Gerai Poem no.105 featured in January Low's Odissi dance solo / by Liyana Y

I wrote an ‘instant noodle’ poem upon request by January Low, (a magnificient Malaysian in Indian classical dance) as part of my interactive solo offstage poetry performance project Gerai Puisi Segera. She supplied three words, and I wrote a poem incorporating them in five minutes. She later contacted to say that after seven years of quiet reinvention following 17 years with Sutra Dance Theatre, her first solo performance dedicated to Odissi dance, Dedicated, was finally ready. She danced to the following poem (recited by Ghafir Akbar) on every night of Dedicated.

for January

Her every step on the ground is not

always a step forward, but rather

a kiss from ancient Odisha,

a whisper, or a stamp of the foot

again and again, a seal

    on the 21st century

    leaving marks from a past

    submerged by sea and cement

The pale blue veins under her skin

a reminder of the electricity

practice, strength, to split

This mortal vessel three-ways

so that the past shines through

the same Odissi, different Devadasi

Liyana Dizzy, 24 October 2015