Vol V Speakeasy

This week’s poet is Lekshmy Rajeev. A poet , translator and journalist working for Niyogi Books as their consultant editor, her poems have been published in reputed literary magazines & journals. She was Poetry Editor for the website of The British Council for South Asian Women Writers. She has a volume of poetry published by the Central Sahitya Akademi(2011) entitled Dusk Diary. She can be reached at achhan@gmail.com

A LETTER TO AMMA

Amma,
I cross busy streets alone
talk to strange men and women
buy readymade masala powder
and eat animals once alive;
at times I accept a lift;
loved and remained chaste,
talked fire,
when angry never lighted the lamp
starved myself, skipped prayers
I curled up tiny and foetal
thinking of you, everyday,
in a fresh, air-conditioned room;
I felt a faint stench of my flesh
mixed with agarbatti, rose and burned cds.
Though unclaimed in countless ways,
found many warm reasons to live.
I am yet again afraid
you’d scold me for all these
and for not wearing my gold anklets
into your light, into your prayer.
Proud but,
I know why you make garlands,
pray and chant throughout,
for a brave, mischievous child
at war with the world.
Fearfully yours,
Chippy.

MIDWAY IN MYSELF

I meet myself all over again
at village school benches,
the old few clothes at Pulickal
in my dolls, my books;
nothing has grown old
except me.
I am
drowned in songs,
naked in worship
like flames,
like dust under rain,
write my verse on the sky
amidst lightning
in a pause
lighter than lust,
faithless in faith,
towards death,
in foolish order
a gifted
disaster,
my heart,
abstract bodies,
struggles
in the glowing void…
midway in myself.

MIDLIFE CRISIS

The cake you baked
looks like a cube of dirt with
burnt edges and uncooked middle;
you still are sure
the quantity, heat and ingredients were just right.

You think of everything else
except love
when you make love
you feel he touches your shadow;
you still are sure
you are sexy, desirous and lovely.

You want your room
you slept in the day before your wedding
in your huge ancestral home
and find it locked up, the key is with someone;
you rush to your parents to complain.
You still are sure
but you find them in the closest graves.

You feel you are the monsoon;
a lot of people know you,
but you don’t know many;
You are in the middle of fading.
You sign on the air, you want to change your name.
The children you wanted to give birth to
called you ‘Aunt’ and walked away;
You still are sure
you can immerse yourself and evade
the whirl of fading
with eyes closed,
you, as sure as yesterdays.

 

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