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Welcome to the March issue of The Wrong Review. This time we feature works by Shivapriya Ganapathy, Debarshi Mitra, Jonathan Patterson, José Duarte and Rekha Raghunathan. Shivapriya Ganapathy’s works piece together a varied topography of the domestic and the public. It shape shifts between the interior "throat" and the "clutters of daybreak", between the "paan blotch" and the "sweat stain in the shape of her". It offers a collage of the Indian experience without giving up on "Nazi men" and the "Nile". The expression: "Another hometown. / Tubs of rich blue dye /Blue wrinkled hands. / Blue wrinkled people /Ma's saree soft with age" stands out for its colourful nostalgia that creates an almost surrealist picture. Debarshi Mitra’s poems are intelligently crafted mixing scientific vocabulary with the everyday. The expression: “a city that is slowly dying/ its fragile veins sliced open / spill gasoline" continues in a larger tradition musing over dying cities. Jonathan Patterson’s poems despite their smallness, bear a thickness of thought. Take for example the line: "June has dressed the coast in faces/ I dont know". It is representative of both the metaphoric strength and poetic clarity at display in his work. José Duarte’s poems display a remarkable abstract minimalism. His works is in continuum with a revival in the interest of rewriting other texts as a means of discovering the present. Rekha Raghunathan explores plural worlds. Her plain everyday language reflects the English in the everyday experience of people who use it to communicate and think. 

 

Three Poems by Shivapriya Ganapathy 

Betel for Breakfast

 

those ephemeral

words i have been munching on

in a morning dream…

they tasted almost bitter-

sweet of un-surety

between the tainted teeth 

and the throat 

between a graying

vision and the whiteness of

a page,

something was lost

and the betel redness

drained itself

into the cracks of a

dawn, clamoring 

amidst the clutters of 

a daybreak,

soaking my skin in

transient technicolor for

keepsake

there was an orange

maybe a pink, too

or was it violet?

but now,

now the sky is just blue

 

Drought

 

treacherous lumps and limpets

cling to my throat, clogging at pen tips

 

vicious nodes resist breath

blotching borders between mind 

and fingers 

with a cancerous growth

 

the laxative congeals

within veins- becoming 

nazi men on guard

 

wakeful in war, i spew out

letters in white, scratches that

shriek and implore

 

to ease the tautness in the nerves

as the night grows old

 

in a smirk of the moon

and the wait for the Nile to break

on parched lands

drags its hag feet into the day

 

She breathes in

With a swell,

heave,

huff and puff...

She breathes in

 

the air

you breathed out and

spat in.

The thick gray of the 

city roads.

Bylanes, the fear of it.

Pollen. Hot sand.

Leaves being burnt. 

Flowers from a bamboo basket.

Urine. Cow dung. 

Dried fish. 

Freshly ground chillies. 

Turmeric-yellowed 

hands. Vegetable market.

Ladies compartment, its farce.

News of a first-lady-something.

Hallways, their dampness.

Paan blotch. 

Silence breathing down her neck 

and settling unscrupulously on her back.

Burnt oil. Onions. Sweaty palms.

Crisp pressed linen. Room spray.

Your cologne. 

The kitchen floor. 

A stealthy chocolate under her tongue.

 

Forgotten college dorms.

Its pillow cases whitened with secrets.

Letters. Unimportant ones.

Important ones. The one she

hides in her bosom,

the one that unfolds a face. 

Yellowed paper containing a lipstick mark

and tear stains.

Old notebook pages.

Scented ink. Inked emotions 

still fragrant.

Mothballs. That girl, her shirt collar, her armpit,

her post orgasm smoke,

that summer night, 

its heaviness. 

Another hometown. 

Tubs of rich blue dye.

Blue wrinkled hands. 

Blue wrinkled people.

Ma's saree soft with age.

 

Her blood, rusty red period stain,

its adamance.

Your saliva. Sterilised hospital

walls, cold marble white. 

Your balled up socks.

Semen, your carefree insolence in it.

Your heavy breathing that lungs

the night in. 

A generous belch wishing goodnight.

Stale blanket, bed,

sweat stain the shape of her. 

Amrutanjan. 

Cooking gas. Day's old dried jasmine

Brown and crumbling, like marriage. 

Rin soap. 

Kitchen sink. 

Vegetable waste under it. 

Brown, green, black garbage bags.

Sticky dregs of coffee in

stainless steel tumblers.

 

Scrubbing the stubborn last hour 

of the day with some coir,

She breathes in

 

the air: your world and

hers 

(Well, predominantly yours)

 

and doesn't always feel 

nauseated

 

 

Shivapriya Ganapathy is a research scholar working on Lesbian feminism and Language for her doctoral thesis. She usually writes in free verse apart from prose poems, haiku and other Japanese short forms. Her poems have appeared in Whispers, Verse Wrights, Word Couch, Wordweavers, Spilt Ink Poetry, Sonic Boom, and three international anthologies. She also maintains a personal blog as she finds writing therapeutic.

 

Three Poems by Debarshi Mitra

 

Fever

The tongue 
at the end of a thermometer
knows that this
rising heat that moves in and out
of this strange edifice
is a carnal , unnamed secret,
its mercury gait like that
of an old medieval adulteress
brings me to the periphery
of half remembrances,
in this room with curtains drawn
and this inescapable
white stillness for company
of linen and bone. 


