Poetry — September 8, 2015 9:53 — 0 Comments

Two Poems – Rita Banerjee

Please Listen and Do Not Return
(after Nick Carraway and Tom Joad)


She, portrait
in miniature, she
I said I had

found in my youth
a her, a when
men built dreams

with hands
still, I saved
a lock of hers, kept

her like the harbor
lights, ship sounds
at night, I knew

light, green-back
and otherwise
could bring me

to that mind
daffodil colored—

I wondered again the
meaning of East,
the mean,

what emotions went
with living,
with home

things travel
through valleys
of ash, I walk

in gray
and dead houses,
her eyes porcelain

like mint

always close
always closed
to me


She’s full stamped
on ground
my fingers

drew the line out
before the turtle
came to

dust to dust
my world
was thin

I had no roam
no hope to
call a

road, a line
that would

she aired
full of whistle
like brakes, she came

to me like
my sister
what could I—

knot her hair
braid its rust
and mettle

she held the imprints
of children
in her, held

nothing more
like Saturn,
her orchards

too far to know
what fruit
of home could and

in what river
slots we’d find
the used

jalopies, family
was not
a word I had

seen on the chalky
in the magazines

used jalopy

couldn’t buy
what I didn’t
earn, earth

to ghosts to
graves, her eyes
gave milk.




(after Gloria Rich)

words depend
upon on the breath

my voice and yours,
on the mist
that streams

between two mouths
staring at each other
in a lone alleyway

in the dark cool eve
of winter in the bright city
with a kaleidoscope

belly. The breaths
between lips are mixing,
the mouths are black

holes, craving light
and each other.
They are hungry—

they want to kiss
the whiteness
between words,

devour silence and its fruits.


Rita Banerjee is a writer, and received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and has been featured in VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Riot Grrrl Magazine, Poets for Living Waters, The Fiction Project, Jaggery, The Crab Creek Review, The Dudley Review, Objet d’Art, Vox Populi, Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure, Chrysanthemum, and on KBOO Radio’s APA Compass in Portland, Oregon. Her first collection of poems, Cracklers at Night, received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book at the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Book Festival. She is Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop.

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney