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anatomy of a rape
there are ways and ways to love a woman
a 101-ways book can be found, open to page 51
find out what you did not know in your
manly little, well, heart
ways to denude her in a bus, a train,
even a cycle if your balance is right
find out how to choose friends to invite
in partaking, how to muffle her cries, how to let
the bystanders have their own share
of meat, all in 10 easy sentences
or less, a DIY section on how and where
to dump off the body follows
read on to the next page, if you have time,
what to do in other circumstances
under the heading that reads
to shahjahaan, on castration of a rapist
love making will never be the same
world over, we will be thinking each time
of a man who did not get what he deserved
nor the woman he did it to
wake up shah jahaan, you who could sleep at night
cutting off arms which gave life to your dream
now is the chance to redeem yourself : build
another monument, this time to hate
only this time, strike before then after
only this time, let it be 561 feet under
the world could always do with one erection less
‘words are meager things. sometimes they fall short’.
the universe is talking in a thousand non-tongues
words stick to flapping paper, grow stale and die
that is how a life ends, that is how lives end
today, pull out your eyes, your ears, your paper
place one on the other, or all three
check for grammar, syntax, punctuation
check also for marks silences left
before they died as stillborn whispers and left
love in the season of rape
winter this year has its own vocabulary
it speaks in alphabets bold, affected, deep, hollow
somewhere a cold rain falls, somewhere
water begins its journey
for once women mourn freely, cry noisily, shout harshly,
love loudly. or intend to. for women have always
women think there is a quietness in the love of men
for this winter has given them candles
which they burn against cold, against pain,
against pain they never knew to be pain,
against love they feel inside but are scared to admit
this season they can be forgiven for thinking
all rooms are their rooms, all windows are to
their souls and all souls are their souls
candle burning women, loving quietly
the wax spills slowly mixing burn, mixing pain
they lie and wait for their men to come home
they lie in their beds with their hair in the clouds
their dreams on the pillow, asleep but just not yet
don’t shut the lamp, let the rain fall
looking forward, looking inside was never easy
Background on the poems
These four poems were written as a series in the aftermath of gang rape in New Delhi in December. Each of them charts the movement as it escalated on the streets of New Delhi.
‘anatomy of a rape’ was an immediate anguish to the incident.
This was translated in Tamil, (one of Indian regional languages, and his mother tongue) by Mr. Sridharan Madhusudhanan, Director, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Ministry of External Affairs, India. It was subsequently published in a Tamil online magazine.
‘to shahjahaan, on castration of a rapist’ came about as the public demand for castration of rapists grew. The poem refers to the Shah Jahaan, the mughal emperor who built Taj Mahal. He is believed to have cut off hands of all the masons who helped built Taj so that they may not ever do the same work again.
‘RIP’ was written as the girl, the victim, died and the hullabaloo of words that followed thereafter.
‘love in the season of rape’ is the last one in the series. It was inspired by candle marches women in New Delhi held. It sought to take a look at how real (or futile) their dreams of change will be.
Pooja Garg Singh is an Indian poet based in Atlanta, Georgia. USA. Pooja is Founder &CEO of Word Tree (www.wordtree.in), a content company. She is an ex-business journalist having worked with India Today Group (India), IDG (US) and Strategic Publishing Group (Australia). Pooja also has extensive experience in publishing, training and business research having worked with Minerva Publishing (UK), Hill & Associates (Hong Kong) and Amity Business School (India).
An alumna of Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, Pooja studied English Literature at Jesus & Mary College, Delhi University, India. She went on to do Post-Graduate Diploma in Journalism from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. For Pooja, poetry is like coming home. She loves to spend time with her son and her dog. An interior decor enthusiast, Pooja enjoys pasta and photography.