IDENTITY: WHO AM I?

Lapping the deep waters
Of Indian Poetry
from the shores, I’m too scared
To venture further
The stalwarts, the stars
Twinkling loftily, they terrify
Armed with even larger and sharper.
Killer tools, complicated grammar
Sharpened arsenal of words
From an alien language
Circling in large schools
In dark interconnected waters.
I fear their power to team
To strike the unwary novice
I do not dare let go the anchor
Of shallow shores
I’m willing to forsake
The thrill of riding
Crashing waves of discovery
Cause I see shadows and fear
At times the pointed fin
Of a great white veteran
Circling out there to tear me
And mince me to pieces
With killer reviews and blurbs.

Let me be – the shadow
Who am – I ?
Shuffling in glass walled corridors
Mostly with downcast eyes
And if eyes do meet
I’ve learnt to quickly demure.
I don’t have a pretty face,
No Indian rebel appearances,
No lush dark cascading curly mane
To toss around in disdain
For the lesser erudite folks
No large bindis on my forehead

Making a visible statement
No khol lined eyes saucily
Promising reincarnated dreams,
No soft linen yards draped around
Exposed curvaceously sashaying Waist
Advertising boldly their elite Indian-ess
Mostly I’m just a plain Jane
Garbed in non descriptive Indian gown
Working hard to blend at best
with the grey glass walls or at worst
Like a yes man minus a thinking cap
Gasping on the mundane sans makeup
Covered in cotton comforts
No curves no drools no lisps exposed
No ah I told you so
In YouTube acquired foreign accents
Ah no sashaying,
No luscious ruby lips
To lull you while reading stark verdicts
I’ve no right to pretend and
Stake a claim that I write poems.

By Seema Jayaraman

Seema says “I am fledgling on the shores of creative writing, having jerked out of my self absorbed complacent life into compulsive writing through Poetry after coming across the images of a little boy washed up ashore the Aegean Sea – a victim of the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis and I found myself typing out A Father’s Grief which since then has appeared in a few anthologies and online sites.”

Seema is a Mumbai based writer who’s had a good exposure to international shores, thanks to an IT career and to the rich Indian culture.

brandon couch

IDENTITY: Spring Rolls: ‘The Desi Style’

Step one: ghee melts over a medium stove flame.
Fried onions, clinking bangles around my wrists,
A confetti of methi enhance and dance.
Red chilli jingles bhangra with wild ginger,
Peas and sweetcorn glisten like bindis.
Diced paneer claps with jeera,
Crystal sea salt keeps a sharp lookout,
Garam masala heats up the frying pan,
The cheerful fragrant coriander, living it up!
A dollop of spiced ingredients walloped together.

Step two: soft creamy sheets of pastry,
Firm wrapped saris, rock ‘n’ roll.
Tinted with a hint of mint, ready to stroll.
My skillful hands prepare and lift in humble pride.

Step three: shallow-fried, gold-plated then dried.
Lingering flavours, tingling noses,
Stomachs yearn as a crowd awaits…
Joyous smiles, a satisfied appetite.
I feel like Mother India with a secret recipe, home-made.
Shhhush… a secret is best kept close to my heart!

By Nirmal Orjally

Nirmal says that identity is closely linked with culture and what we wear and eat.  She writes a poem about food and shows how close our identity is made up of what we cook and eat. This poem is published in Blakenhall Writers Anthology 2016.  Nirmal has been member of Blakenhall Writers Group in Wolverhampton (UK) for over 8 years.

brandon couch

 

IDENTITY: WHERE THE WILDFLOWERS GROW

 

If you never see me again,
Look for me
in the tall grass that somebody loves far too much to cut,
swaying in the breeze,
along with the trees.
Look for me
in the gaps of the bark, I am hiding there
somewhere between roots and leaves.
Look for me
in the spots where the wildflowers grow
and new seeds sow
themselves.
I am somewhere scattered amongst them        (I will never stop growing).
Look for me
in the scattered sun rays,
that reflect upon the smallest stream,
like the twinkling eye
of the blackbird who watches nearby,

and when you sit
in the tall grass with the wildflowers brushing your tired legs and the trees creaking comforts behind as you and the blackbird watch the golden rays dance on the stream then

you have found me.

by Niamh Macdonald

Niamh was inspired to write this poem when questioning her own identity. She feels that there is an ever growing list of labels with which you can identify yourself. However, Niamh’s poem is about stripping back to the roots of her identity. In essence, how when it comes down to it, we are all just living beings and we may all identify as a part of nature. Through writing the poem she wanted to demonstrate the similarities which exist between us and elements of the natural world and the comfort in knowing that we can all identify and belong in that sense.

brandon couch

Identity: All of Me

brandon couch

“Here, I’m talking
All of Me
My name, tale & speciality
not about Thee!

