Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily: Downtown Walking by Preeti Parikh

Sharing here my poem that recently featured in the Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily Project and the Cincinnati Walking Sonnet Project. Many thanks to Pauletta Hansel for the wonderful work she does as Cincinnati Poet Laureate.

Pauletta Hansel

Did I mention I loved sonnets? Yes, I believe I did! Preeti Parikh of Blue Ash wrote this lovely poem while participating in a Cincinnati Walking Sonnet workshops, starting off from the Mercantile Library. I invite you to read more of these at my page devoted to the Cincinnati Walking Sonnet Project and to try one on your own. Keep an eye out for upcoming workshops—I’m scheming up a Cincinnati Streetcar Sonnet Workshop for the summer. In the meantime, come hear Preeti read this poem tonight, April 26, 7 pm at the Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily Project Reading  at People’s Liberty, 1805 Elm Street, Over the Rhine.

Downtown Walking

Hot dog stand-smell, a red and white canopy;
up in the wrought iron balconies, four ashen-
faced figurines in white robes and shawls,
their long skeletal fingers beseeching;
a sign on a storefront says–Safeguarding
the children–elsewhere–Divine love always has
met and always…

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Greetings

Hello there!

A few gentle nudges by friends and some queries from well-wishers inquiring about my absence have brought me back here to the blog after a brief hiatus. To answer the most pertinent question–yes, I have been writing in the interim.

The majority of my time and effort has been devoted to reading, working on the craft of writing and immersing myself in the world of poetry. It has been an affirming educational experience so far and I feel fortunate to have had the chance to learn from some gifted teachers and fellow writers/ poets. I feel indebted to these generous folks that share the abundance of their knowledge and experience.

There is some poetry and a few personal essays that I have worked on recently but would like to put them aside for a bit and return to them later on and revise/ rework them as needed.

Concurrently, this has also been a time of some deep introspection–of coming to terms with acknowledging, accepting and working towards one’s passion, desires and compulsions; of recognizing the realities of one’s inner landscape; of letting go of illusions of control and expectation; and of respecting the present moment.

All of the above happens in the midst of my everyday life which like any other person’s has its ebbs and flows of work and leisure. That and my propensity for reticence caused blogging to fall to the wayside for a while. Whilst I am not the most current at this blog presently, I have been tweeting regularly at @PreetiSParikh

I hope to be able to post here much more frequently in the future.
See you all around!

Preeti


***For those with similar interests, I would like to share some of the resources that I have been utilizing–

Touching base

Touching base–

I realize that I have been missing in action here at the blog for some time now. I have been a bit preoccupied in the last few weeks, taking a couple of online courses, educating myself about writing.

There is one course that I am enjoying immensely, that talks about the craft of poetry. There is a fair amount of reading involved, as is studying the works of the masters and critically analyzing how they use poetic devices to craft iconic poems. There is also a creative writing aspect to this course which is a nice way to explore and experiment with different forms and techniques of writing poetry while getting constructive feedback for it.

The course is tough and I feel stretched to the edges but I am learning a lot and having a great time doing it. I have written a decent amount lately, probably more than I have in the months preceding.

However, that also means that along with family commitments and other obligations, this leaves little time for play, meaning playing with words for the blog. I expect this busyness to continue for the next few months and while I have enjoyed soaking up all the goodness from this exposure so far, I hope to very soon settle back into a routine of posting on the blog regularly.

So stay tuned folks!

Writing an ‘aftermath’ poem

AFTER PAINTING THE CHAIR

It stood there simply
with its arching back and sinewy arms,
resting its four legs on
wrinkled and splattered sheets of newspaper
bearing what were now blotched accounts
of the ordinary lives of regular folks.

A container of black paint lay askew–
faint rivulets of color stains on it
where the pigment had bubbled over
reaching for a levelled ground.
Caked bristles of a paintbrush
rested on the rim–stiffening and drying out.

A new paint smell lingered in the air
faintly registered by a nose
now acclimated to its sombre presence,
leaching slowly
into the beads of sweat
rolling off my brow.

