Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Chocolate Theory of Race Relations - again

I DID like the story version of this I wrote and posted earlier.
But I thought I'd experiment a little.
This is the same story and embedded poem, but with the "plot" expanded and a "character" added.

Let me know how the two versions compare.

The Chocolate Theory of Race Relations

I.


Around afternoon after lunch-time
Rashmi Sinha sits and thinks
Of what she supposes is sublime
And her artist-ego wakes and blinks

And that is me - Rashmi the writer
Rashmi the artist, not the woman
Who's Mumbai-bred-tough-as-a-fighter
I mark paper with spoiled bitumen

Being only half-awake after lunch.
Half-baked inspiration is foisted on me.
Caught helpless in a crunch.
I decide to behave indulgently

Rashmi wants to save the world,
Which is surely a noble ambition.
Visions of Flags of Peace unfurled,
Crowd around in the most naive tradition.

But what annoys me is the verse
I must pen on the silly subject.
I give in, but I am terse -
Four lines to satisfy her object.

In the bright afternoon sun
Of today, skin colours light
And dark melt away into the

One bright colour of tommorow

The verse done, she slips from me.
I relax and wait for her to voice
Her satisfaction, but she dejectedly
Shakes her head, does not rejoice.

She's crushed to realise that her
Words - my words are so trite
And I suddenly feel with a shiver
My death coming with her next insight

Her self-confidence cannot shatter,
Or it will take me with it.
I console her on the matter,
Promise a better poem on revisit.


II.

It is a humid suburban night
In the dark, she lies in bed
Her tongue twirling a chocolate delight
A strange idea pops into her head

Poor Alok who ever so politely
Had just fallen asleep after sex
Is shaken awake, and not quietly
Prodded by middle finger and index

"I've got it by Georgette!"
She says to his sleepy back
"People are like chocolate -
There's no white, brown or black."

"Of course not," he says
"Blood types make more sense"
She interrupts him in a daze
"Listen! Don't talk nonsense."

"All skins are a chocolate shade
Thats what my poem is about
Now I see how it should be made"
Her mind now is free of doubt

Ever so easily, she slips into me
Grabs pen, paper and artistic pose
The poem I slowly begin to see
And then silently compose

On a sweltering summer day
As body after body passes me by
Words for skin - black, white, brown
Melt away into meaninglessness.

Rich shades of chocolate skin
Assail me. Arms, shoulders, backs
Dare me to name their colour and shade,
Invite me to discover their texture.

Skin is beguiling, but does its shade
Really matter? If I put my mouth on
This man's neck and run tongue over skin,
What colour is that intoxication?

Or if I join my mouth to
That man's, what shade, what hue
Can I put to the careless
Abandon that explodes within me?

To my sun-infected eyes, half-open
Shirts and collars assume the shape
Of chocolate wrappers, waiting to be
Opened and swallowed in laughter.

After that, lying sated in the shade,
I could put a name to each single
Taste of skin, but to group them this
Way or that would be pointless.

While I stop and pause for breath
Alok, reading the pages opines
"Men through the length and breadth,
Not a woman in all those lines."

I pause and chew my lower lip
Searching for the next line
Ignoring the movements near my hip
Two more stanzas are at last mine

A woman whose skin flows under
Your arms like liquid chocolate,
Melted by love. Do not judge her
By the paleness or darkness of her skin.

Embrace her sweetness and her bitterness.
Bitterness is also richness. Beware
The unmelting hardness that comes
From long cold years of neglect.

I swallow a piece of caramel
For Rashmi's hunger and mine
The pen four more lines does travel
Inspired by chocolate softness so fine

All children are caramel. Your sweet
Years with them melt away quickly,
Leaving photos, empty rooms to recall
The taste and colour of their voices.

With that Rashmi slips out of me
And considers what was written
She stares at how dissapointedly
Passion has crept in unbidden.

The pages then fall like rain
Onto Rashmi Sinha's right thigh
Flutter with an unwanted child's pain
Discarded with not even a sigh.

Now she feels the mouth that begs
With its tongue travelling round her waist
Responds to the hand slipped tween her legs
Turns her mouth to his with haste.


III.

It is evening now and all quiet
Alone and watching the setting sun
She slips into me as day into night
And one more poem is begun

Today I wrote down words for skin
On paper - black, white, brown,
Nut, chocolate, ivory, ebony
Caramel, olive, sand, wood.

The Setting Sun laid his fingers
On these, wrapping them in
A golden warmth and a glow
That blinded my in-turned eyes

The Setting Sun unwrapped my skin
Like foil - Gold and Silver underneath
Ran through the rivers of my blood
And whispered to my bones

Think of a man - write of the gash
Of Orange Sky between his fingers
Think of a woman - write of the clouds
That float silent in her hair

Write, if you must,
Of the skin of real things
Or better, if you can,
Of the silences between them.

Rashmi and I, the both of us
Read this back both silent
As the Sun sets without a fuss
At once peaceful and violent

"Is this the poem?" she asks me
I say I do not know
For today, lets leave it be,
Come back and write again tommorow

2 Comments:

Blogger balderdasher said...

your blog feeds dont contain the entire post.. until now it used to.. but for this one i only got a truncated summary..

and btw.. i think u should ve kept the previous version of this post too.. :)

4:25 AM  
Blogger Malang said...

My MY MY how times have changed and axis reversed, your blog has gained much in length and i missed its prime. tch tch tch.
I bear it as best as i can and here goes...

Elextra- Father daughter dances where the daughter finally steps on daddy's feet. Yes a rip off of a rip off.

DA-queasy code: an entire race pace rat pack medley that says stuff and doesnt sound like a silhoette of Alias crossed with X files.

fcuck rhyme scheme: what it is the homies call da hip hop shclop.

ho-ho-ho: gives a whole new meaning to the fact that Santa should probably be behing bars instead of handing them out.

Donethatfella- the one that jerry Lewis sadly never got to play, since Martin stole the thinder.

12:39 PM  

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