Nikita Parik: Poetry (Voices Within 2021)

Nikita Parik: The recipient of Nissim International Poetry Prize II 2020, Nikita Parik holds a Master's in Linguistics, a three year diploma in French, and another Master’s in English. Diacritics of Desire (2019) is her debut book of poems, followed by Amour and Apocalypse (2020), a novel in translation. She was the former Assistant Editor of Ethos Literary Journal, and currently edits EKL Review. Her works have appeared in Rattle, U City Review, The Alipore Post, Vayavya, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Bengaluru Review, and others.

 

AFFLICTION

One summer, I inhaled 

your absence with the breeze. 

It has infested my lungs. 

Its wet heaviness has since 

lingered, cohabiting, coexisting,

as if in a symbiotic relationship. 

Some nights, it becomes 

the giloy creeper that had died 

under my watch and never 

bore leaves. On said nights, 

it climbs my throat, chokes

my breath, silently strangles 

my ability for language. 

On other days, I sneeze some 

of it out onto paper, call it poetry. 

To transcend grief, you must 

allow it to fill you.

But how do you 

transcend absences?

***

Notes:

*Giloy- A herbaceous vine (Tinospora Cordifolia) 

 

 

Progression

 

This aurora, once rosa

multiflora, now sleeps

in morbid orchids, dead

foraminifera. I trace 

 

your face in florid hues, 

in Neelkamal's blues,

in the drops of dew on

wilted Gudhals. The nights 

 

are aquiver, much like

that black river from one 

town of sinners I escaped 

from. Its drones, its

silent phones, are

 

dulcet tones of a death-trance. 

But the flowers!

The flowers, they tell,

that a sanguine scull

will beat this lull, 

 

and this aurora, 

now dead foraminifera,

will once again be

rosa multiflora.

 

Notes:

*Neelkamal- Blue water Lily

*Gudhal- Red hibiscus

 

 

CO-ORDINATES OF HIRAETH: 27°36'25"N 75°9'36"E

 

My grandfather's ancestral house

is a smirk

on the face of

urban connectivity. 

It is cool water

from mud-pitchers

during desert summers,

a rhododendron

at dawn, liquid gold

when the sun sets.

 

My grandfather's ancestral house

used to have turbaned men

speaking in tongues

of earthy bajra and chaas,

a community-well

where women sang

in colors of gangaur,

a little courtyard

where little children

played pitthu all summer.

 

My grandfather's ancestral house

is now a hairline fracture

in the ankle

of modernity:

stone and rubble,

plants growing through

cement, stench

of abandonment. It is 

comatosed hours, poetry in paralysis,

a calendar of absences.

 

Notes:

Bajra- Millet

Chaas- buttermilk

Gangaur- An Indian festival

Pitthu- a game played with rounded stones

 

 

Sound of a Scream

(After the supercylone that ravaged the city, Kolkata 2020)

 

This night splinters the throat 

of a scream, then chokes it 

into unbecoming. It drowns 

in the cyclonic winds, a mask

covering its muted mouth.

 

This scream tries to navigate

its way through a darkness

that's tar; black, black tar coating

city-walls with electricity-less pasts. 

 

This water that's rising

in the streets prods this scream 

for a memory it doesn't possess. 

It wants to run away. Only, 

there's no place to run to. 

 

It tumbles on the sloping 

wet surface of my house-

broken glass, uprooted trees 

sharp metals,

 

and teaches the world that there's 

more blood than sound 

to some kinds of screams. 

 

 

Ingression

(For Sufjan Stevens)

 

An album stirs, 

a sound enters

its own heartbeat.

 

(ii)

 

A slice of thunder

in a wet 

synthscape;

 

I climb 

that mountain

trailing within.

 

(iii)

 

Can you touch 

the ousia of that 

which once was?

 

(Iv)

 

This rupture has

holed our collective 

ataraxia forever,

 

But won't you still

weave hope out of your

bleeding baroques, Sufjan?

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