Dear Poetry

love_bleeding

Dear Poetry, have you left me, deserted me for good? So many scars, so much of venom puked, so many unwritten lines, so many lumps in the throat, not yet gulped down. My stories are drowning me in a pitch-dark, bottomless pit every day. The thorns of prosaic truths scraping the inner core in merciless, relentless bouts.

My life, the most plain travails, shut unceremonious between the folds of recycled beds, dark, drab parlours and the missing music of the dining nook, wants to reach out to you, crossing the uncertain miles of the distant spray of juvenile mirth, crossing that little slope of the setting sun where you had sprung in my arms once like a truant, confessional kid.

My eyes sting, I seek the old, weeping willow tree where I had found you once, stroking hard at my blank, surreptitious womanly canvas. Come back my ‘wings of poesy’, let us find each other yet again, and hide from the world in a crushing, sinister curl.
Come back and penetrate me, spill all your juices inside of me, as the barren woman wants to be fertile, all over again!

 

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My Mother: An Obituary

For My Mother, Rama Bhattacharya, on her 3rd birthday in heaven

By Lopa Banerjee

 First published in Incredible Women of India, dated February 25, 2016.

“Jokhon porbe na more payer chinho ei baante

Ami baibo na, ami baibo na more kheya toree ei ghaate go…”

(When you won’t be able to trace my footprints, imprinted on the roads, you won’t see me then, in the jetties, I won’t be then to row my boat.)

Rabindranath Tagore, Geetabitan.

Dear Ma,

A picture of you stands unassumingly, along with old and new DVDs and books, in the top-most shelf of one of our old glass showcases that have traveled with us from one home to another. I see you today, as I see you every day, in the blissful sheen of smile with my first born tucked blissfully in your arms, surrounded by your erratic husband, my father, who loved you in his own queer, idiosyncratic ways, surrounded by me, your only child and my husband. “A complete family portrait, I will keep it snugly in my heart always!” You had expressed in unbridled joy that day, almost seven years ago on the New Year’s Eve, while returning with a bunch of family pictures that we had taken together at Portrait Studio, Omaha, Nebraska, where you had come to visit us.

Seven years after, a copy of the same picture lies, along with a stack of other pictures and memorabilia in a damp nook of your Barrackpore home from where they took your lifeless body away, but where the imprints of your being still lurk, crawl at the old, chipped walls, the unkempt furniture, the dusty staircases. A home, its bricks and roof and floors that you had built with your sweat, your diligence and utmost resolve, a home where your words, your silence and your fatigued breath still echoes, calling out my name.

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My mother and my firstborn, my elder daughter Mithi

In a different home now, inside the quiet confines of a nondescript apartment building in Irving, Texas, pictures of you, in various phases of your life peep from our laptop screen, which I, your only daughter randomly saved in digital formats from old, tattered, sepia picture albums. They were my last desperate, painstaking attempts to hold on to you with my parched heart; in all the sights, smells, noises and touch and their smooth, velvety feel in which love was formed since the day I was born, till the day I gave birth. The sensations and their impact seized to be physical, yet whenever I touch the framed pictures, printed and gleaming, whenever I run my fingers through the elusive screen that freezes those sepia and coloured moments of you and me, the sensations gush through my veins, real, lingering.

“Ma-r shob jinish shonge kore niye ja, ekhane kichhu fele rakhish na” (Take away all belongings of your mother with you, do not leave anything in this house)…relatives, neighbours had commented on the day of my return to the US, following the rituals of your first death anniversary in our Barrackpore home. They had quite obviously referred to the more valuable worldly stuff that you had left in the house, but do they all know what else you had left inside the rooms, interspersed with moments of love and beauty, with which the mundane glittered, glorious? There, in the eerie silence of the old steel almirah of your bedroom, lay a stack of your saris, starched, folded, nourished with unconditioned love. In the middle rack of the almirah, old, almost archaic bank documents, question papers from the school where you taught, handwritten notes and old, tattered inland letters of your old students, old papers, souvenirs from my father’s office rested inside files piled up against one another. Inside the drawers of our old dressing table in Barrackpore, a gift from your parents for your wedding, my old report cards, the first, raw sketches of my preschooler days cough up the blood and phlegm of my washed out childhood days. You had wrapped them all in the blanketed warmth of the rooms, your old tanpura which you had brought from your parents’ home, your rusty vermilion cases, your combs that still carry thin, curly strands of your hair. You had shielded them from the ever-changing world outside that was unaffected by your sedate, solitary life.

