if i can’t see the poem i write & it grows open, by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

  for Asifa Bano

yes now the blood is off her dead legs
the blood is off their foreskin at a perfect standstill
the blood is off nothing that comes of nothing

if i can’t see the poem i write & it grows open
like a gul-e-nargis
there ain’t no blood to blind on the flag of the nation
there ain’t no blood to dot the landscape of Kashmir
just a small body making up the white of the page like this free verse.

.

Asifa Bano: The child rape and murder that has Kashmir on edge

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ars poetica in my paintbox slips through the shithole by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

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

aftermath by debasis mukhopadhyay

beneath the frippery of the new & old nigger pew it was written, no, not exactly written but designed, the white lyrics of his machete. when the wishful despot unveiled the timepiece by inhaling by thimblefuls a petunia pickle bottle full of other bad blood, the voting motivation was again seen imprinted on the solid phalanx of the thingamabobs.
..
the replay provoked the spectators to look for the same motivation elsewhere in History which was now becoming a mattress bursting into guffaws. he looked pleased, he could now just raise his yellow eyes to undo his hairstyle. now it was just a matter of guess, or glass? where else that candid swastika could be traced? on the back of the newly earned tortoise shell necklace dangling between his purple areolae? sitting on the verge of the cleft of his hips his clergy was singing hallelujah.
 ..
finally imbeciles ignited more imbeciles & the fireball ran wildly all over the flesh of the flibbertigibbet seeking that little motor which had been perceived as a poetry or pogrom of edge & edict, a sop to sonnets of lych-gate, an aching fiasco of blue-eyed yearns, a soft-pedal healing of luminary rivers of rifles … the motor was wrought, a drop of pure blood coated the crinkle flowering of kaykaykay crowing gloriously as much in his dovetailed blueprints of gratuitous violence as in his warm soup of bluff serving to contain the subversive promise of nation & narration.

Lorca’s body will never be found by debasis mukhopadhyay

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)

what good Halloween is to us by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

those cut off hands —
however so very preternatural
like a mere spectre autumnal —
choke easily on the finite border
of their semantic mischance.
we go to bed knowing
after the dark
deathwatch beetle & dry rot will swarm about
the wicked genii of metaphors, metonyms, synecdoches or litotes
under the rag of our skin
& we can elude the haunting brute
in sleep.
 
 
what good Halloween is to us if
hands they remain the mere ones
crawling backwards down the gutter of
a Milky Way so full of petrels
hovering over a figure of speech
nailed to the Children under the rubble in Syria
who just boo away
boo away
boo away
the ghosts
whatsoever lazy or fearing
to guffaw over the stubble of hands 

Interview with Maggie Mackay by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

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 namemight 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.

Mother, nothing ain’t over yet by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

to the mothers of the disappeared in Kashmir
 
Mother
here just blood tangles tangles
no muddied river
of bodies
will steal away rainbows
from you
 
you can fall asleep
on chinar leaves again
giving suck to
those mouths of darkness
not saying goodbye yet
 
Mother
here just rain tangles tangles
no circle insoluble
of nights
will dance away like an echo
from you
 
you can breathe into
the footfalls again
and wait for the
clouds to spill light onto your quarter moon
here nothing ain’t over yet

Nice, Bastille Day 2016 by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

bones splinter down the roads
like they do
here
here
&
where
your breath
cuts
thoughts
to
melt
with
sundown
&
sea
where
sea foam
froths
over the mound of bodies
watching
an evening sky
still
so clear
so profound
so dead
where
chalks breaking
into pieces
&
melting
in our fingers
waiting
to circle the world

Orlando : Guns & roses by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

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.

