Book IV

Mr Banerjee

The Magic Man

A parent can be a number of things to a child, but it’s rare to find a heartless parent. Their unconditional care is neither something to be taken for granted, nor feel entitled to, though most of us have always been guilty of making these mistakes. Growing up, my perception of my father was one of mixed understanding. He was considered by most to be a decentred individual who wasted his talent and potential in favor of addiction, a brilliant man of many vices and harbinger of suffering to his family. However, despite his many faults, he was to me a man of singular kindness, who tried to shield me from his own darker nature during my formative years. Upon a time when both he and I were stripped of our guardians, he took it upon himself to set aside his dreams and predispositions, and did whatever it took, within his hard-earned and meagre means, to provide me with an education. Reducing himself to a human being with fewer and fewer needs, he became a bulwark that protected and sustained me in times of dearth, uncertainty, and emotional upheaval, and largely made me the man I am today.

This book was written in the days, weeks, and months following the sudden and unexpected death of my father. The poems venture into inconsolable symptoms of loss, grief, guilt, regret, memory, madness, absurd irreversibility, chimerical conjurings, and reigning despair. You may not find much comfort here, dear reader, if you should so choose to read this book.

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Echo

I thought
to myself yesterday
that just like it was
before, you probably wouldn’t
have agreed to listen
to my many trifling tales
of weakness
and petty failures,
just like you never shared
your harder stories
with me, unlike
you did with her, my
mother, who once
used to be
your friend… and
once divulged to me,
one of your secrets. And I saw
that you neither spoke,
nor sought to listen because
you were
too ashamed to reveal
your scars and
too proud to believe that
I might have a few
of my own…

   
Perhaps…
you didn’t want us
to become as alike
as we
turned out to be.

   
Perhaps…
you didn’t want me
in some places
you used
to be.

 

 

From Book IV

Dispossession

You knew
that I looked somewhat
like you, and
lately I find you
in so many ways
I sound
and act
and where
we come from, they might
just say that
a part of you
must’ve latched on to me
the last time
I held
your.. fingers
and I’d kill for it to be True..!! but
I recollect… that
I was
this way
for as long as I can
remember, and
just didn’t realize
it
sooner… to
see
how a lot of me died
with you.

 

 

From Book IV

Like Father, Like Son

Down the lines
to slow
estrangement… till
I’d move into
a one-room apartment
close to work
and closer to travel, with
barely a window, hardly a view and
seldom have it mopped, but
have those shirts
dry-cleaned and routinely pressed,
reread escaping books,
revisit reruns and
stranger passing screens among
the angles.. each
wall makes
with the same ceiling.. and
in time, get restless and visit
a whore
or two – which
I’m not sure you
did, but
only get lonelier… to turn
to the reeds, needles and white;
then quit the drugs,
then give up whisky,
then stop smoking and
try
starving
from time
to time to test
how much I can take, though
I doubt I’d be able to do it
as well
as you did.

    
No saints
you and I, but
each of us
belonged… to
a woman, whom
we mistreated
in our different ways, as
they did
in theirs, and
it seemed
that everyone learned
to live
by themselves, though
it’s us – you
and I, who couldn’t
or can’t
care or smile
as much
for ourselves
at
all.

 

From Book IV

Where the Two of Them Watched Late-Night Movies, While I Fell Asleep

It came
late last night:
a vision
of perhaps… the safest of places
from those early, freer years that
then dried up
and hardened as burnt-brown earth..
to something
long-suspended, poorly preserved and
somehow… I felt it
observe me intently,
in
the saddest of ways…
before crumbling altogether
into the dirt.

 

 

From Book IV

A Madman’s Wager

If ‘impossible’
is myth
and ‘inevitability’
is just a word,

   
then
maybe, just
maybe..

   
someone
will have the chance
to tell somebody,
someday…

   
that “you
are everything I could have salvaged
of you”.

 

From Book IV

mantra

She said
I spoke to you.. while
ailing and delirious, and I remember
what I was saying,
but can’t recall hearing
the sound of your voice, nor feeling
an air of your presence – at all, at
the time, except
for a part
of an unfinished sentence, on
an obscure page of a much-unused diary,
where you wrote
that the discovery
of your life
had been
that you were wrong…

   
and I wanted
to finish the sentence
in writing: you
were loved… you are remembered…

   
yet all my demons held me there
as I kept murmuring in hopeless delirium..
as if to answer
an expected question:
“yes I am a part of you”
“yes I am a part of you”
“yes I am a part of you”
“yes I am a part of you”

 

 

From Book IV

Wishful Thinking

These days
are strange as the nights,
where I can’t help revisiting
the absurdity.. of your defeat..

   
And
it seems, then,
a rather good idea
to visit some
snow – an evening
with a small handgun,
have it loaded, listen
for the ‘click’ – as
the hammer’s cocked; then
hold it backwards,
point the barrel
right down between
the eyes – straight up
the middle, and gently
slip a calm thumb
before the easeful trigger,
lean delectably into
the freezing metal muzzle..
grin.. pull..

   
BANG!!!

.. ..

.

   
And it’s all fixed..
it all… gets better…
it all
goes back the way
it was always
meant
to be:

   
no lights
and no more
fucking eVERYTHing!! up..

   
to
end up nowhere…
unconscious of being
with you.

 

 

From Book IV

Towrope

Whatever
‘is’ – exists
entirely in the mind; and
would be absent in entirety
if erased
from it. And
any lingering presence
in the world outside, would
be rendered new,
strange
and alien to memory.
Annihilation
of just one’s memory
would entail
the complete excision of the individual
from the existence of the other.

 

And memory:
even inaccessible
or repressed – would
be key,
as wellspring
to engender… old existence – if
mined, disinterred and wrought
as newer life..

 

 

From Book IV

Ones of Twos

It should
begin in twos:
your worlds – for you, upon
a time, until one
is gone.. and
it doesn’t hurt at all..!
as long
as you’ve forgotten
that there’s no longer
one completely familiar
place… you can always… at
any of all times, come ‘home’
to – to complete safety…
and then
it all collapses
and impales you sharper and deeper..!
each time – like drowning again
and again,
in colder
and colder currents
of blinding, pitch-black snow.

   

   

   
Thereafter,
the fullness of the world:
the last
of your first, in the one
remaining other… would,
on another unexceptional day,
disappear..

 

and
you’d find
you’re old overnight
and may have already
become one – yourself.

 

 

From Book IV

What If?

It’s hard
to cloud the closure..
and remember just
the fullness of good
in what
you had become.

 

The irony in mind,
remains the spectacle.. the sound
of your resounding laughter!
in innocence
of impending inevitability.

 

This failure
isn’t
reversible, as are
so many
benumbing things, in wading
these shallows of unimportance.
Yet..
dreams arrive
in waking, to transpire
as madness
of impossible abstractions
on concealed sources
and conspiring possibilities..?

 

 

From Book IV

Deficit

Were words not overused
as they are,
perhaps
there would be more dignity
in ‘grief’,
that is to say,
the vicissitudes of turbulence
in the ravaged valley of the ‘heart’,
that serves
as contemptible metaphor
for the entirety of one’s substance
susceptible to ‘despair’,
the kind
that makes you despise
the glass half-full
and envy
the sound of ‘laughter’
made in blissful ignorance
of the barbarity
of cold ‘time’,
which is,
as Dad used to say,
just “a unit
          used to measure
          the changes
          of nature”.

 

From Book IV

Denying the Flies

Didn’t see
it coming; not
that I couldn’t; just
didn’t. Didn’t
want to.
No one wants to;
not when it matters…
no one wants
to have seen it, even
if they could.. even
when they knew.. or at least

foresaw
an onrushing wake of mistakes.. and
closing probabilities.

No one’s ready
to see
when they figure
it might
turn out exactly
how they expected and refused
to acknowledge,
in ..disbelieving fear.. and…
no one
is really
prepared.

 

 

From Book IV

Noise

It
will
get
better.

Let time heal.

Stop torturing yourself!

You need to pick yourself back up.
There’s nothing more you could’ve done.
There’s no way that you could’ve known.
This isn’t something we can change.

You’ll start to drive yourself insane..

You can’t give up.
You can’t break down.
You cannot just
d  i  s  i  n  t  e  g  r  a  t  e.

You can’t just keep thinking.
can’t just keep brooding.
can’t just keep bleeding.

There’s nothing more that you could do…

 

 

YEAH WELL YOU KNOW WHAT, FUCK YOU TOO!!!
I know I still got work to do.
As what he would have said to you.

 

From Book IV

Stigma

And when I
still had… the chance,
you hardly asked.. for what
I knew
I should’ve been more… for you;
and I didn’t
take enough
care…
of you.. and I wasn’t
the only one. So,
now I keep reminding
not just myself, but
also the few
who should have,
and I might just be killing
us all.

 

 

From Book IV

Gauze

It doesn’t help..!
this irate
and bitter writing in powerless agony.

 

Like alcohol,
it doesn’t dull
that ..sinking
feeling one gets
on disinterring
an indispensable
image..
that no longer
exists
in places
other than the heart.

 

At least cheap
whisky, in a while,
fogs the senses
and knocks you cold… while
..a metamorphosis of despairing thoughts to disquiet expression..
in contrariety,
keeps you waking
and alert
as in excision without anesthetics,
at times… with words
to stopple
too much bleeding.

 

 

From Book IV

Excuse

It doesn’t feel
as if Time
has already begun
to eat away,
to dull and coldly
anaesthetize the pangs
of the immitigable finality
of this vacuum.

 

It’s just
that this bitch of a life!
doesn’t let you
stand still…
and there was too much
raw sewage! pointless shit – to look into
today, as there was
the
last
time
you called
to ask if
I was coming
that day,
and I said
that I’d come
that weekend, and
asked if
you were feeling
alright, if
you were feeling
tired…
to which,
after a long
pause,
you replied
that you felt
very… tired…
and I asked
of you,
for the
last
time… to rest… and
you
listened.

 

And again…
there was too much
of all this today, as there
may be
for who knows
how many hollow tomorrows…
to let me
get lost
in visions
of
‘you’.

 

 

From Book IV

Hunted

At times,
I find myself running
away from all the things
that remind me of you…
or more,
the ubiquity
of what is now the absence
of your shelter.

 

 

It is,
as if to attempt
escaping a labyrinth
of chasms.. left
inside this body,
and struggle
to slither off
this build of hollowed bone.

 

 

Can’t run for long..
and there is no place
to go to..
to save the remains
of the mind,
where respite is lack
of consciousness:
to slip into,
past your living pictures
that wander
about this head..
and
tear away!
with a distinct.. echo
of your distant… searching.. call.

 

 

No solace
lives
in memory.

The bad
is that
we never ..imagined.

The good
is what is lost.

 

 

 

From Book IV

Unrealizing Hope

I wish,
most foolishly, that
it eludes you..
that you somehow escape..
and it never
comes to pass… that reality,
in impersonal manifestation,
leaves
the brightest
of all dreams
upturned, without warning,
as a figment, an
illusion without possibility; except.. in
red moments of desperate madness. And
it remains too low
to crave
the obliviousness of beasts,
and despicable of our nature
that time
is meant to submerge
even that One brightest
of dreams.

 

 

From Book IV