Sex and other junk

On some Saturdays
the road to life 
from lifelessness
is a long winded one,
under the invisible weight
of ‘to-do’ lists
and the scent 
of women’s perfume
I spend my evenings  
by the window watching
familiar lovers drifting in
and out of rooms
like wandering fireflies
in a city that is slowly dying,
its fragile veins sliced open
spill gasoline.

 

Dream

 

The dream 

has always been this:

by the window 

a steaming cup of coffee,

the warm glow of the fireplace 

opposite the couch ,

an unread book of poems too

on the table beside and

your silhouette

on the opposite wall

leaning against mine.

 

 

Debarshi Mitra is a 21 year old poet from New Delhi , India. His debut book of poems ' Eternal Migrant' was published in May 2016 by Writers Workshop. His works have previously appeared or are forthcoming in anthologies like'  Kaafiyana' and to literary magazines like 'Typewrite', 'Thumbprint', 'The PoetCommunity' and 'Leaves of Ink'. He is currently enrolled in an 'Integrated PhD' program in Physics at IISER PUNE.

 

Three Poems by Jonathan Patterson

 

“impressions”

 

all across this island

people file into the sea. 

June has dressed the coast in faces

I don’t know:

tired women, men in love, 

and children who hold vacant shells to their ears. 

They speak in languages 

I don’t understand, but

all are tentatively wading; 

while I rake from the white sands 

impressions left by their footprints. 

“life’s waste”

 

monster of life’s waste,

borne of snow-covered ruins, 

lives, wakes, and mourns while

wolves from dark, abandoned caves

hunt pilgrims from distant shores

 

“dirge in minor key”

 

and an august night

buries coal-covered orphans

under sun-baked grass;

nomads hum their violent

dirge in minor key

 

Jonathan Patterson is a PhD student at the University of Kansas.

 

 

Three Poems by José Duarte

 

These poems are part of an erasure of C. S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed (1961)

 

47.

 

Images have their use,

their danger is obvious. 

Images become holy

and blessed. But the

same thing happens in

reality. In that respect

the eye cannot be used. 

For we often make this 

mistake. In real life acts are

the reason for assuming 

we’ve got one another taped

as often as proves necessary.

I know perfectly well that all

those happy re-unions make 

you think when you’ve 

grown up.  

 

49.

 

The mystical union of a felling

combines contradictory notions. 

And, more than once, simplicity

is the real answer. It is often thought

that we idealize secrets, but perhaps

the power of seeing is just our grand

experiment. Now, several notebooks

ago, I treat everything as evidence

of what is was. Much like getting 

a telephone call or a wire

about joy or sorrow. 

 

50.

 

a sort of spring cleaning my mind

absence of emotion is itself an emotion,

our imagination means a glimpse

an act of will 

very near the end there was no

deeper feeling

I have come to understand the 

final questions

 

I am at peace.

 

José Duarte teaches at the School of Arts and Humanities, ULisbon. His poems have also appeared in journals and publications like These Fragile Lilacs, Lehigh Valley Vanguard or Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Present Day Best Poems.

 

Two Poems by Rekha Raghunathan

 

worlds

 

my worlds

yes, plural

not just two, but more

many more

and i inhabit them all.

 

the world of safety and security

discipline and light conversations

where lines blur between traditional and modern

but not as much as i want.

yet i inhabit it, happily even, off and on.

 

the world of laughter, freedom, lightness

long, late-night chats, memories now

where i can do and say anything

but maybe not as much as i want.

yet, i inhabit it whenever i can.

 

the world of routine

early morning wake ups, hurried tasks one by one

throughout the day

but does it make life easy?

i don't know, yet i inhabit it, all the time.

 

the world of randomness, chaos and drama

where everything comes to life

momentarily

definitely not as much as i want.

yet, i inhabit it with mixed feelings, as much as i can.

 

but these worlds aren't isolated

they often collide 

envelop, overwhelm, even suffocate

pulling, tugging, tearing me apart.

yet, also holding me together in an explicable way.

 

it is all these worlds that have made me

that have taught me to accept, to love, and to let go.

and letting go of these worlds might be the only way

that i can hold myself together for a bit longer.

 

just a little bit.

 

the banyan

 

roots, roots everywhere

thin, thick, old, new

deep rooted to a fault

comforting, in a sense

but an unshakable identity

to everyone around

 

the same roots bind

strangle, compete

dry out, fall, break

rot and die

but an invisible choke hold

to everyone around

 

shade, conversations, secrets

people unburdening

happiness, sorrow

wants, needs

but a silent companion

to everyone around

 

oh, it was tired

its roots weighed it down

and the stories made it heavy

but it didn't know what to do

how could it stop?

what would they do?

 

should it break free?

but free from what, there was too much!

should it go deaf?

but deaf from whom, there were too many!

 

truth was that it loved to just be there

to comfort, to listen

save for the odd moments

when it all became too much

 

maybe it needed time

time to rest

to heal, to breathe

time to do what everyone did

with it, to it

time to let everything slip away

momentarily

just momentarily

 

before it would be back at it again

comforting, listening

doing the things that it loved

building roots, branching out

connecting new and old

people, stories

 

but being there

always there

 

Rekha Raghunathan is an editor and mother. In her limited spare time, she blogs at http://oldernwiser.blogspot.in/, reads, trains and wishes that she had more time to play tennis. She loves Federer, cheese and dosa.