Friday, August 5, 2011

London is an ... "Art of Pariahs"

I have been studying in the British Library for the past two weeks and I will for the following weeks. I have been working on an essay on transnationality and as London inspires me I have been very busy writing.

I'll post here one of my favourite poems from Meena Alexander's book "The Shock of Arrival".

Art of Pariahs

Back against the kitchen stove
Draupadi sings:

In my head Beirut still burns.*

The Queen of Nubia, of God's Upper Kingdom,
the Rani of Jhansi, transfigured, raising her sword,
are players too. They have entered with me
into North America and share these walls.

We make up an art of pariahs:

Two black children spray painted white,
their eyes burning, 
a white child raped in a car
for her pale skin's sake,
an Indian child stoned by a bus shelter,
they thought her white in twilight.

Someone is knocking and knocking
but Draupadi will not let him in.
She squats by the stove and sings:

The Rani shall not sheathe her sword
nor Nubia's queen restrain her elephants
till tongues of fire wrap a tender blue,
a second skin, a solace to our children.

Come walk with me toward a broken wall
- Beirut still burns - carved into its face.
Outcastes all, let's conjure honey scraped from stones,
an underground railroad stacked with rainbow skin,
Manhattan's mixed rivers rising.


  1. Beautiful lines, Splendid, I think. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. You're welcome Geosi. I really love this poem.