His art teacher handed him the corrected homework. There was a big red question mark and a comment at the end which read, “Please learn colours correctly.”
A five-year old confused Arun couldn’t understand what was wrong with the blue and purple trees, a brown sky and greyish flowers growing in blue bushes.
Not even when he examined the tiny strip of film negative for the third time- after all, it had been the source of his inspiration.
Snow skin, soft voice,
A frame so petite,
Light steps and shy smiles,
I’m branded beautiful.
But a tug at my reverie, it snaps!
Shards of illusion scattered around,
I am just a black woman,
A thick, heavy, dark, Negro Woman.
So you hate me and beat me,
Starve and enslave me,
But take my loathed body,
Watch me numb my soul, and give in completely.
Purple bruises blend perfectly,
I am blasé to all pain,
My dreams smother in despair,
And wash away in tears which dry…
But I write about waterfalls,
Paint bright pink flamingos,
All in my mind’s canvas,
‘Cause black women with ink and paint,
Are only witches to be shamed and cursed.
And finally I die,
My body laid next to the spirit long buried,
From which I rise another time,
Ready to be tortured, ready to be told.
So here I am again, prettier this time,
With small feet and rosy cheeks,
I thank God-
Now I shall not be despised.
I am now a Japanese Wife,
Victim of a forced marriage,
A potential actress too-
But you don’t need to know that.
But you should remind me of my femininity every time,
Snatch away the sake and the smoke,
And yes, the life too-
Berate my apparition,
Every time you see her singing to trees,
Crushing dried leaves under her feet,
Plucking flowers on a solitary night.
[This poetry is an original creation, inspired from two masterpieces- “And The Soul Shall Dance” by Wakako Yamauchi and “In Search of My Mother’s Gardens” by Alice Walker. The theme of universality of women’s oppression has been recognised and is the essence of this poetry.]
A kaleidoscope is made of shattered glass
– a note to myself