“Don’t shy away from me, bashful! I just wanted you to dance at this party”, spoken word poet Saumya Kaulgud modulates her voice with the gentle acoustic music in the background. Her tone rises and falls in tandem to portray agony, justification, self-helplessness and power as she presents her poem “Why Are You Still Quiet” at a slam poetry recitation in Mumbai.
Her piece revolves around an abusive relationship from the perspective of the perpetrator who justifies the act by sidelining the abuse and focusing solely on the silence of the victim. Not only this, her piece is inter-textualised with different layers highlighting under-confidence, self-helpless on both sides and even shifting perspectives. She hits you hard when she says, “I just want you to open your mouth. It’s been shut so long, there are foreclosure signs hanging off your chin. It’s been boarded up and graffitied on and I am the sledgehammer knocking your walls down and giving you a fresh coat of paint”.
The video was posted by UnErase Poetry on their YouTube and Facebook channel and has garnered more than 1.3k views. She is rightly applauded for her piece that is so conventional yet made unconventional by her. Platforms like UnErase Poetry are doing a great job helping budding poets to raise their voices and be heard. Also, this is a huge boost for spoken word poetry and we are rooting for it!