June Nandy’s recent works have appeared in Commonline Zine, Certain Circuits, Up The Staircase Quarterly, and elsewhere. She has an award-winning poem in the open poetry contest, 2009 with Prakriti Foundation, Chennai. Her novel Ideospheres of Pain, which advocates for an ideology-free world, has been released in India. She has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology 2010 and best of Dzanc Books Web Anthology 2011. Her new poetry collection, The lines must die, has recently been released by Cyberwit.net, India. Her poetry and other details can be accessed at her website.

 

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TANPURA SOLO

It was expected that my straight back would lean
against a wall. Tight
strings, beads-lariat around my neck will immure me
to a pose of consort: Tanpura

regimented. I mull over the time-
honored tones: Sa Pa Sa (Do Sol Do): a trampoline
of reliability in attendance
to classical oeuvres. I play

riffs. Ditto, like the ostinato-steps
in jazz compositions. Recognizable. So universal.
Sharing the same dais, attention
of connoisseurs, audiences. Why,

if sea would rejoin, it sanctions the waves?
Now, I’m on my own, like
a woman on the floor, doing deep yogic spine stretch.
In a while, I’ll mitigate a tempest of smug sounds.

 

AFTER A PROLONGED DROUGHT

Then the river Gârvini dried up; disrobed

of its litheness.
That open basin, abundant with iridescent waves,
that light-hearted fun with driftwoods,
those cohesive ties of anchors: utterly
dried up. Just a bony bit
of silvery course remaining for filigree artisans.
Colourless-waterless sands, overrunning
the once thriving expanse. Appalling,
the threats of new sprung prickly-edged plants.
Sullen boats, far and few between, lying face down
in the sand induced idleness. What phase
is this? If autumn,

the rickety bridge will bring the festival-trains over Gârvini,
clanking on iron-rails. See, the children
throwing coins on what’s left.

 

AT THE BEDSIDE OF LANGUOR

My city seldom changes its mind’s clothes.

One part daubed in turmeric,
two parts: mildewed & manky with rips and holes.
One modest area shows hints of the brocade
it used to be.

A pony-song, on repeat, from ham radios. Stop
carping, hopeless Abhimanyu, like— who’d know
wars would alter such— soldier, soldier, it’s not you
the war wants, but a field, a factory, a female
rolled into one.

I see few deer-like thoughts, a song-river, fireflies
ignoring the ennui. That bit of action.
Violence isn’t their theme. But, how
insistent their sporadic lights, rapid rush of the waves & steps.
Good morning, listless hare.

 

FIREFLIES

Right now, a house will turn off its lights.
The neighborhood may follow suit.
Not easy to see that night cares for nothing.

Corpse of the day is interred by the night though
but it’s a habit, meted out to all things.
Moon-talc that wanted to rest on Buckthorn-leaves,
Lantern-warmth that enveloped the Bougainvillea-vines—
all bleached brown, placed in gloomy graves.

A house is now considering sleep
a happy place. It is relocating. Fellow-houses too. Surely, night
will spare the newly-arrived travelers?
O fireflies, circle the slow-moving bayou
crammed with bleakness. O thoughts, I’m trying
to find the right chairs for you to sit.
Do not dismiss the vigil yet. I will toil
for the light.

 

NOON-TIME SPRING

for Dip

We are walking through Park Street.
Sorbet-colored stalls along both sides.
They’ve put up for sale, Valentine-hearts. Them, you describe:
tied, tightened balloons around rubbery-necks.

You can’t bear this chasing
away or clinging to who we love, with gifts
now, soon, next,
presupposing separateness

as fact. You get murdered often for criticizing
new Asian Brown Clouds. Why? Don’t
they deter you? They pour too: Acid.
Plenty of weird things, you say, are placed high. So, I hide

you in several songs, cause you to crystallize
in graspable forms. Dear hunk of alum, my rock-sugar,
they too have ice-plasters like you. Also,
the sunlit core, banked, in waterlogged chests.

 

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