By Deeptesh Sen
After she left us,
there was only desire, but no meaning.
Consolation is nuanced
like the abrupt conflation of shame.
No one understands
the cut in the real that lies
The winds seethed,
dust settled on our souls
All through the winter,
I fucked strange women
to convince myself
that trauma is a carnival of truth.
In the end it was too much,
we decided to move out.
Even the house was torn down
and the bricks mutilated
as offerings to the gods.
The only thing we couldn’t destroy
was the lingering traces of her laughter.
Tonight I leave behind a silent city
whose memories run like blood in my bones.
Abandoned faces will never ask questions,
only the quiet remains of the night receded like laughter
when you let a lonely caress run through my fingers.
Like a trapeze artist, I always had an awareness of falling,
fearing the dilemma of choice.
I pretended to be not paying attention when
you talked about love in the most roundabout way.
What can I leave you with but the anxious strain
of denial without justification, a few unfinished
poems, and the uncertain mist of soft October nights?
There will be no goodbyes,
affection did not come easy to you and
formalities were never my choice.
Meanwhile, she insisted
that we should count shadows
as we drove through the ghost town.
Dust circling in the wind,
faded light from the street-lamps hung
with the weight of memory.
The city churned like a spinning top
at the corner of mind;
long aisles, towering billboards, rusted shops
lay deserted in unflinching solitude,
memories of flickering voices
danced at the crossroads in the rain.
The factory, the little street, the rain
don’t smile at you,
The supermarket and the town-hall
their voices choked with soot,
stare you down with a displeased composure.
This city has migrated,
and put up all
its memories and desires for sale.
Every corner you turn
seems to shuffle endless voices
to make way.
Buy me the laughter, she says
buy me the hustle of busy feet.
– III –
This pavement beside the cafe
once gulped in weariness
an endless wave of human voices
where empty carriages now recoil
and the heaving of bodies
still disturbs the dust
like an obstinate afterthought.
The bridge on the boulevard
still drowns in the pain of recantation,
and the station in the falling darkness
anxious for a tender stroke of motion.
The mall is a catacomb of endings
proclaiming the infinite ways of silence
with glistening dust.
If we could taste the colours
that throbbed beneath the dying feet,
and mourn the hair and voices to rest …
If we could rummage through the dust
of feathers, bones and peeled off skin
to touch the hearts that moved mind and men …
Only a crow measures its flight
going round and round
in motionless circles.
Dead cat that smiled at dinner
quietly imagines spaces,
Slow whimpering along the extinct highway,
with painless frost in sleep.
Hunger has the silent pretence of a metronome,
with quantum lips ticking.
Move inside the rotten rose-flesh
with dead letters written at sunset.
Dear Mr. K,
here are similes for you.
Sweet as the worm for your breakfast
and daggers for your sleep;
the moon burns in your closet
and mermaids cloud your nostrils.
You loved her naked rhythm
and her luminous suffering,
you hid inside the mythology
and wrote morse codes for the rain,
beneath the dust of her breasts,
you trembled with a song.
You left the frost burning in her sleep,
and the cat dying,
and the rhythm suffering,
and the mermaids crying,
and the stereo playing,
the wedding dress burning,
and the breakfast getting cold at 42nd Street.
But you only cared for the rain, didn’t you,
when the summer child brought you roses
that she will take you to her house on the moon?
Have you always been this way,
silent, crazy and perfect?
Dream, woman dream
of salt carcasses,
and a wild concert of light.
Moments turn into the blush of a painter;
Nuclear beauty in Verona’s limbs,
what is the colour of blindness?
Tired polyphony of autumnal nightfall,
the moon tastes like the body of your dead lovers.
you only kept her caged in blue circles of light.
Smoke, from tender eyelids at dawn.
I will write an epic for you
as we match steps on the stand.
I have heard the hunger grow
inside the blush of the painter,
inside the rose-flesh dream,
inside the blue circles of light,
when the waves wash us ashore,
without memory or trace.
I have seen fear
in your eyes
when lovers smell of sunset and leaves.
Deeptesh Sen is currently pursuing his M.Phil. in English at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. His poetry has been published in The Statesman, Kolkata, the Journal of Poetry Society, India, Aaina Nagar, the Stare’s Nest, the Crab Fat Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. He loves reading T.S. Eliot and blogs at www.deeptesh.net.
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