GloMag August 2016

GloMag August 2016 is here! Happy to to have a poem titled ‘Looking In‘ at page 91. Lots of good friends have sent in their work for this issue. The preface by Robert Klein Engler titled ‘After the end of poetry‘ is a must-read.
“If you say that word’beauty’ one more time, I’m gonna puke” 😆😷
Won’t say it but this one is a b- – – -y of an issue.
Source: GloMag August 2016

Kollam -A home on the banks of Ashtamudi Kayal.         Pic Credits  : Reena Prasad

Looking In

After years of living in houses with numbers,
names seem quaint
I like to read each one on gates
that grow bigger, taller with every passing year
The ones with the highest walls
have the tersest names
‘Vision’ is a mansion with huge, embellished gates
that hit my eyes when I try to see beyond their black sculptures and wrought iron
‘Kovallathu Veetil Kunnampurathu Sasi Nivas’ proclaims a one room shack
barely bigger than its name plate
Some bark at my curiosity,
chasing my footsteps till where their wall ends
Others have lonely, cold noses
sniffing over the hot concrete at my palm
trying to dissolve their jailhouse demeanor
The ones I love best have no walls
or gates
but bushes full of shoe flowers or rose
The bus is a mobile neighbour
The street is their doorway
Children read on the verandah floor
A cow looks in at the window
Fat hens cluck, digging busily in the dirt
The people in them look out and smile back easily
That I can smell and see them eat their tapioca and fish
from the street
is no deterrent to their happiness
or to mine
©Reena Prasad

The Circus IS In (My ?) Town

Loud red petals on a white bedspread
An opaque stain on a river flowing insane
mindless noise is music here
Sickle-shaped ears flap to loudspeaker notes
Cupped hands scooping the remnants of a city’s dignity
and hurling it at the sky
amidst loud claps of hilarity
Gigantic aluminum vessels rattle
ready for the gruel-ing evening
Feathered dancers strut on streets
to reaffirm this is a pantomime
The hullaballoo crowd on high platforms drone on
high with all the sniffing
at the odour of a chair’s still warm seat
though their lifelines refuse to extend anymore
Black microphones jut into nostrils
of anyone who wants to yawn
In far flung places
Mallus bond with perfect strangers
in their eagerness to perform another group autopsy
Another ‘pooram’
in the city of hidden gold
and thieving gods
All I can think of this circus is
it is just that
or a pongala offering by the unemployed male populace
The Kathi Shajis, Ambalamukku Bijus, Vadivaal Velus and pocket adi Pappus
having a samsthan sammelanam under full police protection
to rival the Guinness record of their women folk
All at peace till the first shove
©reena prasad
12th aug 2012

Eyes in the Dew

The teak door with its brass lock
creaks, its lone eye is foggy
I lift it up slightly by the hinges
and twist the key 

A cool morning frisks me
benign fingers caressing sore spots
The skin still sultry in the aftermath
of a humid night trapped between sheets
but underneath
a vigorous puppy shakes off dew drops 

And then eyes appear 

I see their whites rolling
in the night rain filled coconut cups
behind the two tall palms holding
the broken swing 

They follow me through  fragile
spider homes
on the crisp walk to the stream
Their gaze on the mutinous curls
loose on my shoulders with silvery webs   

Red eyes of a coucal on the well rim
follows them and me
as silvering the gaps, dawn appears
between the rubber trees 

A drought stricken bottomless well, I drink in
the cackles of the kulakozhi
the scampers of the baby squirrels
the sway of the rat snake
gliding towards the faint yellow in the east
and the ominous feel of human eyes
having a feast

The stream goes its way
cackling about its hidden worms
to the early ducks 

I return
to turn myself in
to the door with two eyes
They tell me I had been seen
waiting for a man in the mist  

It was to escape the sightless eyes
that I chose the ‘unearthly’ hour
The man they chose to conjure up
verily had no eyes for me

©Reena Prasad

*kulakozhi = Moor hen

Things to remember

It is up to me, Mom said
to get Dad to buy the things which I really need
A math notebook, socks, a new inkpot and so on
I remember him shaking his head at the list
asking me if I really couldn’t do without them but he took me
that Sunday on his bicycle to the market in the mango grove
He got a shave from an old man whose shop consisted
of a cracked mirror hung on the tree trunk, a comb, a scissor
and a small cloth round his neck with which he thrashed
his customers for free after they were clean.
We had sweet lassi and roasted peanuts under the trees
and puffed rice ball sweets. We wandered
through the vegetable and fish stalls listening to the price
of baby sardines but not buying much. There were plump chicks
under brown baskets and goats tied in the winter sun. I wanted one of each.
He laughed. We returned home with spinach and green peas.
It was only Mom who remembered the things that mattered least

Fast forward

Thirty years later
I am at a market in Trivandrum
to buy sketch pens for my kid and return home with 10 newly-hatched
chicks and 2 packets of groundnut chikkis.
Sketch pens can wait. Childhood desires cannot.
©Reena Prasad

Bringing home to us

She will come again this July
carrying the earth under her finger nails
and in the brown hems of her underskirt,
sit with hands folded on her lap in the plane
just as she does before her namesake idol
beaming her toothless smile all around
grateful for the plastic bottle of water
briskly handed out without a glance
wearing her seatbelt as gingerly
as a reluctant bomber does
relieved when four hours of captivity
end with a teeth-souring grind and jerk
Her La Senza tote bag, a gift from a grandson in America
tucked under her armpit
like a precious bundle of rolled-up hay
At the first whiff of her presence, we know
our village is now in town
©Reena Prasad

Published in Page-A-Day Poetry Anthology


8. Kintsukuroi

they call it
the art of mending with gold
It works on people too-
too fragile to be recycled
and too human to be sewed
An aranjanam and a radiant nettichutti

to offset the paleness that unslept nights
had bestowed
Bangles to hush up the name
she whispered sometimes
to the breeze
Zari edges of her sari to cover up the
unsteady trip of her feet
The gilt to light up her husband’s house
to thaw the strangeness
and make her feel at ease
She entered, right foot first
and was swallowed by obscurity
Her golden padasarams kept beat
to the fading music of her subdued ankles
though an image of a broken silver one
on a bare chest
caused cracks in the mirror
when she looked

©Reena Prasad

*aranjanam= waist chain
Nettichutti= Maang tikka or a head jewel ( see pic)
Padasaram= anklets