Poetry: Camellia Paul

Camellia Paul

Coffee House

Walking down College Street, I lit a cigarette

as I availed the turn that pulled me into an

overcrowded Bankim Chatterjee Street,

further pulling me closer to you, and there you were,

in your favourite “peachy” shirt (I guess you have a lot of liking for it),

waiting to, well, pull me close (one never ceases to be hopeful

even when they are tempesting their way through life)

with a smile I could not help but return.

It is insanely unnecessary to fight the self with the self,

chucking the body and mind in a state of gruesome delirium.

One only ends up inconveniencing their entire mentalhood,

and this has never really done anybody any good.

So, standing there with you and letting my cigarette burn out,

I wondered if I were to touch your hand,

or your dishevelled hair, or to look you in the eyes.

I felt like a goat tied to an invisible lamppost

with an invisible heartstring, waiting to be “scaped.”

And that was when my cigarette heaved its last sad sigh,

and rushed into the gutter; and we rushed into Coffee House.

I don’t know why you were so inclined to go upstairs and sit.

The whole point of Coffee House lies in its chaos, confusion, and cacophony.

It is true that carrying out an important, or a private conversation gets

difficult in such a surrounding, but then…

why come to Coffee House in the first place?

Well, I went there because I wanted to sit by the window, smoke n cigarettes,

stare at you sitting opposite to me, as I’d starve myself through lunch

(while at the same time protesting if you tried to do the same).

But things don’t quite pan out the way they are p(l)otted, now, do they?

So, that was that, and we had to sit where we did,

looking down at the dismal mess on the asbestos

that threw my mindstate right back at me.

I had to make myself appear busy before I would melt into a cup of tears,

made to blend with some real smelly and cold milk, spiked with

some sugar and coffee powder, served with or without a straw and cream.

So, I took out the things I had to tend to, along with those

I had to give you. I looked at you, and you sipped me away.


Sunday Skyprint

A skyprint-tinted Sunday tone
Sweeps my heart, leaves me alone.
Traps a hornet, drinks her sting,
Drops her with a chartreuse wing.
Stains the dappled walls cerise—
Ogles the flush of dotted breeze.
Returns to its nonchalant start,
Printing skies with nettled art.


Sleep Tight


You woke me up with a start,

Sweat beading your brow;

Your lips amid those grey ol' curls

I couldn't but kiss right now.


I pressed that puff right up your cheek,

Bit your nose, like I do.

Your creamy eyes, spoonful of milk —

With drops of honeydew.


I pulled you close to cafuné,

You could hear my heart, you said.

Skin to skin, and beat to beat

Entwined, we lay in bed.


Mellow's died, there's a nip in the air,

That fan — you switch it off.

You’re running a fever, and I'm a bit off-colour,

Sleep tight, my sweet, auld prof.



Bio: Camellia Paul has completed her Masters in Comparative Literature, from Jadavpur University, India, in 2019 with specialisation in Canadian literature and translation studies. She currently works as a Senior Instructional Designer in a multinational e-learning and professional services company. Prior to this, she has worked in print media and publishing houses of international repute, and been part of various academic translation projects. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in Livewire, Third Lane, among others. Her letters to the editor, art, and photography are regularly published in The Telegraph, Kolkata. She has designed academic book covers and posters for international conferences, published by educational and research institutes, such as Sahitya Akademi, Jadavpur University, and Ashoka University. As an independent practitioner of the visual arts and photography, she has extensively worked on the interface of narratives from the everyday in a pandemic world across rural and urban spaces. Apart from being passionate about art, owls, and anything purple, Camellia loves reading, photography, and exploring cultures. Contact email: casperpeace@gmail.com

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