Looking forward to the sunny days by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

“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

Hashtag : Chibok, April 14, 2014 by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

The girls had dropped their head scarves and dropped shoes along the way
I used that as a guide to follow where the hashtag came from
I went to a village and passed through it
The wooden bones of the market stalls filling the empty square
The wind recalling the sewing machines long since gone to rest
Sparrows sitting along the dusty way
The girls had dropped their head scarves and dropped shoes
I went to the next village where voices swarmed between the walls of reeds
Hundreds still surprised at the warmth of the smile the girls gave them in life
Sparrows sitting along their ruptured spine
I have hope said a mother holding on to the luster in the eyes of her smiling girl
The footprints led her up to that photo
The everlasting ravine from where she could say
She -will-come-back-one-day-or-may-her-soul-rest-in-peace
Quiet flowed the hashtag along the way
The girls had dropped their head scarves and dropped shoes 

Lahore, Sunday, March 27, 2016 by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

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
https://debasismukhopadhyay.wordpress.com.

Blessedness, poverty & risus sardonicus by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

(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.

Nothing so sensational about the Calais refugee camp evacuation by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

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.

Frost in the eyes of a refugee woman by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

She tells me faces seep into her prayers and eyes fold into droplets still breathing in the ice.
 
She tells me heart shakes the stretched-open memories from all the bones and hands flow past the wind wanting to belong in time.
 
She tells me on such days the bite of frost slips through the lumps of her breath and she sees tomorrows lacing the dead waiting to break loose from the tunnel of hope.
 
 
Debasis Mukhopadhyay‘s work has  appeared often on I Am Not A Silent Poet and has also appeared in many journals including The Curly MindThirteen Myna BirdsYellow Chair ReviewOf/WhichSilver Birch PressThe Bitchin’ KitschFoliate OakEunoia ReviewSnapping TwigWith Painted WordsRevolution John, Fragments of ChiaroscuroWords Surfacing, among others. He lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. Follow him https://debasismukhopadhyay.wordpress.com/or @dbasis_m on Twitter.

I will take my life by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

It’s not your fault
This is Cherry

She is school days for your showcase
Now you can browse her idle Facebook page

And read again her poems
Those flies take their opportunity to leave their black dots on her last updated profile

I will take my life
She said
She did
This is Cherry

You can leave the canvas unattended
If you think her words are dancing
The paint is detaching from the priming

I hate become
I hate become

She says at your daylight’s wake
This is Cherry
It’s not your fault
You didn’t believe in poems, did you

Just say hail and farewell

 

Bright side of the earth by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

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
Hoping tonight
No bright side of the earth

The baby is lying in pieces
Buried beneath the crumbling walls
In sleep
Maybe I will feel around her eyes
No bombs tonight
No clouds to ring her body
No moon
So stuck open
In blood
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.

Steamed Rice by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

(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.)

 

 

Turned 43

Weighs 43

Prisoner of conscience

Not me

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

India

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

Not 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

Not India

My fasting body is her legal estate

For being steadied with hope

 ..

Not me

It’s my body that chose to grieve with bodies each day

Bodies not found

Reach for the clouds

Bodies disappeared

Mouth the stillness of the storm

Bodies found

Crouch in wrecked

Bodies raped

Clamber higher to pluck a saffron-green sky

Bodies dropped

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

Bodies marked

Still greet the morning sun ignorant of the country’s law

Bodies flagged

Still busy dying in “encounters”

Bodies crack

Bodies creep

Bodies pry

My body

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

..

Paris at Night by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

Three matches lit one by one in the night
The first to see your face in its entirety
The second to see your eyes
The last to see your mouth
 
At Bataclan around 9.45 p.m. they opened fire
They were surprised at how quick we dropped
They reloaded just three times
The music all around reminded them of our
Faces
Eyes
and
Mouths
As they took a few follow-up shots on our heads
And we were all quiet after that
But our corpses are still rolling
And kill them again if they ever stop rolling
 
 
*The fragment in italics used in the beginning of the poem is from Jacques Prévert’s Parole.
Debasis Mukhopadhyay is a poet from Montreal. His poems have appeared most recently in over a dozen literary magazines such as Yellow Chair Review, Thirteen Myna Birds, With Painted Words (U.K.), Of/With, I am not a silent poet, Silver Birch Press, Foliate Oak, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Snapping Twig, Eunoia Review, Down in the Dirt, Fragments of Chiaroscuro, Words Surfacing, etc. Follow him at  debasis mukhopadhyay or @dbasis_m on Twitter.