Sensory Nerves and Their Landscape by Nandini Sen
Poetry cannot escape when the man smelt
the perfume on my dress and an accidental sprinkle on my hair.
The set of flowers in the vase were brittle and unkempt
black bananas were howling in the fruit bowl
To support a fortnight of quarrel between the man and her wife.
Even at the age of 15 the son cannot forget the softness of the mom’s sari
He goes to the pub, the hungry ‘he’ swallows the fish and chips
Thought to squash them with his usual coffee
After a while a pint of beer smoothed the morsels down.
He couldn’t bear the pub fight anymore; the man emptied the whole ashtray on him and vomits all over his expensive Nike pair.
Neighbours took him to the Bengali festival of Durga Puja
Intoxicated drummers were wild in their thunderous beats,
Eyes closed; arms covered in red clothes; songs became chilly
the sounds took him to the childhood where he fled with a drummer though came back the very next day. I still remember
we chased each other into the river,
the river turned into a red rope or a green snake; who knows?
Ate aubergine. He bled, we bled. Dragged and gagged Durga and her children into the river. We had ice creams after the sandstorm calmed down. The eyes of the goddess and her children became black. She bit her lower lip and sighed furiously. Durga and her children were upset and lost their trust in the human beings. They were mimicking human shouting and yelling and rushed to the kitchen. Windows became dark with grief and concern.
Something heavy plunged past. And it landed with a crash in the church yard.
We were surrounded by the Scottish fog which couldn’t be removed by the piercing praying sounds from the conch shells blown by the fancy red dolls.
The beautiful church and the vicar gave us shelter in his office.
The humming birds fluttered and we had a proper dinner conversation
reviving our stillness and order. Perhaps a deathly silence!
We are extremely grateful to the Third Year Illustration students at Edinburgh College of Art, and Harvey Dingwall for making this collaboration possible. The Citizen Writing Group is part of Citizen, our flagship communities project which is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and through the PLACE Programme (funded by the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported and administered by Creative Scotland).
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