By Praniti Gulyani
Leslie Norris – he was a boy, or rather my classmate in room number 3B, in the colorful part of the school that was covered in posters and glue and stickers reserved exclusively for third grade he’d wear grey pants, a greyer shirt and white shoes, more black than white and his hair was snipped along the edges, like a bush trimmed by a gardener, with uncertain hands he’d have bruised palms – which he’d keep dabbing with leaves and refuse to allow the school nurse to apply antiseptic, he’d say, he doesn’t want this sticky, sickly, city medicine his notebook pages were a deep, husky yellow his turmeric fingerprints overpowering the algebra engulfing the coefficient and variable and in literature, he’d write poetry his lines curving and curling like a wild creeper that reaches out, and winds itself around a bit of sky strangulating it, so much so – that it squeezes out the blue in biology, he’d describe birds with purple feathers and crimson beaks, and say that he’d once caught a snake who was sprinkled with real diamond and gold and on Christmas, when the school would take us to the church, and position us before the Giving Tree, and ask us to write on scraps of felt-tip paper one thing, we really, really wanted Leslie Norris would look at the paper spin it around, and marvel at the way the glitter rubbed off on his fingers and when he’d see, that all of us were thinking and writing, he’d secretly write that the only thing he really, really wanted was a father
A Little Bit of Space
in your canvas- painting, of a landscape with a sun and quivering hills, you leave a little bit of space, beneath a tall, eucalyptus tree and then, you spend hours painting green, glassy leaves and branches that claim to hold the sun you move onto a hut, and a little lake and in the lake, you paint the softly dripping sun and in the hut, you say, you’ll draw a man a man standing tall, with his hunched, bent woman you say, there’s a stove – where the woman is cooking a lowly-placed dining table where the man is waiting you draw a window, and veil it with a layer of fog, and then you decide whether the man will like, what the woman has cooked, and finally you decide to paint him angry and with the weighing balance of emotions that exists in every artist’s heart you measure the right amount of anger the right amount of grief, the right amount of sorrow and a little extra pain and then, you focus on thickening the fog, you use white and grey and make it almost black and then, you widen the space beneath the eucalyptus tree and when I interrupt, and finally ask you why you say – ‘the fog must be thick, so that no one can see what is happening inside, and the space beneath the eucalyptus tree must be widened so that the woman can come, and hide for a bit, just for a bit after what has to happen, has happened after all of it is done’
The Sun is a Song
the sun is but a song to be rolled and tucked between clenched teeth, like a betel leaf to be learnt, forgotten and learnt again to be sung hastily, and out of tune to be stopped, inhaled, and be sung again to be carried on lips, which bear footprints of summer breeze, and spring flavor and the sudden prick of winter frost to be weighed and counted on the scales of the soul which measure how much of heart is to be given to who to be preserved between notebook pages like a teenager’s love letter, sprinkled with bright, pink evening clouds to be placed on cheeks, or rather, arranged like a patterned assortment of first rain the sun is but a song
All The Things I’ve Learnt From A Shooting Star
to emerge from bits of night that wrap themselves around breaths of cloud to glaze bedroom windows, and fill in light in the ambiguous shape of a lingering wish to touch outstretched fingers – slowly, cautiously and settle in the centre of palms lending only a speck of light – deliberately, comfortably to fold myself between pages, that hold unsteady, uncertain, unknown poetry and despite knowing, that poetry is uncertain to still cling onto every word to rise, and tower over those watching me to fall and drop like dew on velvety leaves and when I fall, to see if those who watched me when I rose are still watching to mount bits of yellowing breeze the residue of summer, sewn into the sky and linger outside a soldier’s barrack pressing my being against a widow that bears footprints of teardrops, that are yet to be shed by the white, cloud-crusted eyelids of the sky to weave in and out – of a mother’s prayer, to punctuate a song, sung in a slow, scratchy voice to be talked about, and written on and maybe, if I am lucky, to be argued about to be looked at, to be wished on but, most importantly to be wished for
Praniti Gulyani is a 17 year old poet from India.
One thought on “Leslie Norris and Other Poems”
Very enjoyable reading!