i was not thinking of a lemon perhaps Lorca’s lemon endemic to our absinthe flesh / i was not thinking of that land where a white man walking a black dog has gotten to the bottom of a song / i was just greedily looking up at the sky turning my back on ars poetica / dreaming / the same dreams almost every day i live in /how i am naked / the weight of every dream above
like a thickset rainbow
in a bleach tank
on low gravity
the colonized sky
bodies dangle dangle
we know now
all empty hands
always survive on a song
clouds clouds only flash past the waters such noumena
at Kennebunkport i’m learning to be peacefully aware of the clank of the wild roses that are not my business
i can’t sentence enough though my memories barking at my heels ever since i woke up in a cabin not very far from the Dock square where last night i believe a kind of green of something gossamery near the windowsill was hankering for the warm breath of the stars through the rips of a sultry sky
& yes with a new name without forgetting my bitter name i was thinking of the merriment promised behind the yellow door left ajar
the lamps & my memories were gleaming enough to lug my heart calcined enough to subside into the duende
so doomed yet trim & jaunty my heart finally floated
last night at every bend of Kennebunk river the drunken boat of Lorca was wandering my way
thinking of Lorca with a deep bow i asked myself
should not i bequeath everything to the emptiness of the rental cabin including the blue hyacinth grapes stirring from the numb depths of my white Christian bondage before i play for the boat?
the ceiling was descending ecstasy dipping into emptiness into salt into half of an eye throbbing
i had known the yoke the tenor of a fog slinking through the potion of hope everything that sounds & resounds the gulp-choke melancholy of high tide in Ginsberg’s America
& now it was the boat knocking & knocking on that yellow door beckoning me
what was i thinking then does America beget more than America?
my face must have looked marred by an inscrutable masquerade no?
no not my face it was Lorca’s wax soft forehead shimmering in the duende i have been carrying all through my life
welcome to the stage i heard his insistent verse ringing out
without drawing a breath i knew the oleanders were asking forgiveness for their old bitterness potted in blood
tonight i will walk the path with them until i get to the boat
trade me if you like for your laments Lorca said dizzily inside my skull
the mouth of the Kennebunk river was full of darkness churning there was though no hidden replica in the eroded sky-borne moon that very moon to my blueprint bone
the midnight’s sirens were praying harder for America’s hope dressed as a striped woman with kohled eyelashes & a body of clay all swollen up
on the bridge painted with a superfluous blue &/or red that always leap sweetly upon themselves in the presidential hullabaloo i was left face to face with a gaudy rhetoric of power asking me are you ready?
are you ready?
as if i was just entitled to an interlude & it was about time in Sodom
i didn’t know if i had time to remember the nymph i had left behind in an essentialist boat shop gone down the drain
the feigned shock in her waxy eyes when i had anointed my hand in the cold sweat cauterizing her muzzy breasts removing mistakenly her shawl sheathed in gold
the blessedness running out of time when her thighs started to keel in the depths of a pounding psyche before turning to stone
Lorca’s heavy boots all around us in that boat shop where plenty of sun-kissed tomatoes were lying scattered here & there
their old skin on the wane
now i looked over the lewd bridge trying to spot the drunken boat hulking under the scaffold of lassitude
do you agree to take on Lorca seemed to blurt out under his sombrero & i was really ready to inherit his curly words that always propel me back to a sorcery endlessly hollow & humane
how could i forget the countenance yet i knew the boat was waiting for me in the dusted carmine canvas badly hung inside that rental cabin
my fate had been already jettisoned
i was again about to open or maybe i opened again a jar only to glance down for the last time at the face of my mistress soaked in formaldehyde
luminous such luminous face that keeps your time without you having to dial the sharp memories rolling along the rust of rain
i was raging & not scared to laugh at my own wreck finally becoming an abscess still holding out its hands
in her eyes i saw also our children clawing & kneading playdough inside the kitchen of George Bush’s summer home in Kennebunkport
that sun-filled slaughter house was full of Kafka & Modigliani guarding the silence of a restless gong
i tried to think of a pool of blood beat-by-beat but the oleanders kept coming back to remind me of the awaiting topsail schooner & i moved on in search of the yellow door yellow & yellow so proud to be yellow
this is what i have always done with my whole life
