The sucking sound of lips

26 05 2011

“I leap to attention an inch from her face”

“the sucking sound of lips on lips, with saliva exchanged”

“she entered the cinema and felt a line of current run through her body”

Once you’ve read Rajpal Abeynayake and A.S.H. Smyth on Blue, there really isn’t much more to say. Sri Lankan English writing is generally amateurish and there is no reason to expect anything radically different from this. There are a few interesting stories in it – Marti’s and Ameena Hussein’s stories for instance. But beyond that, the critics’ views hold hold true. We can’t be expected to like anything and everything in the name of erotica and there is a reason why sites such as Writing World and The Erotica Readers and Writers Association give you advice on writing erotica.

From a queer perspective, however, Blue is interesting – it is the first time that a number of queer short stories have appeared in a collection of Sri Lankan short stories. In a collection of about a dozen short stories, four stories bring us sex between women and one describes a sexual encounter between men (albeit one very young one). Even if you consider Blue only as “fiction” and ignore the “erotica” side of it, this is significant in the Sri Lankan context, because queer desire is represented rarely in literature.

Whatever its literary merit (or paucity of same) it also raised a discussion on the nature of erotica as a genre. I have heard various questions consequent to Blue: is erotica the same as porn? Is erotica as explicit as porn? Should erotica have a storyline? All I can say is that I need a lot more sex, a lot less purple prose, a lot more finesse and a lot less description of the setting for it to be erotica.

‘Scorching’ the publishers claim it to be. The wrong adjective I think.





How to Eat a Wolf

26 10 2010

– Sharanya Manivannan

Does all lust start and
end like this? Don’t get me
wrong. I loved my wolf.
I held him tethered like
a pussycat. I nursed
the rumble in his belly
with hands gentle as a burglar’s.
He lived on milk
and blood and ocean. He
had violets for his furs.

It’s just that he was
beginning to devour me.
He nuzzled me with claws,
fondled me with fangs
sharp as yearning
He snaked a tongue so
hungry in its kiss it
turned my body to salt.

How do you douse a
dervish swirl? I asked.
Devour it, you said.

So I fantasised
about eating his balls,
rolling them in semolina
seeds and roasting them
golden. I got blooddrunk
on the thought of the
crisp tender cartilage of his ear,
left to simmer in tequila
and cilantro. The dry teats turned
sweet when baked with cinnamon
applesauce, or drizzled with chocolate.
The tangy musk of austerely steamed eyelid.

I set traps.

Mine is the deepest void,
the deepest void you’ll ever know.
And so I lured him to a well.
A wolf can drown in its own
wetness. But mine swam
and lapped and doggypaddled
until I waded back in to get him.

Mine is the darkest smoulder,
the darkest smoulder you’ll ever know.
And so I conspired to let him burn.
A wolf can poach in its own juices.
But mine danced on coals and leapt
ablaze, until I pussyfooted back in to get him.

I became desperate.
I preached to my wolf
about suicide, proselytized
about reincarnation. Come back
as a sleepy kitten, I said.
Come back as a hibernating bear.
Come back as a snail with a flag trail of surrender.
But my love was indefatigable. It was
volcano and oceanic tremor. It was a black lace bra and
too much jazz at 3 a.m.
My love was as big as betrayal.
I pleaded and pleaded until

you finally looked up and said,
You can only kill a wolf
you don’t want to have,

and only then did I see that

your love
was exactly
the size of two fists.

http://sharanyamanivannan.wordpress.com/

Sharanya Manivannan was born in India on 30 July 1985 and grew up in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. She lives in Kuala Lumpur and Chennai. She is well-known for both her unique bilingual (English, Tamil) writing and performances. She is well-known as the first and only writer to use both languages in Malaysia’s modern underground independent writers’ community. She has received positive remarks about her writing from international writers such as Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Indran Amirthanayagam, Francesca Beard, Shreekumar Varma and Laksmi Pamuntjak.





Three poems

7 10 2010

GUEST WRITER – Bella

Perfection

Perfection
Lies in the
Warmth of your embrace.
In the fullness of your lips
As you kiss,
In your eyes
Deep dark and honest,
In your curves
Your smooth skin
Long legs
And the sweet taste of heaven
That lies between.

Forever after

You tell me
While looking deep into my eyes
That I’m beautiful.
That you wish we’d met before
That you couldn’t imagine life without me.
That’s I am what you’ve been waiting for.
You tell me I’m enchanting.
And that you’ve never met anyone like me.
And that you will always love me
Forever and ever….

