‘What is the conflict; have we drawn lines?’: Three poems by Vinitha R.

My Political Discourse

I have more important things to talk to you
more important than climate change
and the economy, and political movement

and religion and immigration and the right to die, and human trafficking, and genetic cloning, and animal testing and pet rights, the pharma industry, and ethnic adoption, and abortion and binge watching and alternative energy, taxes and college education.

Because you see I want to talk to you
About our political movement
What is the conflict; have we drawn lines?
Or worse, are we at an emotional embargo?
Did I draw the rampart too soon?
Will you, therefore, never lower your drawbridge?
So now what? Watch this continental drift?
witness a divergent boundary?
Because the tectonic plates of the ‘thing’ we had together
is shifting.

If it is, it is. But I want to find words to say so
Or, Do I watch us drift,
acknowledge your forwards with a few of mine?
And let it go, let it go,
let it go?

***

Banter

We fight over the remote.
I’m rainforest person, she says
Ayurveda, rubber plantations, orchids, you know.
Air conditioning is carbon footprint.
She’s won this round
But only for 5 minutes
Mosquitoes, I tell her. Bloody mosquitoes.
And the thick summer heat glistens on her brow.

Winter? I ask her.
Hate it, she says. Winter is for advertisers
Thermal wear and travel packages
Bloody bones ache. Longer, darker nights.
And please don’t say Christmas
She adds, as I open my mouth.
Wasn’t going to, but what the heck.

What then? Monsoons?
Storms, petrichor, pakodas, adhrak chai?
Kurla muck, no trains, squelching shoes, clothes that don’t dry, gastroenteritis.
And if you say spring, she adds, I’ll wring your neck.
Ugh, I say and walk off. Killer of joy.

When l return she’s on her terrace
Face tilted up. I know she must know I’m there because it’s not raining.
But she’s stretching her hands

As if to touch the cloud, the sky
As if to let rivulets of water
Run down her outstretched fingers.

***

Between Memory and Forgetting

I take a fork and dig the hard rock
I want to feel the veins in my neck bulge
As I dig, bleed, and make furrows on the ground.
I want to hear the scraping of metal against stone.

Between memory and forgetting
On a tightrope between memory
And not remembering
I place one careful step forward
I can’t but look ahead
Placed on both my shoulders are the dead.

I can’t run, my knees don’t work
The stone, won’t flinch
The ground, it smirks.
I watch the fork bow against the unbending earth.

Between memory and forgetting
On a tightrope between memory
And not remembering
I take another step.

It’s okay, I tell the voice in my head
The fire is your breath,
Don’t look back, don’t shift to your side
Keep up the tightrope walking.
The chasm isn’t right.

The rainbow hues that colour me
Psychedelic
This madness that keeps me sane
The hair that I want to pluck from my scalp
The bitten nails that are my bane
I don’t know what I want to do.
Do you, do you?

Between memories and forgetting
On a tightrope between memory
And not remembering
I know I have to get back to the living
I’ll return the fork to the stand
We’ll eat together
One bended fork, one unbended
And
I’ll hold on to saneness
that pacifies me less and less.

***

Author, editor and columnist, Vinitha has written 23 books for children. Two of her stories are part of CBSE curriculum and one, part of ICSE curriculum. Her most recent book, a picture book called Sera Learns to Fly, has been nominated for many awards. She lives with her two kids in Mumbai, writes poetry for a lark, and is in the midst of writing a set of nine picture books on Mumbai city for kids.   


Read more poetry on Bengaluru Review:

‘Each word is an angel’: Six poems by Bhaben Barua

‘It was spring and we suckled dreams’: Four poems by Linthoi Ningthoujam

‘My words don’t have a house to live in’ : Five poems by Namrata Pathak


 

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