Poetry: Lopamudra Banerjee

Lopamudra Bannerjee
(I) Legacy: Waltmarie Poem

[Written for Art Meets Poetry 2024, an initiative by Mockingbird Poetry Society, Texas, in collaboration with a painting created for the event by Dallas, Texas-based artist Melinda Whitten]

Burning in the flames of our ancestral legacy 
Incandescent 
We light up the path in our own quirks and splendor 
Unrestrained. 
Bearing the conscience of our cultural past, we trudge on,
Torchbearers.
The bloody battlefield of history is our cradle of half-burnt truths,
Reminiscence. 
Sprouting from cracks of grave sickness, of revolution, our languages evolve,
Metamorphosed. 

Erased from history’s womb, our ‘huts of shame,’
Distraught
Distanced by oddities, eccentricities, we became our own 
Identities
In our exodus, our banishment, we are part of an equivocal structure
Defiance 
Hungering for homes, the grey, looming sky took us in 
All-encompassing
Our skin and flesh, emerging out of our threadbare art, 
Living. 


(II) Sometimes, In My Heart 

[This poem was originally composed for NaPoWriMo 2023 in response to a prompt regarding writing a lyric for a love song, with the line: “Sometimes, in my heart, a storm of feelings emerges.’


The promise of the molten lava of my unsettling desires 
Comes back, at your footsteps, a failed echo resounds--
Sometimes, in my heart, a storm of feelings emerges. 

I know, and you know it too, we have outdone the broth 
Of our brewed wants in the wild censure of the midday sun—
Yet, sometimes, in my heart, a storm of feelings emerges. 

Crackling with my insane pen, my unwanted tenderness 
Had painted vignettes of pleasure and pain, all sucked away
Yet, sometimes, in my heart, a storm of feelings emerges. 

The silence between our burnt poetry and orphaned words
Has been our second skin, we have shed it and wore it often,
And yet, sometimes, in my heart, a storm of feelings emerges. 

In the black and white of memories, untangled with sudden, 
spasmodic surges, 
Sometimes, in my heart, a storm of feelings emerges. 
 

(III) This is Where the Light Doesn’t Shine Anymore 

[Written/composed during NaPoWriMo, the National Poetry Writing Month, April 2023 hosted by The Significant League/TSL, a vibrant literary group.

This is where the light doesn’t shine anymore. 
The moment of compromised calm just before dissolving 
dissolving in scrambled dreams just before succumbing 
succumbing to the art of death. 

This is where the heart doesn’t flutter anymore. 
the moment when the voices of melancholy songs inside 
don’t vie with each other to spell a mellifluous raga. 
This is where the organic journey from cadence to stillness begins. 

I find the grandeur and the secret scent 
of my slender-winged albatross here,
In the dark, open mouth of this abysmal, eternal poem. 
In this grand finale, how many futile births would you endure? 


(IV) Between Pages: A shape poem


   Gypsy                                                                          Cosmic Design
              Poem                                                       Stringing words                                                                                     
                     Hippie poem                              Blooming  
                              Fairy poem                in defiance  
                                     Shapes            Revolution 
                                         Of                dried  
                                        Blank       between          
                                        pages         pages   
                                     Layers          Reverberation 
                                   Draped            Of birdsongs 
                                   In                       Insolent  
                          Cadence                       War cries                   
                          A                                       Our                                         
                     Mosaic                                    Own  
                  Of                                                    Black magic  
            Life                                                           Sneaking into  
        Stories                                                              Unexpected nooks 
  Simmering                                                              Drifting through 
  Bubbling                                                                   Surreptitious                                                                     
Crackling open                                                         Darkness   
***


Bio: Lopamudra Banerjee is an author, poet, translator, editor with eight books and six anthologies (fiction, nonfiction and poetry). She lives in Dallas, Texas where she also works as a writing consultant at Collin College, Frisco and occasionally teaches creative writing courses at various universities. She has received the Journey Awards (First Place category winner) for her memoir ‘Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey’, the International Reuel Prize for Poetry (2017) and International Reuel Prize for her English translation of Nobel Laureate Tagore’s selected works of fiction (2016). Her poetry has been published in renowned platforms including ‘Life in Quarantine’, the Digital Humanities Archive of Stanford University. ‘Bakul Katha: Tale of the Emancipated Woman’, her English translation of Ashapurna Devi’s ‘Bakul Katha’ and ‘The Bard and his Sister-in-law’, her translation of Mallika Sengupta’s famous biographical novel ‘Kabir Bouthan’ are among her recent published works. She has also co-produced and acted in the critically acclaimed poetry film ‘Kolkata Cocktail’ (2019). 

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