I smile and hold your head close to my chest.
I’ve heard those words before.
And in the eyes and hearts and minds of the people
Who spoke those words,
I ceased to be
All that.
I wonder,
How long,
Before you don’t want
Our forever after…

Wife

“Married?!?
Myeeeee child…congratulations!”
So what are you now…
Mrs…Mrs. who?”…
“Weeraratne” I say.
“It’s a perfectly good name.
Didn’t see any point in changing it”.
“Hmmm..”
She’s not amused.
“So, you cook?”
It’s the question I get asked most often.
“No” I reply,
“My husband does”.
She looks horrified.
“You clean then?…
And do the washing?…”
It’s inevitably the follow up question…
“Not really..
We’ve got people for that.”
She’s livid.
You’d think I killed someone.
“That’s not marriage.”
She snorts.
I’ve heard this too many times now to lose my temper.
So I smile politely and make an excuse to leave.
It annoys me,
Talking to women,
Who weigh and value a woman’s worth
On how many meals she can cook
Or how many dishes she can clean.
I hope she doesn’t have daughters of her own…





Time passed is time past

25 06 2010

The river

the river

said Heraclitus.

you think

it is the same

you think you know

how time passed

but

this river is not

the river you knelt in.

time passed is time past,

this water

is not that water,

the cool green water

your feet rippled in

that water is far away

and you will never know

the brown leaves

silvery fish shadows

twisting in the foam.

you will only know memories

dredged up

fished out

grabbed

through the sieve.

time passed is time past.





The floor of time

25 04 2010

Pick your place on the floor

Of time.

Any place.

Adore.

Kiss an eye,

Fall apart

Pick up the pieces.

Twist, turn

Take another place,

Hold your hand.

Fall apart

Pick up the pieces.

Swing around

Arch your neck,

Touch your fingers.

Fall apart

Pick up the pieces.

Pick a new place,

Shimmy in

With your hip out,

Slide your fingers in,

Fling your head back.

Smile.

Don’t pick up the pieces.

What’s the point?

Pick our places

On the floor of time

And get ready.





The long-stalked

23 11 2009

The long-stalked,

stiff and strong.

So beautifully soft,

long-petalled.

Half-petals

feather-like.

So many memories.

Laughter,

holding hands,

throatful of

tears,

looking out the window,

the blue curtain,

love on the floor,

silent passions.

One for each petal,

these many memories.

Each time I see

these luscious flowers

vivid colours

of remembering.

So many memories

that no one else got

these

long-stalked flowers.





On a sleepy afternoon in bed would you read a poem?

21 11 2009

I have been looking for poems in blogs and found myself wondering: is poetry the pastime of elitists and lovers? It appears to me that poetry is not something people are really ‘into’ these days. When do we really read poetry? Other than in school as part of Sinhala or English literature. Did we ever read it as a leisure activity? As something to do on a rainy day in bed? Would you go looking for well-written poems in cyberspace or go to the well-known classics? Would you have sent this poem to a friend as good reading material, however beautiful you think it is? Would you think of sending this to your beloved as a gift? All these questions whirl around in my mind as I look for poems in blogs.

And now, I wonder why – as a generation – we are not ‘into’ poetry. Is it because good poems are hard to find, especially on blogs? Is it because poetry is considered the posh marginal in literature – people think it is sublime, but not many read it. It is not fiction, which lives on the preoccupations of lives. Is it because many people feel that writing – and reading – poems is a deeply personal thing, at a level that fiction isn’t? That it is something to do when in love and in pain?

Sugar

Smooth
on
my fingers.
Soft
in
my mouth.
Swirl
my tongue
around.
Dissolve
in
my mouth.

 

You.

 

Waiting

 

I know myself now

That I shall wait

As I have waited,

as I will always wait.

Patiently, patiently,

As the earth, as the sky.

Patient as water I will wait.

Patient as death.

It makes no difference

Where I go or what I do.

I know after all this time

That there is no time.

Still I wait and wait.

And whatever happens,

whatever I may look back upon

when its all over

I know that there is no end

no beginning.

Nothing but me and you

And the times I wait

between.





Bliss . Cellphones . Independence Square

24 08 2009

Bliss.

Paddy
Field.

Coconut
Tree.

Blue
Wave.

Fiery
Sun.

Slow
Elephant.

Brown
Face.

Home
Again.

Bliss.

cellphones.

orangebluesilverplastic
shiny new and slightly faded
scrolling streaming surfing screaming
fingers blur.

cellphones
bhangradiscotweeting birds
shrill and chiming
always interrupting
something else.

cellphones
full of secrets
untold stories, dates broken
calls unanswered.

sms sadist, cli anguish.
cellphones
smaller faster smaller smaller
goodnews badnews nonews gossip
pictures pop up smiling
friendly camera clicks.

oops.

Independence Square

The lions are sitting in rows,
on Independence Square.
Their stone eyes are fixed and sad.
They’re watching the people
who pass them at dawn
and at sunset,
wearing their oldest clothes –
no one can tell how
clever or happy they are.

The relentless constitutional,
around, around, around.
The girls in search of the boys
in search of the girls.
The middle-aged parents
In pursuit of their
once waistlines.
Fleeing from the coronary
That follows close behind.

The lions are sitting in rows,
In Independence Square.
They’re all exactly sixty years old.
They sit and they sit,
and they listen to the rich old men
in faded tennis shoes,
discuss the economy,
in low voices before they
start touching their toes.





The Urge

23 08 2009

Belly up

Back curved

Body curled

Feet up

Deep into the night

Guiltily

Far into the morning

Lazily

On too-warm sheets

In the afternoon

With round inky shapes

Long neverending stretches

In the middle of journeys

Waiting in bus-stops

Quickly quickly between classes

And again again and again

And then.

It’s over.

And now again.

The crisp pages

Of a

Many-leaved book.