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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Bird of Prey

Grey wings come upon me..
arising by the moment
behind each bruised shoulder.

I perch
for better vantage
and observe intently, in wait
for blood-crazed behemoths to collide!

No room
or concessions for sentimentality
or dying wishes.. that
these fell beasts seem ever-ready
to trample underfoot! to
deprive the meek and
grow more their overflowing hoards.

I discern the lesser antagonist
and measure, for now,
how the enemy of an enemy is an instrument.

Giving Up Again

There are times
when you can’t be brave alone…
after putting up the bravest front
before your dying.

 

There are times
when it’s simpler to escape
the tyranny of your own thoughts
and rampant recollection, in withdrawal
to the most trivial of pastimes
that disengage you from the true present
and disallow the mind to wander
back to inescapable reality
for just… a little
while.

 

There are times
when eclipsing inevitability holds you
mercilessly down in powerless submission
and compels you to take refuge in
i
s
o
l
a
t
i
o
n
from history, the future and
the thinking self.

Last Wishes

 

I’d like all my bones
to scREAM HEAVY METAL!! when I die..
as headbanging hoodlums
rive asunder my lifeless corpse, limb from limb.

 

I’d like
my naked meat to putrefy
in rush hour traffic (but far
away from little children), with all
the world and its scavenging animals
powerless to efface the spectacle, the stench from existence!
so you
may witness and
experience firsthand
the futility of prior experience and
the violent indignity of inevitable decay.

 

And
when the worms are finally finished
with their slow desecration of all my flesh,
I’d like it very much
for my baked hair, blackened nails
and the remnants of hollowed bones
—to be used
for creating instruments of loud music
and subversive art.

Of Sights and Seasons

Of Sights and Seasons_

You tend not to notice until
you find some
places changed… some people missing..
that the skies remain just
as beautiful and whimsical, the clouds
gather and disperse
in astounding formations,
the twilit streets
are still illumined
by more and brighter lights,
the vagrant winds continue
to wander, and trees and branches
show their sway, their leaves
collect their dew
or dance to droplets of sudden rain,
as the city roars to perennial festivities.

 

The tides continue
to turn magnificently, to our
cold comfort,
as petals wither
and children grow to skeletons.

Trains

Trains

Can’t tell
where I’ve been living
for years now, from moment
to moment in precarious enthrallment
of endless chaotic, flickering, fleeting destinations decided
by the fitful eye of the mind, rummaging relentlessly
to submerge itself in warmer waters of safer memories, while feeling them
ceaselessly funnel, drawn unto colder moors of perpetual forgetfulness, oft
confusing some true past
with imagined moments
of surreal, impossible juxtapositions
of disparate times and realities, while
lessons learnt had turned too clichéd to take seriously
long ago, as companion travellers dismounting their common carriage
at unforeseen and unchangeable stops, one by one,
to disappear soon and surely into the rear distance till
part of an indifferent horizon,
one by one,
another after another,
as long and as surely as the rails run ahead and as sure
as some truisms ring that despite all endearment, the traveller
is essentially alone; condemned, where it matters, to never truly return;
destined, when it matters, to never really leave.

Antisocial Diaries /1/

pexels-photo-220444

No good
at small talk, except
with animals and people I’ve
grown to trust, and see
they mean
no harm. I keep
my distance and observe
how someone acts around
authority, before deciding if
they’re really
worth knowing:
first
comes reading whether their
shifting sounds and varied gesticulations
could somehow amount to an idea
of actual merit
or substance, besides
attempting, by
exaggeration and charm, to
sadly further
their petty, sycophantic agendas.

Antisocial Diaries /2/

pexels-photo-220444
It hasn't
been too long
since a time I lived
out of hiding... yet
now witness all wit
slipping surely
and slowly beyond
the reach of my expression, when
I find that I can't be honest, which
stems from an abiding threat
of dire repercussion, were I
to freely speak the mind. This
world, to a great extent, is
built on bloated egocentricities
that hunger most
for further aggrandizement; and 
for a life of liability
and quite limited means, it becomes
a stage
where malcontent
must! be sterilized
by constant inward rehearsals, until
the paranoid self
may deem it safe for permitted discourse.
But it isn't quick, is 
never easy and rarely works out
the way one imagines, and more often
I find it too late
to come back with a
*socially acceptable* retort, as
the violence of my aborted voice
is smothered beneath an agonized reticence.

