Category Archives: Poetry

BLACK

Poornima Laxmeshwar

i want to paint black –
all those memories with their roots
so firm in my mind’s garden
blossoming into colourless roses
i want to paint them black…
the days when my father’s friend
took optimal advantage
made me hold his crotch
until one day i puked out of disgust
then when i was just four
i want to paint them black…
the days when i went to market
or travelled alone to school
and someone’s hard hand felt me all over
tears just swelled to flow
then when i was just a girl
i want to paint them black…
the days when i was hit hard by you
and blood just stood still
making it hard to hide the bruises
then when i was just a lady
i want to paint them black…
now that age has consumed me like a cookie
all i long for is a quiet night sky
with starry sparkling memories with every abusive moment
that etched a scar in my heart
painted in black

***

poornimaPoornima Laxmeshwar has authored a poetry collection named Anything but poetry. Her haiku and poems have appeared in several magazines and anthologies. She currently resides in the garden city of India, Bangalore.
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CAMERA-VIEWS

Namrata Pathak

I saw poky bamboo leaves thrusting out of the wall
the day my father lay on the hospital bed.
His amputated words are
silences
disfigured.
I saw camera-views coming out of his pomegranate lips.
His body a map in the nucleomed lab, small territories pasted on his stretchable skin.
Splayed across the green, I saw him smiling.

I have two suns for his smile, one for me. One for my brother.
The brown line that cuts the images, the jagged line,
Is inked in blue.
A replica of a forgotten disease
spins its dancing feet across
his belly button,
A pink lotus, creased in constriction,
Stands upright in his navel.
And between his fingers
a web of history.
Seeing too much in camera-views,
I dread not to see
the contours of a curvaceous dream.

***

namrataNamrata Pathak is an assistant professor in the Department of English, N.E.H.U, Tura Campus, Meghalaya. Her areas of interest are Performance Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Literature from the North East, Dalit Writing and so on. Her book titled Trends in Contemporary Assamese Theatre is published by Patridge, a Penguin Random House Company. Currently she is working on a book funded by N.E.H.U, Speaking from the Periphery: Women’s Writing in the North-East. Her articles and research papers are published in national and international journals of repute.

 

 

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TWO POEMS

Rony Nair

CCTV Love

rony2

Surveillance Society

Those drones can tell the color of your t-shirt

Before it’s splayed in blood.

Those maps can pick her distinct stride

Before she calls out; at your door.

Dissent can put the non-abled to bed

Before they’re seen or heard.

And cyber cells pick up your love letters,

Even as you burn your bread.

Your pulse is not your own these days

They belong to someone else

Your heart rate can be heard these days

Across an “app” filled cell.

Yet through it all,

In human dreams,

As made for CCTV;

I stay seeped in you,

As you think of me,

In tartuffery.

Can memories be held in rewind buttons?

Can Polaroids capture your ghosts?

Can a selfie stick prod your inhibitions?

Can those social networks map your pores?

Can CCTV feel the way one feels?

Can a CCTV feel your breath on me?

***

Droned

rony1

Solitude

The sensibility was paramount she said

Of feeling the pinch;

When your every step is in motion to a drumbeat

That isn’t yours.

When every impulse is to look overhead

And remind oneself,

That to be prim and proper,

Is to be viewed to be so.

Your social posts try real hard

To give off airs

Of contentment.

But big brothers don’t watch anymore she said.

They hover. They create. They Blood.

New innocents who drown;

In calibrated guilt.

Your fate decoded;

In rewind mode!

***

Rony NairRony Nair works as an oil and gas Risk Management consultant. He was a columnist with the Indian Express. He is also a professional photographer about to hold his first major exhibition and has previously been published by Sonic Boom, Quail Bell Magazine, YGDRASIL journal, Mindless Muse, Yellow Chair Review, Two Words For, Ogazine, New Asian Writing (NAW), Semaphore, The Cadet, The Economic Times, 1947, The Foliate Oak Magazine, Open Road Magazine, Tipton Review and YES magazine, among others. Rony has also featured in the Economic Times of India.

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MAKING LOVE

Jyotirmoy Talukdar

Making love is not as easy
As shown in short films.

