Berfrois

Intellectual Jousting in the Republic of Letters

Merosity

by Sharanya Manivannan


Filter coffee under a flowering tree

on the street on which he still lives,


in a blue art deco house in which

there must exist a scintilla of me


as something other than only

the great loss of his life.


The summer spreads her fingers

beyond the octave of sweetness.


There is a cut in my svadishtana

chakra from my last lover,


the one who was too afraid

to kiss me sober or to be

unlike any other.


Early in the mornings I feed the crows

steamed rice and mustard seeds


and when I walk at all it is under

canopies of raining leaves,

into arenas of unswept blossoms.


Life is simple on these days

that slake the singe of the rest.


Like clay I have cooled to a

more tolerant temperament,


like the wasp I build alone,

telling myself that I am not

keeping count.

______________________________________________________________

Sharanya Manivannan is the author of a book of poems, Witchcraft. Her poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in Hobart, Wasafiri, Drunken Boat, Prairie Schooner, Killing The Buddha and elsewhere.She has received an Elle Fiction Award and a Lavanya Sankaran Fellowship,and been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. She lives in India.

Benedetta Polignone: The Kiss That I Want, 2014

Benedetta Polignone: The Kiss That I Want, 2014

Public Enemy

timotheusvermeulen:

Some months ago I wrote a short essay for Frieze documenting some of the most despicable and unsuccessful politicians currently on TV. You can read the essay in full here. I have copy-pasted a teaser below.

It seems no one takes representative democracy seriously any more. Elected politicians are seen either as unscrupulous, opportunist cheats or as ignorant imbeciles, while parliaments are taken to be lobbyists’ whorehouses. This dissatisfaction is particularly visible in a spate of current television dramas, where the worst human beings make the most successful politicians, idealism is a bad career move, and nothing ever gets done that will change the electorate’s life for the better. With the recent return of HBO’s political satire Veep (2012–ongoing) to the small screen for a fourth season, it seems a pertinent moment to take a look at some of the most odious political characters on TV today.

Few small-screen politicians are, or have ever been, as cynical and self-serving as Frank Underwood in House of Cards (2013–ongoing), a contemporary American reimagining of the 1990 BBC series set at the end of the Thatcher era. Underwood – played by Kevin Spacey – murders his opponents, manipulates and undermines his colleagues and friends, and plans political manoeuvres exclusively for his own advancement. In one particularly painful scene, he sacrifices a friendship of over 20 years (his only true friendship, in fact) to save his political career. Most appallingly, Underwood’s tactics pay off: over the course of two seasons he crosses the road from the House of Representatives to the White House and into the Oval Office. House of Cards presents politics as a game that is won by the most cunning politician. The worst hand of cards you can be dealt includes idealism, empathy and moral principles.

theparisreview:

“I’m not quite so far gone as to be blind to the madness of this behavior—like one of those people on Hoarders who sort of knows he has a lot of stuff, but clearly doesn’t really believe it’s a problem. I have enough sanity to be humiliated.”
Sadie Stein on dreading the loss of a computer.

theparisreview:

“I’m not quite so far gone as to be blind to the madness of this behavior—like one of those people on Hoarders who sort of knows he has a lot of stuff, but clearly doesn’t really believe it’s a problem. I have enough sanity to be humiliated.”

Sadie Stein on dreading the loss of a computer.

Love in the Time of Gaza
by Arup K Chatterjee ...thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past. -- Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcí-a Márquez Hibiscus petal on your cheek: America arms Ukraine; to avenge our forgetful lover's week, our Gaza grows insane. Your whispers are so deafening, though marshmallows to my tears: the whispers of the dead are deadening, but even their stench endears your subtle Russian breath: were it you who shot it down? I can forgive, let even death on us may cast its frown. Today someone has called it war, is it the same thing we do, in every hint of petrichor, in our every rendezvous? He said no one will remember if no one wrote of the spectral flight, or how namaazis at Gaza dismember prayers of missilic night. Scent of lavender on your knee: now he just called it battle; even if we kiss for a century our kitchen must garnish the cattle. Do you know they cover their faces with purdah, even as they sleep? If twilight erupts there won't be traces for their naked bodies to weep. You look so eagerly at us and yet you cannot define. The maiming voices returning, thus bitterly rile our sacred line. They spit out their vaporous form -- while we love regardlessly -- into your eyes, napalmic storm, swallowing me flawlessly. Let us decide a day and time, before those dregs of Palestine gush as calciferous slime into our spillage of seminal brine. Let us decide our weapons each, though for our nozzles we thirst. Let us in our war this war impeach:
shall it be you to kill me first?


Arup K Chatterjee is Asst. Prof. of English at University of Delhi. He is a PhD scholar at the Centre for English Studies, Jawharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is the founder/editor of *Coldnoon: Travel Poetics* (International Journal of Travel Writing). He is recipient of Charles Wallace fellowship, 2014-15, to UK.