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  • Migs Bravo Dutt

Carmel Chameleon: Migs Bravo Dutt

Migs Bravo Dutt lives in Singapore and has been published across countries, regions, and cultures. Her short fiction has appeared in 22 New Asian Short Stories 2016 and The Best Asian Short Stories 2018. She has co-edited "Get Lucky: An Anthology of Philippine and Singapore Writings", a Singapore Writers Festival bestseller in 2015. Migs has contributed poetry to SingPoWriMo; From Walden To Woodlands; Ceriph Literary Journal; My Lot is a Sky; and Anima Methodi (Singapore). Her two poems appeared recently in Issue 7 of TAYO Literary Magazine (2018, USA) and new ones are forthcoming in a US literary magazine in February (USA, 2019). She has also written for Royal Bhutan Druk Air’s Tashi Delek and other travel guides and newsletters.

"I've always believed that we are all interconnected however far the geographical distance. I try to show this in my various writings. I'm sharing a few poems in this submission - Friday Morning at the Barrage; Carmel Chameleon; Travel Notes - which I hope will likewise convey the message of connection."


Friday Morning at the Barrage

I watch a colony of ants emerge From a crack nearby, an offshoot Of the digging for a tower that will soon rise Not too far away from this man-made lot

They say today’s tragedy is man-made too But I am here and shouldn’t be bothered By the flooding halfway across the world I can just sit on this rock and watch the ants

And breathe in the morning sea breeze I can just watch the birds as they emerge From the clouds and pass me by Without a glance as though I were a rock

But now my old folks’ tales are flooding back They said I am a descendant of John The cowboy from halfway across the world Even he was never really alone

Carmel Chameleon

You used to marvel at the roaring sea And the goldfinch that swooped down the rocks But in time your gaze became empty like The mansions along tree-lined roads nearby

You stopped longing for things beyond today And you have returned to your faith, too, That is how we found ourselves at Mission Where you tried to say your mother’s prayer

Then you took refuge under a cypress tree Where you sighed and wanted to decompress You hid it from me then though I could see And smell the traces after you were done

Now away from Carmel, trails of smoke Wafted from the incense at the altar And I remember the white stick you held Smoke, too, escaped from your lips that day

Cigarette—feminine, gentle, sibilant Wrapped in white and ends in diminution As though harmless—your loyal companion In solitude and perhaps until the end

Travel Notes

On the twentieth floor of a historic hotel I open heavy blinds that reveal buildings In stages of birth and decay Scarred ones beside steel rises Towering above shacks and sidewalks Where motorbikes are snakes on steroids Slithering between fancy cars and delivery trucks As a black swift cuts across the setting sun

Along the Mekong, a woman in gray dress And conical hat sails away in her boat As though burdened by a new disappointment Across the opera house, an old couple hawks Maps and local trinkets that a lady ignores For shinier jewels and logos in glass cases I draw the blinds and step out for a map To retrace the stories that were erased last night


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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