nyc club review: poems on basement bhangra

dear readers,

just back from a night at the club. basement bhangra, one of the longest running, most diverse parties in nyc. what i like about basement is that 90% of the club is dancing. 20% is dancing with abandon. and 5% are touching god.

tonight was brick outside, im talking single digits people (constant winter mental refrain: why did anyone settle here goddammit, go west, go west!). but inside was a full smile, top prowl, shoulder arms stretched towards india. deep breath in, deep breath out, towards india. dj rekha, founder and resident on the wheels, was, in her words, “fresh from the motherland,” just back from india, and it was palpable in the air. the dancers that packed the floor, and floored the stage, were full smiles copernicus charted in the air with palms poised just so, insistent shouts, we punctuate our dances with calls, fuck it, i just have to write this in poem.

basement bhangra

swagger like this/your whole work day been dissed

dismissed/ but tonight we reign

kings and queens at the club

subtle hints/bollywood glints at the club

dancers spin tales of love

he’s telling me i’m killing him

i’m telling him he should be so blessed

and we both both under float float

spin chest of gold win

tonight we win


my homegirl from the bay

who paints walls with spray

moved down the way

i said come to the club wit me

she said okay

oil in her hair

eyes on the mirror

new era ella on the speaker

we in the car

it takes a long time to warm up

so she and her american spirit suck each other

while i’m jammin to


dont stop believin

and we roll

manhattan bridge skyline sparkling

rock star parking

man this country takes its toll

at least i aint in no real fucking trouble

and its basement bhangra/ desi folks so fine

you seein double

trouble on the dancefloor

she got him goin/im on stage/they not knowin




come play with me

come say to me

what happened so we

can shake it off

like a knee jerk cough

reaction contraction breathing isnt an option

moving feels like coffin


come dance with me

so shhhhh, so shhhhh

it’ll be okay

because tonight we breath


just you and me

under the blanket of bass

desi girl songs and a place

here in this world to dance



british accent

so thick i just nodded and pranced

white track jacket and nicely sagged pants

stage edge love ledge

black braid on one shoulder

chest hot solder

wrist like this

hai hai

mai mar jownga!

heart heaves

music weaves this amazing sky

full of sun and stars

hood accent

so clipped i just shivered and dipped

low to the black button down flow

he says he’ll trade me shirts

i got my steelers gold on

badmaash, bhooth, flirt


brown swan

fight a peacock for blue dawn

pluck a song

nose rose

petal strewn dancefloor

feather vamp more

tramp whore cardinal sin

red robin wind

summer kin

brown skin



thats a lil taste of basement for you. stay tuned for more on culture and politics in nyc from yours truly, political poet.



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2 thoughts on “nyc club review: poems on basement bhangra

  1. Ben says:

    I love reading your poems Roopa. Even though I’m happy back here in the homeland I still like to live the New York experiences vicariously through others writings. I feel so sad I never made it to basement bhangra! Keep it up!

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