Poems and Other Myths:

A collection of spoken word poetry by women from Asia.


Riya Ray


So here goes,

my epic love story

never heard, never told.

As clichéd as love stories get

I fell in love with you

as you fell in love me

it never gets better than this

I loved you and

you loved me too.

In a forest, dark and dense like your hair

ages and ages ago

in times when the world was different

in the times of gods and monsters

we met in times when there was no time

for love stories like this

They call me surpanakha.

A monster, woman too ugly for love stories

You are the queen

And I am another king's sister.

Like it often happens

the men in our lives

are going to fight over us

In a forest, dark and dense like your hair

ages and ages ago in times

when the world was different

in the times of gods and monsters

we met in times when there was no time

for love stories like this

I looked at you

and you looked at me,

called me meenakshi,

a name long forgotten

I have eyes like that of a fish,

I look like a fish, I

glide around you like a fish

You. You called me meenakshi,

and I stood there shedding all my scales

embarrassed and blushing.

You called me.

I did not know what to call you

goosebumps on my body

we let our skin do the talking.

Forgetting you are still a queen,

you are married

you have a husband

and I well I have a brother

who hates your husband

who hates my brother

You belong to him

and I belong to someone else.

But in that moment,

we belonged to us.

We belonged to

only ourselves

we belonged to us

But like most love stories

the stuff of the legends told

never end in happy endings

My love always races

after a waterfall

head right to the rocks,



One sultry summer,

they pulled me away from you

pulled me by my hair

mutilated my nose my ears

your husband and brother

like good men and kings

drove back home

questions of honour and monstrosity

and left me to face my monstrosity

quite literally

splattered blood in my face

I am a monster,

I don't know why being different, unnatural

always ends with blood in the face

even now

even now I spin my days with madness

Sita. You, did you spend your days the same?

Was their sadness in your wait?

Did you wait for me?

They always want to avenge us,

my brothers your brothers

these men always fights

battles tainting our names


I never sat down to understand the form and grammar, grammar or grammer, the correct
sentence, the right tenses, I always used to write God as Ogd and Love as Lveo, and many
other small stepping over over letters, words taking space of my thoughts my thoughts made
up of words and I am losing it while jotting it down. I don't want to be a poet, but I write, I'll
write, I remember the first thing I wrote on a sad morning with pencil under my bed, while
running away from home inside my home, I jotted down, the letters I wrote to the grandmother, no one knows
what happened to her, I have no sense of time, I'd want to call
you at 4am and tell you I had half a dream of you sleeping next to me and I feel like telling
this because we never really slept together, so I never understood tense because what I felt, I keep feeling and I
cannot count how many mistakes are there in this thing that I am writing
now present fucking continuous. I re-write my college work minimum three times before
submitting so when you ask me how you think so fast, write so fast, I had many holidays of
failed English classes to teach me to make mistakes and reduce them. I never really did learn how to write I am an
Literature graduate (English is E so there is an before literature, my language is like that) but trust me I did it, I survived it because I fell in love with Bertha
Mason. I never understood the length and measurements of poems, the different types, when they taught the
romantics I became only interested in the politics of it. I do not want to be a poet, that is very hard work and my
bones ache from long language classes. I never learned how to write but "I write only because there is a voice
within me that refuses to be still." Still I write because I know no other way, I have painted every inch of my skin
fighting my thoughts, covered too many walls now I feel like drowning not in baths but showers, so I
shiver and with tremors I write on spread open cigarette packets and receipts of metro cards
and I know I lose most of it everyday but there is a voice inside of me wanting to sit beside me on dead papers,
how can I not give them that?