My short story, Strange Attraction was published in Tuesday Tales in Litro, February 14, 2017.
I launched my crowdfunding campaign to make movie poems today on indiegogo. The poems selected are from my soon to be released poetry collection about women. The 5 poems selected are diverse in theme and are representative of the poetry in the collection.
Join me in bringing these poems to life by funding the campaign. There great perks on offer. Also share the information with anyone interested in funding the campaign.
(Photo courtesy of Warna Hettiarachchi)
“Colombo” is published in issue 6 of New Ceylon Writing. You can find it on page 27 here or read it below.
Colombo – by Shirani Rajapakse
huff and puff their way to good health,
proud of the city’s walkways,
the affluent thrusting their
jelly bellies ahead
as they valiantly attempt to compete
with young trendsetters
their ears blocked to reality,
sweating it out by
lakes and parks dressed
in designer clothes stretched taut
across wobbly frames.
They do their thing,
walking, strutting on legs
that can barely hold so much weight,
serious looks on smug faces,
while community dogs stare in amusement,
calling out to friends to come
observe the show.
There’s a whole generation grown up
on an unhealthy lifestyle, unable to cope,
a last bid to get their act together or
face the consequences,
sprawled on a bed with tubes sticking out
from every corner
while they gasp out in agony and plead
to every God known to man
for a second chance.
Yet hospitals are overcrowded.
They are as popular as
restaurants and watering holes.
Every minute someone’s sick, every minute
someone needs medical attention, and
every minute someone dies in
a lonely old home unable to cope, away
from families that have
no use for old flesh anymore.
The Way It Is, at International Times today.
We can’t sing certain songs
that speak of our glorious past or our
identity. We are shamed. Tunes
hummed softly to walls that sometimes listen but
don’t record words barely coherent they
brush cheeks against hard surfaces
and sigh to winds passing outside. We
can’t be proud of our
history, the long winding road
of deeds that made us who we
are, those many, many years of development,
love for humanity and the land we
live in, the great strides we
took into the future that brought us
here where we are, right now. We
are ridiculed, made to feel stupid, those years
slowly erased from memory one word at a time,
dissected, analyzed and thrown away as
not being worth a cent. Our
history. My history that sleeps crammed tight
inside cupboards, imprisoned behind glass
walls in a white man’s home, forgotten, yearning to
return but held back by words agreed with
forced signatures while mothers watched
their infants balanced on swords. We
aren’t allowed to practice our beliefs, our
religion of non-violence. We
are looked down as being inferior practicing an
ancient wisdom they claim has no place
in this new world order rolling in. Everything is being
re-written to suit the white man
are forced to accept the white man’s ways
and beliefs, his lifestyle, his food filled with things
that harm our bodies. We
are persuaded to sell our values, our businesses,
infrastructure, money making properties that are
made to look as disasters, failures in our
incapable hands, handed over to foreigners with
no idea of their true worth, to appease
buffoons in political power. We watch helpless as our
lands, those many tufts of earth that make up
this place we call home, nurtured with the blood of
warriors that died to save it for a future,
are torn up, lines drawn for
ownership claimed from foreign shores.
Slowly, slowly we
change, turn once again to become slaves to
whiteness this time not controlled with
guns held against us
but through agreements signed in cold climes
behind hushed doors. We
are compelled to obey the rules
follow the oil man’s religion. Shroud our
women in darkness. Our
words are twisted like vines, tied up,
strangled. Simple meanings deconstructed, what we
meant is portrayed as something negative, ugly,
best left unsaid thrown into the gutter. We
become nothing. Beaten up our
backs curved in surrender aged beyond our
into submission to the white master
oil master coming in different clothes, speaking
through different tongues sliced in two, sugar
coated to please
controlling through regional bullies,
political prophets and
religious puppets, money exercising utmost
authority while debauchery reigns,
reigns, reigns and thugs party with not a care in
the world and the police cheer and the public
cry foul and no one listens for ears
hide inside potholes and words roll in the dirt
desperately waiting for the rains.
© 2016 Shirani Rajapakse
A License to Dream is featured in the “LEARNING TO DRIVE Poetry and Prose Series” on Silver Birch Press.
Four of my poems are featured on VerseWrights today. They are “Dream of the Housemaid”, “Questions Left Unanswered”, Driving Down Galle Road” and “The Violinist.”
Two poems, “The Poetess” and “Woman of the House” was published in Learning and Creativity as part of the 6th Women Scream International Art and Poetry Festival 2016. To read go here.
“Out of Control” ,a poem for My MANE Series running this month on Silver Birch Press.
Earth Song is featured in LIJLA Vol 4 No1 February 2016. Go here or read it below.
I am the weeping earth cringing
in pain when you dig me up, pulling out
limbs, entrails leaving me to hemorrhage.
Shocked, in excruciating pain, no one hears my
silent cries. Children orphaned, lives torn apart,
fracking my veins drinking me dry. Parched
I crumble into pieces. I am the silent sky watching
anger whizz by to explode in places you don’t like.
Not yours to care while I listen
to the cries of the weak
trying to make sense of it all
amidst terror raining down from
above. I am the roaring waves, the deep
darkness under heaving waters, flowing rivers
gurgling streams and silent lakes that stand still as
mirrors for clouds to comb their hairs. You
damn me everywhere but I lift my
head straining to rise, course through the
way I want and not how you think
I should. I am the raging fire that burns, taking
the trees with me chasing the birds away,
the deer, rabbits and wild beasts
that hide within my voluminous cloaks. Trees, how
I love to sway to birds tunes, the beat of squirrels feet,
weave my magic through the land, burrowing in deep,
standing up tall reaching high to the skies waving
my many arms in the breeze holding onto life. I am
woman I am life I am earth and I bleed.