In the kitchen of our new home in Texas, I am chopping bottle-gourd and potatoes in much the same way you had told me to, while sharing your signature recipes that you wanted me to acquire skills in. “Never ever tell me to cook. I am not born to cook. I am only born to read and write poetry”, I would boastfully tell you on your face in my carefree student days. You would laugh it off, convey my immature statements to other women you knew, who all told you it was just a temporary phase, a perspective that would never hold good once I would marry and enter domesticity. I had your genes, after all. The genes that carry poetic veins, the genes that know how the fish and vegetables dance in a geometric swirl and traipse across the aromatic blend, inside the mouths of the oiled, heated pots and pans. Cooking in my later life, came to me in the ether waves of the long-distance phone calls and long, descriptive e-mails from you, wooed me and overtook me as yet another sacred journey solidifying our bond, much in the same way as your poetry, your rhymes and recitations did.

“Lau-te kokhono ada dibi na, panch foron, hould, nun, dudh ar narkel dibi, amrit er moton lagbe khete.” (Never add ginger to bottle-gourd curry, a concoction of the five whole spices, turmeric, coconut and milk will do wonders to the dish, believe me, it will make it taste heavenly)…I smile, my eyes misting over, the tinkle bell of your bangles, the conch shells in your hands still reverberating in the damp, molten kitchen of our Barrackpore home, sprinkling salt and turmeric in the giant fish pieces in smudged utensils.

“Pooja kori more rakhibe urdhe, shey nohee ami/Hela kori morey rakhibe pichhe, shey nohee ami./ Jodi parshe rakho more shonkote sampad-e,/ Sammati dao Jodi kothin brote shohay hote,/ Pabe tobe tumi chinite morey.” (I am not the one you hail in the alter, worshipping, nor am I the one you keep behind you, in negligence. Recognize my essence while you keep me beside you always, in your bounty and amid deep hours of crisis, allowing me to be a true partner in your life’s journey, a true accomplice in your missions)…I can still hear you mumbling the lines of Tagore’s ‘Ami Chitrangada’ (I am Chitrangada) to yourself, in the ethereal twilight of your everyday kitchen songs.

In your young, struggling days, when you and Baba (father) came together in the same music school where the numinous beauty of Rabindranath Tagore’s songs made both of you create your own universe of love, you had held his hand tight, learning to love yourself more with each passing day, for his sake. You had come to his ancestral home as a new, demure bride amid 25 odd, unyielding members who never understood your true worth; you had embraced his handsomeness and youth, his strengths as well as all his quirky ways, his occasional bouts of temper, and took upon yourself the mammoth task of supporting his demanding family, financially, emotionally, even while draining yourself excruciatingly. “What was the purpose of all your sacrifices for them, tell me, when all they did was to exploit whatever resources you had? They made you give up your music, stopped your recitation classes. They didn’t even let you eat properly when you were expecting me, years back. Do you expect them to change and love you unconditionally in return?” I would ask you quite often, when I grew older and wiser, unable to come to terms with what you had faced, while you covered up with a smile when it hurt you the most. I never got a concrete reply, but your silent resolve spoke volumes. You had loved my father till your last blood drop, and his entire realm, both in its pleasantness and its disagreeable mess, was your own. Right from the moment you discovered him as your young husband in your first nuptial night, to the last evening before your fatal stroke many years later, when you were washing his soiled clothes in the bathroom.