The pharmacy may ask your age,
The rickshawpuller, turning an agent,
Your budget for the night.
His face flashing
A devil’s smirk that ambitious Paharganj night.

The hotelier may scan bags and breasts
And how you two relate.
He’ll keep your residential certificate
For the police to scan
And your number and purpose
To double-check.

The room, you fear, may have hidden cameras
The bulbs and almirahs can be moles.
The boys’ knocks may never let you
Swell.

You may not switch on the light
And instead grope in darkness
Lest lights should help filming.
Despite the season, you may even order two blankets
After all, cameras can
Have eyes of a cat.

Devoid of lights and full of sweat
Even before you start,
Sirens saying silence is possibly  preferable
This night
To forced-out moans,

You think,
Making love is not as easy
As loving.
Nor as effortless.

***
jtJyotirmoy Talukdar is a struggling journalist based in New Delhi. He plans to return to Guwahati and open a bookstore shortly.

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HILLS OF SLOW TIME

Ananya S Guha

There was a time
when the hills denuded
scattered out of myth
origin and ash
came tumbling down
with waterfalls, lakes and rivers
to give succour to incarnadine hues.
The hills I have known, paraded with
my destiny, the hills that moulded clay
into mythic dolls. Yes these were the hills I knew.
Molten clay, shrapnel hirsute legs the hills were
not man made. Man. Woman
and in the Sacred Groves the hush could be heard.
Not felt, only scatter of rains.
with a wild myth of flowers
heaping mounds of love.
Prescient hills you shoot out the future
and supinely lie on the past
in eternal rest.

Marigolds will not turn your hair
into wounded gashed fingers.
Marigolds only wither and mingle
fortuitously
with these hills of slow time.

***

Ananya GuhaAnanya S Guha works at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) as a Senior Academic. His poems in English have been published in International/National Journals and e zines. He also writes for newspapers, does book reviews and writes on matters related to education.His recent works appeared in the Harper Collins Book of English Poetry edited by Sudeep Sen. He also writes book reviews, articles for newspapers and articles on education, distance education and vocational education.

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POEMS

Zualteii Poonte

If this is January

January is the slow, quiet time of year
when we sit back and relax
after the rush of the Christmas season
and bask in the sun, warming our backs
and eating sweet oranges.

Not a time when crime explodes in our faces:
when young men go missing
and their bloated, blackened corpses are found
and skinny young dark men arrested
and charged nine long days later¹.
When carnage runs wild, free as blood
as crazed men burst into houses
and slash you to death with
a butcher’s knife,
when in a family of six,
five coffins are lined up
the next day².
And on the streets and social media,
church-going people bay
for vengeance and retribution
and taking the law into their own hands.

If this is January
slow, quiet January
I dread what summer will bring.

¹ On the night of the 31st December 2014, a young man was reported missing with his two-wheeler. After wide searches by the YMA, his dead body was found eight days later. The next evening, his vehicle was found and its supposed owner admitted to the theft and killing.

² Around 7.30 pm of the 9th January 2015, a family of six were confronted in their own home by a knife-wielding man. Five died instantly in the horrific assault that rocked Mizoram. The assailant was believed to be on meth.

Put Away

(For Zokunga [Pu Muma], 1925 – 1966)

The dreaded rapping on the door after dark
Just a little talk with him outside we want
The wanted gets up, steps out the house
Be back soon, you all go to sleep
But he never does.
Sometimes if they’re lucky
they find the body a short distance down the road.
More often deep in the jungle they find it
in a shallow grave
sometimes marked, sometimes not.

My mother’s brother’s body was never found,
He disappeared without trace,
wiped off the face of the earth,
not a limb, not a nail, not a hair left to claim.
Almost half a century on,
still no one to come forward and say
Here, those are pearls that were his eyes

Nothing for the left behind,
parents, brothers, sisters, wife,
his brood of nine young children.
Nothing.
Nothing.
Just the incomprehensible, unceasing uncertainty
of questions never answered.

The title is a literal translation of the MNF terminology “dah tha/dah that,” an insidious euphemism meaning killed/murdered/exterminated.
 
¹There were unverified reports later that my uncle had been shot dead at Tlawng river by insurgents who were later killed in turn by soldiers of the Indian Army.

