Sunday, May 16, 2010

The sea

"I looked aside quickly for fear my eyes would give away; one's eyes are always those of someone else, the mad and desperate dwarf crouched within. I knew what she meant. This was not supposed to have befallen her."
-Banville

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Shahid Ali, Begum Akhtar

“You are gone.

Three words. And not one
of them
exists now in any

other context.”
-Henrik Norbrandt


It is a little past midnight.
From love,
Shahid wants only the beginning.


Snowflakes cry
At the touch of his hand.
Why has winter made a habit of stalking?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Prufrock

Life, in a nutshell.

"We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown."
-Eliot

Sunday, September 13, 2009

With a flower

"I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too --
And angels know the rest.

I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness."
-Dickinson

I bought myself ten flowers today and put them in a vase in my room. I don’t know what they are called. They last longer than roses and they have no scent. They give me joy and misery. Even, joy is rootless and it fades and it can be bought.

I am no good at identifying flowers. It’s a serious handicap for someone who likes poetry. I make no effort to learn the names. I never ask. It’s easier to hide when everything else is unidentifiable.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Eclipse

“This world is drenched with that drowning.”
-Rumi

We live underwater
I am told that
No one hears the rain.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quietus

We recede into our stasis
I am already dead
You are always dying.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Years

It is time for the gentle luxuries of spring. I haven't slept in three years. This must be like a hangover. I celebrate time. The black continuum of years. Vast. I am careful to not step on dead gulmohur flowers, as if to protect the soiled innocence of them. Everyday, I write in my diary with invisible ink. I leave it around, conspicuously, wondering if you read between the lines of silence.

"O God, I am not like you
In your vacuous black,
Stars stuck all over, bright stupid confetti.
Eternity bores me,
I never wanted it.

What I love is
The piston in motion . . .
My soul dies before it.
And the hooves of the horses,
Their merciless churn."
-Plath

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Veiled Suite

In my next life, I am going to have a life. I spent the day reading Satyajit Ray’s memoirs. Many thanks to a friend for forgetting the book twice. No, I haven’t seen his movies. Yes, poor-philistine-me. That’s going to change soon. But, I have read the Shahid Ali poem about the Apu trilogy. Also, this Shahid Ali extract from his collected poems, published all but recently:

I wait for him to look straight into my eyes
This is our only chance for magnificence.
If he, carefully, upon this hour of ice,
will let us almost completely crystallize,
tell me, who but I could chill his dreaming night.
Where he turns, what will not appear but my eyes?
Wherever he looks, the sky is only eyes.
Whatever news he has, it is of the sea.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Belljar

The snow buried your balled cries.
Acetone corroded your belljar.
But preserved the emptiness.
Stifling full.
Rolled back your eyes never blink.
Never miss a thing.
It means nothing.

Stop crying now.
Here is a hand.
Virgin honey.
Fructose. Sweetness! Sweetness!
Till it becomes bland.
It means nothing.

It is summer now.
April is so cruel indeed.
Your forgetful snow melts.
The glazed ocean of memory.
It hurts the eyes.
I listen to the drops of your deception.
And wait for the tide of your knife.
It means nothing.

Insomnia is anesthetized.
I am. I am. I am.


Sylvia Plath ended her life in the February of ’63. It is fitting that I just finished reading her autobiographical novel “Belljar” now. I also came across a poem that I had not previously read at the end of the book. Here it is:


“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Winter morning

Black winter mornings are cruel.
They distort words. I inhabit

Vales of silence. Even echoes
Are respectful here. Time is

Measured in the calm between
Gales. They laid out your

Death. I devoured with my eyes.
I did not know that

I would be so starved
For the vision of you.

Now the cold winds anger
The architecture called space. I

Walk here in my fields
Of desert between drops of

Stubborn rain. Sorrow is ductile.
Watch the changing souls of

This dark light dissolve. Inferno
Assimilates. You walked in sheaths

Of glass. Now I glare
At the angry sun. The

Time for burial is come.
Earth grows barren with grief.

Hades has removed dear Persephone.

Winter scene

“Bring wine,” Alcaeus demanded, “Wine and truth.”

Here is a poem by him from an encyclopaedia I plundered from my mom’s school library.


“Zeus rains upon us, and from the sky comes down
enormous winter. Rivers have turned to ice….

