Poems by Sabyasachi Sanyal
Behind the closed door
a premonition of this door
although a door is free from the usual constraints
a room is not
so is reality
Reality, I have decided to cut it some slack
Just can’t bear this moaning undercurrent
I would pass through the winter
And winter would pass through me
It’s a deal
where everybody wins
Mr. Bean said — All realizations are interpretation of data acquired by your senses. Since, all senses are suspect, realizations attained through them are deemed uncertain, suspect.
Eventually it all boils down to comprehension
even if you spell it all
it bothers at spots
marooned and wise
memories trying to decrypt their inner memories
I have spilled enough to know
no memory is worth courting, hanging out with —
in a backyard sun
there are memories that are
that never went back to China
Bracketcity, ignorant as I am, it took me 37 years to realize that you actually need an appropriate language of thought. And now I am dumbstruck by its implications, considering the empty graveyards where language blossoms, its coherent fences, colors, strictures, variable degrees of freedoms …
Mr. Bean said — life comes a full circle
I am thinking — A circle is a denominator of my own loneliness
permeating through society and landscape
encompassing but leaving things alone to their own self
The veritable fences and their
colors lapping colors
sounds chastising sounds
obdurate values hardly recognizable in
lengthy satin suits, funny hats
it’s a fair basically
an all night affair
carriages and their defined horses
everything is a necessity down here
even this perverse deployment of inevitability
Mr. Bean said — Go easy on these thoughts
as all they lead to is amassing
fear and paranoia
my innards know — this testimony that
the stone yields to the hammer —
is a conspiracy
The stone yields to its own uncertainty
and the hammer yields to its elemental metaphor
Oh I truly believe everything is alive
including you, me, this poem, the stone,
It’s just that we don’t own a bulletin board
Mr. Bean said — however futile it may be, the humane urge to define anything and everything is imperative, despite the irresolution. This process eventually leads you to accept the futility but not without relevant questions. These questions redefine what you essentially are.
Trappings are quite common in
brimming with life
And the trapper never asks for
It’s not the destination
but the framework of sustainable prose.
punctuated words that
give shape to a cemetery
lingering in the shadow of
will enable you to write
these green faces
percolating light through
silent green words
And the decanter and the decanter’s metaphor and its vulnerability and its innerself sloshing at the hand’s approach, and the hand, its guarded manicure and the featureless hesitation traveling from the hand to the decanter and the sloshing innerself succumbing to the hand’s loneliness and its nowheredom and the etymology of the inner sloshing and its despotic truewhereness, mouth’s gullibility and …
Damn it Mr. Bean, it was never my ambition to write a memorable line, I just wanted to write a memorable pause.
Mr. Bean said — It’s alright to feel cheated as this is the only emotion that truly is existential in principle. By the way, did you know that “morality” is a byproduct of the sense of being cheated.
Yet you float your elemental belongingness in unknown water, yet you acquire newer fears, yet you go searching for avoidable traps, yet you learn to love the arena where you have tasted your gore, bile, soliloquy, pride, helplessness, your continuum … time and again. Yet time and yet again …
Mr. Bean said — Epigenetics is the heritable changes that take place without altering the genetic sequence — your habits/surroundings may switch off/on certain genes by just methylating or demethylating them …
and my fears now know — I thought, so I became … yet time and yet again …
Oh how my fears inherit their fears …
It hurts ! This petulance
Mr. Bean repeats — wisdom is the art of unlearning the obvious …
Fucked up, I am so fucked up …
He says: abandon this drama, theatrics
How do I unlearn my nourishments
That undulates on a fulcrum of
Non & Yon
bugger you and bugger all, Mr. Bean
Mr. Bean said — Ignorance is the strongest force, beware.
Am I merely the interpretation of my own undiscovered coordinates
An imperfection conjoins the values of this sublingual weather
My only regret is that I am forged to remember
Oh I figured out — to forget is to attain freedom in its truest
Let me appreciate a bronze-flower a flesh-flower
and their muted decorum
striving to bury
the immediate sense of necessity
Interpreting me through my follies
Interpreting me through their follies
these streets you will walk again
Mr. Bean said — seasons change
a teardrop on a copper jacket
a teardrop on a copperhead
once everything had a season
now a season has it all
I know for sure
Even if I do not belong
my absence will hunt me out
my absence will hunt me down
Mr. Bean said — Ask questions, if you may, but never seek an answer — every answer is a trap.
And then there are illusions
every illusion needs a face
a decapitated body does not exude transparency
It’s a slow winter
we talk more about
the nature of stories
appropriate for a winter like this
about coiled springs
a distant frozen harbor
dead images of dead ships
buoyed up to float
buoyed up to last
We wonder if transparency
is truly a reflection that beams with a certain sense of assurance
I don’t have much problem with my transparency then
It’s one gorgeous winter
for a springloader
in search of strategic structures
that came out to bask in
An April has touched me twice
dug its pencil-heel in my eyes
Today was a perfect spring day. Cloudless. Spring-buds on every tree, though closed. Two more days of this light and heat and springtune will swirl out of them.
Praeclaraus secundum nex
A spring-molecule, speed — the third of a light, hits me, and my shadow, my unorbiting travels to you. Energy that is generated when the shadow returns to its original orbit will make this poem glow.
I want to cleave my head in half and want to show you the void. My poetry and I, born from the same source, have traveled to two opposite poles.