A curious silence pervaded
where for an hour
papers had rustled beneath my shifting weight
as I reached into the hidden crevasses of the chair,
the steady brushstroke sound wiping out
the grating blemishes smoothened out by gritty sandpaper.

I stood admiring my diligence in
staying out of bounds of the
intricate latticework of strings
that formed the back and seat of the chair–
this vestibule that had once borne the weight
of a Grandfather I had never known.

My hands still felt the tremors
of hypnotic repetition–
dip, squeeze, stroke
dip, squeeze, stroke–
the trance of steady movement
of being lost in the service of painting.

It was but yesterday
or many years back into childhood
that I am reminded of this moment–
the day I met afresh and
not just in my thoughts
the chair that Grandfather once sat upon.


*This is a poem I wrote recently in response to a writing prompt in a class that I am currently taking.

Condensed and Distilled

It is the last day of the year today and looking back and saying goodbye to 2014, I am attempting to recap it by revisiting some of my tweets from the year and finding a place for them here on my blog.
I signed up for Twitter earlier this year, a few months before I started this blog and in the process of experimenting and sharing bits of my writing there, I found myself developing an increasing appreciation for the succinctness that the medium imposes- a 140 character limit per tweet to put your point across.
I welcomed the challenge of writing within the confines of this framework and found that I quite liked the process of condensing and distilling my words to fit into a tweet or two.

In fond reminiscence, here are some themes that I explored and attempted to write pithy bits about:

Truth and the Intangibles

  • Truth-
    greatest when told to our own selves
    sacred when committed to silently
    irrevocable when affirmed by action
    irrefutable when risked all for.
  • Intangible –
    where thoughts linger
    where dreams take flight
    where the heart feels
    where the soul knows.
  • That moment in life when you learn to take yourself out of the equation and see the truth for what it is.
    That.
  • That moment of utter honest acceptance of life and relinquishing of all illusions of control. That realization of self-agency.
    That.

Silence

  • ‘Silence’ could mean any of these- an expression of solidarity, a call for action, a cry for help. Take your pick and if you care to act, do so.
  • Apathy, cowardice or inaction- is one necessarily worse than the other?
  • Whether we like it or not, our silence speaks for us. It is then, in our interest to ensure that it conveys what we want to express.

Love and Kinship

  • Love
    an ode to your highest ideal self
    a compassionate kinship to the ‘not so great’ parts of you,
    an overwhelming desire for your well being.
  • You –
    a beacon, a lighthouse
    forever present
    anchoring me
    to my deepest sense of self.
    Am I adrift
    or is it our lives that are
    floating by?
  • Who are we
    stripped away of all facades-
    the many layers of personas that we adorn?
    I am called by many names,
    prefixes and suffixes,
    each one clamoring to claim
    a bit of my soul-
    the core that remains
    rightfully mine
    and
    steadfastly yours.
  • Home
    is a heart – pure,
    free from malice, artifice or duplicity;
    where I feel understood and accepted.
    Home
    is that mutual regard
    where we rejoice in kinship
    surrounded by love and goodwill,
    laughter and joy.
    Home
    is where I found you.

Penitence

  • Understanding and empathy are fine sentiments but cannot match the searing compassion you feel when you live through another person’s pain.
  • Penitence
    is a vast ocean
    that I swam across
    yet never reached the shore
    because every step on land
    turned into depths of water,
    so immense.
  • Penitence
    is the pause –
    before laughter,
    before joy –
    asking of me
    if I dare tread
    that path
    strewn with pain-
    once yours
    and now mine.
  • Penitence
    is a burden gladly borne-
    lighter than banal apathy
    lighter than stoic indifference
    lighter than heaving egoism
    lighter than dreary inaction
    -painful,yet gladly borne.
  • Penitence-
    a quiet commitment to a sacred truth
    a steadfast devotion to a lost cause
    a sense of gratitude for seeming existence
    a willingness to accept responsibility
    an avowal to do right.

The above lines in their original tweet form are assimilated on a separate page here on the blog.
In the past, I have done a similar recap post about other tweets, it can be found here at #Life.

That was my roundup of some moments from the recent past, here’s to looking forward to the coming ‘todays’ and to living with ‘presence’ in the present.

Happy New Year to all!