Culture & Society

Five Poems By Ankit Raj Ojha

Poet Ankit Raj Ojha writes five poems on dreaming of success, seeking solace in fate foretold, and other themes.

Artwork by Sajal Patra
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Poem Dream Publication by Ankit Raj Ojha Getty Images

Dream Publication 

This time I have an acceptance  
from The New Yorker 
in my dream. 

“Yes, yes, but they must have had 
subpar submissions this season, 
pandemic and all; would’ve been in 
a rush to be done with the issue anyway.” 
My friendly neighbourhood 
shubhchintaks* opine. 

Morning. 
I defile 
incorporeal progenitors 
over the sink, 
foaming with rage 
and toothpaste. 

Mother wonders why 
I keep waking up 
on the wrong side. 

*Hindi for “well-wishers”; often used sarcastically 

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Poem Resurgence by Ankit Raj Ojha Getty Images

Resurgence

You may preserve your trophy 
embalming them 
in beatific ignorance 
of their true self. 

The day they 
slip the cocoon 
is when you know 

the façade was foreskin 
awaiting circumcision. 

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Poem A Silent Street Sermon by Ankit Raj Ojha Getty Images

A Silent Street Sermon 

His muffled growl, piercing gaze, 
jeering smiles at intervals 
signal a revelation, as if he has 
gobbled Freud and Jung in one go 
in one of his loafings around 
the trash can behind the city library. 

Content and undogly obese under the SUV 
with the highest ground clearance in the street, 
Dabbu sits more revered than most men 
in my third-world neighborhood, inspiring 
females of both species to flock 
with offerings edible and carnal. 

He never fails to astonish: 
this morning his usual boastful barks 
(emanating perhaps from the proud possession 
of a better half never to be lured away 
more than a street or so by 
suitors howsoever well-endowed) 

replaced with an ascetic’s knowing calm which he 
balances in equal measure with sheer devilry 
as he breathes in the tantalising beauties 
and dashing dudes of our gully, as if scanning 
for infidelity and mocking the pathetic love lives 
of God’s favourite children. 

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Poem Replay by Ankit Raj Ojha Getty Images

Replay 

I prefer revisiting 
old cricket clips on YouTube, 
where India invariably win  
nail-biting thrillers. 

Diving into fate 
foretold 
is my safest solace. 

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Artwork by Sajal Patra

Poets Anonymous 

When strangers’ words 
pierce private spots like 
target-locked missiles, 

souls you’ve never met 
bleed verse to cauterise 
long-deserted wounds, 

you know you are 
in good hands.

(Ankit Raj Ojha is a poet, former rock band frontman, and a former software engineer from Chapra, Bihar, India. He is an Assistant Professor of English with the Department of Higher Education, Haryana. He has a PhD from IIT Roorkee and he guest-edits Essence & Critique: Journal of Literature and Drama Studies (Bingöl University, Turkey). He is also a reviewer for Routledge and he co-edits The Hooghly Review.  His work has been published and is getting published in seven countries at Johns Hopkins University Press, Routledge, Stanchion, Native Skin, The Dillydoun Review, Dreich, Ink Sweat & Tears, Roi Fainéant Press, and The Broadkill Review among others. He is the author of Pinpricks [Hawakal, 2022].)

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