Walking Around after Neruda

written by Tishani Doshi

Walking Around after Neruda

— Tishani Doshi

It happens that I am tired of being a woman.
It happens that I cannot walk past country clubs
or consulates without considering the hags,
skinny as guitar strings, foraging in the rubbish.

All along the streets there are forlorn mansions
where girls have grown up and vanished.
I am vanishing too. I want nothing to do with gates
nor balconies nor flat-screen TVs.

It happens that I am tired of my veins and my hips,
and my navel and my sorrows.
It happens that I am tired of being a woman.

Just the same it would be joyous
To flash my legs at the drivers playing chess,
to lead the old man at house 38
onto the tarred road to lie down
under the laburnum dripping gold.

I do not want to keep growing in this skin,
to swell to the size of a mausoleum.
I do not want to be matriarch or mother.
Understand, I am only in love
with these undrunk breasts.

And when Monday arrives with the usual
battalion of pear-shaped wives who do battle
in grocery store aisles,
I'll be stalking the fields of concrete and ash,

the days pushing me from street
to street, leading me elsewhere -
to houses without ceiling fans
where daughters disappear and the walls weep.

I will weep too for high-heeled beauty queens,
for sewing machines and chickens in cages.
I will walk with my harness
and exiled feet through cravings
and renunciations, through heaps
of midnight wreckages
where magistrates of crows gather
to sing the same broken song
of unforgiving loss.

About the poet

Tishani Doshi

Tishani Doshi is an Indian poet, journalist and dancer based in Chennai. Born in Madras, India, to a Welsh mother and Gujarati father, she received an Eric Gregory Award in 2001. Her first poetry collection, Countries of the Body, won the 2006 Forward Poetry Prize for best first collection.She has been invited to the poetry galas of the Guardian-sponsored Hay Festival of 2006 and the Cartagena Hay Festival of 2007. Her first novel, The Pleasure Seekers, was published by Bloomsbury in 2010 and was long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2011, and shortlisted for The Hindu Best Fiction Award in 2010. She writes a blog titled "Hit or Miss" on Cricinfo, a cricket-related website. In the blog which she started writing in April 2009, Tishani Doshi makes...

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