Tinted Glass

She lingered around the windows,

In the empty house full of maids and cooks and a butler.

The husband went on business trips, he laughed at her habit-

“If only you knew what there is beyond your silly window-world.”

But he went on alone, she would be too tired from travelling so much.

She lingered near the windows, draped in rich sarees, the ends pulled down her head

That covered an arm’s length effectively.

Moved from one glass case to the other with dainty grace taught by generations of good housewives.

But her decisive fingers pulled down the wooden blinds every time a rebellious sound broke the midday silence.

Eager eyes scanned side to side, peering through layers

Of cloth, of wood, of glass.

At figures interrupted by blinds and a printed veil,

A few inches of thick glass.

Music floated in the air, drifted away,

And the void was filled with more.

Eager eyes peered relentlessly through layers at every sound, at constant music emanating from a distant gramophone.

But her husband decorated her windows- his sweet gesture of love,

Thick white glasses were replaced with carved tinted ones, dark red and emerald.

He laughed with contentment, “You shall see a more colourful world from now.”

She still stood by her windows in her empty house,

Pulled down the blinds sharp at every sound,

And peered through prints, wood and coloured glass,

At shapes and sizes interrupted by layers one too many

She tried hard to make sense of her colourful world.

Prompt by Daily Post: Constant

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Less bright red flowers

I feel a damp against my wiry body,

Spiralling against my non- spine, my fire-red flowers untouched,

Dirty green moss the colour of her saree on the wall.

I look again at her wiry body, a peek of ribs and white skin from the side.

I look down today at the less bright flowers from yesterday.

A bend from the waist, bony hands pick flowers

From the ground for oily hair snaking down a thin back.

Her passionate love for my flowers, though dead and smell-less

Lying on the ground. She cannot reach the ones sticking loosely to the wiry green body against moss covered bricks.

I long for her bony hands to pluck the bright wonders off my skin, drop them into fair palms cupped together.

She moves into the kitchen for the day, my flowers adorn a long oily trail, held together with a knot. I can only hear bangles clinking, a mechanical melody accompanying a mechanised grinding of coconut.

They will soon smell of coconut and turmeric, smell-less flowers from yesterday.

She throws them before her husband returns, our dried little secret. Fresh sandalwood paste on a broad forehead.

She always returns the following day. A moment alone, a treasure island of less-bright flowers strewn around.

A damp from the moss green wall against mine. I feel a damp against both our bodies. And I do not long for her glass bangles.

Pain Pastiche

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.

Well-

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.]