Putting my salwar on
I play Surinder Kaur’s
ek meri akh kashni
written my favourite poet
Shiv Kumar Batalvi
that carries too much language
that can’t be translated.

As I put my kameez on
it lines my body’s curves
coming down with Lahore and Amritsar
a bit like my mother’s salwar kameez from an old photo
where she stands in-between
as she is the middle child
that has the worry of all.
The photo brings old Delhi
where poetry lingers
and Sanskrit-Latin
origin washes away -no foeticide or qurbanis.

I remember my Nani Ji holding me,
calling me a ray of light – Kiran.
I see my Daadi Ji looking at me
through the mirror smiling –
she lost her husband so young
yet she remained so strong
and raised two sons by herself
working hard day and night.

And as I place my dupatta by my side
I feel my ancestors next to me
traveling through
two worlds of life and death
coming at the platform of reality.

And I stand between two parallel lines
bringing a fusion of language
from every mohalla, area
that they set foot on
from Lahore-Delhi-Amritsar
and finally Birmingham.

Yes, sometimes I write for myself
but mostly I write for my mother.
I write for my ancestors that spill ink in every poem.

Part of Pass the Mic for festival of audacity part of beatfreaks, September 2018.
This was held celebrating 100 years of women getting the vote. The tram relay went from Wolverhampton to Birmingham.

Jugni is a poem that is featured in Rupinder Kaur’s debut poetry book Rooh

o mereya jugni, jugni
o mereya jugni, jugni

jugni travels from Delhi to Amritsar
across to England
jungi; the essence of life,
the spirit of life comes inside my rooh

jugni comes and dances in my dreams
jugni makes me fly

jugni takes me across borders
taking me to Lahore

jugni removes the radcliffe line
and I see my five rivers flowing together

jugni sees me read and write poetry
jugni tells me to light the candle

jugni watches me apply kohl
jugni watches me paint my lips

jugni looks at me and smiles
jugni tells me to fall in love with myself

jugni is no kafir or fakir
jugni is azaad, jugni is azaad

and jugni makes me free
jugni sets my rooh free

the jugni becomes me…
and the jugni becomes me…

o mereya jugni, jugni…
o mereya jugni, jugni

These two poems are from Rupinder’s debut poetry book Rooh with Verve Poetry Press