I’m now flowing
with the calm stream of Time
let’s come to share my Jiff
let’s come to share my Rhyme.

You can’t judge Me
through the spectacles of penetrable presence
My inner thought is a little bit different
from the physical appearance.

During past jobs
I served for Orphans
I too felt glad
to strengthened destitute Women.

I felt their real Pain
in the absence of Identity
I worked to eradicate
their unquenchable thirst, hunger & Poverty.

I am exploring different ways
to intermingle them with mainstream of Society
So they could become self-sufficient
and not be the mere part of Pity.

Introspection of my actions
are my Reality
I will continue it till my last breath
is my Identity.

Let’s sow the seed of Affinity
to preserve Global Humanity
Else, we will be late
to bear Indemnity!”

by Durgesh Verma

In this Poem Identity: All of Me Durgesh is expressing his views regarding the true meaning of Identification. He says: “We can’t prove anybody’s identity through the physical appearance. We should feel the person’s inner voice to come to the final conclusion of his/her behaviour. Also, we can judge the person through the way he/she feels pain of needy ones and trying to improve the conditions.”

As far as Durgesh’s views are concerned the real meaning of ‘Identity’ is the self introspection of our deeds.

We should believe –

“Don’t think,
What the Society gives to you!
Firstly think,
What you give to the Society!”

IDENTITY: URBAN CHILD

brandon couch

Urban Child

 

In an unremarkable street
There was a complicated birth.
Which left an urban child
Lying tense and twisted,
Unfit for this straight world.
He sleeps fitfully,
Fists clenched as he squirms.

The child becomes a boy.
One who always takes
The long route to school.
Where geometry teaches him
How some shapes don’t fit in.
No matter how much you bend
Or try to force them.
The boy becomes a teen.
One who knows the shortcuts
To all the pubs.
Where he sits wedged in their corners
Knuckles clenched
Round his pint.

While emotions froth and spill.

The teen becomes a man.
An unwilling father at first
Of another ill-fitting specimen.

Still he holds them gently each night,
Whispering as they squirm,
“It doesn’t matter if you find you don’t fit,
I didn’t and I did just fine.”

By
Richard Archer

This is a semi autobiographical poem based on Richard’s life, growing up and coming to turns with his own identity and the problems associated with it.

‘Identity: All of Me’

THIRD COLLECTION OF POETRY FOR CHANGE

For the third time Poets’ Corner will be publishing a collection of poetry for change. This month, the theme ‘Identity: All of Me’ will explore how identity is more than just one label, one story, one characteristic. Throughout the month of July 2016, poetic work from poets of all styles, levels, ages and backgrounds will be published.

We live in times where a constant stream of information can ask us to quickly judge information, situations or sometimes people. Does this mean we perceive someone’s identity mainly based on their most visible or apparent characteristics?

We invite readers to consider, question and rethink what identity means through a collection of wonderful and personal poems. On behalf of the Leaveners/Poets’ Corner team, we would like to thank all poets who contributed to this thought-provoking archive with their beautiful poetry.

Kuli Kohli
Guest Poetry Curator

Jorine Beck
Programme Leader

(Photo by Brandon Couch)

Vulpes

To me, you are always just a flash of fire,
a lone figure retreating into dusk’s breath,
the hot, green stink of your memory –
I am always where you have been.

Once, you came to me in bruised night,
moonlit and skulking on my doorstep,
an effigy of lost loves, remembered in
the way your muscles hulked under your skin.

I watched you lick blood from your teeth,
suave in the vulgar necessity of the kill –
thief of skin and soft organs,
shadow-child of myth and moon.

Once, I got close enough to hear your heart
snarling in your chest like a caged animal –
your greatest trick was letting me believe
that you were more than red, amoral nature;

letting me believe that you could love.

 

Cherry Doyle
Poet of the Month June 2016

vulpesfin [393]

Illustration by Josie Jester – website: www.josiejester.com