NaPoWriMo #30 – Laughing Buddha

free verse, NaPoWriMo 2020, Poetry, spoken word poetry

T/W: Eating disorders & self harm


There’s something you don’t know about me
I’ve been pregnant for most of my life.
When I was born,
my limbs were skeletal,
as if someone had
pulled my skin across my body
like an ironing board,
the creases and angles jutting out underneath.
But, when I was 12,
an Evil Boy and a
Wicked Girl,
guided by their impish,
fat fingers – a compass
pointing southward –
found me,
made me
their
unwilling surrogate.
Their saw-toothed words
wedged themselves
down my throat,
gnawing at my oesophagus.
That week,
instead of morning sickness,
I lost my voice.
The following week
I felt the words finally
settle in the bubbles of my stomach,
and they grew a n d g r e w   a  n  d   g   r   e   w
and I swelled a n d s w e l l e d   a   n  d   s   w  e  l  l  e  d . . .
When I walked,
I heard their gurgling
and the accompaniment of
giggles,
as I waddled my way through town.
Every step,
the bubbles rubbed against each other,
like balloons.
I wanted to get them out of me,
so one night,
alone,
in the bathroom,
my fat fingers went
southward,
past the oesophagus
to my stomach.
But,
the balloons had no strings,
nothing I could use to pull them out of me.
So, yeah, since that day I’ve been pregnant.
Nothing grows inside of me, though.
There is no reward for the back rolls from this belly.
After 8 years,
I have finally learnt to tame those teeth,
to saw down the sharp ends
so the words don’t hurt as much.
I sit and file each tooth
every day
for hours,
but still
they gnaw at my stomach,
opening sounds of the weeks before,
that had only just begun to heal.
On those days,
I watch the blood pour out of me
and wish it to wash me away with it,
as the Evil Girl and Wicked Boy
push me into the stream.
But there are some days when my belly is not
so evil.
When the bubbles put their teeth away,
reminding me that
I can be more Laughing Buddha
than Grimm Fairy-tale.
And so,
I laugh, a n d l a u g h  a  n  d  l  a  u  g  h
and my belly shakes
and jiggles,
like a baby rocking itself to sleep.
And in that moment,
I am
no longer
pregnant.

NaPoWriMo #16 – First Kiss Story

free verse, NaPoWriMo 2020, Poetry, spoken word poetry
Here, in this local park,
with the unforgettable stench
of weed and under-boob sweat,
is where you will almost,
have your first kiss
– twice
– with two different boys
– and one girl.
With the body count
and private location
you are unsure if
this is more murder mystery
than first kiss story.
Although, something did die there;
three times
you returned home with
dry lips and wet eyes,

– your face did not belong to you anymore
it is,
it was,
an abandoned
haunted house,
each empty room,
places they could have kissed:
A warm hand against a cold cheek,
fingers sweeping across
to brush the hair from your eyes,
like curtains drawn back to
reveal the morning light
– except, there was no sunrise,
the sky stayed dark and cloudy,
your hair still stank of weed.
You will have your first kiss 5 years later.
Those boys,
that girl,
will be ghosts crawling across your cheeks,
living inside you.
When this boy leans in,
you will feel them
clawing up the corridor of your throat,
and you will vomit them out in apologies:
‘Sorry, I’m really nervous,
I’ve never done this before.
I mean, I almost did...
I don’t know what to do I–’
And then your teeth chink together,
and shaky, nervous bodies
burst into laughter,
into daylight,
and he goes in again.
Your lips have finally been doused,
with someone else’s saliva,
and it was all you needed
to wash the ghosts away.

Dear Poetry/This Poem (+audio🎤!) – NaPoWriMo #10-14

NaPoWriMo 2020, Poetry, spoken word poetry

So…I’m aware this is technically cheating because you’re meant to write a poem every day for NaPoWriMo BUT I’ve been ill, I’ve had surprise exams and a whole bunch of meltdowns so I felt I was allowed to bend the rules a little! Today I wrote this poem in a morning hour of writing on Zoom, held by London Writers’ Salon. For anyone who wants to just give an hour of their time every weekday for writing or any personal project I HIGHLY recommend it.

So I decided to write a poem with 4 stanzas, one for each day I missed of NaPoWriMo so far. And as a special treat I have included a voice recording of my poem!


Dear Poetry, thank you for letting me 
take grammar and syntax,
and throw them away, 
to rummage through language’s draws 
and only pick out the bra
 and not the matching underwear, 
that one sock I thought was cute,
 half a cropped jumper, 
and call it ‘a poem’.

Dear Poetry,
thank you for being metaphorical,
for being metamorphosis so 
my emotions can transform from
tears to ink,
I watch both dry on the page
a diffusion of microscopic memories,
a tiny whirlpool
and I call it ‘a poem’.

Dear Poetry,
thank you – no, you know what
actually sometimes I used to hate you.
Sometimes when I dived into the whirlpool
you’d suck me in,
each wave of words became tangled and knotted,
whipping me until I bowed to your greatness
- I, a lowly apprentice, 
could never hold your beauty in my pen,
on my tongue. But, battered and bruised,
broken pen in hand, I tried
And called it ‘a poem’.

