Yet Not Broken!
I have travelled through a thousand miles on a meandering path in search of love...
Men came, men went...
With lust in their eyes, fire in their bodies, flashing their widened teeth ready to gulp me down,
Their hands moving quickly from my breasts to waist and further down....
While I wanted men to touch my soul, all they wanted was to see me stripping my clothes off...
‘Carpe diem is the new in,’ they said,
I listened... My body stripped off waiting to be devoured, listened,
My soul cringing with every touch they made, listened,
‘Love’ is just a word? ‘I love you’ the most magically misused delusional phrase,
They said, my body has the perfect curves they wanted,
And just the right size that made them want to go deeper inside me,
‘Love’ they said, ‘began with my lips and ended with my vagina’
I bled, deep down there, the marks on my body wanted to scream,
‘Love,’ they said.....
Screaming, wailing, bleeding...
I had enough of it!
Finally, I decide to be the sole owner of my body,
The curves are mine, the lips, the waist, the thighs, the vagina, everything only mine....
‘Feminist,’ they said,
‘Unnecessarily arrogant,’ they said,
‘Intimidating,’ they said,
‘Whore,’ they said,
‘A slut,’ they said,
‘Overly independent,’ they said,
I listened again...
Is love a mere myth? A mere illusion? A fragile dream? A summer's breath?
Would no man ever want to touch my naked soul and soothe my injuries?
Would no man ever want to love my abused body?
Human pulchritude is a victim to the hands of time, time will wither my curves, wrinkles will wreck my beautiful face...will no man ever want me then?
A man who would hold my hand through all the sunrises and sunsets of life,
A man would want to make love to my heart,
A man who would love all my flaws,
A man who would acknowledge my vulnerabilities and yet find me beautiful........
Maybe they don't exist...
Maybe carpe diem is the new in....
Maybe love is just a mere myth...
Yet my heart wants to travel a thousand miles through the meandering path in search of love.....
Body-shamed, emotionally abused, abandoned, cheated on.
And every other possible malice a society could hurl at a woman, presently in her twenty somethings.
Faced ‘em. Cried. Inflicted self-injuries. Almost went insane with sorrow.
Stood up. Gulped them down with a peg of rum. Showed them a middle finger.
Lit a cigarette and let the world disappear in smoke.
Shattered. Smashed. Yet not broken.
Fell in love. Used and abused. Miserably heartbroken.
Fell in love again. Unrequited and unreciprocated. Left with a broken heart again.
Expectations and convictions turned into biggest foes.
Every man I loved, left me with a scar.
Every friend I relied on, left me in tears.
Alone. Struggling. Battling. Suffering.
Burning with rage. Why cannot I burn my heart into ashes?
Thousands of daggers in my back. A tender, neglected tear on my cheeks.
Falling in love, a sin, was it?
Confiding in friends, a heinous crime, was it?
Absolutely Not. Definitely Not. Undoubtedly Not.
It is okay, I guess, to be vulnerable.
It is okay, I guess, to fall down at some point in life.
That is when the epiphany dawns.
My soul brightens. I rise up. I bask in the glory of my womanhood.
Acknowledging my vulnerabilities, my messiness, my incapacity to make choices, I shine.
I am a woman. A human. This being my life can be and should be lived on my terms.
And I still decide to tread on the path chosen by my erring heart.
Vices and malice?
I will face ‘em. Cry. Inflict self-injuries. Go insane with sorrow.
Stand up. Gulp them down with a peg of rum. Show them a middle finger.
Light a cigarette and let the world disappear in smoke.
She lay on the bed listening to the euphony of the rain,
Last monsoon he had been there on the bed with her, spooning and grabbing and biting.
After a divinely orgasmic session they had lit cigarettes and sipped coffee from the same cup.
She had chanted Rumi while he sketched her portrait on his drawing board.
“Drain You” was playing in the background and as they had cuddled each other to sleep,
She felt she had achieved nirvana.