My mornings would never be the same, Ma, without your little love-notes inscribed in our Barrackpore home, swaying with the lilting tunes of your Sanskrit chanting at the wake of dawn when with eyes shut and hands folded in a gesture of pranaam, you would utter the divine “Om jabakusuma sankasang kashyapeyang mahadyuting”, invoking the Sun-God. A sliver, a chunk of my childhood and adolescent days, with lines of Rabindranath and Jibanananda Das, and most prominently, the lines of a poem, “Bhoraai”, by your favourite poet Satyendranath Dutta dangles in the rusted, dusty corners of the rooms, the verandah and the terrace of the house, trying to reach me every day, crisscrossing the haywire traffic of the continents. The lines that you had recited with flawless diction and the inimitable prowess of your elocution, the lines and their literary essence that you had taught me with utmost care, lines which had then, unknowingly, laid the foundation of my love for the scribes.

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the bliss of a child: me and my parents, many moons back

“Oi meye amader moton-I hobe, angul fule ki ar kola gachh hobe?” (Your daughter will be one of us, nothing greater, who has ever seen a grape growing to be a banana tree?) You had silently listened to one of my elder cousin sisters predicting an inconsequential future for me, while I sat in your lap, reading out my favourite books to you one day. In your silent resolve, you had held me closer to you, whenever the uncertainties in my life spiraled out of control, for you knew, in your heart of hearts, that I will rise and shine, and find my own little firmament in the vast galaxy of voices, visions and expressions.

Today, I dedicate each and every small or big publication to your loving memory, to your simple, yet profound teachings. I cook the recipes that you had taught me across the miles of our distance, I prepare boxed lunches for my daughters and watch them grow with starry eyes every day, much in the same way that you did while I was growing up, knowing that perhaps my own words, thoughts and actions, my own aspirations would find their way in posterity. Perhaps, many moons later, when my bare form will meet yours, suspended in time and space, trying to gauge the vacuum in between, our words and the silences, the pauses in between will resurrect us. Till then, let your clumsy, messy, soppy remembrances tell me your stories, every day.

I will remain your daughter in this life, whichever domain you may have crossed over to.

Happy birthday, Ma.

Yours’, Papai.

SECOND CHANCE AT FOREVER by Summerita Rhayne

 

 

SECOND CHANCE AT FOREVER

BY

SUMMERITA RHAYNE

 

Blurb

 

 

What happens when the terrible twos come in threes? 

Stuti loves being a mother to her triplets, but it can be a harrowing routine. She’s even more submerged in the craziness when she takes them and her mom-in-law for a trip to Rajasthan, the land of the erstwhile Thar desert royals and their palaces. After the passing away of her husband, she feels she owes it to her mil to take her to her favourite holiday. In the Amber Palace, her reckless toddler rushes onto a modelling shoot. As she picks up her daughter who has tripped over a gorgeous zardozi sari, her gaze clashes with that of the man she’d hoped never to set eyes on again in her life. 

 

A passion that threatens to set fire to more than just her senses 

Revath was everything she wanted in a man, but six years ago he chose to walk away from her. Now he wants to be back in her life. When she knows he doesn’t want the same things in life that she does, would she be wise to let anything rekindle between them? Is it already too late for rethinks? 

 

Desire that has to be denied 

Revath knew the moment he met Stuti again that he couldn’t just let her go. But Stuti is absolutely the wrong woman for him. It was proved six years ago when they chose diametrically opposite ways for themselves. He doesn’t believe in forever, so what’s he doing asking her for a second chance? 

>>>>>> 

 

Can three little miracles be a barrier to two people finding love?

 

     Pre-order your copy here: 

 


Amazon.com 


About the author 

 

 

Summerita Rhayne writes contemporary and historical romance with lots of emotional conflict. She first got published in 2013 and has won contests with prestigious publishers such as Harlequin and Harper Collins India. Her pet belief is, if the inspiration is strong enough, the story characters will find a way to make the writer pen them down, even when writing time is in short supply. When cerebrally confronted with the sizzling interaction of two Alpha characters, the only way to get peace is write their book!

