Welcome to the May issue. In this issue we bring once again a variety of voices with different styles. They are a mix of both poignancy and youthful exuberance. We feature Sneha Subramanian Kanta, Sritama Bhattacharyya and Soham Mukherjee.
Three poems by Sneha Subramanian Kanta.
some quiet terror within
the shovel, scissors, knife,
and the silver spread
of steel utensils.
under a gauzy haze of
a lemon colored bulb
where your skin of being
knits and un-pickles.
with filled jars, bottles
and plates, cold with
eulogies of finished
lifespans. there is much
to decide in these confines.
truth is manufactured
between the folds of printed paper
and the machinery of things.
bibliometrics won’t get you anywhere –
you are not allowed to
board an airplane or bus
whilst airports and bus-stations
thrive with the sleet of voices.
we extrapolate things far too much
to find linguistic footing –
the interrelationships have no meaning
faith is pious but not the vernaculars
existence becomes a regulative fiction
much less hypotheses
aphorisms cannot exceed the numbers we have
laconic terseness still is a form –
we don’t feel home
in the distant sea, familiar to us
consciousness is elsewhere,
in the origin of fundamentals.
Writing the city
New York has anatomies in its built of
turnips, deer, weeds
— the international regime of roots and polished glasses.
It is an abstract when the lettuce
you buy is on sale but boasts of nourishment. Some of us are adopted children of the city. We are crossed with binaries more than there are streetlights. The under-cover writers, hoarsely picking wine from street shops, and insomniac pedestrians making decisions about the
shade of coffee they would buy. The red blooded files resemble the rusty red and golden trees, only they are guarded
by a strong backbone to survive longer. People behind the walls are full of money — a thin line differentiates the drunk and sober.
The perfumes are like a chorus from a rhyming pulp of disorders — they are incognito.
Three poems by Sritama Bhattacharyya
TEN THINGS I DID AFTER YOU LEFT
1) I scapegoated our neighbour’s guardian angel and drove him off our compound so that when you finally return, you don’t get to meet his stare.
2) I made a paper mache forest house out of the love letters I had been saving for years, and had set it on fire, so that you get to see the smoke rising from my deceit.
3) I stopped applying kohl to my eyes, so that my lovers get to know that my eyes look like frozen mashed potatoes, and then, I know they’ll stop looking deep into my eyes searching for the story I have only told you once.
4) I went to meet the sorcerer who once claimed that he could bring up the dead, and had exchanged my hair for the revival of your demented thirst.
5) I went to meet the mortician from our local morgue and asked him to draw a beauty spot on my face; one that no one could see but you. He did as I said, but now, even I can’t find it and neither can he. ( And I need you to find it for me)
6) Our neighbour’s son was mourning for his guardian angel. I invited him over for a glass of lemonade and showed him where it hurts. He touched me right on the spot, and his skin-colour changed as he crept into my skin. He’ll help me find you, he says.
7) I wore my sundress, and went out looking for you, and met all your old lovers. The woman with a broken smile cordially invited me for a cup of tea; the other woman told me to find the dirty needle in a haystack; the one I remind you of, smiled at my plight. They all confirmed that at you stopped by.
8) I made our love potion that consisted of my fragrance and yours, my desire and yours, my beauty spot, the mole on your neck, your nicotine stains… and you. I‘ll furtively spike your drink the day you’ll arrive.
9) I have stolen a sundial and have kept it by the sofa where I sleep. It puts a stamp on my longing as I make the bed for you every morning. Oh! And I don’t sleep on the bed and I have terrible muscle cramps.
10) I wrote about it all. One letter a day, which I want you to proofread.
And now, you’re here.
How I know you
you were looking
when we stumbled
upon the sea
and the salt
an old habit
of cracking my knuckles
of closing my eyes
right before a kiss
your skin peels off
I watch you sleep
your eyelashes have seen
than you could keep
you come out
tend to meet
a drop of
Let’s put it like this.
