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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Girl On The Train Tracks

railway-line-3061202_960_720

Let my ripped dream, my lover and my battered heart alone.
I drag my body’s burden through the scarred edges of the platform
Where the last local train of the evening has blown
Its perennial whistle, and scurried past me,
When I stare at it, dazed, nursing my own wet borders.
Time, the blessed poets, as they see it in its winged chariot,
Is only the smashed whistle of the body of a disappearing train
That leaves me, fettered, looking around,
For the leftovers and chewed crumbs of the earth’s children
In the train station.
My lover guy, you have left your masculine musk
In the tracks, and I lose my body in those unnamed tracks,
In my scavenger hunt of that musk, all the while, in that living hell.
Here, I bury my body’s mass, and know not the blazing wants,
The carnal hunger that threatens to usurp my being.
This fierce onslaught burns me, shreds me into pieces,
I squeeze the pieces with my fists, stuff them into the pockets
Of my own silence, but my feet refuse to leave their imprints
In the worn-out tracks.
Have you ever walked by those frayed edges,
Smelt like coal and the rotten flesh of desires that graduate
In time, into placards in these lovelorn tracks?

Let my ripped dream, my lover and my battered heart alone.
I know this falling and peeling off, this hunting and burning
Will overpower me till the last platform I know, and then
You will find me, in smithereens.

Cloudburst: The Womanly Deluge

One more milestone at the end of 2017… ‘Cloudburst: The Womanly Deluge’, a collection of poetry which I am honored and privileged to co-edit and co-author along with Dr. Santosh Bakaya. Finally our collaborative baby is in my hands, all the way from India!!
Thank you Madan Gandhi sir, Global Fraternity of Poets, Santosh Bakaya ma’m and all other authors/poets of this book which made this dream come true!

Cloudburst_book

P.S. my tribute to Smita Patil and to Panchali/Draupadi which made me a star blogger in Bonobology is part of this collection, as is my award-winning poem ‘Mindless Meanderings’, based on a picture prompt by Santosh Bakaya ma’m.

The book blurb:

Cloudburst_cover

In this lyrical assortment of verses emerging from the pens of 28 Indian women poets, there is a joyous, enthralling celebration of a wide and endearing spectrum of human experiences. Just like every woman poet in the collection has her own individuality, every poem in the collection is endowed with a unique powerful voice, and compiled together, they create an overwhelming deluge of emotions, a cascading flow of poetic sensations.

To get the book in Amazon India, do click here:

https://www.amazon.in/Cloudburst-Santosh-Bakaya-Lopamudra-Banerjee/dp/9383755423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514928824&sr=8-1&keywords=Cloudburst+the+womanly+deluge

A few days before the release of Cloudburst: The Womanly Deluge, an interview of both us editors, Dr. Santosh Bakaya and yours truly, conducted by yet another prolific poet Nalini Priyadarshini, published in Reviews e-mag. Nalini happens to be a contributing poet of our anthology too! Do read the interview here:

http://thereviewsindia.co.in/nalini-priyadarshini-brews-it-up-with-santosh-bakaya-and-lopamudra-banerjee/

The Wheels of Life

Note: Inspired by this beautiful photograph of the Kolkata lanes and the rickshaws, old, hand-pulled vehicles still rampant in the city, taken by my friend Aditi Bandyopadhyay, a doctor, Orissi danseuse and an advocate for the cause of Autism.

B&W_Kolkata

The wheels of life go on, the mortal flames of the earth,
crushed, brittle, under its trampling trails.
A city wakes up, stays put, flees in recycled habits
and retires at night, its moist desires wax and wane.
A city, orchestral, sublime in its monochrome cacophony,
throbbing, pulsating in its sultry summer wind,
its short-lived winter’s tale.
The wheels of life fade and resound in slow spirals
of a forgotten autmn’s last longings,
a city which has buried my words without echoes,
a city where I have returned, barefoot
in an annual ritual of jinxed interludes.
A city where the honking rickshaws
still trample over my dark, ghostly footprints,
a city where goodbyes
are a waxy dribble of some terminally ill, fugitive words.

