ART with WORDS: Collected Poems

I believe a poet can make anything look bearable. Even the most sinister and turbulent tragedies are parts in this innocence. To quote Julian Barnes “a poet can shimmy between two, getting credit for both deep feeling and objectivity”. My experience with poetry has been one of elusive and moral. Just like any other art, poetry alternates between vulnerability and dilemma, mystery and precision, immediate memory and sudden forgetting, yet differing on how it appears.


Malavika S Udayan, Collage, 2021


Inside this loop of language that has both what is felt and what is visible, I have huge admiration for things left unsaid, the lacunae and movement, the occasional noise and silence. I have had the fortune of writing from a country that speaks different languages yet waiting for a future reader can be devastating. It is through several of these problems ranging from everyday bills, dissatisfied parents to magic, metaphysics, love and death that I write.


Instinctively drawn to arrange words like hops on a checkered board; experimenting helps me stretch the world and circumstance. Poems here, (especially ones like Journal of a day) were written during cold, sunny afternoons when I was walking away from a familiar place in the daylight - where an attempt to break routine follows the laws of language.





JOURNAL OF A DAY

Lanes of roads

dressed in


Cars

Cars

Cars

The traffic turned blue today.

Roads turned red.

something awaits.


***

I woke up early.

Brushed my teeth with

herbal toothpaste, boldly written

AYUSH in its label,

that too, borrowed.

It tasted like an old place.

Ate a banana, some cashew nuts,

chewed them slow in,

took a coffee, had some cream,

waved him bye and set off.

I wouldn’t care otherwise,

but if you were to ever leave me

I would rip my heart apart,

and give up.


***

There is an old cluster

of bicycles.

Some broken glass.

Here.

There.

Where.

Someone pats

somebody nudges

Others spat

A pant, huh!


***

Yesterday I met a frog on the way

It was unaware of my brisk walk

through the dry leaves,

by the road.

There was hot tar

stuck to its body,

painted in darker shades than usual.

An animal looks pretty in coal.

A newly made frog on a newly made frog.

I like it.

There is a cold breeze

and people occasionally walks past

faster than me.


***

Women’s legs, shaved, exquisite.

Not a bruise, not a scar

not a fuck

muck!


Somebody has to apologise

soon after ridiculing,

very soon after a joke.


That was

A bad joke!

***

Tonight, I will make good biriyani,

coupled with toast on runny eggs and cream.

A good dessert to relish,

a bad delight for sleep.

There might be some scattered books around,

put them up the shelf and sort.

I need to crush a flower to his sweater

so that he never forgets.

A foot in the sand

so that no one forgets.

A leaf on ground

so that I don’t forget.

***

A picture of dainty evenings


Sun

Goblet, red.

Hot.

Sweat.

A rush

A rush is to home

in huge lanes of men

in bulk numbers

A rush is to stay and not move

To move is to stay and not move.


***

I have filled a jug full of water

freshly boiled with moonseed.

Wrote two words, GOOD DAY

in my journal.

Breathed some night air at the backyard,

glanced at the purple sky,

the water is too sweet to taste,

it has a better smell and a big shape.

It assumes and we leave.

***


Incapable bastards,

Us.

Tomorrow

will be time to wake up


and start.



CUT TO THE CHASE AND TELL THE TRUTH


There was a thunderstorm in the backyard

and nothing happened.

It did not thunder

just as much for

once it was music to my ears

Tip-tap, tap-tip

And my feet took flight,

stomped the right click

Tap-tip tip- tap

There was a man who wouldn’t eat with me

and nothing happened.

Was it him Was it me

It was him until he feared I was weird

and my extravagance

and my coy smile

and my flared teeth.

The verdicts change too quick

like the deft hand of a night clock.

There was a bloom on the bough that fell and withered,

as usual, nothing happened.

I sold things to feed chickens ―

Alas!

and they went coo-coo and poo-poo

My father, cross prolonged,

Did he love me Did he not

My mother bothered him too much

Was it this Was it that

A puddle on the road and a car whooshing through

yet nothing happened

My clothes

grubby but

really, nothing happened.

Instead, for the clothes, my mother hung herself

and nothing happened

her lover came home mopping

papa smashed him in the crowd

and nothing happened.

I cried with some frizz,

walked and walked and walked,

I did not care who consoled me

and nothing happened.


It was a sunny day

but nothing happened.



LUCK


Even if I am aware that chance is a pun,

the lucid world frisks itself inside my hands.

I sleep

before him and fortune showers on me.

At midnight — my time, 3 in the morning — his time



Fortune showers us separately,

the weighted world is airy, so that when he sleeps besides me,

I have all the time.

I sneak out to pee in the dark, take a flight to the city

and glide in, crossing sprinkles of our rusty window.



His hands clenched with perfect vacuum,

and ironed breath mowing the cold pressed void.

Sometimes,

I like to believe I hide fortune very well,

between my hair and in my sleeves



I have learned to make peace with the wind when there are

no wings —

I have all the time in the world,

that chance is air gone wrong;

and midnight gleams like the mid-noon window.


Malavika S Udayan is an artist and human being from India. Apart from writing poems, she loves to paint during her free time, experimenting with light, texture and movement. Instagram @mal__meh, website malavikaudayan.com.

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