all i wanted out of my life is to stay put or maybe to move to the other side of the world
where was the difference
i have never lifted my head from the lullabies to hear the cowbells the gypsy bells the queer bells the refugee bells
are you ready the gong aroar now swirling through the synaptic cleft & binds in my rodent brain
amen said i rising from the muddy banks of a fiction of puritanical discretion pressing creases into the cloak of Donald Trump
i knew all the thugs will be in power their nobility speaking in tongues
& Lorca’s body will never be found
at Kennebunkport i’m still watching the clouds the rise of the tides & hoping to peddle my life for Lorca’s boat
& the word is that the pitiful history will arise from the bawdy clouds trampling on the underpainting
Note: first appeared in different version in Manneqüin.Haüs (may 17, 2016)
I have an unapologetical love for political poems. And I always expect to find a creative distinction & intensity in those poems. I first read Maggie MacKay on IANASP : “I slave in his kitchens,/ my belly fired after him rape mi in the scullery/ like I was his peaberry fruit./ His boasts ride on fiddle jigs into the valley/ where my baby sleeps.” (Jamaican Macabre) I immediately liked her brutally honest voice & her clever way with words & sounds. At that point of time, I didn’t know the editor of IANASP would run a Poet’s Interview series & I would have the privilege & honor to ask her a few questions about her writing. And working on that project gave me the wonderful opportunity to discover more of her work. Maggie has published in various print and online publications, including A New Manchester Alphabet, Bare Fiction, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Prole, The Interpreter’s House, Indigo Dreams Publishing & Three Drops Press. Much of her work is poured from the soul of someone who feels “a clot inside [her] vein,/ a black-blue spiral of onyx;/ at the nucleus, blood-drenched strokes of fire.” (Flare – Ink, Sweat & Tears) While that clot in her writing remains my favorite, I am especially taken with her unflinching voice which is always & always sharply chiseled : “I pass the Tito’s high-rise housing, bullet-blasted/ in perfect circles of terror, the full height of babies’ cots,/ breaching homes where generations dwelled together;/ mothers still hang shirts and nappies, in lines on balconies.” (Restoration After War – Words Bohemia 2) Another good example from Flare (Ink, Sweat & Tears) : “This skin is new to me./ I slur a name – might be mine –/ gulp a balloon of air/ as I roll on the edge/ of another squall-storm.” Like all good poets Maggie seems to be always conscious of the fact that her writing needs to be kicked about to stay alert. And that makes the political blade of her poetry so delicious. Just look at these beguiling lines that hijack our soul facing with today’s terrifying reality of the refugees : “I am ripples, motionless,/ swamped by water, lifted by brother./ I am girl watching home wash away again, again/ Do you have a boat?/You are of no use to me.” (Bereft – Writers for Calais Refugees Anthology). Maggie is certainly one rising poet from Scotland to watch closely with excitement.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a retired support needs teacher and live on the east coast of Scotland. I returned to writing seven years ago, beginning with the Open University where I grew into poetry. Then with a push from my tutor, I enrolled with Manchester Metropolitan University on the Masters degree where I’ve been enjoying the experience. I like to travel, family history and live cultural events.
Why do you write? What does poetry exactly accomplish for you?
I get so much from expressing my emotions and remembrance of others through the written word is important to me. It’s so absorbing to play with language and share ideas with the community of poets. And when I’m told a poem has had a profound effect on a reader, that’s such a thrill.
Can you tell us about your work habits?
I aim to write every day. I close read other poets too. And as often as possible I critique my fellow writers’ work.
Do you like to work under constraints, literary or others?
A deadline works well for me. Or a project which stimulates the imagination.
Please tell us about the making of your poetry. Where do your ideas come from? Are there certain elements of your life that play a major role in your work? If yes, how does life bend with poetry & what is the usual incubation period between the lived experience & the moment of writing?
I focus on family history, events of significance, the effect of loss, enduring relationships. My ideas can be influenced by something which happened within the last 24 hours or 100 years ago. I like a title to inspire me or a project which focuses the mind.
Where did your interest in poetry begin?
At school and then, more recently, after retirement Often a poet’s performance enriches my interest.
