Brimstone Roots

fire

The mind repeats its
natural cycles of entranced retrospection, and
caught unawares, and unmoving,
I fight,
I struggle,
I shiver,
I shake,
I writhe, as perhaps
some primal and formless instinct for self-preservation
seeks to scamper.. to flee.. to somehow
escape.. to somehow outrun this
unrelenting circuit…
in
austere terror..!!

   
In vain… I try
to calm
the cornered animal, driven
far beyond its bearable thresholds
for panic,
pain, self-persecution, and paranoia,
telling it
that this is somewhere
it must learn to live…
as this isn’t somewhere
it can run away from, because
it couldn’t bear to leave here either…
this apocalyptic mindscape
of unending eclipse and disembodied shadows..
a state fated to be subject, evermore,
to quotidian submersion and violent welling..
surely and unavoidably,
as the lasting remainder of something
far too precious
to abandon…
and
far too harrowing.. to face.

   

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

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

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

Elitist Listener

Is finding
music
that, for a long
few minutes,
fills
the hollows…
that
one cannot
touch – inside…
enough
of a reason
to stay
alive?

   
There are
many
more important
ones, where
the well-being
of another
becomes
of more
consequence
to you, than your own.

   
Perhaps
a child, for whom
his Dad
gave up his drugs
and
worked hard
to give the delinquent
an education.

   
Or a personal purpose,
as a brilliant and unsuccessful doctor
rereading repurchased books
of Pathology,
to redress
an age neglected,
in the waning hope
of restoring
an out-of-reach laboratory,
and dying
of a heart attack
at forty-nine,
confused.. and alone..
while
the kid, now a man, the
one thing
he wholeheartedly cherished…
was out
making money
somewhere in the big fucking city!

   
For those
who do not believe
in fairy tales
and have seen their share
of futile trial
and cruel death,
it suffices to say
that
they often find
little reason to feel
that reality
was ever directed
toward
anything good,
and… eventually has
no meaning, other
than sadder memories.

   
And
in this capricious state
of the definite
and oncoming nature
of unpredictable
and irrevocable loss..
perhaps,
discovering pointless music
that makes you think
such pointless thoughts,
is as good a reason as any… for
lingering, pathetically, here.

   
For all reason,
in time,
disappears..
in one inescapable vacuum..
and is rendered
unknown,
unknowable,
null
and
void.

   
While the ravages
of mortality
tend
to take the shine
away
from dreams,
it is, or still feels
wrong
to take
one’s own life,
as long
as there are those you’d hurt,
were you
to simply
go away.

   
Someone
had once
asked
my father
what he wanted
his son
to be, when I
grew up.
To this,
the M.D. Pathologist
replied:
“Alive and Happy”
…and that
is what I’ll
try…
to be.

 

 

From Book IV

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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