Medha Singh

Mannequin

8

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Mannequin

    We don’t deserve immortality.

 

take a photograph

    commit an act of sheer folly rub-

bing against the earth’s inveterate currents, forcing
    a pause, in this hyper-real 
time flow

towards death.

 

It’s truth in potentia.

    Put a person in the middle of it: yourself.

~

A subject in the photo

    is a subjectivity in the image.

 

It’s made of language,

    and perhaps memories

that have spurned its excesses.

 

Language is not a good conduit

 

    for the transmission

of soul habits.

 

I like to look at my reflection

    rippling in uneven shop windows

against the wordless silhouette

    of a made up person.

 

I spill out at the hips and breasts,

    and once, it was against Giacometti’s limbs

at St-Paul de Vence,

    next to Miro’s eyelashes.

 

    Strange energy. Pink and blue.

 

Smooth clothes on your back

    and in photographs,

don’t soften the excesses of either,
                       disturbing common rhythms of the glottis

amid chambers of gossip

      at All Tomorrow’s Parties.

 

I don’t like them for this reason.

 

In the topography of the human heart,

    portraits are dark plateaus, shrouding a self

no one likes in the end.

 *****

 Murder


For all that’s buried in the sea,

    I doubt it’s ever a scream.

 

People like to die quietly,

    and whisper to the water

when they can’t speak.

 

Look at Ophelia.

    Woolf isn’t far behind.

 

One drowns quietly too, you can’t see

    a drowning person struggle: the lungs

 

filling with water, eyes rolling back

    no scope for word-sounds, no one to hear you.

 

The soul unraveling from fibres

    of muscle and bone, submits to the maw

of tumultuous, flowing blues.

 

    Blue is a good colour to see as you die.

 

Good for old people’s rooms

    to live their last years in.

 

Murders are really best near the water.

 

I once met an Afghan in Holland,

    as he drove my cab from Rotterdam to

The Hague, he told me many things–

    demanded my attention for a discount, firstly.

 

Said he ran away from home,

    so he’s here, hasn’t seen his kids in years.

 

They got him for double murder, and paused.

 

Things would have been different, he feels,

    if he had the luxury of the Rhine and Oude

if they’d confluence ten feet away from his house

    like the inhabitants of Leiden.

 

‘People take everything for granted’, I muttered.

*****

Alien Configuration

The world goes to sleep

     in a lover’s cotton embrace.

 

He is awake.

 

The horizon darkens upon evening,

    transmutes into a sinuous dream.

 

He, like a wire, lies about, flexible,

    conveying current and information

dyed-in-the-wool(len) sounds of printers
    and phones at the office.

 

Soft orange light falls on his cheekbone

    through the window. His soul eclipsed,

body half bathed in light

    now halved in countenance.

 

With little surface, his silhouette,

    swells into a bold fire,

snakes its way into a foreign despair.

     
            He has lived forever.

 

No one writes to him.

 

Medha Singh is a poet and writer from new Delhi. She took her Masters degree from JNU and at Sciences Po, Paris as part of an exchange. Her book, Ecdysis is published by Poetrywala/Paperwall, 2017. Her work has appeared in various literary magazines and journals nationwide.

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