Anomalous films

By Deeplakshmi Saikia

The films are not catching up with the times
Maybe they don’t want to
Or maybe they are all of the genre fantasy
Touching, kissing, hand holding,
Pulling, shoving, public gathering, yes
But no cleaning, washing, scrubbing
Of all surfaces and airs
No muffled living, no imprisoning
Of one’s fleshly self
No worrying, fretting, weeping
Over a loved one’s laboured breathing
No turning
Of people into numerals cascading.
Fantastical! What else?
But yes, times like these too had been lived
I remember faintly
And they are still being lived
I heard of, even recently
A friend told me that south Australians are living so
South Australians, pooh!
What do I care about people on Mars?
I am, after all, an Earther.
But maybe
All these films I am watching are about Martians.

Deeplakshmi Saikia is a lover of books, caffeine and solitude, with an extreme distaste for bigotry and housework. She is a resident of New Delhi, India. Some of her published write-ups can be found at LiveWire. Her Instagram and Twitter handles are @deeplakshmi_ and @deeplakshmeh respectively.

This piece of poetry has been written recently when the world is witnessing the third wave of COVID-19. Unlike the first phases of the pandemic which proved to be very productive for me, personally, I have been experiencing a total lack of hope and motivation now. All of my days now are spent watching movies and reading books. But unlike before, movie scenes have started to seem anomalous to me and I often suddenly find myself asking why the human characters are not wearing masks or how they are roaming so freely in public spaces. Movies, now seem to me, to have been made in a different time of which I was also once a part of but no longer am. I am not able to put my finger on how I exactly feel about this though. I wrote this piece hoping that writing about it will also be a testimony to these times, and even though things do not make a lot of sense right now, these written testimonies will provide insight in retrospect later. Currently, it has become even more important to write about what is happening, because people do not survive, but words have a tendency to.

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Marka Rifat
Marka Rifat
2 years ago

This poem highlights an unexpected impact of Covid-protective behaviour, that in a very short time, what had been normal became shocking. The poem is witty, light but telling about the utter weirdness.

David Newkirk
David Newkirk
2 years ago

I love the basic observation – that the world of entertainment media seems out of touch with the times. A handful of shows have tackled COVID – but many continue as though there were no pandemic. Intellectually, I know these shows are shot in “bubbles” that protect (to some degree) the cast and staff. But, as you point out, it is as though it is a different world.

Poetry and Covid-19 ARCHIVE (This website archives the over 1000 poems submitted by over 600 poets, and viewed by over 100,000 from over 125 countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, June 2020-June 2021). Thank you to all who took part in the Poetry and Covid project.

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