Posted in Poem

Event: Individuality in Identity

Really excited to share this news with you all!

I will be presenting my poems and speaking at a literary event on Friday February 24, 2017  at the Creeds Coffee Bar.

The event, “Finding Individuality in Identity: Explorations of Literature,” organized by Sri Lankans Without Borders seeks to explore the how we create, understand and speak about identity in a multicultural world.

I am also very excited to be sharing the stage with 4 other talented artists/ writers and hearing their thoughts and conceptions of Identity.

Please join us on February 24, 2017, at Creeds Coffee Bar to explore the themes of culture, individuality, and identity.

Hope to see you out there,

Manivillie

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Posted in Free verse

34/2017: Death of the Rain Maker

I constantly live in a state of “it’s better than…”

It’s better than nothing
It’s better than death
It’s better than there
It’s better than…
here

I don’t want to live
comparing myself to those
who are seen to be failing.
I want to fly higher than
the expectations I gave myself
when I dreamed in secret
and imagined I was…

Druga
Cleopatra
Superwoman
Mata Hari
and Rosa Parks
all in one.

I was the change maker,
the beacon in the night,
that none would cross for
fear of being burned by my light.
I held the world in my hand
and commanded the will of men.
Demanding they be better –
we be better.
Instead, I exist…

in a place that is better than…

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

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Image from Pixabay: Artist – Flachovatereza https://pixabay.com/en/users/Flachovatereza-448286/
Posted in Free verse

Day 350: Curly Hair

The texture of my life
is not bound by the
straightness of my hair.

Though you try to tell me,
that my dreams can
only be achieved by the
light reflecting off
the glow of my
porcelain skin,
available today
for the easy
purchase of my
identity.

If the wishes I have
can come true by
forgetting
the part of me that
connects our shared
histories and ancestors,

Then keep your white washed
fantasies, because I
dominate in the dark,
armored by colours kissed
by the sun,
and my big curly hair
reminding the world,
I am untamed
and I will not
shrink my presence
to fit comfortably
in your pocket.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: When I was writing this poem, this picture came to my mind, and I had to include it.

The photo is courtesy of my very talented friend Ramya from Ramya J Images, in Toronto. For on of her birthdays, we had a photo shoot to help build her portfolio – the pictures from that even remain some of my favorite to date 🙂 Such a talented photographer, filmmaker, storyteller, and artist.

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Posted in Poem

Day 310: Snow

How many generations until my brown skin turns white as snow?
My black hair golden, shining in the summer’s sun,
my brown eyes the shade of the Kokanee glacial waters reflecting the sky
my Canadian born accent, the same as my Canadian neighbor
my words English and not Tamlish
How many generations before I am Canadian?

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: My second submission for CBC – There were 4 poem in total that were submitted under the title Identity.

Posted in Free verse

Day 191: Mother Tongue

Tamil.. Taa mihl.. Thamizh…T(h)amil?
my mother’s tongue,
the language by which
she was given to my father. 
A word, I am still trying to understand
And the characters that define it.

Kuṭumpam ….Kudumpam.. Koo dumpam… Ku…
broken words,
echoes of memories lost
fractured pieces of families
trying to come together and create a whole.

Nāadu…Naduuu…Eelam…Kaṉaṭā
Places where I began,
was found, got lost and
was reclaimed.
Spaces where life is lived
in between the margins of
identities.

Eṉṉai…Eṉ…NO…Nāṉ..Nā?..ṉ? Nee?
Pieces of me
keep getting lost in you.
Leaving me with times
when I only see myself
in opposition to you.
Where I find me,
in your omissions.

Tamil…Thamizh? English? Tamilish
my forgotten tongue
Created by the middle,
words to capture two hearts,
a history told in one voice,
articulated in different symbols.
Scripts and symbols,
trying to tell me the same
story.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: Thank you to my beautiful friend Sathya for her work in ensuring that I used the correct Tamil terms. Just an FYI below, for the terms used 🙂

Tamil and disputed words used:

  • Thamizh: There is a debate about the correct phonetical spelling with the th and zh being the main point of debate (Thanks, Sathya)
  • Kuṭumpa: Family
  • Nāadu.: Country
  • Kaṉaṭā: Canada (Tamil Pronunciation)
  • Eelam: “Eelam is a proposed independent state that Tamils in Sri Lanka” 
  • Eṉṉai: Me
  • Eṉ: My
  • Nāṉ : I
  • Nee: You
  • Tamilish: Tamil typed in English
Posted in Free verse, Poem

Day 50: I Am…

I am Canadian,
When I travel the world,
Successful representations of what can be.
An ambassador of acceptance,
The embodiment of the immigrant dream.

I am Sri Lankan,
When I talk about my past,
The pearl upon which
Adam first stepped.
An exotic mix of tradition and modernity.

I am Tamil,
When I blast A.R. Rahman
From my car in Scarborough.
Move to the beat of the Earth,
Telling my stories through Bharatanatyam.

Canadian – Sri Lankan – Tamil

I am Tamil,
The Tiger that hunts on foreign soil
Determined by broad stroke of identity,
Creators​ of chaos,
Untamed children of a dying people.

I am Sri Lankan,
The other, the unwanted refugee
The people who came on ships,
To take this land,
But at least they brought Tea and curry.

I am Canadian,
A performer to sing and dance,
My culture woven into the Tapestry
Of the multi-cultural story.
A piece of the picture,
But never the whole.

I am…
Tamil – Sri Lankan – Canadian

I am
Without one identity
I am
Both the light and the dark
And
I am
Here.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy