Friday, January 1, 2016

APARAJITA SEN

APARAJITA SEN

INSOMNIA
Close the shutters,
Put the dog outside,
Switch off the lights,
It is time to sleep.
Draw the blanket,
Over your head,
Curl up your knees
It is time to sleep.

The room is dark & warm
Like mother’s womb;
Listen to the silence drip,
Listen to your own heartbeats,
Listen to the blood pumping in your veins.
Like your mother’s heartbeats
In the long forgotten womb.

Don’t look at the ceiling
Where pale moonbeams dance,
The shutter, sleek & modern
No match for their prying eyes.
Don’t listen to the sounds from the garden
Seeping through the cracks
Of the house that you thought
Protected you from all.

A lonely bird’s cry
Piercing the silent night
Does it seek sleep too?
Craving the comfort
Of warm encircling arms?

Don’t mind the cold bed
The pillows unoccupied,
Don’t think of the warmth
Of wild passionate nights.
Close your eyes, close your eyes
Count the sheep if you would,
Waiting for sleep to come.

Breathe in, breathe out
Think of pleasant things -
Of the beautiful rose in the garden, of poppies in the field.
Of the golden sunshine, the indigo evening,
The waves that break on the shore,
The young grass under your feet,
Blue sky where white gulls soar.

Close your eyes, close your eyes
Drive out the sorry thoughts
Of failure, of rejection
Of crosses and naughts.

Now the first bus trundles past,
Now the radium clock,
Tells you that it is another day
Dawn’s on the starting block.
Open your eyes open your eyes
Bloodshot though they be,
A new day beckons,
Like the fruit of a poisonous tree.


SCARS
In vain did I put on lovely clothes,
Made up my face, so perfect,
Jewels to match, subtle perfume,
Things a woman does, and yet
Nothing detracted him from the quest,
Of mapping the scars on my flesh.

Each scar tells a story, yes
Spun throughout a lifetime,
Starting at birth,
Each one a line
On a virgin page.

Blue and purple marks,
Records of the journey, forgotten now,
Through the narrow birth canal.
The reluctance to leave the comfortable womb,
The watery sphere, safe and secure,
To enter a cold and unfriendly world.

A scar on the shin, acquired
Oh, at the dawn of life,
Climbing a majestic tree.
Young Amazon,
Fierce pride and abandon.
The ugly gash from a recalcitrant branch,
A stern warning, to be remembered.

The livid thin line on the finger,
Torn open by a shard of glass,
On a wild night, inebriated,
When the Gods came down to dance upon the earth.
The scarlet gash, stitched up in haste,
In an odorous somnolent place.

That warm spring day, heady perfume,
Of the forest through which I rode,
Unstable, on a rickety bike,
With the man I loved,
Joyous, carefree,
This day made for lovers.
And then the sudden swerve,
To avoid the tottering kid.
A tumble in the undergrowth,
A spoke bent, piercing the knee.
The scar still there for all to see.
The physical pain, long forgotten.
Not the black despair,
Of losing him, that comes back,
Every time I look at my knee.

The faint crisscrossing indelible lines
Like rivulets on a fertile plain.
That brings back the moment of intense joy
Of setting eyes on a tiny wrinkled face.
Nature, most perfect.

And look, the scar on my right hand,
Where the sharp tooth of my dog sank,
While playing with me in all innocence.
An accident, no more, no less.
He’s gone now, and I am glad
To have this almost indiscernible mark
On my body, he is part of me.

‘This map I shall use
To discover you, the lonely island.
I shall set my sail for each one of them,
Knowing what to expect, and then
Caress each blemish, each visible mark.
One day soon, you’ll forget them
And remember only me, my love.’

I do not argue.
This cartography of visible scars,
Trivial story of an ordinary life,
Those that don’t leave an external mark,
Those that are in my head,
I shall keep to myself.
Dangerous eddies, treacherous, dark and deep,
Enough, to sink
The best equipped ship.


TO MY WOMAN
Oh woman of mine...
Why do you want me to be
a mirror, always,
to see yourself
through my eyes.
The primal need,
reflection,
touch for touch,
kiss for kiss,
blow for blow?

You search my eyes
for your own passions,
desires…
Disappointment,
sharp as thorns
make you bleed.
I watch
helpless,
distant.

Dear heart.
Don’t you know,
I love you
I want you
in my own way,
on my terms?
I crave abandon,
of losing myself in you,
your eyes.
your lips
your body.
I crave freedom, too
in wild days, wilder nights,
on my own terms.

But not today, my love,
not just now.
I have to go,
back where I belong.
To my golden cage,
built with infinite patience,
step by tiny step.

I go back there.
Time and time again.
The doors open for me,
the golden perch beckons.
I go inside, I close the door.
comfort, like cotton wool,
delicious, warm,
wraps me up,
smothers me.
And I want to run….
To open skies,
new landscapes,
those ‘sawdust restaurants with oyster shells’
on ‘streets that follow like a tedious argument’
hackneyed images, words, clich├ęs….
with you? without you?

Woman of mine,
when will you understand,
this need to go back
to my creation.
My freedom,
is but a foray,
momentary
a step outside my gilded cage…

I cannot spread my wings,
to embrace
the void
of your existence,
of your world.
Doubts,
longings,
misgivings.
The sudden swings,
agony and ecstasy….

So forgive me, my love.
You, who made me dream.
I cannot tread this path,
this razor’s edge.
I shall forsake
the wild days
the endless nights,
for the safety
of my golden cage
Aparajita Sen

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