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.
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.
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.
Poem Against the End by Robin Ngangom (Issue 4)
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
Even with accents of defeat.
*Hymniew Trep: Seven huts in Khasi. The Khasis call their hills the land of seven huts.
A Poet’s Duty by Nicholas Y B Young (Issue 1)
from Six Minimal Thoughts
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.