Sprawling like a thought unformed,
I will begin – but how should I begin?
The problem is to make the effort.
Somewhere among my dreams,
with cold, determined intellect,
I am corrupted by the world, continually.
All my waiting turned to this:
a worried look, a tired way of speech,
words, looks, gestures, everything betrays
when I pretend to be happy.
How much of me you leave untouched,
the lyrical impulse frozen.
I do not want
whatever is beyond my reach;
this longing is for nakedness.
Sources & Method: A cento composed from the first lines of a selection of poems by Nissim Ezekiel, including Birth, Description, Problem, Dualism, Division, The Double Horror, Failure, Communication, On Meeting a Pedant, Confession, For Her, The Stuffed Owl, Nocturne, A Different Way, Motives, The Railway Clerk, For William Carlos Williams, and Nakedness (I).
Shloka Shankar is a freelance writer from Bangalore, India. She has found her niche in Japanese short-forms and remixed poetry alike. Her poems and visual art pieces have most recently appeared in Otoliths, Bones, Calamus Journal, Frameless Sky, Narrow Road, and so on. Shloka is the founding editor of Sonic Boom.