Dash down the winter. Throw a log on the fire
And mix the flattering wine (do not water it
Too much) and bind on round our foreheads
Soft ceremonial wreaths of spun fleece.

We must not let our spirits give way to grief.
By being sorry we get no further on,
My bukchis. Best of all defences
Is to mix plenty of wine, and drink it.”


Alcaeus loved Sappho. She refused his love. They have vanished in the cold sea of indifference that sweeps everything, but, some of their poetry did reach the shores. It has endured. I recall Franny’s gorgeous letter, her devotion to Sappho and to think that I did not even know about her before Franny.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Acid evangelist

So, Morrison’s tipsy dream sequences have been on my mind for some time. I just finished reading his biography. Stephen Davis does a good job, but, the book has a horrible sense of chronology. Holden would say, “You don’t know where the hell you are.”

It is interesting to note that he underlined the following in the introduction to Rimbaud’s Illuminations. It explains a lot.

“One must, I say, be a visionary; make oneself a visionary.

The poet makes himself a visionary through a long, a prodigious, and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, keeping only their quintessences…. He arrives at the unknown: and even if, half-crazed at the end, he loses the understanding of his visions, he has seen them! Let him be destroyed in his leap by those unnamable, unutterable, and innumerable things: there will come other horrible workers: they will begin at the horizons where he has succumbed.”

The self-destruction was systematic. Cataclysmic. Morrison to my mind was the paragon of the Byronic heroic. So, I was not surprised to see that the biographer quotes Byron.

The book has entailed that I start with Arthur Rimbaud and go back to Dylan Thomas. In the end, Mr. Mojo is still rising.

In other news, I hate malls. Decisively. Whatever happened to the quiet little places where you can hang out with yourself? If you have coffee houses inside malls, you should be allowed books. Not that I want to read inside malls anyway. People in love make them intolerable.

This blog is becoming depressing. I think that I will make myself pancakes now. Food-therapy works. Always.

The end

Last night, you died. Your death was imperceptible. Your death comes as no shock to me. It has become knowledge in a space of two hours. I appall myself. I was sleeping when it happened. No lightening woke me up. I tell myself that fools romanticize life, but, death is inevitable. Maybe, this didactic keeps me sane now. I also know that I believe the other, that, I can live forever. I have no right to mourn you, but, maybe, this is inevitable too. I am young. You were seventy-eight when it happened. A sage once told me that only an old man knows when an old man dies. I am not old. A lifetime is only just an instant. A lifetime is an eternity. A lifetime is both. In the end, only a thought remains till the mind vanquishes even that to leave the remnants of a lost world. Sayan would say a lost Atlantis, but everything is not utopian. But, the thought is conscious of all that is possible because of all that has been made possible. A thought is a very powerful thing. I chant a thought to myself today, to imprint it on the ocean that has become my mind. I don't want to forget.

Harold Pinter, you are dead.

Cancer is a real pain. It kills. You did say:

“They (Cancer cells) have forgotten how to die
And so extend their killing life.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Café Coffee Day

Bitterness takes time to brew.
Freedom is an interstice.
An exemption for ten minutes.
Before the metaphor of life
It scalds.
Sugar can disguise the disappointment
But the distilled flavour remains.
Coffee is best when taken dark
Black and unadorned.
Raised to your lips
No froth.
Like Norwegian Wood
So matter of fact.

PS: Given up coffee. Been having tea in coffee houses.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The reaper

I left my Dickinson volume in the metro yesterday. I hadn’t even finished reading it. I came home and searched everywhere.

I read this gorgeous Anne Sexton poem on suicide just now. It is technically brilliant. Also, so persistent that it is almost urgent.


“Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.
I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.
Then the almost unnameable lust returns.

Even then I have nothing against life.
I know well the grass blades you mention,
the furniture you have placed under the sun.

But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.

Twice I have so simply declared myself,
have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,
have taken on his craft, his magic.

In this way, heavy and thoughtful,
warmer than oil or water,
I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole.

I did not think of my body at needle point.
Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.
Suicides have already betrayed the body.

Still-born, they don’t always die,
but dazzled, they can’t forget a drug so sweet
that even children would look on and smile.

To thrust all that life under your tongue!—
that, all by itself, becomes a passion.
Death’s a sad bone; bruised, you’d say,

and yet she waits for me, year after year,
to so delicately undo an old wound,
to empty my breath from its bad prison.

Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,
raging at the fruit a pumped-up moon,
leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,

leaving the page of the book carelessly open,
something unsaid, the phone off the hook
and the love whatever it was, an infection.”


But, my favourite suicide poem is a Dickinson. Not a Plath. Here it is:-


“'Tis not that Dying hurts us so—
'Tis Living—hurts us more—
But Dying—is a different way—
A Kind behind the Door—

The Southern Custom—of the Bird—
That ere the Frosts are due—
Accepts a better Latitude—
We—are the Birds—that stay.”


Dickinson died a natural death. Plath and Sexton committed suicide.

I was right. That Tony Harrison collection is horrible.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Without irony

As furtively as wilderness
Abstracts into spring. As despair

Grows in one sick
Beyond hope. The omitted awareness

Of your memory divests
Into the mind today. As

Shadows in the expanse
Of light. The heart makes

Its choices and divorces
The soul. As the sound

Of a flower withering
In darkness. As death in

Life. As bliss is
A trepidation. And fear a

Prerogative. The heart wanders
Looking for pleasure. And then

Pretexts out of misery.
You knew. You did not

Come. With the Parsons
Of morality. I have no

Brawl. I do not
Dissect my life. I have

Good luck.

Desolation

“They say that “time assuages,”-
Time never did assuage;
An actual suffering strengthens,
As sinews do with age.

Time is a test of trouble,
But not a remedy.”
-Dickinson


You
Are
Old now.
I watched you
Sleep today, counted your wrinkles.
And ascertained the width between pain and wisdom,
Added the spaces in a lifetime. A longing between desire and destiny remains.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Now close the windows

“Now close the windows and hush all the fields;
If the trees must, let them silently toss;
No bird is singing now, and if there is,
Be it my loss."
-Frost

I have been reading “A Boy’s Will.” Every poem is a microcosm, a world within a world. And this is a collection of his early poetry. I am amazed everyday. It is a bit like living life “At the Vantage Point” and yet, “In Neglect.”

We went and got the books. I totally lost it there. I only just finished reading “Dubliners.” I did not even pick this one because of this absurd-I-am-not-ready-for-Joyce-theory, but then later I filched it from the friend who did. I think that I went the wrong way about reading it. I should not have read it in one go, but, the book is addictive. Tomorrow, I will read “The Stranger.” I know. Finally.

I brought a lot of poetry. A lot. Keats, Browning, Whitman, Dickinson, Frost. An anthology that features everyone from Milton to Walter Scott. I also got a Tony Harrison collection, but, I am not too excited about it.

I also got books by Chekov, Fitzgerald, Kafka, Lawrence, Hardy……. And other stuff.

No Neruda. No Murakami. Couldn’t find any.

Now close all the windows. It is time to explore. I think that it was Kashiwagi who said:

“In order to be
Forgotten from within
A flower opens outward.”

Friday, December 12, 2008

The hyper-reality paradigm

I study science.

We live life by simulation, so reality is an assumption, a hypothesis. If and when the rectitude of this assumptive reality is proven empirically, hyper-reality is attained. It seems virtual. Surreal and also, vivid.

What is illusion? What is entity?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Golden is elusive

The first semester officially ended a few days ago. I feel a dissolution of space inside my mind as if I live life in the rooms of a castle that I have made for myself. Each room is a brimming, almost ebullient enclosure. A castle that has ceilings and walls of glass, but, no windows. That is soundproof so that you can see what's going on, but, you can't hear. So, if you refuse to see in one direction, you achieve total suspension. There is no sense of time. Just the measurement of days in the literature I read. Sometimes, a passage lingers and defies time. A cycle of seasons passes. Winter hesitates in the afternoon brilliance, as if it wants to retrace its path. Sometimes, you want to capture this indecision and so you put your arms forth as if to enclose this facile radiance. As if to look for a reward or say, a reconfirmation. There is a splendour. There is a splendour. Although refracted. Although silent, intangible.

I saw a production on the Russian Mafia scene today. It was eye-opening. Then, I saw a show about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. It was really interesting. Sayan gave me a one hour tutorial on Roman Warfare (and other things Roman) after that. I am not even kidding and I listened. Unbelievable stuff. So, now I am reading up about the Roman Empire.

Oh, I also finished a Murakami yesterday. I also read Catcher again.