She’s married to the idea of loss.
I sit with my tongue waiting to savor
the depth of her beauty.
I will pay for a good thing,
just like the $0.25 most fast food
restaurants charge for extra sauce.
They know we’ll want more.
Supply and demand . . .
Our culture thrives on greed
licking the last bits of this and that
for as long as we can.
We’re motivated by the sound of
our sins — how loud can we be
in the face of God as we mock him?
Boisterous, manipulative Homo sapiens.
We think we know everything there
is to know about life
and we know nothing at all.
The curtain falls behind us.
We hide under the covers
shifting from one form to the next.
I’ll be her grapevine in the middle
of a dirt road,
rumors spreading like wildfire.
She will come to me
before I ask after her.
That’s her way.
She appears when I disappear.
Punctual but untimely . . .
I have gathered all my confessions
for the pastor to review.
On his pulpit, he’ll stand
and applaud me for my efforts.
She’ll take pictures.
Memories of my coming out.
I will tell her my life
isn’t up for sale but if she’s
humane, I’m willing to let
her spend time on me.
But she’s married to the idea of loss . . .
And I’m already gone.
Originally published via Medium.
Firstly, I would be amiss if I did not state how honored I was to be asked to review this wondrous work by Devika Mathur. From what I have come to know of the writer, she is steadfast in her talent, dives into the raw and gritty surfaces of her feelings, and has no trouble sharing them with the world. With a style not akin to many writers I have read, Devika expresses herself with poetically sound language and a definite strength in her prose.
The aptly titled debut book, Crimson Skins, begins with “Olive Skin” which is a surefire opener, with power-packed phrases such as “My mother has a concave slippery mouth, untouchable with the slick tunes of time” and “She stitches her concrete bun as a belt of Ganges.”
The first section of poetry gets even better as the writer continues to deeply express herself using a style I like to call “raw surrealism.” “A fixation” is a good example of this. Two lines I found myself reading multiple times because I loved them that much are: “I have seen the postcards of vintage ink our lotus bodies sinking like air” and “You step on to my body, peeling layers of SCARS.” She is no stranger to poignant line breaks and metaphorical stanzas. Many of her poems, from what I have learned, are meant to be absorbed slowly–savored. It would not be wise to rush through them. And really, why would you want to?
“A swan of longing” is another favorite poem of mine. Devika uses a few nature images in this piece, however, the raw and gritty feel is still alive. “Climb up my knuckles, rest on the mount of flaky skin” says so much while not using many words. It’s succinct and compact yet still sends a punch straight to the gut. Another line that held my attention is, “Sew and move up. Climb to my cheekbones, now”–the imagery is intense and active. Reading it took me to another place, one where I would not mind venturing to more often.
Crimson Skins has a variety of work any reader will enjoy. The book isn’t basic and will be able to go the extra mile for years to come. I will be so bold as to say many of the pieces featured in it has the staying power of words by a few greats such as Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, and Virginia Woolf. It ends just as it began, with an intense piece of writing showcasing the writer’s talent.
“The art of silence” is placed exactly where it needs to be–the best for last. “Quietness, comes to me like sex, wild hum in the lost arid air” caught me off guard and I doubled-back to make sure I read the opening line correctly. I did and it is perfect in every way. The ending lines are as follows: “Cities often collapse while searching another one, and here is my tombstone, polished gold grave, beneath twigs of moth.” I read those lines and I know what poetry is. I feel what poetry is. I will remember what poetry is.
Crimson Skins comes as no shocker to me with its high caliber of writing and a plethora of poems and prose to choose from on which to connect. Devika Mathur shows that she is no novice to the world of writing. I look forward to its debut in June of 2020 and will be one of the first to purchase my copy. If you are a lover of poetry and writing that seeps into your skin and rattles your bones, then you should too.
I will be purchasing the Kindle version before the weekend is out, however, I also am going to purchase the paperback version when it is available too. I had the grand opportunity of diving into this work of art prior to its publication and I assure you, it’s worth every accolade it will amass within the first few weeks. Let’s support a fellow WordPress writer, shall we?
every year, fire comes
it rages on–wind sifting
through funnel-shaped clouds
blazing through everything in its path
evacuations, a commonplace against
a raging blaze.
we watch them search, seize, and sever
ties with their homes, racing
death head on, this is nothing new,
yet the pain surges through us
knowing it will be the same
and what has nature sucked into
its wanton arms?
hopes, dreams, and loves lost–
a crashing of fate, nuanced in
fear and dread.
next year, we must prepare . . .
for next year.