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Poetry By Nalini Priyadarshni

Tangled Minds

I promise you a hot-oil head massage
if you let moi sit upon your knee
as we write our next poem
and sip your vodka in orange and
grape fruit juice with black olives.

No thanks, I don’t need my own glass of
the name you made up for it just now,
though I’m sure we’ll want another glass
as soon as we finish this one.

Thank you for letting me choose my own unguent
for the massage you intend to give me later
a therapy for relaxation,
apparently overrated.
May as well do the opposite;
it’s difficult to put people to sleep
once they get excited. Some untangling
would be required, I reckon
at some point in time. You may want
to dial emergency for help, though I doubt
it would be any use. Stuck as we are
in more ways than one–tangled forever
by what sprouts from our minds.

Half Kiss

Rare, illusive and pure torture
you can’t possibly begin to imagine what
a half kiss is unless you’ve had one!
One moment it’s inside your mouth
melting your lower lip;
you let out a barely audible gasp
and poof – it’s gone,
just as its flavor begins to hit you.
Sometimes earthy, sometimes peppery
but mostly bookish, as sinfulness should be
like a jug full of Feni on a lazy afternoon…
Flighty and flagrant even on good days
a half kiss can jeopardize
your search for happiness,
like a blob of gum you step on,
it tends to stick to your soul
gnawing away silently.
Half life of any half kiss is longer
than a regular kiss–of any variety
typically, a lifetime.
Time Travelers

Sprawled on the shore of forever
we are time travelers
talking to each other across
dusks and dawns of tomorrows
toasting our marshmallows
on the bonfires of yesterdays
sipping amnesia we pour into
each other’s cups to heal
wounds on our feet that keep
changing the shapes of our journeys
like maps we abandoned after a brawl
in the bar that offered us tepid beer
with reheated fish that was falling apart
all we wanted to change was the music
but we weren’t allowed near the jukebox
where men with gold chains and Rolex watches
with devotional songs for ringtones
laughed loudly at the jokes
women in slinky saris whispered in their ears
did not want our songs after they’d pocketed our coins

We are time travelers
forever making beds on crossroads
patting our pockets for stolen kisses at gloaming
eyes fixed on horizons livid with promises
of soft beds and steaming masala chai
listening to chapattis being slapped on griddles
as jars of mango pickle waited on wall
their mouths covered with mulmul torn from
mother’s discarded sari bought from Dhaka
we wore as children in summer afternoons
when the family took refuge in a single room
cooled by a khus padded giant cooler for napping
And we, playing under the canopy of mango trees,
assumed identities other than our own
took out forbidden toys and invited neighbors we
were not allowed to play with
stole raw mangoes entrusted to our protection
until their tang lacerated our tongues

We are time travelers
forever departing and arriving in pieces
held together by long strands of memories
mother rolled and tucked in the cloth pouch
hanging by her mirror, every time
she combed her hair with a sigh
to the place we call home, braving
wind blasts in our faces without flinching
with hair so short and sparse it can’t be parted
in middle or tied into neat plaits
telling stories of lovers we almost made love
to lovers we would never make love to
when we grow tired of playing Parcheesi
with pawns of time held in place under our tongues
knowing there are no winners or losers
other than sap of our imagining, gurgling in
hollows of our chest, waiting to bloom or wilt

We, the time travelers, sprawl and dream
of glistening shells we broke open
and the sweet sorrow of losing innocence
drunk on apocrypha, sipped on the shore of forever

(First published in – Your One Phone Call)

Nalini PriyadarshniAuthor Info – Nalini Priyadarshni is the author of Doppelganger in My House and co author of Lines Across Oceans. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, podcasts and international anthologies including Mad Swirl, Camel Saloon, Dukool, In-flight Magazine, Poetry Breakfast, The Riveter Review, The Open Road Review, Your One Phone Call, In Between Hangovers and Yellow Chair Review. Her poems and views on poetry and life have been featured on AIR ( All India Radio) and FM radio. Her forthcoming publications include Asian Signature and Chantarelle’s Notebook.







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Published inPoetry

One Comment

  1. Mandy Mandy

    I think it’s hard to write about relationships in a unique way, but these poems manage it. 🙂 The imagery is surprising and fresh, and I like how the author combines diverse images in an unexpected way. As a reader, I never knew what was coming next, so I had to keep reading! It’s cool to be introduced to poets all over the world on this site!

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