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Roses aren't all that fun to be around, poems by Anusha Bhagwat

roses aren't all that fun to be around

Little bursting words

my mother tongue, the tongue of my mother

the tongue of my father, the tongue of my child

and the tongue of mine.

it's there, on bloody pink, bubbling

toothpaste-coated tips

on violet broken stippled edges

on ridged touchy slippery cavernous domes,

right there.

stripped naked of familiarity,

so doused in anglo-saxon speak, dripping with its oily odour

words ending in pretty, twisted little knots of

american-girl lingo.

mother twirls her kurta-skirts

and says

now you are one of them.


my love Oh, my love

your boldface letters

curving, firm elegant and sweet

little trumpeting sounds at the beginnings of title-words

(at the risk of sounding too poetic),

remind me of my mother.

and he said I remind him of his


images of tall curly-brushed women in suits,

bending over boys

burned into my retina.

so much responsibility

and I brushed it off like a ladybug.

I imaged slithery little immature tongues

curving up my lips

and I said no.

Flesh of a tribal

womanly flesh, gentle and sweet

shell-rippled and white as a pink-tinged dawn,

blood trickling up the white forearms,

pearly lashing curves at the arm band.

paraded down the street

amidst a sea of strange men.

she might think

I never asked for this.

but then again who ever did?

marble-esque in her martyrdom

as she takes it in her stride.

not a victim,

but a palimpsest.

all their stories pour through her milk

flow to the soil,

the trees,

flow to the metal of the hard, grey guns

and drown them in cool memory.

Ode to a lost cause (or soul)

I would pray for her if

I believed in God(s).

But I don't so

I won't.

All I can do is hope.

I'm trying so hard to remember

all the little details of her body,

the crevices and curves and flourishes and strokes

that made her up.

Here's the first thing I can remember:

her Gothic arch, caterpillar-thick

kohl eyebrows,

pond eyes and creme brûlée lips.

cheeks like baked-velvet cheesecake-ridden tops,

madly springing hair curling into the small of my back.



blue fishbowl eyes stuck in doughy white flesh

stare into my eyes, dead and unmoving

as a deep-sea fish.

From his American Olympus

he tells them to destroy a land

whose name he cannot pronounce.

The curving upward of the tongue, the flat twitch at the guh

and at kee, an expansion of the jaw

he consumes their flesh with his powdered, whale-roofed

hard-set mouth.

The jewels in his crown

burn with atomic flames

and the striped bodies of the men

push against his lungs.

His page-boy sits at his feet

and he tells him,

"Make more."

Roses, plastic and something else

I'm trying not to sound too pretentious

but describing beauty warrants a certain amount of pretension,

I believe.

The roses on my desk make me sad.

sponge-green, galloping, leafy, thorny stalks tumbling out of

and pushing against plastic wraparound paper.

They are not classy,

curling and ringing red,

folding and tapering and expanding,

but not classy.

they're going to wither in a few days,

brown and crinkling grandmother-cardigan pink

drooping crowning olive rot.

Schoolroom poetry is tempting me to digress

into some far-fetched dialogue about fleeting love.

But fear not, this is not the stuff of love letters.

All I'm going to say is

roses aren't all that fun to be around.

I am sorry if that was a little anticlimactic,

but that's the beauty of poetry.


Poems by Anusha Bhagwat

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