Texas gulf coast to the plains of Nebraska, US.

Ocean Reckoning

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“A mouthful of ocean wants A handful of salty coastal sand”…Half Moon Bay, Northern California.

 

A mouthful of ocean wants
A handful of salty coastal sand
Arid footsteps buried
In the silver swirl,
Craving to be blessed,
To lick the white sands and salt,
To seize a chunk from
The fast-fading time
And gulp the thawing air
While it lasts.
A few more steps,
A little slick of sweat
And there I am,
Ready for the painterly sky,
The blueness and angled sunlight.
A journey into the open roads
And horizon, a journey
Of cracking open, creaking
And bursting into spasms.
A journey, wayward,
Haunting, full of ocean smells.

Note: Dying to be in the wet wild sea again, this time to explore the Gulf of Mexico. Starting our journey today. Sharing a small dedication to my ‘mouthful of ocean wants’, an ekphrastic poem just before embarking on the journey. Hope some of you will like it.

 

Revisiting An Old Home

National Poetry Writing Month.

Revisiting an Old Home  

The streetlights flicker,
I am caught unawares
in the fleshy orange call
of the tattered, brown dirt road.
My skin is sliced into nimble pieces,
The black tires of my homecoming
Screech, strangling the road
Like rotten banana skin.

One blink, the smell of dust
And the aroma of wet hair
And coconut oil, two blinks,
Then three, and four,
A waking up, the sharp,
shooting tremors and
The boiling, bubbling up.
The wide, gaping mouth,
The rolling waves, childlike
The froth and the fancy
of remembering my body, growing,
resting my back against
Those damp, breathing walls.

I speak a crisp, powdered language
My hunger for touch, for a caress
Burns into the skin like
A forgotten incense.
The waiting mouth of the old home
sprinkled with the remnants
of used up turmeric, cumin,
the rough hairs of
an unruly childhood
bursts wide open,
I slip down her throat
as she gags, darkened, acidic,
Slowly burning, chipping away.

All Rights Reserved. Lopa Banerjee. April 25, 2015

Note: A journey and an epiphany…to be continued….

The Revisiting

Notes for the readers: An elegy of a lost love, or a few lines dedicated to the wayward memories of a long lost relationship. A random love poem, yet again.

An old love flaunted itself in half-written letters.

An old love buried in the slippery sands of time.

An old love puffed fiercely, flashed sugary smiles,

Clenched at me tight, and loosened,

Cried in long, ragged sobs.

An old love finds me in smoke, sips of coffee and yawning.

An old love comes to visit me, his face ghostly and blurred.

I take him in and we begin to talk,

Greet each other in discreet, playful nods.

We talk in shadows and scribbling,

In warm monotones and the equation of rhetoric.

We’ve rubbed off awkward kisses, wayward fantasies

With the palm of our hands.

Our delicate, birdlike buffoonery slapped hard

By a slate of routine chores.

A scrapbook of lost words careen around the room.

My hands, stretch out to him in stray lines

Azure blue, green, purple shades of calf love.

Keystrokes of a lost harmony, fading, resounding,

Crossing paths in a dim, complicated dream,

Melting, wafting, diminishing again.

An old love is a long smear on my whiteboard face,

In twilight memories, summons me

In anonymous blinks and glittering.

I watch him from afar, lanky, white-haired and lost,

Leave the room with the faint odor of our used up days.

 

 

 

 

The Closure

Remembering my mother Rama Bhattacharyya on the month of August, which happens to be the month of my birth and her death. A couple of days following her first death anniversary, I would like to dedicate this piece published in ‘Northeast Review’ to the loving memory of my Ma. In this personal essay, I have attempted to trace my spiritual journey to Puri, Bhubaneshwar and Konark in the holy land of Orissa, India, following her ‘sraaddha’ (late rites) rituals last year, as per the Hindu religious rites. Hope she has found ultimate peace and salvation in an eternal kingdom of love. Rest in peace, Ma!