Lopa Banerjee. October 29, 2017

Let The Night Sing: My Maiden Poetry Collection

It gives me much happiness to share that my maiden poetry collection ‘Let The Night Sing’, an assortment of 70 various poetic musings on being a woman, a mother and a lunar soul has been published by respected poet laureate and veteran litterateur Madan Gandhi sir and Global Fraternity of Poets (India) and is now on Amazon India. Soon to be available in the US and worldwide.

I thank dear fellow poet, amazing artist and co-founder of Rhythm Divine Poets, Sufia Khatoon for the brilliant cover illustration, Dr. Santosh Bakaya for the very in-depth and enriching foreword, Dr. AV Koshy for the kind and generous blurb encompassing the theme and the nuances of the poems.

Sharing the introduction page of the book, which speaks of the overarching theme of the poems. Hope some of you will like reading it.

Introduction:

‘Bodies are visible hieroglyphics. Everybody is an erotic metaphor and the meaning of all these metaphors is always the same; death.’
Octavio Paz

For those who are in love with the poetry of the body, continue to revel in it through its bruises and blood, continue to see the molecules of living glittering in darkness, for those who talk to the strained ribs of our Mother Earth, to the hollowness and inviting quiet of cities and landscapes in your dreams and waking, for those who see even in the body of death, a gorgeous, pitiless song in its smoky embers, here I present my lunar musings, springing up from the splinters and shards of my being. These broken pieces, these wayward poems have taken me to unexpected places, delving deep into my childhood and puberty. With them, I have seen my womanhood evolve, with them I have traveled to the long-forsaken terrains of my hometown in Kolkata, India, where I keep going back again and again. With them, I have recorded the phenomenon of death as I have seen it, a silent language of communion, as my voice flattened against its ethereal quiet.
Hope you will enjoy the ride, the bumps and bolts along the way.
Lopa Banerjee

Let the night sing_Lopa Banerjee

The Amazon India link to buy the book:

http://www.amazon.in/Let-Night-Sing-Lopamudra-Banerjee/dp/9383755342/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499285605&sr=8-1&keywords=Let+The+Night+Sing

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!

 

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.

 

14046146_1075378965832608_7819078069286026755_n

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The River Dark, The River Deep

The rivulet, the gushing stream bounced and swayed

Like a colicky infant. pic of housewife

Didn’t I love you, sleeping in your banks, pure?

Hiding myself so deftly in your little pockets of silence?

Why then, today, when I ran to touch you, hot, raw, burning,

You ran away instead, fearing my coagulated blood,

my frozen tears, my milk stuck on your door-frame, my breath,

shot up, in spurts, that has known you like the grandma’s old tale,

Like the lone, dazzling truth?

 

Come, enter through my rich brown, derelict doors,

Still open for you. Settle slowly amid the thickets,

Soaking in the smudged, docile light setting in,

The skyline of my wants still eager, firm with primroses,

Brown, yet not dying still, with music, sharp, yet blurry,

The details obscured, yet the pleading, the little lightning

Robust, plump, hammering.

 

Will you burn it, like the rest of my thwarted dreams galore,

The pregnant ashes of my sighs

that once I had closed your palms with?

Like the stubborn, wailing infant, eyes rolling, fingers tossed,

You had wanted small tufts of the dried, golden grass

Growing mammoth, fleshy, in a mountainous pile.

Today, between my calloused palms, the ashes dwindle,

And let out an air, musky, choking, yet again.

 

The verdant spring, the primroses, the half-baked love songs

Burn me like the old, bloody embers, the fungi strong, shadowy

Smeared all over like a beauty in continuum.

Come over, do not run, what is there to hide?

Lie down, flat, on my back, as I float on your scalding waters,

Doused with the dark grey of our self-same songs.

The Destitute Verse

heart

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.

 

 

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.