The Blog of Cafe Dissensus Magazine – we DISSENT

Two Poems

Painting: Conn Ryder

By Michelle D’Costa

When they ask​​

After Lisa Suhair Majaj’s Guidelines

​​When they ask, ​​​​kitne aadmi the?
​D​on’t say, ​none​​. They won’t believe you​.​
Bollywood’s taught them otherwise.

When they ask, what will you have?
​D​on’t say​, teetotaler​​. They won’t believe you​.​
Bollywood’s taught them otherwise.

When they ask, are your parents together?
​D​on’t say​​​​ 40 years. They won’t believe you​.​
Hollywood’s taught them otherwise.

When they ask, any animal you don’t eat?
​Don’t ​​say, ​chicken​ only​. ​It won’t matter.
​They’ll ask, Chicken or Dragon? What difference?

When they ask, you know any Konkani films?
​S​ay, you’ve ​no clue. They’ll believe you​.​
Minorities have no music or cinema.

When they ask, why don’t you eat prasad?
​D​on’t say you can’t or​ ​you don​’​t want to.
Say, you will​,​ the next time they get some.

When they ask, what plans this weekend?
​D​on’t ​refuse the pub.  They won’t believe you​.​
Just go and pretend​ it’s a library.

When they ask, ​you have no one script, no?
​D​on’t say anything. ​Pretend you don’t know
​of the polygamy. Play dumb like an Arab.

When they ask, ​why just one God​?​
​Admit you’re bored. Say, A God
who fornicates is ​fascinating.

​When they ask, why short dresses?
​D​on’t say, you’re​ ​comfortable​.​
Say the tailor always gets it wrong.​

​They’ll believe what they want to anyway.
​Follow them to the temple, when they ask,
Why can’t you when we go to church?​ 

​Don’t confess during mass.
They’re not watching but
he has seen your spine melt.



After Ranjit Hoskote’s ‘Open for business’

‘Closed’ is the sign we get
when they hear us speak Konkani.
They don’t ‘get’ us.
We could be vegan.

I try to establish a bond,
Konkani is just like Marathi.
What’s on the menu? Any
Christmas specials?

No birthday specials just breasts
for breakfast. The waiter stares,
devours. I shouldn’t have worn this
off-shoulder dress or left home.

The man who gets beef
usually will be arriving soon.
The waiter packs his eyes
and forces me to take them home.

 D’costa has work published in Coldnoon, Antiserious, The Madras Mag, and more. Do look up her blog here.


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Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine on ‘Women as the ‘displaced’: The context of South Asia’, edited by Suranjana Choudhury, academic and Nabanita Sengupta, academic, India.

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