One fine morning while they were sipping coffee,
The guy had confessed that he did not find the spark in her anymore,
The first abortion had made her ugly and bulky.
He had packed his belongings and had left soon after.
The door was left ajar and she had hoped he would pop in any time. . .
It has been six months since that day.
She had cried her eyes out over her break-up, consulted psychologists, called him a trillion times,
Nothing had helped.
And now she lies on her bed, alone.
She gets up and wraps her gown around her ailing tender body,
She pours two spoons of milk, half a spoon of brown sugar into her coffee, just as he liked it,
And she stands in front of the window.
The smell of the wet air coupled with the sonorous sounds of the pattering water revivifies her.
She takes out her journal and registers her feelings in black and white,
Her ugly howlings, abandonment anxiety, pent-up rage, the thwarted cries of the unborn baby, the thawed sorrows that sat like a thousand boulders on her heart. . .everything!
As she wades through her hot tears, she lets her words haltingly flow through her gnawing teeth, painfully and excruciatingly.
“Drain You” plays in the background, she smiles to herself, slowly licking her tears,
She lets the euphony of the rain soothe her aching nerves, she leans her back on the easy-chair,
She has achieved nirvana.
A Room of One’s Own
Tara’s eyes sparkled.
Ankita has her own room!
She keeps her personal diary and a slambook there without the fear of being caught.
A personal room with fairy lights!
Photos of Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone stuck on the walls!
The more Tara thought, the more mesmerized she was.
But Maa says Tara is too young to have a room, she is only in class seven,
Besides, their house is a dilapidated mess, a ramshackle building,
Desperately in need of a renovation,
Rainy season was a horror, the house was too old to protect them from the rain,
And from the ceiling cracks the raindrops would trickle down 24/7,
Papa is too poor,
They are not fortunate enough to have proper food every day,
But they wanted Tara to study in a convent school.
Yesterday Maa was crying, Papa had not yet paid the pending school fees,
Tara could be called to the Principal’s office, she could be suspended!
Tara did not care.
She liked being called to the Prefect’s office,
The office has a glass table embellished by a vase of white roses,
There are hanging bookshelves on the walls,
Manto, Murakami and Morrison,
And the wall colors are a bliss, vibrant orange fused with halcyon white.
And there’s a balcony,
A space where one can engage in a dialogue with the self, or maybe let the imagination fly high like Wordsworth once did.
Tara is jolted back from her reverie by the class monitor,
The Prefect wants to see her,
Tara’s heart skips a beat, Maa said she could be suspended!
Tara walks towards the office,
As she strides along the long hallways the thought of a personal room flashes again,
A room of one’s own is what she had always wanted,
A room with a view,
A room where she could write poems and maintain a personal journal,
A room where she could spend hours talking to her reflection in the mirror,
A room where she could sleep tucked in under the blanket with her pet,
A room adorned with hyacinths and orchids,
A room filled with Angelou and Atwood, Woolf and Joyce, Adichie and Walker, Doyle and Christie, Chughtai and Kandasamy.
A room, a space, a room of Tara’s own.
© Somjeeta Pandey
Bio: Somjeeta Pandey is a poet, scholar and an Assistant Professor of English. She currently resides in Kolkata, West Bengal. Her research interests are rooted in detective fiction studies, feminist literary studies, dalit studies and ecocriticism. Her poems have appeared in The CQ: A Literary Magazine, Global Poemic, Madness Muse Press, Faces to the Sun: A Mental Health Awareness Anthology, Point Positive Publishing’s Rebloom Anthology, Litterateur, The Bombay Review and Indie Blu(e) Publishing’s The Kali Project and will soon appear in Indie Blu(e) Publishing’s anthology, Through the Looking Glass. One of her poems ‘Broken’ has been featured in the YouTube channel of Poets’ Choice zine and was streamed on Poetsunplugged. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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