October 18, 2021

Tishani Doshi

THE COMEBACK OF SPEEDOS

I’ll keep this brief. I remember the shock of Mr. G’s tiger-striped trunks 
at the Madras Gymkhana Club. Nothing to conceal, everything to 
declare, like a Mills & Boon hero. Shiver of ball and sack, acres
of hairy scrub. We could not imagine such freedom for
ourselves. To slice through chlorinated depths
with a little basket of dim sum on display.
We were girls. To open our legs
was treason. We held
our breath.

from Rattle #73, Fall 2021
Tribute to Indian Poets

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Tishani Doshi (from the conversation in this issue): “There’s something marvelous about the conciseness and smallness of poems. I love that they are small and yet very big, and that you can spend time with one poem and it can expand so much in you. There’s something about the distillation of the form that is allowed to say things in a way that we can’t do with other arts. There’s something mysterious about it. Nobody is able to define exactly what a poem is; nobody’s able to say what makes a poem good or not—these are still questions that are out for debate, and, in a way, I think they’re meaningless. If a poem touches you or moves you, it has the possibility of transformation, and I’m really interested in that. Of course, novels can do that, and dance is capable of those transformative moments, but a poem for me also reaches back to a tradition of orality, the spoken word, of putting something into existence just by speaking it, by naming it. There’s something ancient in that. There’s something powerful about incantation. I’m less interested in breaking down a poem than in the sense of a poem just washing over you and changing you somehow.” (web)

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