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nether x The Alipore Post: On Poetry

Photo by Irving Penn

This Poem is a Riot by Krishnakumar Sankaran (Issue 4)

You will not see it coming. This Is what you must do. Hide your kids.

Lock your locks. Bar your doors. Cock your guns.

Unhood your hoodies. Learn not to scream

When someone taps you on your back. Learn not to flinch

When glass shatters. Learn not to turn

For cries of help. Keep your CCTVS

Where all can see them.

When it comes

Shambling, throw jobs at it. Burn

Your notes in its face. Send your women

Out, breasts bared, tongues in heat. Roll

Your eyes at rolling cameras. Call it beast

When it swings its smoke bombs back at you.

Call it criminal when it cracks your lathis

On your skull. When it reaches out with flaying arms

Leveling cities, call it brother.

Art by Michael Peter Ancher.

Performance is all by Sridala Swami (Issue 2)

On reading days

the poet navigates her work without memory or – more accurately – a memory with no true North or as a hiker without a map and a big thirst.

On days when the phone is dead the poet declaims to the blind screen as if

by an act of will she can coax a flicker of certainly from it.

On weekends it is time for remembrances:

of the first time of another first time every new time

the printed paper is a tuning fork

the faces telling her which way the wind will blow.

On every other day

she hates her voice when she listens to it

she remembers words from earlier drafts her poems end too soon some words contain at their tips [that thing in matches] the dictionary under her pillow gives her dreamboats this is not what she means when she says tongue-tied.

Photo by Duane Stephen Michals

Gratitude by Partho Chakrabartty (Issue 2)

I am beginning to forget

what it was like,

beginning to call it a frenzy,

something scalding and

compelling. In this way we name

what is foreign to us.

What is familiar escapes definition.

If you ask me what ails me, I'll say

here is my pulse. This is what I do

during the day and I know it's not enough

and I don't care. It doesn't really bother me

that it's gone -- I even like

my economy of thought, my banal complaints.

If I miss it, soon I will not --

and there's an end to it.

Sure I could speculate about

what it meant to me

in meaty metaphors

but I wouldn't come close to it.

It was its own testimony.

Soon what remains

will become artefact:

old poems written by someone else to be deciphered, dismissed, or marvelled at.

Art by Marsden Hartley

Poem Against the End by Robin Ngangom (Issue 4)

(After Coetzee)

I raised the blood’s memory

Complex waters swirling against

Desire’s drooping head,

With souls hurled against the skies

I remained for you,

For berries to turn wine,

When your pensive smile

Of a hundred scents

Tore the mildew of years.

But no more veiled by the black vigil,

Or fevers of men and women,

Your body ululating

The myths of Hymniew Trep*

And the crossing of mountain rains.

O, those seasons of anxiety,

When your mouth, a wet smoky room

Kept evenings eager,

Now thinning into delusions.

Until it’s time to speak

the unspeakable,

Even with accents of defeat.

*Hymniew Trep: Seven huts in Khasi. The Khasis call their hills the land of seven huts.

Art by Henri Matisse

A Poet’s Duty by Nicholas Y B Young (Issue 1)

from Six Minimal Thoughts

Speculating isn’t

the job of a poet.

To feel the moment,

paint it in the most

awkward yet familiar

colours before the sensations

fade for another duty.


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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