I A part of me often goes back to those girlie days When I defined life a little differently Truth changes its colour when I relive those nebulous moments in the wake of clarity That’s when my blurry vision reveals power... The power of thoughts to distain distant reality. II I was an ordinary girl living around mundane events Perhaps born to procreate, do purposeless chores And die on a day realizing that I was indeed alive That’s when world would celebrate the true meaning of womanhood caged by my body; defined by power... The power of a man sketched by his desires. III I am a woman born a million times, from extinction My story is not for sale, with spice and violence I am the reverberation from history’s silence Reborn on fiery spring days, hewing legacy with no ideals While the cosmos fills me with power... The power of the creator to Be Complete.
Did I lose you somewhere
Between the hyacinth and the ribbons
The pleats and folds of my adult drape?
I know you still wait for me, my moon
As the night flutters, the unfailing rose
Drunk with solitude and honeyed longing.
I breathe shallow and deep, my eyes
Swept away by stardust, I am alone
Your milk, eager and firm, waits for me
At the shore of the night.
Between my trembling lips and voice,
Your song hides in the fugitive wind,
Slender and silent, you walk away,
Barefoot, soaking in the night’s last ashes.
Did I call you, my white hills
Breaking, sinking at the wake of dawn?
I return to the day, dust blown
Crushing sand beneath my feet,
You have sliced me to pieces,
I move, unsure, forlorn, in spirals
Of smoke as I call you out
My moorings trapped in the day, dying.
Lopa Banerjee. Written in February 2015
The flesh of the night hangs loose, stale,
Around the cryptic cities where I roam.
My skull, the tautness of my skin,
My bones, joints, the fatty cells
And flesh in between, the conduits of my blood
All dried, nibbled on, burnt away,
The pitch dark sky creeps, moonless,
Laughing with its vicious fangs.
Glowing was the night as we had soaked in
The sweetest breaths of her descent.
The night had shone in our bodies.
The two of us, young lovers, brimming with moonlight
In the city bus, gazing from the window
At the luscious asphalt sky.
We were returning home from a feast of a film
The flawless, vital light of the night wrapped us
Nearby somewhere, that night, black owls screeched
Serpents crawled over us, coiled around me in
Vehement strokes and shoving. The window
Of our moon-watching banged shut, inside the bolted bus
The smothering, the cussing, the shoving
Bathed me in blood. Far into the night,
The pallid moon crooned feverishly.
They kicked away my body, and
That of my bleeding lover boy.
Together, in the naked city streets
The pestilence of death hovered,
As we moaned—ragged, rickety, forlorn.
The nation adorned me with a name, ‘Nirbhaya’,
‘The Fearless’, a martyrdom I never really wanted.
I slowly died, my music died out in the hospital room.
The tongue of the moon licked away
The residues of my rotted flesh.
My blood crystalized. My parents kissed me between
The dead veins of my forehead, and burnt my body,
Or whatever remained in the name of it.
Stripped off the flesh, skin and bones,
My arid spirit roams, a nightmare
In the wavy, tangled wind.
Thump, thump, thump—my unseen footsteps
Crush the dark night’s crevices
I am loved much where I belong now,
Sheltered, in the dense canopy of the sky.
Deep inside, I bleed every night,
I wander, in the dark womb of the cities
In the dead of the night, I whisk and burn,
Speed across buses, autos flaring with huge flashlights
I know—somewhere inside every city’s dark trenches,
A woman is breaking into million shards.
My molten essence strolls and stomps,
Whispers my story in wrinkled corners,
Every woman’s living nightmare.
Footnotes:The poem originated from unfathomable pain, remembering the shameful ‘Nirbhaya’ incident of gang rape in New Delhi, India, in December 2012.
Rippling in melancholy melodies,
Washing past the jagged edges
Of my furtive calf-love,
My girlhood days breathe in a little nook
Of oblivion, a passing phase,
Forgotten pearls, scratched and resurfaced
In the waves of my kitchen songs,
Nestled in embalming domesticity.
My days, recycling and monitoring
At every turn, I thought my swan songs were long dead.
But a quicksilver flash of torn off petals
Wave at me in the mirror.
In their hushed fog, their half-finished stories
I feel, that their contours are running
Deeper than my brain had thought.
( Footnotes: My poetic attempt to celebrate, search for, bring out the scattered pearls of my girlhood days. The days of my fumbling with school and love songs, the days of my secretly spun girl stories, the days of my sunshine dreams and the trophy of attaining puberty. Created and developed in early December 2014, while hosting an online poetry workshop at a poetry group in Facebook.)
Today I am angry, writhing, moaning.
My lips are full of venom and pain,
My breasts are heaving, malignant
With the burden of human sins.
Let me not sleep in silken slumber
In the vain masculinity of your arms.
Let me not spread my legs and
Drift ashore in the ocean of your lust.
For once, today, let me break free
Of your smothering kisses,
Your broken sentences, your overused bed sheets.
In the humming silence enacted
In this room of practiced orgasms,
A shrill cry tries to distract me,
Calls me, breaks through the door.
A cry that pushes through my cervix,
A cry that burns within
This cherished cloak of femininity.
A cry that reminds me
Of the indomitable ulcer of RAPE.
Every minute, one out of three of us
In every corner of the world
Is crushed between your legs,
Your masculinity, a curse,
A puked reality in our lives.
For once, today, my love
Let me untouched,
Let me light the candles
For my sisters in pain!
Copyright: Lopa Banerjee
September 18, 2014
This poem is born out of sheer anger keeping in mind the recent news of the rape and molestation rampage plaguing the women in Kolkata and West Bengal. I dedicate it to all my sisters in India and also worldwide, to their bruises and tears, while knowing that this is the only form of protest that I can do now. The name of this short poem is inspired by a personal essay that I had written two years back, as an aftermath of the ‘Nirbhaya’ rape incident in New Delhi, India.