Author Archives: Vandana Kumar

About Vandana Kumar

Vandana Kumar is a Middle School French teacher in New Delhi, India. An educator with over 20 years of experience, she is also a French translator and recruitment consultant. Her poems have been published in various national and international journals and websites like ‘Mad Swirl’, Toronto based ‘Scarlet Leaf Review’, Philadelphia based ‘North of Oxford’, UK based ‘Destiny Poets’, ‘Lothlorien Poetry Journal’, Saint Paul, Minnesota based ‘Grey Sparrow Journal’, California based ‘The Piker Press’, Canada based ‘Halcyon Days’, ‘Founder’s favourites’, W-Poesis, Singapore based ‘Borderless Journal’, ‘Madras Courier’, Glomag etc. She has featured in anthologies like Houston, Texas based – ‘Harbinger Asylum’ and in two prestigious ones by the US based Indie Blu(e) Publishing – ‘Kali Project’ and ‘But You Don't Look Sick’. She has been part of two projects of the World literature series on Post-modern voices and critical thought. She was a jury member for the ‘All India Poetry Competition’ organized by ‘Cocoa-Butter’ and also co-edited their debut print anthology that resulted from this competition. She also writes articles on cinema that have appeared on websites and journals like ‘Just-cinema’, ‘Daily Eye’, ‘The Free Press Journal’, Boloji.com and The Artamour.

It’s Getting Late

I suppose you know

How the evening will eventually go

There will be good food

To set the mood





You will be, at once

Both easy and tense

Feign nonchalance

At first glance





The banter will grow

Just so that she is sure

After dinner it could go

Right up to her door





There will be talk

Of cinema and books

Half way through

Both on tenterhooks





By the time the dessert is served

Still space left

For such a meal, you were

For eons bereft





You drop her

Right outside her place 

‘Will she won’t she?’

Who will initiate

Take that risk on a first date





Parting of the lips so slight

You know the moment feels right

Could there be a hint

More blatant





Finally you here

The magical words    

‘Come in for coffee’

That hot beverage

Much maligned 

The last thing

On your minds

The Perfect Round

Every Indian women 

Has a story 

With a roti

Novice

Now expert 

Or perhaps 

Forever clumsy

A society that decided 

Her virtues

By its shape and size

We all remember 

That the perfect circles

Once resembled 

The map of Atlanta 

Mine still do 

Not that I apologize 

The world I hoped

Had changed 

In conversations of living rooms 

Beyond a virgin’s promise

Of a Round Roti.

(Roti is a round flatbread native to the Indian subcontinent made from stoneground whole-wheat flour, traditionally known as atta, and water that is combined in a dough. Roti is the equivalent of any other bread around the world. It is a staple accompaniment to other foods)

World Poetry Day

It’s again a day
One among days
Social media tells me
It’s a day for poetry


Perhaps I had a poem
Inside
Last night


This morning
Your tags killed the fetus
Oh! Poor unborn child


I would have written one
But for your pressure
The rebellious teen
Who just won’t succumb….


Let me meet an ex-lover for tea
Catch him by surprise
The parting after all
Was hardly in grief


Let me buy a dress
With plunging neckline
Smoke grass
Take on dares


I exhausted myself
Writing about the woman in me
Not even been a month


Let me waylay my words
They shall come to haunt
Some day
In manuscripts with publishers
Who never understand…
The rhythm
Of my non rhyme


I am petulant today
I don’t wish to obey
Calendar diktats


The words were mine
All mine
Till the flavor of the day
Buried the poet inside

Outsider

Have you ever felt?
Strangely distant from yourself
From each and every part
Of your anatomy

You!
The surgeon
Of your own surgery
Spinal anesthesia
And you talk
Clinically
About liver and intestine
Dispassionate about the water in the lungs

Feeling no pain
At what the world injected into you
No remorse
At what you did to the world either
Marauding
Crushing flowers
Or people
Or both

Saying I love you randomly
Convinced that the ones
We say them to
Are also observers
Living outside
Of their hearts and lungs

Outsider

Hadn’t society

Distanced itself already?

From the cries for help

From the neighbor at 3am

Hadn’t we washed of?

All responsibility

For harvests

Of rot

We kept the mandatory 6ft

From reports

Of daily crimes

Of hate

Of stratum

And skin

That looked different

Of enemy state

Infested with familiar sameness

And yet…

Along came a virus

Making it official

Man for only

One man

Fed on ‘Me Love’

Social distancing

Just a hashtag

We were already

Flawed souls

In self-owned apartments

Rented bodies

A society

Looking at universe

With an outsider’s gaze

~ Vandana

The First of Things

They play Auld Lang Syne somewhere

The neighbours lustily shriek at the Cinderella hour

I position a New Desk top calendar on the table

Unread messages gleam on my cellphone in orange

So some pharma company has wished me good health

Another text tempts me with a winter sale.

And there rests the turquoise scarf gifted to me in a summer of passion

And a boarding pass in a frayed book

The first of January is made of such things

Things to hold on to

And things to simply let go!!!

Songs We Sing

There are songs that we sing

Full throated

A popular ditty

Oft heard in chorus

We sing along with the world

Prelude music in place

Breathing pauses perfected

And then there are songs that try to sing to us

In pregnant silences

In their whispers

Barely audible

The mellifluous strains cascade in the breezes

And we impervious souls seldom get the drift

The Unshape of you

T

Some days I wake up

As Medusa’s child   

Fingers and thumbs       

A runaway girl

Sacrificial mom

Dotting daughter

The clothes in my wardrobe

Hang loose sometimes

Some days burst at the seams

Sometimes I show you my tattoo

A little glimpse of flesh

To go with it

I might like it

Done here a little

A little there

(The colour of that bruised soul?

Now, that I hide)

 I sleep at night

A lot like you do

I love my man

Yet fantasize that rank stranger

 I let my hair down

Meet up with friends

And you notice my wine

I play with the rim

You deduce I like it wild  

Just because I know

The white from the red

And I tell you

It depends on my mood

Whether I trim

Or shave

Or just let it grow dense

I too have urges

 Minus the bulges on parade

 

Will you call me a vixen?

Or one of you

Will you still dedicate?

A day for my ilk

High Tea

Seated ‘lady like’ and demure  

Diagonally opposite you

We the convent indoctrinated

Skilled in social niceties

 

Your head shook at the right moment

“No thanks I am done”

At the mention of another petit four

But our cores throbbed

In unison

Wanting to devour each other

Instead of the canapés on offer

 

The heaving bosom saw your discreet glance

And wanted to dance loose for you

But for the constricting apparel

That came in the way

 

The self-conscious legs crossed again

Flashes of you spreading them

On verdant lawn

Pounding in open blue sky

Settled on that sofa across  

 

You never did ask how hungry I was

And I, wrapped in bourgeois propriety

Never did tell