Postcards to no one

I am the patient etherised upon the table. It is midnight already, the steady hum of crickets merges with the clatter in my head. The words I had once written, now return every now and then to haunt me. Perhaps the words that return are not mine alone, they arrive without warning, fragments of lines, now longer tethered to the text, they arrive like the breeze on cold city nights. “ You always seemed to go round in circles” , I murmur to myself. I discern few other sounds. A leaky tap in the kitchen, must get it fixed, I make a mental note. The sound of the clocks ticking go on as ever, “No man goes down to the same river twice”. I think of entropy for a while, the second law and time. The tap keeps leaking. By now I have almost become used to its incessant rhythm. “All of art is resistance against entropy”, I scribble on a piece of paper, knowing once again that I am indeed going round in circles. The phone rings, I let it. The traffic lights blink. I have grown tired of conversations, of platitudes, of “art, beauty and the meaning of it all”. Hollowed out from inside, I roam these streets like a shadow of myself. This city, its neon facade, its filth, its contradictions, look at me questioningly. I smile back at it and keep walking in this “unending chorus of human feet”. I slip into my dreams. My dreams are of smoke and death. Stray faces appear behind glass, a dog bares its fangs, licks a bone clean, mannequins walk gingerly , a one eyed man grins.

Neon

A faraway house
overlooking the highway,
the lights of which
always flicker the same way
in my memory, always the dim
yellow of longing chasing me.
Just as a seafarer knows
the sea by the way starlight
meanders over it,
I discover the city
late at evening,
walking along
its illuminated contours,
and find in every corner
the disjointed strands
of time and distance
and being and non-being,
shaping their own narratives,
even as I keep searching
for effervescent light trails
of headlights and cold neon
.

Tonight

Here I am
in this cafeteria
having a bowl of noodles
all by myself
with a dozing watchman
and the soft, mellow glow
of an electric flycatcher
for company.
I put on my headphones,
my playlist switches to Norah Jones.
I think of my friends for a while
and then my mind shifts elsewhere.
The song begins ,
“Come away with me “ she sings
and I here alone
in this midnight shack
think to myself
that I would if only
I knew where.

Movement as Metaphor

Droplets of light
condensed on night lamps
split open
caught in a flux in
spools of thought
held in equilibrium
mid-air nesting
in the emptiness
of every atom in
every cell and the
continuum in between
where motion begins
only in the mind as
a single twist of phrase
unlocking doors,
as a trickle going down
the endless slope,
as a nameless soul
receding from its shadow.


Notes from an unfinished diary

I

Criss cross zig zag pools of light, comfort is disappearance and then oblivion…oblivion…oblivion just writing the word is bliss, poetry is tapping buttons on a phone and auto correct results , erasure is art is life and the continuum in between , the excess of everything has choked me , life is perennial asphyxiation, an endless process of fading away moving zipping past cities, civilisations the old man under the tree telling us tales of our dreams and the mats that waiters dry at night, the lover’s hand groping in the dark , How do I trust anything?memory , literature is artifice, art is truth , truth naked without embellishments of language, of anything , thoughts clear as water, clear as a sentence that does not employ a metaphor. Must wake up sometime before they arrive, then again the next day and the next, life is a series of such days , how does one break away ..

II

Antidote to melancholy :The act of naming ,The colours ,the sounds, the flesh and all that remains hidden In the shadow all that diffuses out of the surface of our being and the air expanded by our emptiness as it passes in and out through the nostrils as days turn to nights, as all that remains of a once familiar name.

III

The currents in the vein ,  blood flowing like a river, the banks on both sides unknown, the day draws to a close, a boatman begins his song, sound penetrates silence, bit by bit, the first poem on a cave wall reaching beyond time to us, gathering silt of time, of memory as the world passes in a long drawn breath, the very act of naming is creating, the rebirth of the world in the head, the sounds ring hollow , a skeletal hollowness, the night endless..

IV

The world held out as if a piece of paper. Plain white eye balls, stars replaced by LEDs, the sky cellophane, I scream and hear the sound of my voice which separates into sine waves.

It moves outwards, upwards ephemeral wisps of smoke. The ceiling buzzing incessant, the sound of crickets in my head, the static from satellites, orbits losing its course, language born in the womb of silence, reaching towards what cannot be known, cellophane skies reaching out to us…us?  thin lights of the night , absolute silence , the mind melting words, sounds, the mind on a sprint out run by light, the first embers of the fire, the signs drawn but never understood, not of death or of  life, a mystery without resolution, words pushing against air, enlarging space, the self diffused , the shadow of the shadow keeping us where we are.

V

Condense droplets cold surface night ice cream blank page the sun lanterns night lamps heat youtube voices.

Voices information the world trapped in a skull , stream of consciousness no boundary , end of the page the point of it all? Deadlines dead line cooler night gives way to morning shifts work and repeat ,what am I looking for, the end apocalypse starting over the physicality of writing poems , people in photographs and people beside you and then people into nothingness me into nothingness, with them who are they ?friends connected by invisible threads, to her whom I love, to her whom I think I love, the way the fingers move over the keyboard backspace backspace heat  boredom solitude split open empty space time body tv series transport in a story of someone somewhere pinned down to time, place , location , country , family , caste , name , universe? Face the man in the mirror thinking in devised metaphors language handed down how does one step out of one’s own feet ?words as vehicles of release, Hormones ?

happy chemical? Sad chemical?

VI

Symmetry breaking triggered by the first word, in the perfect vacuum of silence, the trigger pressed, time – the noose around the neck, entropy fluctuation, a probabilistic blip in the all encompassing halls of nothingness, propelled forward, the brain fist sized presiding over the universe, and you caught in between . All poetry is reminiscence of time when there was no time, space uncharted, a raft caught in the ocean currents of neurons, torn apart by genetics, strands entwined condemning us to a name, to 3.14 , to loneliness, to this eternal separation, to an alpha numeric name next to a blob of green, to anonymous chat rooms, to curious blizzards in Russian novels, to the unsayable buried in the ambient. .

Smoke

We wither slowly
awaiting
our eventual invisibility.
The hourglass fills
bit by bit,
we turn vaporous,
appear as frost
on the windows
of our unborn children.

Debarshi Mitra is a 25 year old poet from New Delhi,  India. His debut book of poems Eternal Migrant was published in May 2016 by Writers Workshop. His second book Osmosis was published by Hawakal publishers in 2020. His works have previously appeared in anthologies like Kaafiyana, Wifi for Breakfast and Best Indian Poetry 2018 and in poetry journals like  ‘The Scarlet Leaf Review’, ’Thumbprint’,  ‘Guftugu’, ‘The Seattle Star’ ,’The Pangolin Review’, ‘Leaves of Ink’, ‘The Sunflower Collective’, ‘Coldnoon’, ‘Indiana Voice Journal’, ‘The Indian Cultural forum’ among various others. He was the recipient of the  The Wingword  Poetry Prize 2017, The Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize 2017 and was long listed for the TFA Prize 2019.