IDENTITY CRISES, LOVE FOR MOVING IMAGES, DETERMINED PIONEERS, JUSTICE UNDER FIRE

Similar to few of my previous forays into integrating the robust, dynamic quality of cinema with poetry, I once again bring the two disciplines together, to present encapsulations of various features in the verse form.

So here they are.

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AMU(2005)- on filmmaker Shonali Bose’s affecting debut that chronicles the decades worth of buried pain and generational legacy springing forth from the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. It also doubles up as a linguistic amalgamation of an Indian-American
young person’s search for identity.






Mangled bodies
and murmurs of the past
don’t speak.
Our flesh and blood
spills out of almanacs.
Yet we choose to pick
the dates marked only
for festivities.


I’m a multiplicity
speaking in three tongues.
My mother’s speech
is a lost epiphany to me.
My family’s heritage
charred by looted memories
and kerosene bottles
strewn around the wrong side
of the railway tracks.


Tell me,
whom do I believe
when the urban village
is such a sunny tyrant
and wants a piece of my
birth name?

Mangled bodies
and murmurs are in the past.
Please
let flesh and blood
spill out the truth now,
in the prelude to a riot
and a carnage of decades
and legacies.





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LIFE ITSELF(2014)- a practical documentary on celebrated film writer and media personality Roger Ebert’s legacy intertwined with his final years on terra firma, a space he filled with his expansive world of words even in the absence of speech and impending death.





Instruments of Empathy
are like a country’s gifts
of gratitude.

Laughter and joy,
to moving images,
like crumbs of resisting
tumult
and the cyclical crash
of our spirits.

I found these
in an almanac
perennially filled to the last
date
with a Godsend.


Now in my final address,
my thumbs pointed towards the sky,
I say,
I’ll see you
where the real stars
house the earthbound.
Exulting in the company
I wish to now know better
with empathy,
laughter and joy.



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TEMPLE GRANDIN(2010)- on an iconic personality who proved her detractors wrong by uniting the humane practices enshrined by her scientific tempers in the field of animal husbandry while also shedding renewed light on her experiences as an autistic adult whose mind literally held wonders of creation and beauty.





I’m no sullen little oddity
or even anyone
out of the ordinary.

I see the world
in images of profound
recollections
and fragmented impressions
of human cruelty
define my confounding arcs too.


To me,
Wisdom
is coherent,
often like a silent prayer
and nature’s Godly creatures
are our likely saviours
when loudmouths laugh,
deigning to hold me as an equal.


But a beautiful mind has its own saddle
and gallops over forfeited fields
with a mother’s commitment
and a teacher’s beliefs.

Life is a temple of knowledge
and discovery.
I receive them firsthand,
governed by such examples.





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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW(1964)- on often provocative filmmaking auteur Pier Paolo Pasolini’s austere and transcendental take on the Nativity Story. A work that’s guaranteed to move devout followers and even agnostics with its humane delineation. It comes with a performance of a lifetime from Enrique Irazoqui, a most down to earth on-screen Messiah ever.





The Lord is humble
and pure,
eloquent at the hour of revelation
and predestined,
in his own words,
to be betrayed
at the altar
of mortal persecution.


This,
in his saga of sage advice
and impending peril,
he is put on trial,
looking as anyone among us,
wearing the same soiled raiments
as the most impoverished here
and holding his anger and resignation
just as ordinary folks would.


Look we desecrate our Chosen One
with our own inaction.
We strip him bare
with our voyeuristic lust
for a public spectacle.
We hardly heed to his prescience
when all we participate in
is an untimely crucifixion,
unresolved
and dissolving with the times.


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CONFIRMATION(2016)- on the blistering courtroom politics invested in Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the United States Supreme Court when former worker and then current law professor Anita Hill opens up Pandora’s box on his misconduct meted out to her in terms of blatant sexual harrasment.





Hear me out.
Take notice.
I am wronged.
Put on the stand
after being pushed to
the very brink of dignity.


Hear me out.
I do not cry wolf.
Hear me out
because shame shouldn’t
be my only apparel.


Hear me out
when men defend
themselves with tricks
stale and furious
as the molten
shape of history itself.



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PATERNO(2018)- on legendary football coach Joe Paterno’s final tryst with the legacy of sexual abuse of young boys appertaining to his longtime associate and philanthropist Gerry Sandusky.






Old principles
of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
have passed into obscurity.
So have denials from older men.


There is a charge then
to this trail of crime
and Hell is right here
when our mentors
choose to hush
this sordid saga
as some kind of
open secret.


See if this Pandora’s box
doesn’t bring a sweeping storm.

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THE SHAPE OF WATER(2017)- on Guillermo Del Toro’s beautifully realised, fabled depiction of nature’s wonders manifesting in God’s creatures on land and water while man’s egomaniacal rush is the monster we unleash on this seemingly innocent world of goodwill and industry.