Antisocial Diaries /3/

pexels-photo-220444

These lights
are rather bright, the
floor carpeted, clean;
the people mostly
young, spry, kempt; the
windows clear, scenery usual,
this white ceiling tiled
and uniformly lit, the air
mild. There
should be no cause
for discomfort. I’m acquainted
with some. They slip in and out
of sight. We speak at times, of
urgent or unnecessary things.
At times, I rise and
wander in unintended search
for something I can’t identify, but find
missing. I push
myself to wonder. I try
and
evaporate in memory. I discern
the inside of
a familiar room,
with all its
known furnishings:
the decked and mirrored
dresser, two towering steel
wardrobes, a high table behind me,
laden bookshelves, the shine from
a floor with hypnotic, fibonacci spirals
etched on each square plate of mosaic,
the red, parted curtains along the many
open windows, and a huge double bed with
enough crawlway for trunks to be stowed
while tiny children played; beside it,
a narrow thoroughfare to a balcony,
where sits
the strong-willed matriarch in her fifties,
soaking the early-morning sun
and sieving grains of rice, while
her husband, a fragile man of care,
kindness, and lighthearted banter, smiles
as he sees me there, when
in the adjacent hall, my
causal pair engage each other
in hearty conversation, and nothing
is or could go
awry. It
must’ve been minutes
of walking without a sense
of time, place, or presence,
until I stopped to gaze about
this bustling metropolis,
with its resplendent sights and glowing people
that never were essential;
…where is that room?
…where are those people?
…are they here somewhere?
…within the walls I now call home?
NO!!
that home
exists no longer!
my people.. breathe too less.
Around me, in this moment,
is no one
and nothing
real.

Distant

distant

The nerves keep their habit
of stretching thin and breaking inaudibly,
most pitifully,
every chance they get.

 

And long have I failed to count
the number
of strange persons
wandering the cramped foundations of this cranium.

 

At times, this inward space
is all too little
for me alone. Yet,
a constant foreboding of voices
so imminent that I can forever almost.. hear them,
fills.. fills all my space past brimming!! till
there’s no longer room for me to exist, save
as silence.

 

A Visit

Visit

Another day,
I tried to figure what I’d say
if we met again, impossibly somehow.

 

It was easier
in the realm of dreams,
where it wasn’t strange that
our home had become
one gigantic, spinning carousel, with
otherworldly light gleaming unto the night,
from its endlessly tilted, snaking windows
that spun faster and faster
as I circled the outer walls, while
our neighborhood disappeared into darkness.

 

And then, I opened what I presumed to be eyes,
to a lit room, with no source of apparent light.
There were shelves, lots of them, with
bizarre tin toys, gizmos, thingamagigs. The ceiling
was close enough to touch, yet not oppressive
at all. And then
there were strings
of tiny, twinkling bulbs along the arches
leading past a door to another matching room, then
another and another till I found you seated, reading peacefully.

 

You rose, then walked me further in, and I said
that I loved what he’d done with the place.

 

He smiled
and kept walking me to the beginning
of another disenchanted morning.

 

Near the Village of Sacred Beasts

trees

The moon’s
gone missing in the branches
and leaves enmeshed overhead, that
allow no light
to enter this place.
At times,
there’s movement in the spaces
between your toes, while
you follow
the faintest sound of running water
at an unknown distance. And
as you try
to exert your way
through your surroundings,
there’s too much in the way of
your body, your breath, your voice,
hair, eyelids, nails, teeth, and most of it
is neither soft to touch, nor too still, as
the forest constricts and
the trees close all about you, when
you remember that you weren’t alone
when you got here… in
the melancholy of dying light
of a long-forgotten sunset; but
your bearers couldn’t help
evanescing into the quiet cover
of oncoming darkness, along with
some friends you discovered, but find
much too far away to hear you
now. And somehow,
you feel it isn’t
strange to be unafraid
of a light and palpable hold
upon your shoulder, because
of a familiarity so unconditional
as to flow from the very wellspring
of all things you are
or ever may have become.
But in time,
the abyss eclipses the intellect
and your senses begin to overturn, until
perchance,
your hand touches
the searching fingers
of a stranger, for
each to hold the other
in its reckless shelter, and
persist on
making a way through
this night, the savage brush, toward
the sound of what
you imagine to be a running stream
at some unknown distance.