A collection of poems picked from the nether archives on spaces/places that remain in our memory, and in the verses we write:
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
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.
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.
The Desert by Dominic Alapat (Issue 5)
them in lieu
of their labour
the geologists say:
grow a foot
toward the river
beds every year
the polished cactus
in the drawing room
from our deodorized
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
Tuesday Morning Visitor by Meera Suryanarayanan (Issue 1)
I live in an apartment on the third floor
3286 pythons away from major water bodies.
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.
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.
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.