The Blog of Cafe Dissensus Magazine – we DISSENT

Three Poems

Painting: Serj Fedulov

By Linda Ashok

A Temporary Flea Market

Hearts were the cheapest
then came lungs
and the ribs
O, how can I mistake
there were spines too on sale
So people came
the heartless ones
the lungless ones
the ribless
and the spineless ones
I too joined the fair
with my wounds
for a landfilling
When a seller showed me
how filling is a matter of time
I came home and left a wok
in the garden for monsoon
Others persisted in the trial
they tried all that came
but nothing paired
well with their bodies
They thought at least
logic, reason, and solidarity
would do well
But these too failed them
because of the blinding
shine of opportunity.


Cure for Aloneness

My friend says he has a cure
for my loneliness – that he can
connect me with his friends
who can become my friends.

I look into how I spent
my past sixteen weekends
I have been busy either sleeping
or walking along a pedestrian’s trail
punctuated by dustbins
that hold so much truth for us.
I have been busy complimenting
strangers on the footpath
and proposing to store-keepers
how poetry can really glam up
their interiors. On odd weekends,
I watched a film or ate a morsel
in a pricey restaurant that didn’t
bother to open the doors
as I was alone or maybe they
were too busy to care for someone
almost sleep-walking with groggy eyes
in slippers and a faded top.
On most Sunday nights, I have been
busy making out with time trying hard
to convince if for a change
we can begin with weekends.
So I have been busy over the last
sixteen weekends ever since
I moved to this new city.

But you know, when my friend
proposed to loan me his friends
and fix my aloneness,
I thanked him from my heart,
and in my silence, dished a refusal.

Because I know people are not a fix
when I am already busy with myself
but on weekdays, after work, who cares
to welcome me home with a hug,
and offer a glass of water?



I have trust issues.
But I cannot talk to faith
about this.
So, I look into the mirror
with a bait and catch memories
from the past. Each memory
wriggles for freedom
I do not spare them
I slice them into many pieces
I marinate them in promise
and eat them to the last bone.
I do not wish to be devoured
so I devour the devourer.

Author of whorelight (Hawakal, Aug 2017), Linda Ashok is the 2017 Charles Wallace India Fellow in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Chichester, UK. Her poems and reviews have appeared in several publications, online and in print, including The Common, Contemporary Verses 2, Crab Orchard Review, The McNeese Review, Friends Journal, Axolotl, Skylight 47, Vinyl, The Big Bridge Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poets, Mascara Literary Review, and others. Linda is the Founder/President of RædLeaf Foundation for Poetry & Allied Arts and sponsors the annual RL Poetry Award (since 2013). More at: Twitter: @thebluelimit


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Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine on ‘Digital Archiving in the 21st Century’, edited by Md Intaj Ali, PhD Research Scholar, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.

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