Awkward Bumping in the Theory District

A poem by Nisha Ramayya

In losing halves, the materiality of the reading experience mediates the sincerity of your voice.

‘Make three true “we” statements each’: longing, not releasing between-whiles.

I read poetry to drink with imaginary friends.

Transferring the investment unkind, from mountain to cry. The plan believes itself to be special, having been assured of its specialness since birth.

The feeling that takes soundings and scrapes, aims, and knock-down blows us. Reduced to an equality, my jokes become funnier.

I read poetry to maintain my honour.

The loose tangles of habit and taste (an annotated bibliography). Thinking of ourselves as more than distance corrects the attachment.

In the time it took me to retrieve my cards, the connection imperative became a stylised refusal.

Don’t take the mutual response personally, a success story.

We can do more than run circles around the subject: brown eyes, blue eyes, two thirds into the first day.

I tear my way through getting to know you (the half-life reasserts itself wholefully). Not politicised, not finding my people, frowning to hear the question asked.

The unnatural ease of disentanglement. Unhappily having, to spend time writing one thing instead of another.

Works are what you say: stop before tumbling. Grace as the ways we might fit.

Nisha Ramayya is a poet and visiting lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London and Kent. Her pamphlet, Notes on Sanskrit (2015), is published by Oystercatcher Press.

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