Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Review in Verse: A House of Bottles by Robin Merrill

this might not sit well
for the ambitious people who dwell-
yet the ugly too is incredible
life's journey in a realistic portrayal

~Review in verse

Title: A House of Bottles
Author: Robin Merrill
ISBN: 9781615394494
Publisher: Moon Pie Press/2009
Pages: 29

It is a very short poetry book. That doesn't lessen that impact of the poems. The poems take us into various journeys, some real, some inside the mind. Playful too and with a such a depth that can't be fathomed. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad. She openly shows the wounds, and healing process too. The beauty of the poems comes from the realist way of portrayal. The troubling life of the people all over the world. It might have been written for American way of life but has universal appeal.

The vulnerabilty of the poetry touches us. The creativity of the poet surprises us. A collage of life depicted in poetry. With a such a range of feelings.

Here I share a poem, Hangman's Tree (page 10):

Not in the middle of the field
like on a stage
but on the edge
like a half-kept secret

One man dead a tragedy
Two in the same tree is folly.
What is three?
The third man

half-drunk early morning
trembled as he flung the rope
over the second-lowest branch
He had no second thoughts.

His last words,
curse this town of Manistee.
His last prayer,
someone cut down the tree.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

a single thought

for two souls to have
a single thought, has holes
as big as in the moon
as deep as the unknown space

those talks of individuality
why do we forget
in that state of being in love

for two hearts to beat as one
is possible only for siamese twins
what makes us desire it
what does make us blind

deaf, and dumb to reason
to stark facts staring at our faces
the I in us gets enslaved

I am not desirous of that
nor should you be
the you in you, the I in me
do make that we

yet, that you remains,
and so does that I
let that state be,
for two souls in eternity

Saturday, September 26, 2009

dad, will you walk one more time with me?

nostalgia was never so strong
or maybe it was but I kept putting it off
that battered first aid box triggered it
those small bottles, expired medicines
yellowed non-sticky band-aids
showed my neglect
that walking stick portruding from underneath my bed
accused me no end
(if it could have walked by itself it would have beat me)
old letters, stained with time and grime
that bent spectacle case
(I wonder what had made me keep those?)

moving house has not made any difference
I still find you in its corners
in the books I read
in the poetry I write
your translated work in those old notebooks
(I promise I will publish those one day)
in my typing skill
(like you I am also one finger typist)
the way I push my food in my plate
drink my tea lukewarm
walk in long strides
and pause sometimes too
thinking why I am here

yes, I breathe, I eat, I live
I do everything I used to do when you were there
I laugh, I enjoy life
pleasure of time I had with you
pain of losing you
balance out each other
I am left with a zero
(is it good, is it bad?)
each day of the seven plus years
I have missed you
yet felt your presence too

if nostalgia had colours, it would be like this
each moment sad, each moment cheesy
dad, will you walk one more time with me?


I have been thinking of my dad for somedays now. Today it all came out in this poem. Raw and visceral. My dad passed away in May 2002. The pain has not disappeared. In the journey of life, it recedes for a while and comes back at the most vulnerable of moments.

I post this for ThomG too, who lost his father recently.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

tale of two toes

scissor fell on my toe
cutting it into two
I watched part of it walk away
and what remained with me
jigged in glee-.
it had hated that toe.

being toeless was one great state
I saved on the nail polish
although my right foot looked ghoulish
with a hammer and chisel
I matched the left to its pair
it was fate that the two toes got on a date

I am left with best feet in town
no, no, please don't look down!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

let my poemlette take you on

let that eclipse languish
in its own place of choosing
I will take a detour
increasing my velocity
I was never asked
why should I be a part of it
mere objects those,
I am alive & I thrive
this rambling will go one
if I don't stop it

here I leave loose ends for you
to decide what path to take
isn't it true, we like to choose
let my poemlette take you on
while I do take a detour

Monday, September 21, 2009

glaring nightmare

all those walks with you
ahead of you,
behind you
has done nothing for me
calls for friendship has holes
as wide as craters

as deep as viper's pit

but what do I know anyway

I haven't seen either

walk, walk, thats all you do

expect me to follow you through

my boots refuse to go another step

let's be friends, sickens me

on the sidewalks I spill my guts out

people stare and you glare

all of it is a nightmare

yet I say it with as much aplomb as dare

you might as well hang on the poles

Sunday, September 20, 2009

when my bones stick into yours

shadows of rain hide you and I
from misty drops of pure sunshine

in the ramshackle barns
broken down houses
abandoned factories
you find me with desperation
I find you for inspiration
love becomes a meaningless word
cloaked in the fog of our need
when my bones stick into yours
our mutual hunger surfaces
we demolish each crumb
as if starved from eternity
and beyond if that was possible
satiation is still far away
yet that hunger has some meaning

misty drops of pure sunshine
hides you and I from shadows of rain

Thursday, September 17, 2009

for a pittance, you buy that confection

for a pittance, you buy that confection
which tastes of death camouflaged as plum
I need a remedy for my sleepless state
that clover would have helped
but for a pittance you sell your soul
I extend my arm towards you
on second thought place it on my hip
you like to be in the limelight
that darkness shining out of you
only enhances it
while I conform to rules
coming back, my throat feels like husk
I try multitude of things
gargling motor oil too
my drive only gets stronger
thinking what made me end up with a scofflaw

Monday, September 14, 2009

Poetry book: Magdalene and the Mermaids by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

Book Blurb:

At the heart of this comprehensive collection lies the Biblical character of Mary Magdalene whose presence is prominent in many of the poems and who haunts those which are, ostensibly, departures from the subject matter that dominates. However, departure and digression are not the hallmarks of this work and each piece of writing represents a different incursion into the topic from angles and perspectives that are startling, original and engaging. By adopting an overarching motif, the author is able to align more personal topics and themes with the main focus, at times appearing to move into territory not evidently covered by the title but always providing the vital connection somewhere in this sequence of compositions.

