Sunday, January 28, 2018

Bus ride with Frankie

Bed of Arrows by A. Ramachandran 
If we focused on impact, not intention -
cold wars would thaw,
flowers grow out of cracks in
concrete graveyards, this
side of living.

- Neha

Icebergs

Untitled by Joan Miró, 1927

That we are all
tips of icebergs:
be kind.

- Neha

Nocebo O(r) Naseeb!


Untitled by Jamini Roy 

[ Nocebo - no·ce·bo/ nəˈsēbō/noun/ a detrimental effect on health produced by psychological or psychosomatic factors such as negative expectations of treatment or prognosis/ Antonym: Placebo 

Naseeb / destiny or fate/ used in many languages, including Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Arabic, Indonesian, Malay, Persian, Turkish, Pashto, Sindhi, Somali ] 

Part I: Confidence

That we are atoms of belief,
O Naseeb, a flirtation of nOcebO and placebO.

Part II: Doubt

O Naseeb, are we atoms of belief?
NOcebO and placebO, a matter of chOice?

- Neha

Memorial


The ax forgets. The tree remembers - African Proverb/ Maya Angelou / Even the stars look lonesome. 

Does the tree remember what she lost?
or just herself before the loss?
Does the tree change in remembrance?
Does the ax have dreams of living ancestors, when he cuts? Does it hurt?
Does past live in the past, and memory of an ax in a present fiction?

- Neha

Saturday, January 20, 2018

UFOs

Untitled by Jamini Roy 
What is all education,
but a preparation for UFOs: Unforeseen
Occurrences - with courage, grace and resilience

- Neha

Friday, January 19, 2018

Gunpoint



Dragonfly with Red-Tipped Wing in Pursuit of a Surpent Spiralling Toward a Comet by Joan Miro 
Gunpoint -
forces you to think 
of priorities 
- not the phone you lost
or the million contacts in it, 
but who would you call
if this was it? 

Gunpoint - 
forces you to think 
- not your credit cards, 
nor the petty cash you had,
but what is priceless in this
fragile precious life you have
been given and how you 
will make it count?

Gunpoint - 
forces you to think 
- not the perfume, 
eyeliner, lipstick 
you lost, 
but who you are when 
all that is lost? 

Gunpoint - 
forces you to think
- not just of violence, 
but the seeds of poverty of 
pocket and poverty of spirit,
and what does forgiveness
begin to mean for the hunter
and the hunted? 

- Neha 

Hands that carry us

Untitled by George Papazoff
Into the hands, of friends and 
benevolent strangers, who carry us.
Who, in a time of darkness, 
show become the light. 

- Neha 

Monday, January 15, 2018

John Cheever Monologue

The Hallucinogenic Toreador by Salvador Dali 
[ Born of artistic disagreement with: "Art is the triumph over chaos" John Cheever ] 

Art is beyond victory or loss over chaos  
Art is surrender to chaos 
Art is making friends with chaos 
Art is making out with chaos 
Art is eating and drinking chaos 
Art is breathing chaos 
Art is order in chaos 
Art is synonym of chaos 
Art is antonym of chaos
Art is born of chaos  
Art is whatever you want it to be, chaos or no chaos 

- Neha 

Pin Safe

Girl before a mirror by Pablo Picasso
Some people are like safety pins,
Contradictions of safe and prickly points
holding it together.

Neha

Reconcile this

Order by Neha 
They believed in fate
because it was easier
to reconcile with universe's
plans, however brute,
bad or careless,
than with plain
randomness.

- Neha

Permeate


Sky rituals by Neha 

Grief of the world, and my world
sits on my skin.
And skin, as we know -
is the largest organ of
the human body.

- Neha

Cover

Crossing by Neha

Don't judge a book by her cover -
Judge her by her depth.

No. Don't judge a book by her depth.
Don't judge.

- Neha

Taxonomy of Choice


Bride's Toilet by Amrita Sher-Gil (1937)
The wise old woman with a swaying green saree
and brown arms, like branches that have
seen the world many births and deaths over, 
speaks gently of choices - hers and ours: 

The choice is this:
If the anonymity is forced
or chosen,
One will make you invisible -
the other, liberated.

- Neha

A Life's work

This is how by Neha
Ma, do you meditate?
Ma: No, I only work.

- Neha

Peradam's Secret

Unseen by Neha

[ Peradam: n. An object that reveals itself only to those who seek it 

".. it is called peradam. Ivan Lapse remains puzzled by the formation and root meaning of this word. It may mean, according to him, "harder than diamond," and it is; or "father of the diamond," and they say that the diamond is in fact the product of the degeneration of the peradam by a sort of quartering of the circle or, more precisely, cubing of the sphere. Or again, the word may mean "Adam's stone," having some secret and profound connection to the original nature of man. The clarity of this stone is so great and its index of refraction so close to that of air that, despite the crystal's great density, the unaccustomed eye hardly perceives it. But to anyone who seeks it with sincere desire and true need, it reveals itself by its sudden sparkle, like that of dewdrops." 

- Mount Analogue: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing by René Daumal ] 

That softness is revealed
only through the passage 
through the heart of hardness.

- Neha 

Language Matters

As lotus does by Neha 
Look at our language -
pain killer.
Pain doesn't need killing
( for it is already in itself)
It needs healing and gentleness.

- Neha

Spell Check

Untitled by A Ramachandran, 2010 
You can spell check me
all you want,
And paint my body red with
your corrections.

You can paint the body of
my work and work of my body
red all over with
your corrections.

But that does not make me incorrect.
It means - my language is not
in the limits of your dictionary,

And that it is 'you' for whom
the time has come to speak
in tongues you don't understand yet:

the tongues of my mother and grandmothers.

- Neha

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Sidewalk Revolts

Song of Songs IV, 1958 by Marc Chagall
Sidewalks are revolting!
They are saying (insisting) :
'We won't be sidewalked anymore!'
'We won't be sidewalked anymore!'

All over the city, the roots beneath the sidewalks
are mysteriously rising in revolt,
singing their slogan song -
'Watch your step! Watch your step! We won't be sidewalked anymore!'

- Neha

Light Years

Night at the Shalimar by Abanindranath Tagore
What is common between
an astronomer and an artist?
Both dream of stars.

- Neha

Hole truth

Malabar Lady by Raja Ravi Varma 
Are we whole in our brokenness,
or is there a hole in our brokenness?

- Neha

The house was quiet and the world was calm

La lettrice in abito viola by Henri Matisse 
The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

- Wallace Stevens, from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens