Poetry: Lopamudra Banerjee

Lopa Banerjee
(1)  Self-Obituary: prose-poem

One day, a caged bird who could not be tamed will fly away, far away from this human territory of measured movements, usual chitchats, regulated habits and practiced, recycled codes. A bird who was a human by sheer accident, with a faulty topography of a mind that fed on nostalgia gold, on ungoverned desire and dreamt of sunken continents where the movement of air carried the jingling scent of unspoken poems which crackled and burst out in a crescendo, just before the universe exploded. A bird who chased words like kites flying in the sky and knew nothing strategic and understood nothing mathematical, but palpable geometric shapes that weighed heavily in her head, the diamond, the equilateral triangle, the arrows and the dots that converged to form her Bildungsroman, a dance with flames and stardust.

One day, a caged bird who could not be tamed, no matter the rituals of imposed normalcy, would be on a quest of dead ancestors and their spirits crossed over, asking about scriptures and discrimination and the false obeisance of self-proclaimed holiness. A bird who would ask why birds couldn’t be regarded holier than human priests or clergymen, why nature, with all its providence, wouldn’t be the only temple of worship. A bird whose voice broke open in high pitched notes and faulty sopranos, soaring over the practiced rhythm of the cacophonous days and the nights impregnated with deadly silence. A bird, always in love with the trailblazing sun and the lonely moon, who smiled and waved at the storms bygone and played weird memory games, ignoring the machinations of the chronology of time.

One day, a caged bird who could not be tamed will fly away, waving goodbye to sooty earthen tales and leave no trace behind, no human scars, no despair, no bond of fragile hearts. But in her mundane tracks, just before flying, brown dirt, slippery songs and smudged raindrops will remain, her nectar of this life lived, this life, departed.

 

(2)  The Notebook

[Inspired by the bestselling romance ‘The Notebook’ penned by Nicolas Spark, adapted into the film ‘The Notebook’, directed by Nick Cassavetes.]

 

Come, let me read to you a story of love, wilderness and redemption.
In the cerulean sky of the heart of youth, we’ve waxed and waned
In the cobblestone streets at the wake of the maddening night,
Under the glaring neon lights, wriggling myself into your arms
As you’ve smelled of the lingering scent of my wanton seasons.

Is it the blizzard of your alluring richness, our cracks opening up,
One by one, screaming at varying degrees, muting the sound
Of our collective sufferings? I don’t know what it has taken
To settle down, quieten our torrid undulations,
But the unsettling, unbecoming is true, it is Me, it is You.

Come, my love, let me read to you a story of wilderness and redemption.
The winds that we’ve rode together, the silly surges and their closures in our souls.
“Were you right and me wrong?
Where did our epic letters vanish in this journey, arduous and long?”
Did I just open the sluice gates of your memories?

In the light and darkness of your soul’s alleyways,
Chunk after chunk of old times travel vicariously in our colliding worlds.
Come, my love, let us get drunk in their scrumptious cacophony,
As you remember me at the stroke of the night.
Come, let me read to you a story of love, wilderness and redemption.
 

(3)  Surrender

[From my unpublished poetry collection ‘WE ARE WHAT WE ARE: Primal Songs of Ethnicity, Gender & Identity]


 To let every atom of a forbidden rain
Pierce my crust and core
To let the glistening pearls of sacred tears flow

when they gush, unhindered.
To bare open, surrender to the naked richness

of a flawed being
To embrace the architecture of flesh

and the poetry of a body
That has endured the lull of music
And the sordid dark of many a death.
To let go of the vain lushness of fairytales
And the chaotic hunger of sweet nothings.
To rest amid the fierce nudity

of many unborn verses.
My life, the unraveled seed

of a virgin poem.
Let it be, let it be,
Let it be clothed in fire, unsheathed.

 
Author Bio: Lopa Banerjee is an author/poet, editor and translator living with her family in Dallas, Texas, but originally from Kolkata, India. She teaches Creative Writing and Literature at Texas Christian University and at OLLI at University of North Texas. Her memoir 'Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant's Wayward Journey' and her debut poetry collection 'Let The Night Sing' have received honorary mentions in The Los Angeles Book Festival and New England Book Festival 2017 respectively. Her manuscript of ‘Thwarted Escape’ has also been First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014 hosted by Chanticleer Reviews and Media, USA. She also received The International Reuel Prize for Poetry in 2017 and The International Reuel Prize for Translation in 2016 (for 'The Broken Home', her English translation of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore's novella), both instituted by The Significant League, a literary group. She has authored seven books (memoir, poetry, fiction and translation) and co-edited five anthologies of poetry and fiction. She has also been a featured author at Rice University, Houston, Stanford University’s Digital Humanities Archive, and has co-produced a poetry film, ‘Kolkata Cocktail’.  
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