Volume 4 Issue 2, June 2020
Special Issue for Indian Poetry

Joyeeta Majumdar

Spirits

We had a whisky glass once.

The sort that your oldest grandparent brought home

from a trip to Russia.

It sits on your shelf.

 

Prized, it collects dust

till your mother sick with nostalgia, plucks it.

We serve tea in it now.

My sister doesn't know of its history,

it's just a whisky glass with neat tea.

My grandmother looks at it with fond memory

and smiles.

She doesn't tell me much. But there's salt in her tears.

She reminds me of women who fight wars

without acknowledgement.

I'm the one who does not acknowledge her.

We're women, we let go of words when in love.

There's nothing to say.

 

The glass sits pristine, clean, grey and old.

I wonder what stories it holds and why it never breaks.

I like to think it's haunted as are we all.

Broken verse, ragged lines and bits of mood tides.

I look for lost time,

till it's thrown at us in quarantines.

We're locked in words and grovel in anxiety.

We sit at the table, mess of words and fear of hopes.

We're a generation that's not different from any other.

We're only the youth, thinking wiser.

Thoughts of riots, expired notes, risking religion, infections and art.

We say all, we make none.

This is why we'd scramble in a war.

 

My grandmother doesn't say a word.

She looks at the tea in a whisky glass

that my grandfather got from Russia.

It sits grey and old, pristine and clean, stored on a stove.

It doesn't say much.

Some stories are best unsaid.

Most stores are best untouched.

Needless to say it doesn't break.

It reeks of nothing but love.

 

 

 

 

 

Five times

 

1)

The night wood is a strange place—

It reeks of sound and silence.

Sheds leaves that creek in crunch, dies of weather beaten.

Sick of woods as a whole, I fled.

Sick of nights and silences.

But the leaves keep crunching below my feet.

 

I carry the wood in me.

 

2)

I am yet to read

pages that smell of blood.

Violent words, readers gulp like aspirin.

I am not keen on the lives of writers who write raw.

They scare me with open nerves.

 

My fear is not of red pages,

It’s of the desire to pen.

Hell,

I’m never giving into

the pleasures of the damned.

 

3)

A dog itches its flea

as I rush around to look

for medicines that wipe, wash, rinse.

Soap,

that seeps into skin and beats the sin-mite.

Scrubbing and cleaning,

I push away the worm eating my mind

We’re cleaning the wrong bodies.

 

 

4)

Fantasy breathes into the ears of young adults—

Death and Dream are siblings.

A plucky cat dips its teeth into a fish, breathing.

We systematically rip out hearts and lungs,

blame violence on filthy animals.

We strive, they survive.

I wonder how Death and Dream are warm and fuzzy.

 

We give each other seizures.

Worse, we give each other nightmares

 

5)

I own a rack of perfumes.

They bottle roses and lime.

Cover it in glass and glow.

Make bucks in smell.

Make a lot of fuss about it.

 

I wonder if they'd do the same,

If we boxed the stench of humanity.

 

 

 

About the poet

Having completed her undergraduate in English from Loreto College and travelling around the city shuttling through eight different schools, experiencing bits of life, Joyeeta Majumdar is presently completing her master’s degree from St Xavier’s University. She’s convened over The Poetry Forum, Loreto College and brought out the volume for her final year at college and has also published a book titled Living in Similes with the Writers Workshop. Like every other lover of literature, she spends all her time pondering over words, words, words. Finally, she runs a small start-up that designs notebooks, a life of paper and poetry.

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Published by The Alternative.