Dear Poetry,
thank you for teaching me
to be strong, for slipping
each letter, every full stop, every question mark
between the crevices of my spine,
and sculpting me a backbone:
Now I know how to use metamorphosis 
all on my own,
how a broken pen can transform
 into the sharpest sword,
how mismatched drapery 
can fold itself into the most able armour
and how poetry can become a life-long friend.
So here, I wrote you this letter
and called it ‘a poem’
- this poem.

Woman (+audio🎤)

Poetry, spoken word poetry

Happy International Women’s Day everyone! Sometimes it annoys me that women are treated like amazing goddesses on this day, and praised for being super strong superwomen all the time without people ever actually vouching for change? So, I wrote this poem. Let me know what you think in the comments below! (PS – this may or may not have been inspired by Avatar)


You, woman, are
Sun
rising each day to
set each night
even though you know the pain of doing both.
 
You, woman, are
Sea
spreading yourself across continents simultaenously,
and sometimes even into those dark caves,
where no one else will go.
And yes, sometimes you are tsunami, sometimes you are
whirlpool
– good!
Some people deserve to be washed away,
I hope you make them drown.
 
You, woman, are
Soil
built from the mud lain before you,
growing things anew.
It’s a slow process, OK?
You’re still sprouting,
so don’t let anyone walk over you.
 
And you, woman, are
Woman
not a natural wonder or an unnatural disaster,
not divine nor domestic,
not anything you don’t want to be
 
Just,
woman.

The Cricket Poem 🇮🇳 (+video🎥!)

Poetry, spoken word poetry

Hello all! I am back with a new poem and a video from a slam! Woaahhh! Enjoy 🙂


The screams of patriotism reverberate throughout the house, shaking the foundations to their core. BHARAT, MERA DESH, India my country, she yells at the TV. It’s summertime so all the windows are open, and the entirety of London can hear my mum’s love for her country. She clasps her palms together, praying for India’s victory in this cricket match against Pakistan. On TV, a Pakistani is praying too, and I wonder if somewhere along the line their prayers are caught in the messy telephone line up to God, fates intertwined as the countries once were. Who will he choose to help?

My mum’s side for was chosen for her from the day she was born in Mumbai, India, and despite having lived here for ages, the rain and grey streets has never dampened her orange and green flame. She tells me, ‘Priyanka, how the bloody hell can I tidy up the house, when the fate of my entire country is resting on the tip of that bat, balancing on the edge of that wicket’. But she tries anyways and runs back and forth between the wickets of kitchen stove and TV, appointing me as score-keeper. She tells me ‘we’ need to win, we need to WIN! and I wonder if I am truly part of that ‘we’ – you see half of me isn’t ‘we’, I am ‘they’, I am ‘you’, I am also British, the Raj, the conquerors, the colonisers, the mesmerisers, the hypnotisers, the thieves.

But then my mum charges back in with full force, screaming. She has abandoned washing a bowl and instead watches the bowl of Virat Kohli, India’s captain. Everything rests on this as he lifts his arm and sends the ball flying. It was a tough one, but we did it she says ‘Priyanka we did it’. We?  Kohli takes a break and wipes the sweat from his brow after an intense run. My mum wipes her sweat from her brow after the intense run from the kitchen. He goes again. She leans in. Everyone in the crowd is dancing to the beat of the same dhol and I look up again to see if God has placed himself in the hands of someone else. Like in 1947 it was the cartographer, taking his pencil and tearing the earth in half. In 2019, the umpire takes his whistle and traces around the same lines.

In the TV I see the curve and flicker of green, orange blue flags darting like fish in the sea of brown. I see the white moon hide behind the green grass, ashamed, embarrassed, a confused new-born.

And my mum’s swearing gets louder and louder and is mixed with the beat of the dhol, Kohli takes his last run and and YES! WE WON! We?

The orange and green flag swims high through the air, announcing our victory and suddenly my dadi and dada appear in the living room, ashamed, embarrassed, confused, and start searching for the other half of their white moon.

On The Fence

free verse, Poetry, spoken word poetry
I’m tired of sitting 
on the fence of femininity
and dangling my
hairy legs
over the
edge. 
I’ve been in this              tossed-coin region 
for a while now,

mid-air,

frozen and
floating.
I am      a moment,
a feeling rather than
a whole human being:
anticipation 
for a result,
Because, of course,
I need to pick a side
beneath which label do I hide:
masculine                                      or                        feminine?

What I learnt in 2018 [+slam video!] 🎉🎉

free verse, Poetry, spoken word poetry

Hello all! I hope you’ve had a good new year so far :)! My new year began with a LOT of deadlines and returning to university, which I have now only just adjusted to. BUT (and I know I say this all the time but I mean it today!) I have now managed to adjust myself back into university life and so I will now be uploading every Sunday! To start off this week, I thought I would share my poem reflecting on things I learnt in 2018. I performed an abridged version of the full poem at the Farrago Poetry Slam (video below) which is also my first official video on the InkLit Productions channel!! WOO!! It’s not one of my best performances admittedly since I was quite nervous, however, I’m still proud of it, so enjoy!


January 2018

I learnt that some lame NYE traditions aren’t actually all that lame?
I still prefer drinking Shloer instead of wine
and sitting on the sofa
doing nothing
eating pizza
with my parents
doing nothing but
watching the BBC fireworks with my parents instead of actually going out and doing fireworks.