***

Zualteii (A. Hmangaihzuali) Poonte is an Associate Professor of English at Govt. Aizawl College. She has been floating the blog mizowritinginenglish.com since 2007 to promote writings in English by Mizo writers. zual

 

 

 

 

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THE CROSSING

Somte Ralte

Moses only had to raise his staff
For the word of the Lord was upon the waters
And the sea parted for the chosen to cross.

When our land was in turmoil
Father crossed the mountains to join village grouping
Who knew settling there he would meet Mother?

Tonight I am crossing the spiritual Jordan
Those that do not, will not understand
For who knows what awaits once we have crossed?

***

Somte (Lalmalsawmi) Ralte graduated with English honours under Gauhati University and completed her Masters in English from Mizoram University. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at MZU on Northeast poetry.somteii

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NIGHTFALL

Somak Ghoshal

Nightfall

1.

Before I knew you, I knew a day would come
when you’d hold me tight, and together
we’d take a deep breath and sink into sleep
careful not to drown in each other’s dreams

Yet float we did, night upon wordless night,
Without air, lips sealed shut, till the day
I prised them apart to taste your poison

Before I knew you, I knew I’d be lying
on this bed, thinking of you, still, awake.

2.

At two o’ clock the shadows begin to stir,
sliding off the wall, hovering over the bed,
filling the air with sour thoughts,
a fresh trick on all seven nights

3.

The hours peel off to reveal the layers of light
curdled like the cup of milk by the side of the bed.
The day waits outside, peeping through the curtains
I stifle another yawn, turn a new page, eyes unmoved
Morning comes with the thought of fresh coffee,
no longer with the memory of your breath on my face.

***

Somak Ghoshal is a writer and editor based in New Delhi.

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AUGUST 15

Lalnunsanga Ralte

My mother once told me a story
Of when she was a little girl,
How the entire village huddled up inside a church,
When the bombs dropped.
And the surprise checking they endured.
My grandmother would pick her up,
And carry her on her back
Praying they will not rape mothers and children.
Then my great uncle, that rascal.
They hung him upside down
And whipped him like a dog.
He pretended to pass out
But when they cut him down
He upped and escaped into the jungle
As they shot at him.
And like most mothers, she has not repeated the story,
Preferring to forget.
Scars are scars.
Digging at them won’t make them disappear.
There has been amnesty since
And an uneasy peace.
And my great uncle long dead.
Yet, you may outrun a bullet
But you cannot outrun prejudice, bigotry,
And ignorance.
The war rages on.

***

Lalnunsanga Ralte

Lalnunsanga Ralte

Lalnunsanga Ralte is a poet and PhD scholar at the North Eastern Hill University.

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POEMS

Lalteii Cherrie Chhangte

It Is the Oldest Story

It is the oldest story in the world,
Boy meets girl meets boy,
And the frantic dance begins.
Meanwhile, somewhere
In a soulless city
A girl is raped
For having chinky eyes.

And the plot unveils itself
As new, unfamiliar faces
Play old, familiar roles.
The hunter and the hunted
All too willing to be captured.
Meanwhile, in the Capital,
A boy is killed
For having blond hair.

The twists in the tale are old;
As she eats up every line he delivers
And wrings clammy hands in agonized indecision,
He proposes to another.
Meanwhile, in Bangalore,
A boy ends his own life,
Bullied to death.

The story is told again and again,
Already worn, and always new,
A mere tale,
And much more than a tale.
A girl betrayed by her love,
People betrayed by their country,
The story is old, and remains the same.
Do not tell me that old, old story again.

Unnamed

Earth to earth, dust to dust.
My mother’s tears bathed my lifeless face.
I could hear women moaning,
Their agony sung out in dirges
In the land of the living.
Darkness sealed in my loneliness.
This crypt is cold, too cold.
I feel old.
The night they ripped me out
From the dank, damp earth,
I could not cry, though I did try.
A soundless scream wrenched my soul apart.
Kapa, kapa, why have you forsaken me?
You were wrong – it hurts even after death.
Kanu, Anu, I long for your warmth.
I feel old, too old.
I am cold.

***

Lalteii Cherrie Chhangte is a poet who teaches English at Mizoram University.
Lalteii Cherrie Chhangte

Lalteii Cherrie Chhangte

 

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