Anita Pati

Poetry

Here I am in a rare appearance reading a couple of poems as part of the Kinara collective for South Asian Heritage Month (I’m at 12 minutes 35 secs in but the others are brilliant so watch them if you can)… August 2021

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Du78h0Mbi4

From Hiding to Nothing (publ. April 2022, Pavilion Poetry)

how many of us never call it?

because when you smash your head

like a pumpkin on the Incarnadine door frame,

having siphoned the party’s Malbec

at a townhouse in Stoke Newington,

ethanol spearing darts through the gloom,

everyone too sober, in control, for you,

teen years caught up

like flames at your skirts,

polite chat, minted verbena, NO

and he pickets your elbow, and people’s laughs –

see the couple fly so witty that Man that professional

Man with the footballer curls, that Man’s

sluicy arm that projects you too hard,

that Man who protects: it’s your own stupid fault.

i’ve never called it, but

reformed friends need you to leave,

ciao go away good to see you next time.

still today you think it was you

after wine, doesn’t matter

what happened, it was me.

and all you knew was the charity worker, dapper, yes,

his ex-wife an author but him, met him twice,

at your back, Victorian squat with Last FM streaming

and only your screams like nothing you know

escaped your mouth since

shouldn’t have drunk, was me

couldn’t stop, rolled in carpet like that

such an intricate ceiling rose, these townhouses, one day i’ll live

in one, still i’ve said nothing and who knows

least me, drink and me close up your wineshame, that mouth

that wine shut your mouth


POEMS PUBLISHED BETWEEN OCTOBER 2019 AND MAY 2020:

Dial-a-Poem telephony project (May 2020, Routed)
https://crossedlines.co.uk/dial-a-poem/

Smoke Magazine (Dec 2019, Hey Diddley Riddley Road)

Stand Magazine ed. 
Vahni Capildeo (Oct 2019, Olive Ridley)
https://www.standmagazine.org/contributors/anita-pati/1636

Poetry London (Oct 2019, Manju won third place in Poetry London/Clore competition)
https://poetrylondon.co.uk/paperdolls-or-where-are-my-curly-scrolls-of-sisters-by-anita-pati/


MULTIMEDIA

A video of my poem Honolulu Hair by Toni Le Busque and ifbook made when I was an Arvon mentee.


EARLIER POEMS

Mal

Them dogs won’t touch us three.
On Pendle Hill, no wind can whip us,
no brack of clouds from Chorley pall us.

Look. Dogs here are bogbounce happy,
kiddies snuffing balls and whatnot near Malkin,
families tripping from the corrugated towns.

They skirl around me, my own dog Whistler:
springer spaniels, border collies,
Sunday walkers flush-cheeked fed.

Proud marchers in their slimy wellies,
clodding soft black puddings underfoot.
We’re all white sons, Joe, my white son.

But they’re checking out my army kecks,
peering at the tail prickling stiff
and scared between Whistler’s legs –

a chastise stick pointing at me, malefick, like
it’s my fault I smack them. But both muck around.
I’ll bat painted witches when they shrink from my hands.

I’ll rag Joe’s mum till her mess washes off in Bowland drizzle.
These valleys, the shutdown towns: Nelson, Bacup,
their streetlights slag us slant like toothless whores.

Those dark moors wither when we’re near,
their split mills fallen now warp foreign
blackamoors in Burnley, Blackburn, Padiham.

I’ll flick them all: cotton grass under my thumb,
their spirits sporing across the Pennines
floating to a halt at my dog’s mangy jaws.

(first published in Poetry London, Summer 2014)


An unborn child wonders if it’s worth it

They say the seas catfight by night,
that rabbling gales scorch huddled girls?
Well, toffee, Haiti howls, that’s right.

Lizards and ladies stoned in deserts,
rows of heads popped by rocks in red little shocks?
Oh, poppet, the tongue that cocks will cop it.

And grannies and mice are vial mummies in cold countries,
mummies in others suck gun through their gums?
The choice, Lucy Locket, is yours to grace this earth.

Liver, cornea, lymph rotted from rust in water,
babies burping the expiration of suicide daddies?
Every little helps through WaterAid monthly, kiddo.

But the tremor of stars stirs furious lovers together?
Yes. Points and counterpoints horrify me.

And the migratory Brahminy kites swoon at Lake Chilika?
Pumpkin, most folk are wanting to flee.

Maybe I’ll whistle to see who picks up my tune?
Weigh it up, petal, maybe we’ll see you soon.

(first published in Magma, Issue 50, 2011)


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