Welcome to my A-Z 2018, for which I am revisiting Africa, the continent of my childhood and my dreams. The posts are, as always, infoheavy and opinionated, but they are sectioned off - some music, the day’s topic, couple writers, a slideshow from the safaris – plenty ways to cherry-pick. So you may consume just as much, or as little, as you're cool with. Zero obligation to agree with any of my views either, feel free to air yours :)

Monday, 29 February 2016

Thinking of that old photograph




The photo’s on the same shelf, the two of us -
my hair thick and springy, my saree pleats mussed
by one dangling leg, much younger limbs draped
across the armrest,  lithe, lighter, well-shaped
body and spirit. My father on the chair,
wears his usual dignity and sparser hair.
Both of us unmindful, quite unaware
that it was the last time we’d get to share
a seat quite so closely, the last of times
when his chairs would feel so completely mine.
We use up things – arms, armrests, odd cushions
oblivious of the final occasions.
Someone clicks a photo by random chance,
it takes years to get its significance.




It's my father's 21st birthday today.  Wishing you happy, and tranquil times ahead, Baba.





Sunday, 21 February 2016

Under all my tongues, even when I am silent






You can hear it still, though it’s a bit blurred -
the richly perfumed soil, the dawn birdsongs,
miles of latticed waters, still reflections,
emerald  paddies, scents of mango orchards
ripening their fruits under mango-coloured suns;
you can hear the cadence of the mother tongue
every time I write here and speak, and even
when I am struck dumb, though I’ve never been
there – never inhaled those rains, animal dung,
lentil paste daubed into delicate pointy shapes
drying in the yard; never seen those landscapes
of drizzly bamboo groves quietly quiver
by the whip-thin track tumbling to the river. 







ভাষা আন্দোলন দিবসের অভিনন্দন, শ্রদ্ধা জানাই সব মাতৃভাষাপ্রেমীদের যাঁরা শহীদ হয়েছেন নিজের কথা নিজের ভাষায় নিজের মত করে বলার মৌলিক ও অপরিহার্য অধিকার অক্ষুন্ন রাখতে।





Today is the International Mother Language Day, originally observed in India and Bangladesh, and now the world over since the UNESCO declaration in 1999, to honour the right to speak and value one's own mother tongue.  A day of pride and celebration, and also sombre commemoration and reflection, for all native speakers of Bengali. And for language lovers generally, in which category I automatically include all writers/poets/bloggers. Happy Mother Language Day to you!






Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Write...Edit...Publish : Is love then so simple?










It's time for the first challenge of the Write...Edit...Publish blogfest for 2016, hosted by ubercool bloggers/authors Denise and Yolanda.  This month's prompt is naturally themed on Valentine's Day and celebrations of love.  I am back with some poetry and a...well, a rant, but don't worry, it's a mild one :)


~~~


If there is any form that positively leaps into my mind when anyone says 'love' it's got to be the sonnet. The sonnet is a fourteen line poem, a 'little song' that originated in 13th century Italy.  Over time it was adapted into English, and many English poets wrote sonnets using love as the theme, the most notable being Shakespeare, of course. A Western form that has been widely associated with love, its object, and its celebration, so it feels super-apt to use it here.


Sunday, 14 February 2016

In sickness and in health









Years later, the day’s definitively spent
in illness, in cradling a vaguely odd grudge
quite certain this isn’t how it is meant
to be - festive boiling down to the sludge


of sickrooms and maladies and medicine.
Temples where love’s expressed now quiet, passive;
a travesty of differently fevered skin,
grubbier shades of meaning to live festive,


the usual flowers forgotten, left to droop;
the petals of the hours shredding, wasting.
There are offerings of silence and soup,
unremarked and consumed without tasting,


till a brief, lucid break when the fever lifts -
what if this version is also a gift?
















Friday, 12 February 2016

Diseased





If I were called in to choose my own disease,
I'd choose a certain yearning of the blood
to tattoo itself into textures of trees
to lie down in and melt into the mud.


I'd choose the shapes of silence between the stars
tuck them into crooks of nerves and mainsprings
and if you peeled back the skin at ribs and shoulders
you'd find the pulsing starshine in their linings.








Sadly, much as I would prefer the above romantic diseases, I am ill with far more mundane stuff. Not been myself for days and days, and thoroughly fed-up of being a patient.  Patience as you know is so not my forte.  :) My respects once again to those who suffer chronic diseases with grace and fortitude, and that includes my mother.  I don't know how they do it.


Hope to be back next week.  Meanwhile, stay well and happy!




Friday, 5 February 2016

Murder & Obsession Cover Reveal

I am pleased to have the fascinating murder-mystery writer Yolanda Renee here today. She has just completed the last book in her trilogy, and is here with the cover reveal:



COVER REVEAL
 MURDER & OBSESSION

Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.

To be Released March 2016


As wedding bells echo like the ring of toasting champagne glasses in the ice carved mountains of Anchorage Alaska, detective Steven Quaid rehabs his grandfather’s cabin into a honeymoon cottage for his new bride.

When he returns from a hunting trip, Steven’s faced with five police officers, who “Want to talk.” Plagued by two unsolved murders, the Department is searching for answers.

The conversation comes to a deafening halt as the team finds a bloody crime scene in the bridal suite. "Where's her body?" is a question Steven cannot fathom. 

Steven’s jaw clenches and his heart races. Images of Sarah streak through his mind.

The silence breaks as an explosion of accusations vibrate through every fiber of his being.

Steven bolts…

Although running is never the smart thing to do, Steven’s not thinking clearly and his escape into the wilderness of the Brooks Range proves almost fatal.

This Steven Quaid mystery is both personal and heartbreaking.

*****
   Yolanda Renee
At one time Alaska called to me and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I've traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries, and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.

Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two wonderful sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!


You can find Yolanda at:


 Amazon


New Covers:
After a gritty detective becomes involved with a beautiful widow suspected of murder, rumor and obsession obstruct his quest for justice.
World damnation is a psychotic man’s goal, but two obstacles stand in his way, greed and a dedicated detective. 










They do look ubercool, don't they, all three? Congrats, Yolanda! and looking forward to reading more.


Monday, 1 February 2016

Lost & Found Valentine's Edition










Today I am participating in the Lost & Found Valentine's Edition, a special blogging event inspired by a collaboration between Arlee Bird and Guilie Castillo-Oriard, co-hosted by Elizabeth Seckman, Yolanda Renee, Denise Covey and Alex J. Cavanaugh

The guidelines for participating in the event are:



Do you remember that special feeling of love found? And who hasn't experienced the emotional experience of love lost? Some of you might have even lost a love only to find that person later for another go around.


Tell your story about love lost or found in our special Valentine's blogfest.   Your post can be a short fiction, an essay, poetry, or even a song--let your imagination run free. Any genre is fair game, be it romance, historical fiction, memoir, or even science fiction. After all there are no limitations when it comes to love.
    

My post consists of a two part poem.  





Revisit


I.


The tobacco shop where you bought your first -
soft eighties music tinkles from somewhere,
but the rest’s changed, we’re not so well-versed
any more with the buildings in this square.