1. Writing Again
Writing again is like loving again-
The fear of reprisal is kept away;
Manipulation lurking under the witch’s guise
Does not get past
Snow White’s naive heart’s door
Sceptical laughter coloured envious-yellow
Scorching cynicism burnt a sarcastic-brown
Judgement splattered with angry blood red
Pointed fingers with ugly uncut claws of spite
Do not deter the daring ink from flowing.
Writing again is like reclaiming power
Over a lost throne that once belonged
To one’s beloved ancestors.
Overpowered by strangers
Muttering enchantments dipped in
Tender sounding words-
Evil’s careful ploys,
Abuse and pain.
Time in gallows, time for resurgence
The throne of writing is claimed again.
2.Walking Alone, Walking Together
Walking alone would mean counting fallen leaves,
Walking together means we watch their colours.
The colours of yesterday have faded into pale rose
The red of her lips,the black of my eyes,the hope in your eyes
The rage on his face, the glimmer in their faces…
Walking alone would mean imagining an “if only” game
Walking together means capturing the evening sunlight anew.
The skies of our lives zing with an indigo memory tainted
Red with grief-
My blood and yours, separately pouring into a huge black vessel
And when we walk together, drop by drop
Life does an osmosis.
Colour crawls back into my face and yours
With the blues and greens of our separate yesterdays submerged
With the golden joys of today.
While walking alone, I wonder
What I would see when we walk together again-
A pure white peace?
3. Cooking for children
I cut the onions, skin the fish of its last white scale
Truss up the greens in warm oil and sauté garlic.
As I heave about , for a moment I feel that I am
Cooking up my forgotten childhood days.
Raw mangoes with chilly and salt, fried sea fish
Mother’s fingers slicing ripe papaya fruit
Cashew nuts roasted in coal, jack fruit seeds boiled
Ice cream that came in a tin box on top of a rose feather
Decorated bicycle and a bell dangling bicycle man along…
My rice is over cooked, my greens are spicy, my chicken
Cooked right at last!
As the children eat,
I transform into my mother and wonder
On their next meal.
I ask, What do you want to eat for dinner?
It is suddenly, the most natural question
In the world.
4. Hair at the altar
Every touch of scissors on the head
Is a benediction:
Shreds yesterdays and their colours-
Both dull and bright
There goes a groan of disgust, here a stifled
That white strand was made overnight,
In between two screams and one more.
This curl that was snipped, let me see
Was crusted with self disgust.
Sweep more harshly, lady-
Some tufts of memories
Are better off as dust
Entangled as they are within catacombs
Each strand shed , reflects time
The joys and hurts of bygone days
Every major change of life and thought
Had seen my hair worshipping
In grave silence.
Three days of a new face,
Hey it is still
I slowly recognise the new woman,
Slowly forget the old.
I caress my hair with perfumed oil
A touch of crushed aloe vera, camphor fumes
And as the blunt edges rebel, smile
At another beginning, another end.
5. Passers By
I cross them as they move past me-
Bodies wobbling, canvas shoes smacking
The white pavements with strength.
A voice within me mocks:
You let me grow huge by feeding me your grudges
Your sad self pities, your envious pettiness;
Your meaningless anxieties, your vacuous comparisons
Your jealousies, your anger, your bitchy sarcasms.
I grew in girth, this woman within you
Fattened by extras of your lack.
The noxious fumes of self loathing combined
With three spoonfuls of your ego
Set me afire and gave you heart burn.
No amount of pounding the pavements
Can burn off this extra fat unless
You realise, this grinning woman within
Rendered motionless with her unhealthy girth,
Life threatening gross around!
There is a passer by within,
Needing immediate attention
And she wears canvas shoes
From a brand called Stop.
6. Silence is the witness
She was my twin sister
Born along with me.
We played together, suckled milk
We scraped our knees together, laughed
At butterflies together.
We fell in love together, we fell
Out of love together.
We got deceived together, we climbed up
From wells of deception together.
We were sweet talked by many
We gagged on that bitter truth together.
We learnt to cross boundaries surreptitiously,
We learnt to redraw them openly together.
We learnt that safety was couched in agony
Agony was packed within my twin’s name
And that sometimes her shouts went unheard.
Today we walk, my twin and I,
Hand in hand, twinkle in the eye.
I listen to her at times
Sometimes, she listens to me-
When I ask Silence, to be silent
And let me speak.
In this stranger, I see me-
And I ask him gently,
Where have you been,
It is to myself that I ask
The question, as a matter
Of pure fact.
I feel I have known you
All my lives, stranger.
He smiles, and I find the me in him
From the moment of our separation
I have been searching
For your kind touch, your gentle
Understanding, your laughter
That throws the head back
As it echoes around.
In you stranger,
The slight confusion
Of love’s first glance.
Hamlet would agree
To be or not to be
Will cover Opehlia’s pain
There is no war game afoot
In me, stranger, I reassure
Him and the me inside him.
It is to Home that you come
You did delay a lot, to find me
But I am holding no grudges
Against anyone, not the least
With the true me in you, dear one.
And then we find our fingers fitting
Our thoughts radiating oneness
Our aspirations as green
As the gentle grass swaying
Across the lake side.
In silence, he comes
Into my heart-
Bringing the missing part of me
8. Woman in a red coat
She is a woman in a red coat, walking down
Pathways of green.
She wonders on what passers by see,
As they look at her.
A small, dusky woman,
An odd look in her face-
Of mild amusement at life’s games.
Perhaps some might discern a look of pain;
A strain as deep as a tea cup spill
Across a pale yellow dress.
And might ponder on how
It came about-
That brown look of alertness
In her wary deep eyes.
She wishes to tell them that
It came from bad love
Which tried too hard to impress
Those with eyes coloured red-
Red for prejudice about how:
A woman should be
A woman should think
A woman should dress
A woman should look
A woman should feel
A woman should love…
She hated that red-
And it had showed up
As that tea spill in her eyes.
This unremarkable woman
In a red coat, tugging against
The wind, she knows will hardly
Attract any second glance-
Not many will notice the spine is erect
If they wonder she would like to tell them
That silver came into hair and spine
With a mix of steelish grey
The day she chucked out feelings
Of feeling inferior to anyone else.
It has been a while now, this colouring
As she walks quietly along green pathways
In her vibrant red coat.