 

At heart, she’s a family person and even though she loves her medical teaching profession, she happily becomes a homemaker when not at work. She loves winding down with music, romcoms, cricket (strictly watching only) and social networking. 

 

You can stalk her @


        

 

 

We Promote So That You Can Write 



 

April: The Beginning of A Surrender

 

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April, don’t you know my charred flesh
longs to make love to you?
Come, plunge in the cauldron
where I am simmering, my vermilion,
My kohl, and my libido, bundled up
in a frothy, bleeding fairytale.

April, don’t you see me–twisted, exfoliated,
Blunt, broken, sharpened again,
And again, in your furtive jasmine glances?
Come, I am waiting, the venus of centuries
of want, the flora, fauna of my breasts
Eroding your volcanic rock, hissing, scrawling.

April, my ripe breath chases you, the slain deer
I reach out to you, a smooth arc, blindfolded,
I take you in, my skin, my musk, raining with you.
Come, my salt, my threadbare frame
My chaff and my grain
Are crumbling, into bits of you.

Take Me In

The November smog, fluid, ethereal, stings in my eyes. I drift again, from one nook of the city to the next as my eyes browse through the burnt hedges, shrubs and trees; it’s time to rebuild from the leftover pencils and brushes of my messed up, old days. I take in the haunting smell of homecoming as I soak in the toxic chlorophyll, trudging past the traffic lights as smoke rolls through my tongue….I know as I move around in deeper shades, the nape of my neck hurts, this nocturnal photosynthesis tosses me up again, root to branch…the smudged moon sinks yet again, dusk to night, night to dawn, breathing heavy, in its sniffed grains of light. I flop down beside her, my whispers broken, my voice hovering from across the void. I sway, holding my clothes, under my clothes, my ribs and bones, my veins and tendrils dance in the smog.

Many moons back, on yet another November day in your city, I had waited, heavy and slow, I had been twisted and turned over and over until the wait became a cursed game. Today, as I come back to those ashen fringes, I lean over your rickety balcony, rehashing those lost, jinxed words as I gobble up old Sundays, smell the old clouds, before holding them tight. I burn, like incense, into your skin, flying through the arid air, chasing after the smog and lost colors, descending, slowly waning, melting into you.

Do take me in, dear Kolkata…

The Touch of a Mother

mother baby

Image source: forum.santabanta.com

 

National Poetry Writing Month

The touch of a mother, a peck on the cheeks
Light wallowing softly in a crumpled bed,
Propping the head between pillows and arms,
Nursing the face, head, clothes up the body
Of the babe, dips her lips in succulent love.
The liquid pearl of joy, brimming,
Floating downstream.

The touch of a mother, light, feathery, dense,
Encircling the night in the womb’s warm aroma.
The touch of the mother, a slow autumnal caress
Tattered, torn, burnt out eyes, fingers, lips
Tempering the spluttering spices and oil,
The sound of footsteps, shimmering waves,
Fading, resounding, watching over the night.

The touch of a mother, gulped down deep
Bubbles up in the frothy burps of memory.
The touch of a mother, imprinted in
Unopened souvenirs, forlorn lullabies.
The dust of time upon
commonplace whispers and summoning.
Slivers of raindrops and light,
A golden glow of times gone by.

Note: Dedicated to the memory of my mother and all mothers who have loved their children, unconditionally, selflessly.

Forlorn

moonlit night

Image Source: hdw.eweb4.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did I lose you somewhere
Between the hyacinth and the ribbons
The pleats and folds of my adult drape?

I know you still wait for me, my moon
As the night flutters, the unfailing rose
Drunk with solitude and honeyed longing.

I breathe shallow and deep, my eyes
Swept away by stardust, I am alone
You milk, eager and firm, waits for me
At the shore of the night.

Between my trembling lips and voice,
Your song hides in the fugitive wind,
Slender and silent, you walk away,
Barefoot, soaking in the night’s last ashes.

