Pondy Poetry Slam

Yesterday afternoon, Pavi hosted a mini poetry slam here in Ponidcherry. The event was small, attended in person only by the lovely, talented, and endlessly funny Ehm sisters, Snigdha and Kuzhali, Pavi, and me; but breathtakingly beautiful submissions were e-mailed in from Sri Shamasunder in Los Angeles and Rish Sanghvi in New Hampshire.

The assignment was to write a poem about “being in between” and one about “Homeland.” Let me state right off: I’m no poet. Not that I haven’t tried. But just as I’m not shy about acknowledging the things at which I excel (even my humility is modest!), I’m not hesitant to identify those things at which I suck.

My poetry sucks.

I was therefore a bit reluctant to participate the Pondy Slam. But, in the end, no one can turn down a chance to spend the afternoon with Snigdha, Kuzhali, and Pavi, and I was forced to come up with a couple poems.

I started with the Being In Between poem, and decided that a safe strategy was to adapt my 31 December 2005 blog entry, which was about just that. For the Homeland poem, I had no such head start. The former turned out to be a disaster (I’d say it was a “poetic disaster,” but there is insufficient poetry in it to justify the epithet); the latter was merely amateurish, but I kind-of like it.

Anyway, here they are. You can read everyone’s submissions on Pavi’s blog.

My Time

People sought my time
Which I sold to them dearly
In whatever quantity they could afford
My best intentions and brightest thoughts
Traded on the open market

People seek my time
Which I give to them freely
In whatever quantity I possess at the moment
My best intentions and brightest thoughts
Gifted to the open hand



the imprint of my homeland
labels me like another’s
logo emblazoned on a t-shirt
misidentifying yet
accurate as a blood type

the imprint of my homeland
stains me like a tattoo
a former girlfriend’s name indelibly
ledgered in the flesh
scar, blemish, mortification

the imprint of my homeland
adorns me like a flower worn
behind the ear or an epaulette
revealing more of me than
I would have you know

the imprint of my homeland
chooses me when I do not choose it
abandons me when I do
fickle about our relationship
as I am


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