Title: Magdalene and the Mermaids
Author: Elizabeth Kate Switaj
ISBN: 9780979847066
Publisher: Paper Kite Press/2009
Pages: 56

As most of you know, I write poetry. That is one major factor, which leads me to read poetry. I read all kinds of poetry, classics, modern etc etc. Lately I have been exploring contemporary poetry. When I saw this poetry book showcased on various blogs, I requested a copy from the author and she was kind enough to send me one. It is a thin book of 56 pages. After finishing I wanted it to be a fat, thick book!

One can't read poetry at one go as all images merge and one doesn't really enjoy it that much. Despite the thinness, it took me a while to finish this book. I let my thoughts drift to many directions, many layers. And I was really glad that I read it. As the blurb says, it does refer to Magdalene, the biblical character but that is not the only element here. In most of the poems, it is the metaphor of mermaid that speaks to us. Switaj has made the mermaid come alive for us. Her feelings, emotions pour forth. We can see the intense love, rejection, despair, angst and deep sadness. No, I didn't need a hanky to wipe my tears as I also saw that there is hope, despite the sign of dejection.

In To Siren In Museum, we can see her resignation to herer plight after her lover left her:

I gather shelves of ancient clays
around my empty hours
Repeat their names
lekthos, oil flask
kantharos, drinking cup with two high handles
skyphoid pyxis, cosmetic box

and skip ages of painted warriers
who might take my tale
myself into their epic arcs

My story is nothing
left on some rock

You, then, surprise me
with your shaped smile
no teeth no peeling skin
in your pale terracotta
with sparkles for freckles

I touch my cheeks
You do not sing
and so I must for both of us

My story is nothing
left on some rock

It is not only the mermaid, it is about that inner us to, which faces rejection in love for whatsover reason. Yet we go on, defenceless but strong. Rawness is everywhere, yet we grow a skin on it. This is how I truly felt after reading this chapbook. Poetry lovers will like it. It is not an easy read, what with the usage of poetic language but it grows on us and slowly permeates our mind, touching our heart.

Take this:

Apology For Leaving You Behind

when the tide goes out and shows your name
rippled in sand where I sang
please understand
I know better

then to bend
my fish bones
and stretch my scaled skin
to flow up through your pipes
to stare
at white foam on your skin

than to think
our single night before I left
was love

but if I'd believed
it was love
to make love

I'd still have my legs

Friday, September 11, 2009

inside, outside, which side

outside of myself
exactly where I wish to be

munching a green apple
careful about those pips

I feel so alive, so alive
even though my tattoo throbs

my spectacles slip
shattered glass reflects thirst

curtains hide that outside
I stay trapped in myself

with my bare fingers
I gorge that triple sundae

half eaten green apple
stares at me accusingly

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

misty, dusty

I clutch that wooden peacock
a remnant of my childhood
memory of it all surfaces

misted thoughts shadow
the reflected green walls
I stop, filter it all out

coolly watch the wind dancing.
that peacock moves in my palm
my psych dusts itself

cleansing all the remembrances
I make way for new ones
but that wooden peacock stays

"only a small token, but I love its faded colours"

time runs out on me

out of that patio door
I watch the darkening sky
my mood just as stormy
mayhem that is us
flits through my mind

I solicit courage from the clouds
walk down to our room
engage myself in packing my things
your facade blocked out
with strong determination

I pause to take a breather
our photograph from the side table
engages my gaze
I am completely disarmed
trickling tears reinforce my resolve

"I know I will salvage myself from the wreckage"

Sunday, September 06, 2009

you steal the moment

you steal the moment
with that vacuumed silence

aura of which surrounds you

words don't mean a thing
when they topple over each other
vying for attention

I take your cue

hurl mine out of that window

watch them melting into the air

I slump on the floor alongside you
even though that silence hammers

at me. I let it and wait.

Friday, September 04, 2009

I hold myself to the doorway

I stay in this dreamy cottage
each of its rooms brings surprises
I hold myself to the doorway
rubbing that tarnished key
I find no lock fit its contours

the mirage of you propels me
to walk through that closed door
I know you didn't leave
any trace of your intentions
you wish to remain exiled in that forest

in my palm, that key fills a void
I romance it, skillfully manipulating it

Thursday, September 03, 2009

geometry of fireworks cuts into me

NYE on Paseo Reforma -- Street Performer by bradleyolin

I am waiting for the sky to fall on me, on us
(don't look at me like that, I know it's a cliche)
my hoarse voice carries to the heaven

hold my arms, burn me at a stake
but spare me my muscles
(I worked hard to build those)

I am almost insane with grief
and yet the lunatic world watches me
ferris wheel rolls into me

lights of the night blind me
you cut my trees, trampled on my flowers
made my cattle escape-

stole my horses for rodeo shows
your kaleidoscopic tents dot my farm
you walk all over my heart with hobnailed boots

geometry of fireworks cuts into me
my wails ail no one, apart from myself

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

it was not a dream, certainly not a memory

flat gleam of water stared back at me
i had a vision of flash photograph taken on a grey day
glare of my inner monsters drowned themselves out
it was not a dream, certainly not a memory
yet it was luster of truth in some unknown form
That threat was gone now
along came a calm acceptance
with your words told to me long ago

"you and I will live together...
just as long as you need me,
which won't be forever"