The Shape of Water
flows
into fables,
its countless drops
meant to symbolise
the propreity of evil
as equally
as a sheltered dreamscape
of Love,
Friendship,
Rebellion
and Escape.

When the fable soars,
Water becomes
a microcosm.
A sacred space.
An upholder of grace.



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IRREVERSIBLE (2002)- on Gaspar Noe’s open provocation of a work that dares to show us the basest instincts of humankind when victim and victimiser both occupy a brutally realistic nocturnal world ruled by racism, homophobia and most importantly, the heavy weight of sexual abuse.



Bruised
Battered
Left for dead.

The City of Lights
brought to a halt
by its crimes of passion
and reduced to a pulp.


Now the procession begins.
A retributive fever,
like an epileptic seizure,
threatens
this shared love
among friends.

Under the cover of Night
watch as Men become
beasts with no burden.





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FRIDA(2002)- on Julie Taymor’s memorable portrait of Frida Kahlo’s legacy of physical pain and the artistry that surmounted all odds beyond that frontier.


Kiss her
on the edge
of her broken spinal column.

There rests Phoenix
wincing with pain
and under the inevitable
shadow of a near-death
reckoning.


There she rises
with the grotesque
and the beautiful,
piercing the hallways
of life’s twists and turns
with Art
monumental
and immortal.





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DEATH ON THE NILE(2021)- on Kenneth Branagh’s excitingly mounted and excellently cast thriller based on Agatha Christie’s famed Poirot series of books.





Cry Wolf!

Cry Murder!


A voyage such as this
brings out cohorts
and players
as they exchange
glances and conspiratorial airs.

At the primed hour,
when tables turn,
who then picks up the
burden of guilt and reproach
and makes it out of this boat?


Bid for their money
when the decks are stacked.
A prowler on the hunt
and ready for attack.



A killer on the loose
A dubious profession to choose.


So cry wolf.
Cry murder.
The guilty ones
always sharper than
the others.




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Prithvijeet Sinha reads ‘Golden Light’ from Issue XIV, Inklette Magazine

Recently, my poem GOLDEN LIGHT got published by INKLETTE MAGAZINE. It was such a privilege then to not only have the print text grace its annals but also be represented visually through my recitation on its official YouTube channel.

Poetry conjures a visual world rich in details, subliminal beauty and complexity. So here I share the video of yours truly reading GOLDEN LIGHT with you all.

ASKEW



A poem inspired by this photographic work.


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ASKEW

When the last ships left
imperial shores,
the burden of upholding
ideals of an impossible expedition
congealed in the hearts of
’em sailors.
‘Ahoy! Captain’
rang the chorus
through clattering teeth
and calcified hearts .

Set for a ghost town
on the edge of the world’s
hypothermic frontier,
there was a doorway,
an architectonic body of
stalactites
and icebergs still as Eternity.

The men passed under it
and a green light
came from the dipping point.
The sky and the endless sea
had become one gigantic lighthouse.
The surface crackled
with its intensity
and sailors all,
inebriated on the brink of discovery,
felt the myth
of the outer world
coming true.

A third eye opened,
like a hungry lion
receiving its feast
in lifetimes,
a blast marked this silence
and the dread of icy apathy
took them into a psychedelic whirl,
through forms never seen
and creatures wholly unlike them.

A missing link
gone askew through time and space,
lost to history’s formulaic appetite.
The last ships lay stationary there
in a land before time.

WHEN I BECAME BIRDMAN

Pictorial representations have always given me vigour to write . This untitled work above, by Rose Mary Boehm, hence, literally gave my creative powers ‘wings’ to write the following poem.

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WHEN I BECAME BIRDMAN

Freedom is what dreams
provoke in me
to wear this skin
without resorting to the
masque of make-believe.

Freedom is the spindle
from which spools a parallel wish;
one where even a begrudging ‘yes’
allots me room to breathe
and make legible my words.
Better now to court
the attention from critics
who watch me part curtains
and launch into an unusual,
unbroken soliloquy
than sycophants
who picture me
solely as a ventriloquist.

This is my life
as the ‘Birdman’
dressed in suffocating cotton mass
but never as mobile or serene
when personifying all I have to
as now.

The metaphor for every stage
is to be heavy with skill
and fecund nerves.
But when the body moves
independent of a thousand glares
and the dome of the spotlight,
Eureka!
that’s when the artist separates
and becomes a being.

The art of becoming a bird
is subtle.
You have to align the humility
of being nature’s paragon
with beseeching all the
innocent sparks sold to the world.

The world’s a stage.
One’s own flight there has to begin
with nimble steps
and a face
towards the sun
and the moon,
determined
this is the day
when the ‘act’ becomes deceased
and true form takes birth.

