on privilege

the day woke up in a frenzy of skin and blood,
all seemingly smeared on my brown face,
chiding me for my ignorance
of the lasting night, right at the corner
of my right eye —

my language is my privilege, my middle-
class ceiling stays intact, when i write
expressions of winds, sands, waters,
and the colours of a long shadow-day,
pink and solid like my nourished lips —

fast-zooming trains, urban nests, household
cocoons, lean structures of dismay and out-
rage, candled fingers that lighten only when
the tragedy strikes (in the night), otherwise
bursting in sparks of joys, niceties on my face
already stuck to the habit of staying okay
in my sheltered refuge.

my crotch carries the perpetrated legacy
of privilege — my age, my dreams & drinks,
my spirits & hopes, my vices & words,
my feet, my spine, all alive to my language,

but

all is not right in the day, my brown is matched
with my queer displays of impropriety and
a tapestry of unwanted touches,
of attacked liberties —

i keep my labels ready at the skin beneath
the skin, and i know that i can acknowledge
that all is not fucking okay,

that your uncomfortable reasoning and
my unrelenting ease at arguing would
stand and obtain the sermons
of a higher power,

but what of those realities we deem
so convenient to forget?
can sullied expressions overcome
the systematic dampening
of outcomes?

the majority’s stake is well known, we have built
testimonies and legacies at/to this well-regarded space,

but god damn it, all is not okay,
all is not okay.

my privilege is another’s struggle
for survival,

my privilege bites the suns into
halves and quarters of sorrows
& of nights that flourish through
the wakeful day.

.
© Anmol Arora

For my upcoming prompt at dVerse Poetics: On Privilege. Also linking it up with The Tuesday Platform at WRT, where I am hosting this week as well. Come, join us for the poetics and the discussions on both these platforms. I will be dozing off now and so, I will catch up with you all in the morning.
As a biological man in early 20s, belonging to a savarna Hindu family, with no apparent physical or mental disabilities, I enjoy a lot of privileges in a systematically oppressive society. My brown skin, my queerness, my atheism, and my unconventional believes stick out sometimes in a world (my country and state as physical spheres of my experience) obsessed with certain skin colours and religions and the strictures of patriarchy and heteronormativity. I enjoy the privilege of living in an urban setting with its social and physical infrastructure and its proximity to institutions of power, which mostly shields my “vulnerabilities” from violence and repression. Most importantly, all these privileges have amounted for this privilege of language that I enjoy and utilize freely for my expression.

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moon-less

“i am done with you,”

the moon said to the poets
and disappeared.

who will now take the shape/size/stigma
of a wiling metaphor,

for the face of the beloved,
for the lip-service of madness,
for the tongue-tied tears of memories,
for the handheld company of solitary souls,

gazing through a window-screen
at a moon-less sky?

.
© Anmol Arora

A 55-worded verse for Weekend Mini-Challenge: Strange News at WRT

towards the separation of lips

the mauve-toned sky picks
and plucks at my love’s languid pace,
turning a shade of brinjal-blue
and carrot-red, as suns and rains
drown each other out, before
Venus’ chariot of callous-crowns —

i have seen kisses in the shapes
of a soft-pink roundness,
(a bulging sourness) of falling grapes,

i have seen lips that go up and up,
and down and down, like a loitering
lover, in search of a finicky warmth
(just to belong) in unrelenting arms,

i have eaten morsels of bodies, drank
myself to the satisfaction of projectile-
juices, (parched in deserts) of skin-types,

i have kissed thighs of another order,
and written psalms of sleep at many
arbors, (struggling) beneath a few
forgetful breaths.

let me sleep now for a second or two,
(for your sake)
before i slip through your lips
and become whole again.

.
© Anmol Arora

For ‘Shortcake, waffles, berries and cream .. February!‘ at With Real Toads, where Sanaa inspires us with a poem by Joseph O Legaspi

impasse

final_fatal_kiss_2017_100cm_x_100cm_mixed_media_on_canvas_edited_master

drinking a night’s naivety
down my throat,

my tongue seared at your lips,

in a ploy of breaths,
of tastes exchanged
in a whiskey-gulp.

i bundled my skin together
at a kiss’s knotted-end,

i let my head fall down
the vacuum of your voice.

.
© Anmol Arora

For dVerse Quadrille #73
Image source (Dean Rossiter Abstract Painting – “Final Fatal Kiss” – abstract painting)

screwed (iii)

reverie

pulling and pushing
into each other,
apart from each other,

the red becomes mellow, and
pink dreams arrive in a wave
of a desert storm,

i remember my home
through your tongue,

i remember my death
at your teeth’s artistry.

like a fly, i wait at the doorstep
before seeking to enter
at the exit.

.
© Anmol Arora

Read screwed and screwed (ii)
Image source (Reverie by Richard Taddei)

screwed (ii)

054

waking up,

riding through
a dream’s galloping pace,
i wonder

if i bypassed my need
to be touched,
strung like a kite
against the face
of a shy-sky —

his eyes an empty-colour of opportunity, my skin,
a canvas bled —
the night lingered

like a lizard, in the thrall of a fly,
hovering over my lips.

© Anmol Arora

A 55-er for Art FLASH at WRT
Read screwed

portrait of the poet

Sketch

Remember, one day,
While sitting at my table
You sketched on a cigarette box
A tiny plant

Come and see,
That plant has bloomed!

— Gulzar, tr. Pavan K. Varma

the box stayed closed as if
hiding a lost thought
from another time, when
your words would settle
like sediment
at the bottom
of my breath,

as i read you out loud,
flicking ash from one wrist,
upending the goblet in
gesticulation
from another.

you draw words
like those vessels
bursting forth in the kitchen,
strung to a high note
of despair & hope,

your love speaks to me,
even though i have barely scratched
the skin of that mischievous marauder,
and yet i feel i know, as if
from another life, another rhyme.

you free my closed thoughts,
and water seeds of my silence
as i sing you and praise you
to myself.

.
© Anmol Arora

For A Tribute to Poets of Our Time at WTR. I am paying my tribute to one of my favourite poets and lyricists, Gulzar. Gulzar is 84 now. So, whenever I talk about him and his sprawling work with anyone, I only hope that we wring it out of him — his poetic brilliance, his sensibility, his love, and all he has offered to us for decades — in this lifetime.