We take a look at Aditi Machado’s poetry that breathes in and out, sometimes in slow motion and sometimes quickly, but all the time cutting away the decorative to show us the pulsing, throbbing beauty of the core
Image credit of the writer
Poems are just another way some of us express a concept of life; another art form where splashes of verse replace watercolour on canvas and create images before the mind’s eye that move us to tears...or leave us stone cold. Beauty lies so much in the eye of the beholder. As in art, so also in poetry, the adorned form vies with the naked one. We realise both are beautiful in their place as expressions of the self, as expressions of who we are. However, poetry that is raw touches us in a way that all that is adorned and show-pieced cannot.
Like Aditi Machado’s poetry. Her work is definitely not decorative. It is stripped to the core and evocative of our times, using language that is charged and contemporary, like ‘a government of electricity in the machine-sky.’
Aditi Machado won the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize and the India Foundation for the Arts Toto Award for Creative Writing (2009). Her poems have appeared in Indian and international journals such as Atlas, New Quest, VOLT, Jacket2, Almost Island and The Guardian. She is the Poetry Editor at Asymptote, a journal of translation.
Aditi makes us behold the body in Rehab: A Confession. In this poem, the woman fails to conform. She is unable to become an earth goddess, working with clay and sand, watching ‘my skin turn terracotta, /my body pose like a sculpture.’
Image courtesy of the writer
My first time I was so young and at the beach.
I’d been buried for half a day. I came out
with new skin, an hour-glass of sand in my hair.
My mother bought me a clay doll.
I would shave its leg, as if to get it clean,
then sniff the discard.
Two years ago it was an earth goddess class.
I’d pictured myself worming through thick airless
mud, coming up for oxygen like a marathon swimmer.
Instead, there were mantras and coloured fabric streaming,
hip movements, exercise: harness
your energy, she said. It made me think of oxen
and cornrowed farmland, those sleek lines
of loam, railroad tracks for me to hurtle down,
and god I’m awake now, this morning, I thought
as I got out cold into the garden – I couldn’t
resist – my toes turning the soil over, soft spades,
the sun opening out like a great kiln.
Could I bake there? I watched my skin turn terracotta,
my body pose like a sculpture.
Friends, I almost didn’t get here.
Srecko Kosovel says, ‘A human being is not symmetrical’. Aditi Machado in Self Portrait tells us how ‘The scale is awry; /geography immeasurable’, reiterating the skewedness of being human. Art as a reflection of the self then does not necessarily adhere to symmetry or order in look or presentation.
The world flickered in and out of x-ray. There had been a click.
Now I am handed an image, as if a map, as if it could lead.
The scale is awry; geography immeasurable. There are stars
and eyes, a government of electricity in the machine-sky.
It is so still the skins of bats hung on trees freeze
into lanterns in the mine-dark night. I am in the corner
of the photograph, below the trees, its whitish leaves
not quite fallen – stalactites – and my hand is raised.
It is a wedding of some kind. All this breathing,
conjugating mass of people is my family. The bat lights
in the trees regiment a glow on my face. It spreads. I turn
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