Reading through Arathy Asok’s poetry is like reading a life letter . In A poem to my sister Asok reminds you of unbreakable friendship , their past and their memorable life moments . Asok’s lyrical dexterity and her conduct of articulation makes every reader or other poets salivate ,her art of poetry is a delicacy to the eater ,
the reader . Arathy Asok it is great reading you .
I AND WE RISE
These people from the dead –
They come and ask me
Don’t you remember me? Don’t You?
And I look at them and think
They see the blankness in my eyes and show me green leaves we left by the river bank,
The flowers of May,
They show me the stones we collected, those days by the river;
They show me hands that held, soft in the inside, white pink black,
They show me what it meant to love, in roads that we left at childhood’s gate,
And the little dogs with eyes of trust.
In my eyes they see the scars, red veined earth, cracked, burnt, choking in the ribs
And children alone at the borders of countries with walls;
They see me, a woman standing alone, sand dunes rising, rising sky high and my eye a flutter of the bird losing its wings.
And they say- We come to give you water, sister-mother- daughter
We come to give you water.
They hold out their hands and
It rains in the hills.
A POEM FOR MY SISTER
When the railroads swept wind and dust
From the faraway country of snow and single rooms of struggle
You ask me to write.
You say – write, write for me sister
Write for me something that will hold my hand
The sun ahead is heat and the potatoes wait to peel.
You say write for me like Maya Angelou and I laugh,
I say you read Maya Angelou to read Maya Angelou;
I write like me. But she says-like her sister, like her.
And after the dead night when I wake in the morning,
I know what you say, I see your eyes and I know their light.
They tell me of the rooms we have lived, the men we have loved, the bodies we have carried inside our bodies
And I know suddenly what you tell me.
Inside us we carry the bamboo winds of yellow light
We have walked the roads they said we cannot walk
It was not love that made us love
It was need. It was all the world that told us we were women not fit to look into their eyes, women who could not think or stand up in the middle of room with men, speaking about how to bury dead uncles.
They said only men could talk. Only men had voices.
We had small lives. Some called our breaths, school girl revolutions.
They called our mothers, sluts. They said our mothers destroyed us by telling us to love ourselves, by telling us of the sky, the rivers and the brown earth.
When we wanted to see the sky, they said we juggled our breasts to show the men.
The men were around, everywhere. We had to hide ourselves in downcast eyes, and dresses that covered our brown arms and legs like water.
When we smiled to see an eye lifted to look at us, we were crushed, crushed, crushed.
What was left of us was a battered heart torn at the edges,that did not know how to be happy anymore.
When glasses were left on the table or father needed a glass of water they sat on cushioned chairs and let out a hand
They read newspapers, walked on the roads and laughed aloud
In the open verandah.
And we, my sister, we walked the nights in waters they did not see, under our arms were daggers of steel.
There is no poem I write to you
I cannot write
I only see you, walking in the snow,
Alone, erect, a dot of red;
I only see me- walking this heat,
Alone, erect,a dot of red.
(This poem is dedicated to Zaara, the fighter woman who gives me hope)
Arathy Asok resides in Kerala, India.
She is a bilingual writer and has recently brought out her book of poems Lady Jesus and other poems( Authors Press, Delhi, 2018). Her poems have appeared in national and international journals, in print and online (in Samyukta, Poetry Chain,anti heroin chic, Poets in Nigeria, Blue Nib magazine, Door is Ajar and Culture Cult). They are included in an Anthology called Native Petals and Iliyali(forthcoming). Her stories have been published in Rupture, Credo Espire and have been translated to her mother tongue and published in Indian Express Malayalam Online
WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS CURATOR
MBIZO CHIRASHA is (ihraf.org) 2019 International Fellow of the International Human Rights Arts Festival New York. Essays contributor for the MONK art and soul Magazinehttp://monk.gallery/category/essays/ in United Kingdom. Co-Editor of the STREET VOICE a German Africa Poetry collection, http://www.street-voice.de/SV7/SVissue7.html in Germany, Co-Editor of Silent Voices, https://www.obooko.com/free-poetry-collections/silent-voices-adedoyin ( a tribute to Chinua Achebe) Contributor Atunis Galatika,https://atunispoetry.com/2018/11/23/mbizo-chirasha-zimbabwe/, Belgium.Contributor to Diogen Plus Magazine in Turkey, http://diogenplus.weebly.com/mbizo-chirasha.html.Editor of the WomaWords Literary Press, https://womawordsliterarypress.home.blog/. Curator of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal, miombopublishing.wordpress.com,