Why don’t you come over sometime?
There’s your old boombox
Gathering dust above the TV.
We could sing along to
Kishore or Kansas,
Or to Jingle Bells, if you fancy.
There’s a photo of us
Sitting by my bedside,
It reminds me of those merry times
When I was the centre
Of your protected, charmed life.
I’ve saved the last wine
You gifted me on Mother’s Day.
It lies unopened,
Still swathed in its shimmery gauze,
Waiting for the perfect day.
I’ll whip up your favourite cakes,
Nevermind that I’m diabetic.
Or would you prefer pakodas or kulfi?
I know you’re health conscious now.
I swear I have a guilt-free recipe.
The phone doesn’t ring anymore.
No, I’ve paid the bills like I should.
It’s because you just text now and then,
And all the rest are dead,
But I keep hoping, still.
You stopped coming over on weekends,
Then on holidays too,
And now altogether.
The last time I saw your bonny face,
Was on a magazine’s cover.
I know you’ll never come back to stay
But your room’s always been ready for you,
As if you’re only out at school.
Should you ever want to come back,
You’ll feel like you never left home.
There are times when I wonder
If my life is unfair;
That when you needed care I was always there.
Yet in my twilight years, there’s no one here,
My cherished nest lies bare.
No, I’m not complaining,
I understand you have work in the city.
I just need some reassurance,
‘A call, a hello, a hug’, from time to time,
A reminder of my only family.
So, won’t you please cover over sometime;
Tell me that you still care,
Or pretend to, just for old times’ sake?
These arms, they seek your comforting hug,
Before it is too late.
I started writing poetry when I was in college. Back then, it was limited to my own anger, my own demons. And it was very, very private. I rarely shared what I wrote with anyone. I was afraid people would think I was unhinged. When I started working while still at college, writing took a backseat, creative writing that is. Legal drafts were all that I wrote and that was that.
I took up poetry again only when I started my blog. I was surprised at the things that inspired my poetry this time. There was domestic violence, drugs, love, motherhood, abusive relationships, separation, death, witches, imli chutney, haha! I feel like now poetry comes in all forms to me. So what inspires me to write poetry is simply ‘everything’ now, and this world has just turned into a goldmine of ideas for me to write about…
Writing poetry makes me uncomfortable, every single time, like I’m treading into unknown territory. It’s because poetry for me is a spontaneous process. A moment comes when everything, literally every word and every thought, will align itself in perfect synchronicity and it’ll all come together beautifully… that’s IF I write it down that very instant. When that doesn’t happen, I flounder with words and try to make sense of rubbish. It just falls apart. I have never been one of those people who can just sit down and decide, ‘I’m going to write about a flower today’… No! I have to see a flower, smell it, feel it’s velvety sensation on my fingertips, understand that even this beautiful flower has its flaws, watch it sway in the gentle breeze of the summer air, see it crumble into dust days later, to provide nourishment to the same earth whence it came, like all of us. Then, when I am mesmerized by the mortal beauty of a flower, that’s when I can write poetry on a flower. I have to have that spark that gives me a start.
The above piece is a perfect example of what happens when I lose my inspiration midway. I wrote it, most of it actually, about a month back, during one of those ‘moments’. Words flowed out of me while I was listening to ‘Cats in the Cradle’. The song was the inspiration behind this piece. I don’t remember why I lost my train of thoughts halfway through it, but I did. Ever since then, it has languished in my drafts folder. I only took it up yesterday again in an attempt to see if I could complete it for this week’s topic on Poetry Writing Process. And I failed. God knows, how many times I’ve written, re-written, deleted only to write the same thing again, only for the last 3-4 stanzas. It was horrible! The above is an example of when I’m trying too hard, without that inspiration, to write poetry. The above is an imperfect piece.
For some poetry is as easy as a cakewalk. For me, it comes from a place deeper than even my writing inspiration, which is why it’s so hard for me to write it every time, because I can pretend when I’m writing prose, but there are no pretences when I’m writing poetry. My thoughts have to have clarity and purity of both intent and ideas so I can convert them into poetry, or else I just scrape away the whole piece. It’s hard for me to explain it but I feel when I write poetry, it stirs me up like nothing in life has, which is why I’m then able to write about it. I’ve cried and laughed through the writing process of poetry as if I was writing my own life, and in many ways, I have re-lived my life’s experiences through my poetry. So in a way, my poetry is still very, very personal.
I know I don’t make sense in this post but that’s all I have to contribute by way of Poetry Writing Process. My one advice on writing poetry would be to be ‘true to your idea’. The best of poetry is raw and true emotion.
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