Testimonial for 2021 Poetry Marathon

Thank you Caitlin and Jacob for pulling us through another Poetry Marathon!

It was one of my least stressful marathons i attended despite a very stressful health situation of my son that creeped up a day before the marathon. I guess, the fact that i knew that i can try my best and no one can take that away from me, kept me going. I am glad to have finished the marathon.

Cheers fellow marathoners!

Soles/Souls -Hour 24-text poetry prompt

Concealing storms underneath the feet,

slippery with mustard seeds, walking on

Edges crease, burning holes with use.

There is a pontla* throbbing between the palms

That can be carried everywhere, that burden of dreams that seep into

A womb that speaks quietly to the feet,

Now covered in the toil and tears, with

Crushed mustard seeds underneath .

pontla Bengali word meaning a small bundle of things


The Dots-Hour 23-firefly image poetry prompt

I leave a trail of dots in the bathroom as i look for a sanitary napkin in the shelf. Later that day, my son asks me soothingly what colour is the blood of ants. I couldn’t tell. I didn’t know if squeezed out of them,  would they trickle to the soil leaving a trail that can only be smudged by the heavy feet we humans possess? I didn’t know. So, i told him about stars and fireflies tracing each of their pathways, bleeding energy till nothing more is left. Looking back at them, my son would say when he is eighteen, forty-eight, eighty-eight that they are the dots that make…

I wait quietly as my son peeps into the bathroom and asks me anxiously, if i am sick. I look at him deeply, unknotting the chord that holds him back now.

Tears-Hour 22- text poetry prompt response

As i sweep the rooms , water splashes around, leaving a trail. I follow it around, a dog at its tail. There are no fine bone china to be broken by bumping on to a table, i curse my good luck as i mop away the trail of dust lingering under the chairs. There is no way this ends well. I bend down to look at my reflection in the water now drenched by all my dust. Cusping my hands into a wish, i dip it in that which held me so freely. Splashing it over my now blood-shot eyes, i find the tears i was looking for.

Ode to my hometown- Hour 21- text poetry pro

I never wandered enough through you, mostly keeping away from dryly lit lanes even under the hot summer sun,  except

A couple of times when i wanted to ruin my name in your honour, in your lanes

I cajoled myself to collect faded paper tickets and plastic metro coins

As you hustled and bustled all over me, my existence shredded in the high rise offices that have their own smells

That nauseate. Not so much like the stench of urine on walls decorated by children for the world something day, belching

Uncouth paramours who wish to make you a Draupadi* in the bazar hoot and you remember

Ted Hughes taught by a broken voice on a rainy day in the glistening ancient heritage university where

You saw me gobble my lunch tersely while i waited for my first date with whom

I wandered the river that pass by you, never ever belonging to you creating an obnoxious

Reality that is twined with dreams, middle-class dreams, middle paths and middle everythings

Like your lungs that now douse the day’s acerbic dust with beloved poetry

For that is your soul.

*Draupadi: Queen of the Pandavas in Mahabharata


Chirality- hour 20

Look at leaves closely:

They reflect light, perspire, respire; each of them exacerbate the human condition –

They can’t act selfish or foolish, ruthless or naive, as each of these little things continue to gift

Look at leaves closely:

Sometimes they are smaller than the palm of the human child-

Tangibly tender, away from profanities of existence that populate the realm

Look at leaves closely:

They mimic the humane effect inordinately . And we remain as mirror-images, forever incapable of superimposing our ethos on them.

Self -portrait hour 19, text poetry prompt

There’s dead grass growing all over my body as i annihilate another day in the shower, the water

Drips off my chin into the rotis i make. I think of myself as a shop owner, a service provider to a variety of people in need. Paid in love and pain,

I wait at the doorstep as my son crosses over into his realm, not looking back. That is what i want.There is no difference in memory and reality as

I had cooled off my ambitions and dived into the tumultuous tornado of desire. It surged me up, bolstered me into a new galaxy of dreams while

I tasted the valour of petty nomadic lives. Now, i cool off in the summer breeze as my limbs soak in the vitamins of life, spread across writing  groups and magazines  while

My country lives in a tumultuous moment of despair. I no longer belong to a place. And yet i have my roots . Much like the trees in the rainforests- they jump up towards the sky, soaring, and yet, grounded by destiny and a pure play of chromosonal fate.

Housewife-Hour 18- image poetry prompt response

I fold the bed sheets, thrice. Lining them against the front of the bed, i look at the corners of the bedspread. I tuck them neatly in. I need three more hours to dust every nook and corner and plunge the dirt out

Of the soul.

Purge it and broil it in guilt and spasmodic pangs of breathlessness –

sweat beads traverse my bodyscape, hovering over my forehead,

Waiting to be channelised into tear drops.

As my family slogs the day, i dance around with a broom in hand, passively living, barely thriving, like a dew waiting to drop from the edge of a grass blade.

The dark walls-hour 17- response to image poetry prompt

In the culpable darkness of the shadows, there is a thin stream of light, bordering the darkness, shining mutedly- patient, and cynical of the possibility of dawn or rainbows

Homely little pockets of grief simmer at the edges, waiting to be cultivated by greedy words. At the porch there are streams of dust revealed to the eyes blinded by light

Beyond the darkest corners, stand the grey domains of remedial relationships, vouching for a healing as one bleeds. Countering it nothing noteworthy happens

At the gates in the distance, a humble matador leans on to the armoury of death, promising nothing, relinquishing nothing, pedalling a fate foretold.

Untitled-Hour 16

There is a silent truth that fully obeys the plausibility of nothing.

Between my fingers, i see one of them growing flabby upper arms and a bloated face

While the other one i try to look for in the attic of memory

There is a serpentine guilt that i allowed for no images of the other to be impressed.

Beyond the channels of heredity, i am more of the other, quaintly forgiving, never forgetting

That there was a child who hid under the shadows of the other, refusing the labours of distanced love

And that remains unperturbed still.

1 2 3