Did I call you, my white hills
Breaking, sinking at the wake of dawn?
I return to the day, dust blown
Crushing sand beneath my feet,

You have sliced me to pieces,
I move, unsure, forlorn, in spirals
Of smoke as I call you out
My moorings trapped in the day, dying.

Footnote: Written for a weekend writing prompt on the moon, “the quintessential silver orb that steals our heart every night”, as had been put by my fellow poet Vinita Agrawal at the Woman Inc Poetry Project.
Copyright: Lopa Banerjee. February 23, 2015

A World Without Poetry

 

A world without poetry,
The concrete hammering of mails
The infusion of programmed chores
A day, yet another day shedding it’s leaf
In parched, scheduled coldness.

Collective tangling of prosaic voices
Barbecue in the summer heat,
Disjointed company of drunk folks
Stinking of the corporate fumes.

Shattered raindrops, where do I hide you
In the luscious spread of weekend delicacies?
The shrieking yells of perfumed bodies,
The flashy make-up of the powdered night
Hides you like submissive dirt.

The deep chasm of naked arms bleed
My unwritten lines buried under
The daily litany of unanswered applications,
Unsolicited proposals, boxed and sealed
Never caring for a reply, a nod, an assaurance.

A world without poetry dies and lives
Every day, crafty, stoic, plastered,
Waking in hopes of a startling twist
Of a delicate, lyrical opulence.

House and the Housewife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kitchen spatula, drops of leaves
Bonfire of the soul,
The light of smoke, burning,
Twisting, dead voice of the bird,
Long lost in desired migration.

Flames of twilight, faint kisses
Fall and melt, unhappy embers,
Hurricanes of dreams hauling on,
Failed, stained with recycled anguish,
Scars of practiced jerks, moves, copulation.

Breaking into waves, sobs, poetry of want
The doll house cries, mocking,
Moist desires trampled, endless rivers of
Afflicted hours. The breasts suckled by
Mortal flame of infants, born, extracted
From the life of fire, crooning, nourished.

Whispering, shouting incoherent, bursting forth
Like a weapon, crushing like an evening song
Solitary dreams cooing, alone, like a tunnel,
Flapping wings, echoing, rising in oblivion,
Dark leaves muttering, shattered, undaunted.

‘Invoked’: An Elegy for Moni Mama

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My beloved Moni mama, Anupam Bhattacharya. Many moons back, a tall, lanky guy, in Digha, 1976

Time had sung its inevitable song, a body

That had once planted a tree of love,

Had burnt to its last finishing embers.

The face, hung in silence, floating around

Unspoken words, etched in the timeless annals of memory.

 

The face of life, a sudden, elemental burst

A gleam of hope along the rusty corridors of nothingness,

Hungered for the pitter patter raindrops of a moment in time,

In the plastic quiet of the hospital room, death waited,

A silent companion at the next station, while life

Chewed on his final wishes of a succulent meal.

 

The finishing touches of words, beneath the breathing tube,

The pinching ache of the intravenous, the seeking out

Of lovingly knit faces, the hands gripping unfulfilled promises

A flash of seconds, then hanging loose.

Life had been beckoned in an unknown itinerary.

 

Twenty-one years since the sun had last gone down,

Memories unfailingly water, nourish the roots, the leaves,

The fruits the tree had borne, while the face

Hangs in the wall, a dusty portrait, in a home full of the living.

Copyright: Lopa Banerjee. January 11, 2014

Footnotes: An elegy dedicated to the loving memory of my maternal uncle, Moni Mama (Anupam Bhattacharya) who left us on this fateful day twenty-one years back, only in his early forties, succumbing to cancer. A youthful and intelligent person full of life and a quirky sense of humor, his memories are invoked till today and he will always be the face of life for me, yearning for love and the closeness of family even in the excruciating pain of his last surviving days. This is for my cousin brother, Arijit Bhattacharya who never had the chance of knowing his father. Bhai, this is for reminding you of the treasured gift of love that your father had for all of us during his short life span. Hope you remember and cherish him, always!