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.

   

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.

Echoes of Disquiet

I’m glad that one old man
remembers to take his medicine.
He tends
to speak very little
these days
and the few words that surface,
are sometimes, a solemn source
of sad comfort.
The other day, we happened
to discover
a mutual guilt…
in possibilities of
a few things
we might have done different… to thus,
have deferred the routes
to two abrupt terminals.. of a kindred loss – in
our divergent histories, that
since then… cannot matter.

 

But it is
at times ..unnerving
to know that one is the last
of a particular kind of blood,
and has failed irrevocably..! to protect those
who had always protected him.

 

Therefore,
it remains
to gaze upon reflection
and search for traces
of faces bygone, where one might
imagine reflexively.. for
the dwindling remainder
of the cherished few… as much as for the self:
how the face, the lowered eyelids,
low breathing, tired arms,
restive legs,
the twitching.. in all,
would be rendered
– when devoid
of the animus of consciousness – of the spark of life..
then
left alone for days, to rot..!!

and
in these forsaken hours
of insomnious nightmare..
can one glimpse.. the ruthless truth
of the nature and eventuality of this raw flesh..
can see right through seductive illusions
of presence… and mistakes
of love and hope.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dead Salvage

And soon
I’ll sell the old house
that used to be
our home… but
first I’ve got to get.. his books out..
to save..
his leftover clothes,
his flip-flops, two shoes,
three tables, chairs,
an induction cooker,
an iron trunk, the small TV,
the memories..
and mounted eulogies of our guardians…
the walking stick
he kept
from his father, who
was swallowed there as well.
I think
I’ll burn his
lone bed, the one
where I used to sleep
as a child
betwixt its parents, so
that no one else
touches it!

 

 

From Book IV

The Last of Places

When
his mother died
and I watched them hoist
her large, irresilient frame
upon the pyre,
bare betwixt red sheets,
I was too little
to realize
that she’d never speak to me… again.

  
Then,
when it was time
for his father, and
they did away with
the worn, decrepit shape,
the same way
they had
for his wife, I
understood… that
I’d see them both again..
someday… in a place
we all go upon
our wanting, ashen ends.

  
And…
as I
set fire
to his remains.. the
ruin.. that had become of my father..
I had already
arrived at the deliberation
that mind
cannot outlive
the disorganization of its matter,
that oblivion
is akin
to the restful nothingness
of an eternal, dreamless sleep…
and that
the only place
where we
could all be alive… together…
was in the imprecision
of fading memories.

 

 

From Book IV

A Reunion

Pessoa said
that to write
is to forget, and
I didn’t believe him, until
it started to soothe
the burning
of times bygone… which
were now meant for revisiting, at
times in rain, and
among other opiates, words, as tunnels
or doors
to inhumed realities; and
it somehow
was more pleasant
to remember the loved absent…
at the best
of what they were…
until.. a long-lost photograph
of a long-dead, old man,
retrieved the lifeless face
of your father – my friend, our guardian
left almost as in weeping.. from
what I know
was so much left unfinished… but
what now.. impossibly feels.. from
a sorrow grasped
before the living: when
once again, I’m cut wide open.. as

   

you turn
to the mingling of your sources, and
whelmed within their realm of nonbeing,
you appear now, to me, betwixt
the living and motionless figures
of your two grand guardians… poised,
in my mind,
before and diminishing a great darkness!

    

with they,
as now you,
at the most beautiful
of what remains in memory…
with me? left here – behind and alone to envision you all
and suffer
on my own;
never
to say
goodbye.

 

 

From Book IV

The Perfect Blue

The idea
of Paradise, as
a place
where the ideal
is reality… seems
something we’d like
to imagine
as going somewhere
that was dreamed or envisioned,
or once, really was.. immaculate…

   

and some place
we usually know,
can no longer be
as perfect, on arrival
there.

   

   

   

The last time
we saw each other,
we spoke
of his childhood
in a boarding school,
where mornings came before
the sun, at times
before the break of dawn
and then,
there was routine for some
chosen, in clearing dust
from prayer halls, and watering
the stretches of flowers that
lined the grounds, before
the other children
were up.

    

    

    

I assumed
it must have been tiring
to rise so early, each day,
and then do that much work,
to which,
to my surprise,
he said
that he used to enjoy it,
and explained
that the feel
of fresh, open air…
that bathed the body,
and the gleam
of that dim, first light… that
illumined the skies
would allow
his young mind
to be lively! and
free…

   

   

   

It’s difficult
at times, to tell
dreams from reality..
but I know
I asked if he
would like to revisit
those faraway gardens
once again… one
early morning, with me
this time.

   

Or was I..
just waiting
for the next time
I’d see him..
and only dreamed
that I had already
asked..?

   

   

   

Someone told me
that life
is supposed to be
a procession…
of
unbearable passing..
and I claimed that it would’ve
been better
to never have
existed, but once
one does…
there’s too much
to try
to hold near, to simply
go away…
until we bid adieu
to Heaven… that hides
in the impossibility
of complete return
to the elusive fulfillment
of some mysterious places
on this uncaring earth.

 

 

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

The Magic Man

Mr Banerjee _Edited

July 13.
It’s already
been
a month, and
today
is still…
your birthday.

   

You know…?

   

for a few
grey weeks,
I’ve been writing
for you.

   

   

   

I never
told you, but
I used to
think, when I
was little, that you
would be the grand nemesis
I would oppose
when I grew up.

   

But
somehow,
as I grew taller
midst the fall of our guardians,
you found
their secret..
and became
their last.

   

And
taught,
by your own example,
that human beings
are capable
of magic… of good… of change.

 

 

 

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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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.

 

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.