What is the impact of other poets on your work, if any?
I investigate technique, form, use of white space and clarity in others’ poetry. John Glenday, Jane Kenyon, Les Murray, Neil Rollinson, Marie Howe and many others.
How do you “think the world” through & in poetry?
I explore sensory imagery, read political debate and tap emotion.
What makes you write poems like Bereft, Media Demons, The Ochils, Jamaican Macabre, The Silence of Shock, etc. published in IANASP? According to you what is the hardest things about writing protest poems or poems of witness?
I look to embed conviction without preaching. It’s getting the tone right and being clear about what I want to say.
What is reading for you? What kind of things do you usually read? And who are you when you are reading a (literary) text, a reader or a writer?
I read lyrical poetry. I am both.
When is your book/chapbook/pamphlet coming out?
I’m working on my Masters portfolio at the moment.
How can readers find more about you & your work? (website/blog/social media)
Check out websites – Ink, Sweat and Tears, Three Drops From a Cauldron, Marie Lightman’s wonderful websites on refugees and prejudice, The Lake and Northwords Now amongst a number of publications. Print press too – e.g. Bare Fiction., The Interpreter’s House, Obsessed with Pipework, Prole.
here nothing ain’t over yet
to circle the world
Against the rainbow the bullet holes look non-worldly. Those who are standing loosely in tears under the luminous sky are again watching butterflies trespassing the ripples of their dreams. Bones are again sticky and blood spills again for memories’ sake. Tomorrow, we all return again to our sky. Guns & roses.
“Sign the petition below and tell them : no more austerity”
Someone wrote a canteen poem purling through the proposals for possible cuts
Someone a payday loan poem peeking in at our buttonholes
Someone looked through Darwin math game beneath the watercolor
Someone sang from the killing fields of unemployment in oil :
The wind is blowing
Yet the Tories are not duping us by telling
Everyone can just get to eat chlorophyll
Looking forward to the sunny days
So wait before you vow to write a history-of-wealth poem
The quiet hour 1
Away from us a koel calls.
I lift my head from the pillow & figure under his wings there ain’t enough sun.
This means my young son will sleep for a few more hours before he becomes himself.
Peace. I breathe him till the bare day comes and becomes what it may become.
Yesterday’s baby soap has not faded yet.
The quiet hour 2
The bloodied walls rise into the quicklime of the sky burning.
The empty swings crackle remembering
The cuckoos that sang out over the park.
The flesh strewn across the ground rethinks
The bodies that flew overtaking thousands suns.
I think I have found him.
It’s almost him.
I breathe him when settles the cloak of dust.
Yesterday’s baby soap has not faded yet.
Debasis Mukhopadhyay lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. He can be found online at
(Mother Teresa is to be declared a saint on September 4, 2016, Pope Francis has announced)
She asked nothing in return
The tumbledown slums claimed and exclaimed
And she wanted all the candles to be kindled till they die radiant overcoming the torments of a bloodless immaculate life inside a pure heart.
The Requiem in monsoon sky flitted like a swan trying to get its unquenchable mouth drenched in the dream of salvation.
She carried her robe till she died in a private clinic where it is said saintly compassion was abandoned for earthly medicines & she was shivering because of the air-conditioning.
Not so far from the clinic’s porch, the naked beggars of Calcutta were crawling along the roads squeaking piercingly awaiting the Judgment day.
Mother, mother, here in your innocent hands our penitential soul.
They didn’t and perhaps, still don’t know what their Mother knew, even Malle, Lapierrre & Grass could figure too, that they would smile after their death.
And today, truly and graciously, they are smiling like wild flowers from beneath the death.
Donald Trump has got yellow eyes
He makes a good protest poem
A poem where red looks redder
And where the subversive Left continues to taste like extra virgin olive oil
Refugees don’t make such poems
They bite into a new twist everyday anyway
You can hear them falling from the faucet
Nothing so special about their ad infinitum teeth
You can see them rolling across the skeleton of map
Hollande told us their ad hoc sky needed indeed a repair
En attendant… they can live & sweat in weather proof containers
Let Jesus help France to keep the whole thing from collapsing
I like Sarkozi I like Trump and I like Left
I won’t write any poem called
No fun to stay in one place
Debasis Mukhopadhyay‘s work has appeared often on I Am Not A Silent Poet and has also appeared in many journals including The Curly Mind, Thirteen Myna Birds, Yellow Chair Review, Of/Which, Silver Birch Press, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Foliate Oak, Eunoia Review, Snapping Twig, With Painted Words, Revolution John, Fragments of Chiaroscuro, Whale Road Review, Words Surfacing, among others. He lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. Follow him at https://debasismukhopadhyay.wordpress.com/ or @dbasis_m on Twitter.
