Saturday, November 30, 2013

The ghost and the woman:

1. I pull the curtains to see the snow all around the parking lot
but do not register the beauty only the white coldness of those eyes
I do not call that telephone number in new alipore, 
I haven't for the last three months and seventeen days, 
I would not try and salvage or reason whatever it was 
I would sip this coffee and look out at the snow as slowly as possible 
and let the eternity hang in there 
I would not close my eyes in a moment of lazy helplessness 
for then I might see the pierced nostrils, the slight lines underneath those eyes, 
the jaw that refuses to be anything but an isosceles triangle 
I avoid her existence until it wraps over mine like a ghost
and I hear her hum 'top of the world' in that broken south calcutta-south delhi accent 
(if that is possible)

2. looking around in this seventeen by thirteen studio room 
at the shelf and cup boards, 
the smell of polished mahogany and leftover strawberry yogurt 
I can see that everything is in exactly the place, just not me.
But that I console myself (is just an existential crisis) 

(...) And I recall the details of that last trip to digha, 
the evening sun, the beach, the faraway temple noises and people, 
those palms were the smallest set of magic ever seen, and those tangerine lips 
how she would prod me to read Lewis Carroll and I wouldn't 
because I loved her annoyingly sexy nagging voice
that I could smell all my seasons in her body
like my soul is the ransom that I pay now, for my sanity

underneath the girl-woman who wanted to talk of nothing but how McCartney was a better singer than John, 
that there was a relative difference between how metamorphosis and amerika were written
that dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum was not redectio ad absurdium
and that I wrote my best on winter nights and looked better with a two day beard
beneath all that was a twenty three year old girl in love with me 
or so I would like to think

3. that life runs its course 
and you plan not, what you live 
that kohl lit eyes shine brighter than the stars 
inside hearts, 
that I am reading through the looking glass 
that coffee mug was her gift, 
that 7 minutes worth of thoughts equate to 7 years of memories

someone, 29, 5'10", software engineer,
with an Amin Sayani voice is taking his vows
to love her more than I ever did

and the snow beyond me, the sky above me
the heart inside me jog along
totally nonchalant of what I feel

..everything will be alright, after all..


when the boot thumping soldiers 
the ambitious emperors 
the zealous holy men
the cerebral politicians
ask me
of the poetry and lore in war 
the courage in blood and flesh
the pride of self and the land

I tell them
that the words for war and rust 
are the same in my language

left with you.

I am left with an angled jaw, 
the scent of a fragile neck, 
and bruises that wound my skin and lips 

I am a garden 
with sowed memories 
and buried songs

I have visited the country of sunsets 
where nomads without language live

still I write to you 
as there is nothing else to do

the night leaves tiny leaflets of light 
and I carve plastic prose to keep them by my side 

for there are days when am so alone 
that your absence fills 
the contours of my being

and then on certain days 
when you are as weak as I am 
you visit me 

for a moment am your home
of treasured wounds

I am left with you

Before Midnight-

You tell me that you wish we move back to Calcutta 
if only our kids can adjust to the humidity 

that weekends after weekends you pick up books, 
buy them and never get back to reading

that the boundless imagination of literature scares you

that men unlike novels live in their cages, as Tagore would say

that the October rains in Chicago 
make you miss the warmth of a different October back home

you tell me that the crisis is not existential 
just some melancholy 

that our lives are nothing but the story we tell to others
but mostly to us

I see you, 
I see how the unutterable dreams 
that you and I had 
have perished 

that we are Gatsby's sharing our hollowness 
across the rich mahogany table

That you were so enamored 
that it almost frightened you 
that you and I were in the same room, 

you told me, you wrote down all my poems 
that I spoke at the college festival, 
and you intrigued me, 

you the woman of Lewis Carroll and Abby road, 
that sometimes you wrote too, 
lines which resembled strangely Emily Bronte, 

'Of late I’m no longer in your vicinity, 
we do not share the same oblivion'. 

Did I tell you, you inspired me. 

That when we kissed 
I could taste not just the faint lipstick but your soul. 

Later, you told me
that you and I and all of us are pretentious,
but that is what youth is for
and we giggled

and that you loved looking at me 
with nothing but my glasses on and this five 'o clock shadow. 

You know, 
there were 784 girls in Presidency then at that moment 
and yet there was just one.

I see you 
walking through our kids bedroom, 
I wish to tell you that I feel your pain too,

that I wish 
our children felt the perspiration 
of a warm October and an electric fan in a Pujo Pandal in park circus, 

that I wish I could buy 
a tattered second hand copy of a Salinger or Miller 
with a message on first page 
exchanged between two strangers years ago. 

I want to walk along the football grounds 
across the silhouettes of Victoria. 

To talk Kafka with you on a tram. 
That I want to live more
like you do too

I see you over the sink of our kitchen
with an open tap and unwashed plates 
and I wish all that.

But tonight let me just help you with these darn plates, I say.

And you smile.

red dwarf-

while looking at things
sometimes meaningful
I think all that matter's 
eventually will end

my first written poetry,
Brecht's plays
Catcher in the rye

The Najdorf Variation
the smell of winters
Lucy in the sky

tickets of our trip to Shillong
(kept in my office diary)
my childhood memories
the full moon nights, the rivers 
and the haunting beauty of fire flies

lake Titicaca
nando's mother and her kobiraji's
Memories of Auschwitz

the films of Ingmar B.
stolen kisses, college reunions
the coffee houses of Calcutta
'tumi robe nirobe '

and us?
may be
but not now
not yet

..and I slowly whisper our names 
and leave the waves 
to travel universe,


so, whisper to me 
for the soul speaks in languages unmade 
like the snow that falls in cold deserts 
holding the land till it withers away 

tell me through your eyes 
how the eons of floods and drought went 
the stories of loneliness and scarred wounds 

touch me where my heart resides 
and if you feel the murmurs 
know that it is my name 

smile like the night sky smiles at rivers 
and send me fireflies for kisses 

there are no metaphors for you my love!
you are the sky who lights me,
the water that holds the earth of my body
and creates vast oceans 
nothing else

for there is nothing more left 
in the magic of words 
that can explain 
my being without you

through all, of all

when the city was not inviting enough
and the dreams not punch-ed card into the realities of destiny 
when rains were too dry 
and I was living with hosts of marinated magnolias 
and half truths and stubborn lies

I found you 
like the holy book 
and war 
as the dawn of the river titicaca 
and the sunset of serengeti
and my verbal masturbation
and myriad fantasies, 
of all, 
through all,
of all.