Madder red dreams
Black renuka kumkum bindi, dimples and a big smile. Handmade gajra missing,
madder red nails. Banarasi saree, floral block prints, no name just Indian.
One day there will be a perfect fitted blouse. Is this Rekha, no it’s me.
Amrita Sher-Gil, Self-Portrait as a Tahitian.
The first semi brown boobs painted. What do they want? —
hair tied back, madder red lips, hands on top of another.
White cloth wrapped below the navel. Men and women singing on an island.
She wears a magenta sharara, with no ordinary bangles but a choora.
A new bride, surrounded by dragon trees. No madder red leaves.
Mum looks ahead with her venus gaze.
Rupinder Kaur is a Panjabi Birmingham based writer, performer and creative curator. Her debut poetry book Rooh (2018) was published with Verve Poetry Press. She has been awarded a DYCP grant from the Arts Council to work on her next poetry collection and is currently a BBC new creative. Twitter: rupinderkw
About This Poem
This poem begins with analysing a portrait photo of myself, followed by the epic painting done by Amrita Sher-Gil, Self-Portrait as a Tahitian (1934) and then reflecting on a photo of my mum a few days after her wedding day.