Sunday, 30 September 2012


This is an odd sort of poem. I'm not quite sure what to make of it.  I'm also finding it very hard to process the fact that I wrote this twenty years ago! I feel very mortal! Old. And somewhat disoriented. Is the past really so far away?

I remember that I wrote it after attending a Bharatnatyam recital in Bahrain. The dancer's name was Kalyani, and she was brilliant. She was not a young woman, I recall, and when she danced she gave off this incredibly sexual, sensual aura. (Perhaps I am her age now, but I think the resemblance ends there!)

It's not a personal poem:  the words didn't reflect my feelings for this dancer. I suppose her performance inspired me to dream up this little story and put it in words. I find the jagged flow and breaks in the wrong places interesting, because they seem to bring out the crazed angst this man feels.



I didn't want her to dance.
Her sari was green and gold,
the curve of her body
clear to me beneath its
heavy folds.

Don't dance, I said. Dance
Only for me.
Isn't that enough?
No, she said,
and picked up her make-up

I hate red lipstick.
I despise black eye-liner.
I would rip the flowers
from her hair
if she would let me.

The lights dimmed and
the curtain quivered.
I stood at the end of the
hall watching
the scent of anticipation
rising from the backs
of their oily heads.

They applauded,
they joined their palms
in namastes or bowed
into adaabs.
They did not dare touch
her, I knew
the power of the deftness
and the softness of her fingers
the invitation in her eyes
her lips, her every move.

I would crush her
(for this is love)
burn her in my flames
cut her to pieces if she'd let me.

Afterwards, she cast
aside the bells from her
and gave the rest to me.
The paint that stained
her palms and soles
remained to taunt me.
I washed the dust off her
feet, and kissed them.


I wonder who this man is supposed to be, this obsessed, tortured chap. And I wonder how this poem related to me, as it must have in some way, but I can't find the connection. Can you?

(written way back in 1992, first posted here in 2008, edited and re-posted today)


Chethana said...

you couldn't put being possesive better.

Chandan said...

Interesting.. ~I would rip the flowers
from her hair
if she would let me