nether x The Alipore Post: Neither here nor there

A collection of poems picked from the nether archives on spaces/places that remain in our memory, and in the verses we write:

Photo by Brassaï

Palace by Janice Pariat (Issue 1)

Beyond this dusty windowpane

the evening slopes to the edges,

dragging a trail

of dark intent.

Soon it is as starless as my coffee,

slowly cooling in a chipped cup

the colour of bone and bleached sky.

The boy waiter gathers empty

plates and cutlery, pitiful offerings

at the end of a funeral for a day

like any other. He sponges up

fallen morsels and cold spilt tea,

until those blue plastic tabletops

glisten, ready for burial.

A television set gloats above the room,

silent, demented ghost floating images

into the air. Lips mouth words the woman

behind the counter dreams up.

The only other customer

pays but doesn’t leave. He stops at

the door to catch a breath, light

a cigarette.

I watch a fly map a glassy terrain

for escape. Another fallen prey

to the window’s clear cruelty.

Outside, beneath mad wires

and broken streetlamps,

a one-armed man sells

cheap guides to the city.


Art by Milton Avery

Cafe Mozart's by Arjun Rajendran (Issue 4)


I joke the table has a prosthetic leg.

I describe quasars as she breaks

the frothy heart of a cappuccino-


While she downloads an app

For horoscopes, the sunset streams

Like a thought process.


The word in my mind is gendankenexperiment; it suddenly

Occurs to me explaining how


A cat might be alive and dead

Is simpler than defining love.

The lake colored gloaming


Wanders the upslope of Mozart’s

I wonder why the birdsong

Reminds me of an aurora somewhere.


Art by George Inness

The Desert by Dominic Alapat (Issue 5)


camels

graze

them in lieu

of their labour


deserts

the geologists say:

grow a foot

toward the river

beds every year


the polished cactus

in the drawing room

drinks beer

from our deodorized

perspiration

and finds its native

climate in our ephemeral speech


let the camels

browse the cacti

paint a camel

with camel hair brush

and trust the osmosis of roots

Art by Veikko Vionoja

Tuesday Morning Visitor by Meera Suryanarayanan (Issue 1)


I live in an apartment on the third floor

3286 pythons away from major water bodies.

Today,

There is an ocean knocking at my door.

I politely refuse to step into the waves,

tie a 'do not disturb' sign onto the door knob.

My neighbours are amused at the peculiar visitor

I refuse to meet.

Ocean persists.

It’s drenched my doormat salty.

It’s got a foamy hand smelling of dead fish.

It’s pushing pebbles through the keyhole.

A ship's sailing by the closed window

and a gull's sniffing the pot-roses.

Photo by Jan Saudek

The Swing by Dilip Chitre (Issue 3)


Where even the wariness of innocence ends

You’ve hung a swing

In long ropes made of flowers of fire

Here ends the certainty of uncertainty

What remains is an endlessly breathed out sky And you:me:the swing.


Nether is a non-profit literary collective of writers looking to spread out and build a plexus of more writers/ artists in India and across. It is a quarterly magazine focused on all the potential variations in the sphere of contemporary writings. The poems were curated by Rohini Kejriwal, founder of The Alipore Post.

 
 

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