Debasis Mukhopadhyay‘s work has appeared often on I Am Not A Silent Poet and has also appeared in many journals including The Curly Mind, Thirteen Myna Birds, Yellow Chair Review, Of/Which, Silver Birch Press, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Foliate Oak, Eunoia Review, Snapping Twig, With Painted Words, Revolution John, Fragments of Chiaroscuro, Words Surfacing, among others. He lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. Follow him https://debasismukhopadhyay.wordpress.com/or @dbasis_m on Twitter.
This is Cherry
She is school days for your showcase
I will take my life
This is Cherry
You can leave the canvas unattended
If you think her words are dancing
The paint is detaching from the priming
She says at your daylight’s wake
This is Cherry
It’s not your fault
You didn’t believe in poems, did you
My eyes are smokescreen white
Maybe I will sleep
No bombs tonight
My skin in the dark of derelict home
Empties the bones of all fears
No bright side of the earth
The baby is lying in pieces
Buried beneath the crumbling walls
Maybe I will feel around her eyes
No bombs tonight
No clouds to ring her body
So stuck open
No bright side of the earth
Debasis Mukhopadhyay‘s work has appeared often on I Am Not A Silent Poet and has also appeared in many journals including The Curly Mind, Thirteen Myna Birds, Yellow Chair Review, Of/Which, Silver Birch Press, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Foliate Oak, Eunoia Review, Snapping Twig, With Painted Words, Fragments of Chiaroscuro, Words Surfacing, among others. He lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. Follow him at debasis mukhopadhyay or @dbasis_m on Twitter.
(For Irom Chanu Sharmila, a Human rights activist and poet from Manipur, a conflict-ridden state in the Northeast of India. For the past fifteen years, she has been on hunger strike in protest of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act/AFSPA (introduced in Jammu & Kashmir & in seven Northeastern Indian states since 1958) which licenses the security forces to make arrests without warrants and shoot suspected individuals without fear of prosecution. Her fast-unto-death was spurred by the infamous Malom massacre (November 2, 2000) in which 10 civilians were shot dead by the Indian army. Chanu, an ‘undertrial prisoner’ in the eyes of the Indian government, has been declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.)
Prisoner of conscience
It’s my body
That has learnt to survive on the use of dreams
The daily knocks of the Ryle’s tube
Teem with thousands of Thursdays
Life still begs forgiveness
Until thou wilt
I remember it all started on a fasting Thursday
Each day has been a fasting Thursday
Since fifteen years
No food no water no vote
It has come to this
My body has to endure the four walls to sort out things for me
It’s my body that won the ground for detention and remand to the hospitals
For it yearns to settle a small debt as a citizen
In section 309 of Indian penal code
One finds a bad translation of hunger strike
Hunger strike is not suicide nor crime
A layman’s look can also tell
You are not wrong if you deem hunger strike to be worthy
To be synonymous with fasting with hope
Killing my body for fifteen years
It’s what I have been accused of
A layman can think it’s a joke
My fasting body is her legal estate
For being steadied with hope
It’s my body that chose to grieve with bodies each day
Bodies not found
Reach for the clouds
Mouth the stillness of the storm
Crouch in wrecked
Clamber higher to pluck a saffron-green sky
No not out of the hammock
Those ones shot on the nape of the neck
Worm under the army shade
Bodies bled out through the forehead bloom
Still gaze on the sky
Still greet the morning sun ignorant of the country’s law
Still busy dying in “encounters”
For fifteen years
Stomping its feet
On the ground of silence
A Silence that does not go blank
For fifteen years
My body is made a prisoner of conscience
For it has learnt to wait until we stop reloading our wounds
With silence to eat steamed rice