Monday, July 17, 2017

love letters

there are love letters
that i do not accept
that come filled
with hatred
and conditional

there are love letters
i burn
so should you

Nero, not.

The last few years have been hard in terms of being an Indian who doesn't feel disheartened by all the violence creeping in closer and closer to our middle class lives. What's been helping? Civil society and music. May I not be a Nero, but music helps the soul survive and these are a few songs from the last few weeks that help a torn heart heal itself. All mainstream. All good.

- Immigrants (we get the job done)

- 4:44

- Story of OJ

- Praying

- Woman

and while these were older

- Humble

- Cranes in the sky

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Can I speak to you of the calmness of an empty mind? My mind more importantly. It feels like there is nothing in my skull except for a small shrill pain that beats at a few cells, mid left of my forehead. barring that, there is nothing but emptiness and there is a serene beauty in this vacuum. I try to extract words, paragraphs, thoughts, ideas and emotions and I am left with nought. a nothingness that is light and true because it is all that is there. These moments and days need to be enjoyed for there will be days when the mind is full of thoughts and moving at speeds that I cannot calculate (train moving at 300 miles per hour in one direction, auto-rickshaw travelling in the opposite direction at 35 miles per hour but woman in auto-rickshaw goes into labour for 3 hours with driver as midwife, when will the collision take place?) and do not wish to calculate.
Speak to me today and I shall smile at you.
Yell at me today and I shall vaguely rearrange my face and feel a sense of annoyance, moving my location or politely asking you to leave.
Today, I feel no need for deep responses.
Today, I skim the surface like an Olympian gymnast.
Today, I am free in the knowledge that all of me is human and possible to implode. One serene smile at a time.  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

balance sheets

i thought you owed me
in some larger
account book

but it turns out
our ledgers, and categories 
were different

and you 
debt free

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bastuhara - displaced

Have you ever heard a word before and it pulled your heart as one that resonates within your body. I heard bastuhara (Bengali for 'displaced') yesterday and I looked up to the person to my right who said it. I could see a black shirt, a beard and a black piercing through his left ear. It was a factual statement for him, a word that was part of his lexicon and one that immediately pierced me.

We were discussing migrants and vagrants, we were discussing the criminalisation of the state of homelessness and how refugees and displaced persons in West Bengal often didn't like the use of the words bastuhara or udbara (Bengali for 'refugee') because it had negative connotations.

The words pulled me because they gave a more rooted sound for the process that my grandmother talked about. The words pulled me because she never used them. She spoke of leaving Bangladesh (never how or what she saw), we heard of how people from various religions helped each other allowed each other to assume each other's religions for days and minutes to flee violent mobs, we heard of the lakes and large tracts of land, the trees and the coconuts.

We never heard the bastuhara or udbara. Did she also think that these were words she did not associate with?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

National Poetry Month (#7): Anniversary

happy anniversary my love
it's been years

i hope you are as well
as i am.

(c) Persis Taraporevala, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

National Poetry Month (#6): Scar

I touch my scar
Tucked away
Known only by me

And lovers, who cared.

(c) Persis Taraporevala, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

National Poetry Month (#5): hunger

today, i ate meals as sparse
as my sense of joy
so that stomach and heart could resonate
in their emptiness

(c) Persis Taraporevala 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

National Poetry Month (#4): untitled 1

Untitled one

we are peaceful beings
they said,
as they destroyed homes, hearts, and hope
one piece

(c) Persis Taraporevala 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

National Poetry Month (#3): Witches

This poem needs much editing but in keeping with my pact!

My friend says it's air pressure,
my tremendous need to cry
just before the first rain
before the skies are overcast
before thunder resonates in space,
i know 
it will rain.

her mother is a doctor
and she has inherited rationality from her
my mother is a storyteller
and on this hot day in Delhi
in the dusty plains
when i felt the expectant need to weep
i knew that the tale i told myself as a child
that the tears were a sign
that i was connected to water
and water to me
that i cried 
before the skies above me.

like my mother
whose bones hurt
or my grandmother
whose joints followed suit
before the first rain
of the monsoon
witches and clairvoyants are we
headed by my grandmother
most sensitive
and high priestess
who saw snakes in her dreams
when her grandchildren were conceived

one day i may see snakes
and my mother before me
but for now we feel pain
caused by innate knowledge
caused by being truth seers
or maybe,
air pressure 

(c) Persis Taraporevala