Poetry in the city.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla arranged to meet poet Ishan Marvel in the park opposite Regal Cinema in Connaught Place.
In his 20s, Mr Marvel is presently in a state of limbo. “My MA degree is stuck because of an optional Hindi paper,” he says. “I flunked it because of Internal Assessment issues, and so I need to pass it this time in May.”
Looking around the gathering darkness, Mr Marvel says, “You can be with yourself in this park, and yet observe all around. If you sit at the edges, you get a panoramic view of the crazy traffic at the Regal intersection. To be alone and silent in the midst of such bustle, to have a space which can allow you to do that, I think, is sort of special. To be able to stay sane and happy in the urban madness—it’s one of the key themes of my poetry, and my life.”
An admirer of Allen Ginsberg, Mr Marvel shares a poem with us.
My city is…
line of people squatting by the tracks for morning shit
line of supercars stuck in summer traffic on five-metre road
beggar-child-dog amid garbage in winter sun
fat schoolboy biting into air-conditioned burger
school girl pulling up grey skirt at a bus-stop
sculpted woman in a sneeze-cloud of perfume
drunk men puking in the VIP room
mad woman picking bird-feed for breakfast
one-leg man hopping across red light for arms
cross-dresser whore teasing men of the night
inch of rush-hour space that escapes
ancient motorcycle snaking through truck menace
tar, metro, rickshaw, ruin, kebab, filth, beer bottle, cough, river, park, plastic and giant flag me, soaking it all in, falling to pieces day after day
you, walking at the mall, with flowers in your hair
a poem that never ends
a story that never meets
my city is my city is my city . . .
Urban settings for my verse