Mindless Meanderings

 

Note: Poetry for the prompt contest of ‘The Significant League’, a literary group in Facebook, judged by Dr. Santosh Bakaya. My poem was the winner of the picture prompt contest which got me Dr. Bakaya’s phenomenal book ‘Where Are The Lilacs: A Collection of Peace Poems’, published by Authorspress.

 

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Fly on, what makes you stop on the bare, grassless streets?

The morning will soon gorge on ashen smoke and filth.

How can your little chuckles and chirping, your strolls

Holding on tight, to your flock, jutting out human ears

Change the course of the pockmarked day?

The city needs to thrive in its skin and blood,

The black hair, the soot and the whistling horns,

The pervasive rhythm, the sound drums.

The city doesn’t need its parched, shadowy silence,

The shitty moans of street urchins,

Your scattered, broken dances, your mindless trails.

What are you nibbling on, at the traffic lights, violating

The intersections, the ground beneath your feet

Murmuring a fluid, nascent language?

Fly up, and over those grimy streets,

Those vignettes of cardboard houses and cars,

The spell of cacophony shutting out the music of soft earth

In the man-made parks. Fly up and claim your space,

The sooty sky might still want the red earth

Breathing in your bravado voices.

Claim your space where solitude is still a distant smell,

pouring out, scarcely, as bleeding, shriveling rain.

 

All Rights Reserved. Lopa Banerjee. September 3, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Princep Ghat

princep ghat

Princep Ghat, Kolkata, India. Image source: 

travel.snydle.com

 

Some days I am just a rusted yellow,

a drooping, crumpled mess

The waters lashing on my eyelashes

a heart-rending tale.

Some days I am just the flames,

the choking silence of the pains of others.

My palms cupping the indelible marks

of bygone days, scalding.

 

Some days I slip into the liquid sound

of poems and boatmen’s songs,

My holy texts trailing after,

smudged, blown away in smithereens.

Some days, the water feels smug-clean

in my sleepy troughs and creases,

Some days, I am the blood

and the shards, the shameless smoke

and the cigarette stubs,

the poison that whirls in my subterranean flow.

 

I know some evenings

your breath brushes past mine,

And we are kindred souls,

burning in each other’s fire.

I know while you dig me

deep with your nails,

the dusk of death is in your skin,

amid the living, breathing mess.

 

Some days when the birds chirp

and the holy crows caw,

In your mossy banks, you sing a song

that once was your mother’s chore.

Today, you rinse your mouth with it

as you chant the holy ‘Om’,

and return home, in your parted lips,

it hangs, a primal hum.

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

Heaven’s Zone: Ekphrastic poetry

painting

a classic painting of Hundertwasser, a famous poet from Austria. Pic courtesy: The Woman Inc Poetry Project

 

A colony of colored houses
Hangs over my haywire dreams
My eyes house them all,
A painter’s palette of light,
The azure blue, the sunlight yellow,
The crimson and the glistening white,
Stretching out like heaven’s zone.
And the vines and the tender greens
That whisper like birds singing,
At the prime of kissing the earth.

My eyes are succumbing
To the painterly strokes.
I am one with the juicy pastures,
Roaming in the blue night
With the hummingbird,
The faint clouds and the moon.
Grazing along with the blue-winged dreams
Exhaling the stillness, the infinity
Of the scene, stumbling in its glimmering beauty.

Footnote: An ekphrastic poem, based on a classic painting of Hundertwasser, a famous poet from Austria who was known for his paintings about houses. I thank the Woman Inc Poetry Project for providing this picture as a theme to evoke our creative/artistic responses towards it.

Ekphrasis: Art and Poetry

An attempt at ekphrastic poetry, while trying to unravel the magic and mystery of a classic painting by Raja Ravi Verma. Kudos to The Woman Inc Poetry Project, Pooja Garg Singh, editor of WIPP and also to Anu Mahadev, fellow poet and writer for introducing this brilliant weekend writing prompt that celebrates a painter and his art and the writer’s/poet’s interpretation of the work of art.

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‘The Lady with the Lamp’, a classic painting by the illustrious painter Raja Ravi Verma. Image source: The Woman Inc Poetry Project (Facebook writing group)

Shining on, the incandescent flame of her body
And being, resounds in scarlet dreams.
Her shadow, a silhouetted canvas etched
On the door from where she ascends,
Burns slowly in the flame as she
Waxes and wanes, melting with the flame.

The lamp, a mirror to the moonlight,
Crescent and dim, flickers and blazes
In the folds of her lotus palms.
The lamp is her uttered prayers,
Her domestic plate, her rebellion and her cliches.

The flame, a harvest of her love, growing
The wild flower of her blood raging,
She touches the red earth, smoldering
In the smoke and flame, she rises
Smooth, dark, numinous.

Lopa Banerjee. November 2014

Rowing: a Vision in Collaboration

Image

‘Contemplation’: an image captured by Souvik Chakraborty, published by the esteemed ‘Stark Magazine’

Note for the readers: This is my first attempt at Ekphrasis, using art to inspire poetry. The inspiration for this poem in five segments or fragments came from this mesmerizing image captured by my friend Souvik Chakraborty. Based in Pittsburg, USA, Souvik is a researcher and an avid photographer who has already won accolades for his photos nationwide. This particular photo, titled ‘Contemplation’ has already been published in the prestigious ‘Stark Magazine’. Follow this link and find out more about the picture and the publication:

http://stark.uberflip.com/i/249106

Besides, Souvik has also been the Author on Focus in another photo magazine, where he also talks briefly about his photographic journey and his stint with the camera:

http://issuu.com/artestudio67/docs/photomagazine4_febbraio_marzo_2014

My heartiest congratulations to Souvik for this publishing success, and I thank him wholeheartedly for inspiring me for this synergy of art and poetry. In this poem, I have attempted a spiritual journey behind the picture in fragments. Here is how it goes:

(1)

Rocking your boat as if a child’s cradle

Sailing in safe, tranquil water

With the flows that you compose,

Drifting with the gentle, caressing breeze.

(2)

The gentle breeze does not know

Any specific rhyme or reason,

Or vision of a raw, devastating beauty.

His is the quiet song in the silhouetted night,

Painted in the pale horizon of insomnia eyes.

(3)

All that is left is the sun mourning

A shout of lament as purple life fades inside out.

The sky darkens and cools, illuminating, falling,

The river chanting its crescendo and fall.

A calling, a humming, a soliloquy of the earth.

(4)

Dreams scream out what the reality cannot hold,

They stay right there, watching over the birds in the sky,

Walking upon the clouds in a spiral of anonymity.

The birds, they have taken flights of fancy

Watching you rock your boat

From ethereal space.

No smothering, no force, no staleness,

No cryptic tracks, no walk, no pause confined by normality.

A sacred text of symmetry sketched in languid love,

Together, they will trample the scars in an upward light.

(5)

Tonight, I am in need of your mast and anchor,

I am chased by your endless wafting.

Following your infinite blue

Suppressing and hiding in currents.

I have lost the shore of your substance,

Searching through unkempt angles and corners

Dwindling in the settled darkness of sanity.