I knew I would split open, like a cotton bolus, if you’d touch me;
or break into dust motes, or be one with the sea.
Last time when I went to the sea, I got blisters from the seaweed.
Last time I met you, you were picking out faces from the parking lot.
How long till we fall in love?
You bring me dregs of reminiscence.
I have often tried to find you in the phone calls with a drunk lover, who calls right before the wee hours of dawn.
Unlike me, you don’t disconnect after the third or fourth ring.
I mutter memories of a listless afternoon, when we left home.
I remember writing on the wall that stood against the window of your room before they took down the place where we grew up.
The four walls never closed in on us until that afternoon when I looked at your wall for the last time. You pointed out the corner where you signed your initials as a kid.
You stood by the door, watching, as I was gathering a constellation of cigarette butts and half-burnt matchsticks.
By then, they shifted the cylinders, the squares and the rectangles from your house.
I chewed away the remnants of the last energy bar that we had left.
We sat on the floor, facing John Lennon, making frail resolutions and speaking of departures.
Evenings are different these days. Afternoons still wade into purples and crimsons. I seldom remember to remember how we had lost homes to petitions and made keepsakes out of Polaroid.
Of late, nights hang heavy on my dark circles and rarely, very rarely, I miss the night falls in your eyes.
I think we have done exceptionally well at departures.
Sritama Bhattacharyya is a student of English major from India, currently pursuing a post-graduate course in English literature from Presidency University
Three poems by Soham Mukherjee
As the gentle breeze plays with her hair, she stands above them all
Every blade of grass striving to reach her heights
The sun beats them back
The roaring sea drenches her with it’s bewitching spray
Her wet hair falls about her face
She doesn’t care how
They fall as they are wont
Her face glows with the warmth of a new love that has blossomed in her heart
That love was sown with words
Words that have long since failed to rain down upon her once more
This new created shower is for her
Only for her
The blades of grass will go thirsty tonight
They will watch with bloodshot eyes and aching hearts
As the wildflower bathes in the rain of potent poetry
She will tremble as the drops trickle down her bosom and settle on her heart
She will close her eyes to the world shattering around her
The words, the drops of dewy melancholy turned into ecstasy
Will hold her
She will not be cold
She will not be pained
She will blossom again
She will blossom with the great beauty she holds inside her, her identity, her soul will burst forth in silvery glow hovering like some obscure patronus
She is not to be played with
She is the giver of love
She is the giver of joy
She has given all
Still she has more to give
The shower holds her
Washes away the sand that had been slowly corroding her
Every petal kissed tear will melt away with the shower
And the wildflower will stand tall
Queen of all she surveys
I asked her what I was
She said I was a swan
I told her I didn’t have wings
She said you don’t need them
But, I complained, I want to fly away
Far away, from all of this
Because it kills me
It suffocates me
Burns me from the inside
Don’t you burn too?
She kept quiet
She didn’t speak
Her voice had gone
Her eyes were shimmering
They spoke of a past
A whisper in the wind that now blows her hair about her face
A dream of a sunset that once illuminated her burning eyes
A tear that rolled down her cheek onto a beached starfish
And made it quiver
As if tickled into life
Then dissolved into a champagne supernova exploding over the barren wheat fields where she broke her toenail
She tapes it up now
Just as she tapes up the rest
To hold back an avalanche
But her eyes will tell you why she needs your hand sometimes
Or at least she did, till it got too hard even for her resilient self
Her little heart beats a symphony
She reaches out
A little bit more every day
Looking for a hand to pull her out
She will give away her wishes
Each of them
She just wants a hand
Because she is sick of limbo
Sick of rules, and demands, and lies
And evil smiles behind tearful eyes
She is sick
She is numb
She can’t feel her feet or the earth beneath it
Because she tries
Because she has to
Because she wants to
Because you can’t take that from her
Because she won’t grant you that wish
Soham Mukherjee is a a final year Masters student in English literature at Presidency University