A moth sits on the new lamp. It’s just April, where did the cocoon form? Will it live till June? They live only for two weeks! “Sabya” gets funny. Bring the book, bring the book. What’s the Family? Genus? Is it an early one? A new species? OMG, we are famous! A Swedish spring where the sun stays up late, even at 10 in the evening. A small hill outside my kitchen window. The old gnarled oaks, strapping birches. Sabya says — remember Bolpur in July? The sericulture farm? Crows flying, a feast in the air, silk-season. Cocoons, scales, bargaining. Where will the cocoons go? The handloom, spun-silk. Silk on lady’s bags, shirts, winter scarves.
— Sabya, am I a moth?
— What ! you don’t have faith in old Mr. Darwin any more?
— Seriously Sabya, am I a moth?
I do not walk together with my art. From a source we both are born and then the art travels its own way and I mine. There is nothing before or after. Just two different directions. Poetry follows its own urge and I my own, to live and recreate. What happens to the origin? Does it survive? What happens to the notes of creation? Does it get immersed in boiling water and turn into a bubble? No one remembers the note Sabya, no one understands its tongue. When you come back to the origin, what do you see? A void in the skin of water? A void? An emptiness? With every poem a recurrence? How many times do you have to come back to such sorrow? Pathos! Pathos!
The moth flew towards July, its
meanings towards November
and the notes of its moulting hormone
bubbled through water.
As if monoliths were hewn from empty people
transmitting a recurrence
As if recurrence was a lamentation and
we lost its meaning in our own emptiness.
Lost! for habit has its own way of
dealing with consciousness
and fear is an essential that molds habit.
Lost, for loss is a word that recurs without mercy.
We could identify our jerseys
only in the dialect of a broken mirror
and time became an evening wash
we put on our faces and went to bed.
Think of a magic that is devoid of reality
A reality that’s emptied of magic
Think, what does it take — fear/habit/loss —
for our granaries to molt.
And heaving enormous diaphragms,
gleaming wings, the meanings of moth
fly into a surgical table.
About points and a pair of clean underwear
Problem is, a point is thinking about me
while I am trying to think about points
separately, one by one, without a line connecting line
any linear equations
and thus couldn’t dry my clothes
Well, not a problem though, you won’t want your dirty linen washed
in the pub
My father used to say — It’s imperative that one wears clean undergarments.
Dying in a dirty one could shame you to death.
I knew, a point is thinking about me
since I am thinking about points.
They have dug up the roads
so the window weeps.
I wouldn’t have believed a few days ago
how believable incoherence could be
until we attempt to describe it in our limp language.
What color a point should carry —
Let the point’s infinitesimal smallness decide that
Here, coconut groves
an oblong moon
A green dot beside a
a distant purple dot
a smoking “Sabya”
a red dot
Does a point see me and other points
You would think
step by step a picture is made,
By putting your chin on your palm
you build leisure
By putting yourself in leisure
you build reflections
And a point thinks
how the sound of a bomb detonating
outside your window
would travel from your skin
to create a instant new past and future
Beside an ultra-violet dot
I lay my clothes, still smelling of scrub-soap
I have lost
a teak forest
a water-well with bougainvillea
not in absent-mindedness
but in purposeful certainty.
Is regret the first true consciousness?
Is remorse the first sign of intellect?
My window would only reflect me
desperately in search of a tune to repair itself.
Does the point want to say —
“Sabya, Sabya — lines and melodies are unnecessary
as both want to communicate.”
I feel the need to urinate
I know in wet and cold visceral blood circulation increases.
Yet, I want to follow the melody to that
great and earthly motel
where in a white bathtub
flows a stream of yellow
in its true wholeness.
Is stream a line too with an extra dimension of fluidity?
Oh cerebrum! the right or the left
where do I put my stream?
Where does the stream become a stone?
The stone, that I am looking upon.
Me, the stone is looking at.
As I change my viewing angle
you change your color, texture.
I too change my color, texture
from your angle — isn’t it?
A changed me I will see you.
A changed you, you will see me.
I am “Sabya” and I am the stone.
But irrespective of everything
My underwear is vocal, pure and clean.
Art and Therapy
The therapist said —
Poetry is all about treatment
The morning dose of Prozac
And the related contemplation of multiple suicides
It’s always about what you don’t see
Using a song as filter or not
It always is what you don’t see
Wandering under lampshades
On the bathroom tiles
And always reciprocating with what it doesn’t see
You open the innards of a road out
The unseen gutters and the brothels
Dingy curtains, plush pink sofas
Used syringes, the sudden gale
The uptown flower market
Banana and melon peels
And the rings of Saturn around your left ball
And they all are reciprocating with what they don’t see
see, the game of hide & seek
it’s essentially 3 games
hide and seek the essence of what shall remain hidden, including you
Do you matter?
Do I matter?
For record, I no longer see the therapist
Art, society, therapy and mosquitoes
The therapist asked — what is art
But an organic
accessibility to intuition
a superfast feed-forward reaction leading to a non-value
before you can say — shit!
(the action is hidden for the time being)
alienation is what a performing artist does best
so, try define society
in terms of art and
Gentlemen, you have successfully reached The VOID
It has been a long time
Since we watched TV together in a shallow room
Taking care not to drop blueberries on the couch
Meeting eyes on an instinctive basis
Mosquitoes: Anopheles, Aedis, Culex
And the loft had its fair share of spiders
Weaving, sitting idle, not a single mosquito in the web
A perpetually dark toilet
I mean, see, although you have moved to a better house
3 bedrooms, living cum dining, 2 toilets and a kitchen
Can’t help miss the studio
It’s the miseries that bond people
You want to call the new house a home
Bring on the
Switchboards that come out
when you literally pull the plug
And there you go
Alienation is what a performing artist does best
While truly pursuing a de-alienation
Without caring to know
How very similar it may look
The mirror image is always reversed
Some poems are original English compositions; the rest are translated by the poet.
Edited by Sarah Dowling