‘All the Things I Am’, and ‘Journey of a Poem’

All the Things I Am 

I am the criminal, 

Covering her evidences of old age on her head, with henna. 

I am the colour of your mother’s favourite dupatta. 

I am the unappealing cleavage, which instantly makes me a part of your mind’s sex tape. 

I am the rusty old Jhumkas sold in the markets of Gariahat. 

I am the elbow who kicked you when you tried groping her in the crowded public bus. 

I am the taste of nimbu shikanji on a hot summer day. 

I am the lipstick on her teeth and unshaved underarms. 

I am your not-so fair and not-so virgin bride, speaking against the slokas of कन्य्द. 

I am the love of Sohni and Mahiwal, drowning in river. 

I am the blood stain on her white skirt, believing in ‘य्ग अच्है’. 

I am made of love and every fracture caused by the lack of it. 

I am a woman of Manto, made of flesh, bone, blood and metal, 

smelling aggressively of the soil. 

I am.


Journey of a Poem 

Journey of a Poem 

My poem is lactose-intolerant. 

It’s a baker allergic to flour, 

A depressed comedian, 

A theatre kid with social anxiety, 

Who works in customer service. 

My poem is an undefeated irony. 

And what if over the years, 

It has fallen slightly in love with pain 

— because until it doesn’t hurt a little, it doesn’t seem real. 


My poem smells of Bhopal’s methyl isocyanate. 

It stands beside Marsha P. Johnson 

And does a swift drag-dance 

In the Stonewall Riots. 

It’s a young Palestinian boy 

Wearing his dead father’s shirt, 

Fixing a tattered teddy bear, 

With cotton leaking out, like blood. 

Being political was never a choice, 

Because my poem has seen children 

Playing with bricks, bones, guns 

And has grown out of red aluminous soil 

— the way poppies and widows grow, out of dead bodies. 


My poem doesn’t look pretty, 

With incurable sores of dictatorship 

On its innocent tongue.

It cannot romanticize van Gogh’s paintings 

Plagued by psychiatric illness, 

But peels oranges and tears leftover bread, 

— giving its loved one the bigger piece. 


My poem is overweight, 

Trying hard to fit within the 2200 characters, 

As God and Adam try to hold hands 

In the Sistine Chapel; 

almost there, but not quite. 

It creates art on algorithm-based feeds 

That feed on simultaneous sponsored ads for 

— “sexy XS sized corsets” and “how to be thin in three weeks”. 


On days my ideas fade out like Lightroom’s vintage film, On days my words don’t fit after the prolonged maternity leave, On days my metaphors are not a trending hashtag, but a mere cliché, I close my diary and wonder,

— does my poem still look colourful and picturesque from the outside? -x-

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