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HUMANITY: IT IS FULL OF SHADES.

Five more than ordinary pieces of art became launchpads for me to give them credit through the verse form.

This is the nature of humanity finding much creative outlet through real life figures in the latter three examples and fictionalized crystallization in the former two. All hit the bull’s eye. In arresting portraits of all, there can be no bias or neutrality. There can only be an acknowledgment of reality.

Here they are, mostly among the crop of latest features while the final bow is for an HBO movie that I finally had the chance to seek and appreciate wholeheartedly.

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JALSA(2022)

To run over……
humilities,
pressure points
big city blues.

Oh, to run over
the cost and denominations of ambitions.
A home to go to
A child to tend
and protect
A classified society to take control of
yet not an end of the sea to reconcile with.

Men in uniform
executives in cubicles
glaring faces towering over
with determined grace.
REALITY & TRUTH
becoming two cuss words.

She buys her guilt
her blood soaked soul
with the hush of millions.
Another is bought over by grief
and an errant town
that calls her out for her underprivileged precedent.

The one,
hit and run over,
is asked for her sputtering share
of blame,
of her midnight ride.
WHY?
plastered over with zealotry.

A why
that culls this once and for all
as an amoral festival
of guilt and shame.
In a city that never sleeps,
dreams are influenced by who takes
the greatest share
and sleepwalks through it all,
without so much
as a mark on the cheek
or a hole in the heart.

Most of us here
return to an unholy horizon.
To be run over….
by humilities
pressure points
and wounded grace.





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WEST SIDE STORY(2021)

Maria!!!
Why were you there
to seek him out,
LOVE being in his pores.
Didn’t you know
he was your doomed partner
in this sea of eviction
and divided loyalties?

You were far too young
and guileless
without an estimation
of the way men
crush the world
with far too ready egos.
They nurture only these
along the path of self-destruction.
Unsparing to
Lovers
Sisters
Mother figures.

Anita!!!
why didn’t you know
that your chorus was being detuned
and made to fit a more sordid face
of New York?
Land of the dreamers
Hard Workers
monopolised by a borough
tapping its feet among the damned.

So dance as you may
sing your hearts away to glory
as only you do
there will be rosaries
and funereal processions
to mark the end of an era
and jollity’s yearning cry
will be the last note.

At last,
there will be
a time and place
to make this the memorial
for muses
bethrothed
to the mud.





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SPENCER(2021)

Give her a room of her own
without drawing her curtains

Give her only her crown
as a homebody
for that’s where she resides
with the twinkling sprites of spirits,
with her two beloveds.
Her sons.

But men and women are wont
to hunt innocence
and proscribe a ghost story
for someone like her.
She is in the hallways
tearing down her noose of pearls
and tears
and a structure
meek and languishing in apathy
like her childhood home.

Princess,
how woebegone then
that you had to create
yourself in the image of a fallen bird
and rescue your two boys
from hunting season.

Freedom was yours.
Only time ticked by.
For that Christmas,
you didn’t crack
but built yourself up
to not become another
fallacy.

And history repeats itself.





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THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE(2021)

Gaslit
Torn at the seams
I’m every woman.

I still go for the word of God
for His hand hardly trembles
for those shunned as ‘different’
in this world.

What if despite all my years
and rainbow tears,
He had written it for me
to be a shepherd
for all my kindred
and hold them tight
with my infectious pulse?

So I share the miracle of survival
and use my glitter to
let my eyes sparkle
with the ultimate word
‘FREEDOM’;
laugh as the others may
at what they only see
and never hear: the voice of good souls.





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GREY GARDENS(2009)

Little Edie,
tell us
how you managed
without the luxury,
the tokens
and relics of your surname.

How did you smile
with such bright effervescence
when your abode had become
if nothing
but a jungle
run over by squalor
and the unimaginable
power of poverty?

I think
I have seen good fortunes die too,
Big Edie,
and a certain peculiarity
sets in when the old times
and chimes of a prosperous
kind
echo far away
on the beach.

Make no mistake
Go with the name
and let us in
to know that you both
lived to tell the tale.

You two,
like peerless skylarks,
sitting in the marsh
within paradise,
show the world
that times change.





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WINTER VOYAGERS

WINTER VOYAGERS was a poem that I published on my poetry collection WHISTLING CHIMES as part of my initial sojourn on the acclaimed writing community Wattpad, way back in 2015. It was among my first batch of poems and rest assured, there has been no looking back for me, thanks to the support of discerning and always consistent readers.

So it is a wonderful feeling to have it grace THE EKPHRASTIC REVIEW, based on a painting that depicts a winter setting. I’m thankful to the publication for rekindling the spark of one of my earliest writings.

So read it and share your thoughts.

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