All my thanks to the editors of ‘Northeast Review’, especially to the Nonfiction editor Sumana Ray for accepting and publishing this narrative nonfiction piece which will remain the closest to my heart forever.

http://northeastreview.com/2014/07/10/the-closure/

A very old, nameless poem

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Artist: Michel Le Roux. Title: Passion & Poesie (Passion and Poetry). Image source: http://www.adelecampbell.com

Note for the readers: This poem is one of my more premature piece, when I was just starting to nurture my passion for poetry and to express subtle thoughts poetically. Keeping this in mind, readers please consider any flaws or looseness in structure, form, imagery and metaphors. I have tried to better these aspects with time, with writing more, and moreover, with reading more and more of the works of great poets of all times.

From dawn to dusk’s inevitable abode
Habitual ramblings of my pedestrian soul,
Faceless structures intrude the journey.
Sometimes, a drop or two of wild desire oozes out.
Many a times a game of chess between passion and pain
Quivers the floor of sensibilities.

From the strained womb of eternity
Emerges each day, a new-born day,
And it seems, as if in its sparkling splendor
The darkness of the bygone days
Is a thing–not to utter, or even remember.
But then, every now and then,
My pigeon lusts are choked by its barren sterility…

And I being the sterile land that it renders
Shell myself in stony suppression.
And miles away do I leave the tumultuous sea of throbbing pulsation.

Your enormous nights and my awakened soul become
Far-off strangers, long departed.
The scarlet flame of your kiss falls headlong.

And now, those forsaken dreams will form a new cosmos,
Those have been fed with despaired blood and forbidden sweat.
Your milky dreams will lick my blood-red sighs
Lick the forsaken salt of my sweat,
To form a new heaven, with your past and captive kisses…
With an abysmal thirst that never fades out.
Come, will you, to explore it all?

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

Still With Me: A Refrain in the Form of a Single Sentence Essay

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Sojourner

Experimenting with form and structure in Creative Nonfiction can manifest itself in many unique shapes and forms. Take a thought, a particular image that strikes and resonates, and keep expanding it till it looks like a long drawn sentence. What if the sentence, along with the particular image/idea becomes a short essay? It would have never occurred to me as something remotely possible if I had not attended a particular essay workshop where the idea of a single sentence essay was being illustrated. Inspired by the idea, I had written a single sentence short essay ‘Still With Me’ which had later been published in Ampersand Review, a literary journal in Fall 2010.

To me, it looks like a refrain more than an essay, a refrain in broken arms, wounded feet and bleeding palms.

“Every night, you come back to my arms in a sweet surrender; together we weep crystal tears buried in shadows deep as you take me back to the sweaty jostle of clumsy streets wrapped around you, the crescent moon that stands up on your sky bleeding not the red of blood; but the lonely hues of gray that travel the world of the living, the emaciated, neglected brooks and streams that still flow on your way, burying our unspoken words in their darkest waters, the haunting lullabies of my childhood slumber that wander endlessly in the faraway winds, the mistake and redemption of my yesteryears lying in their graves along with the greatest ashes of our shared wounds, the smothering morning mist and the secret moonlight that used to gush through your darkened rooms at the edge of my sleep, the crimson lights that used to flash your lanes, which soon used to grow brutal and blinding, the raindrops that used to pelt on your window panes, the storms that raged within your secret, unknown, unnoticed nooks and corners; and today, traveling through the mists of time, as I remind myself of your darkened rooms, as I try to search for long-lost words and stolen memories buried in your walls which visit my lonely mind, as I hear the echo of the sighing music of your rooms, your staircases, your walls, which seem like whispers uttered in naked air, stirring the darkness with wispy winds as I walk through your doors; I walk right in, through the blinding haze of day and night, a traveler of time seeking a pound of solace in the taste of your world beyond a dream; heaving with a heart that harbors dark alleys of a life walled by silent tears, waiting for you, my long-forgotten home, in the eager darkness of return.”

To know more about Ampersand Review, the literary journal and to read more of their fiction, poetry and nonfiction works, you may visit their page:

http://ampersandreview.com/home/