Poetry | ‘Honestly,’ & ‘Since I Wrote’ | By Rajosik Mitra

Rajosik Mitra’s is refreshing new voice written in almost a stream-of-conscious tone, capturing the qualia that would otherwise have sieved away.

Honestly,

I have no pain, nothing to speak of anyway,

all I’ve had I’ve had in vain – shadows and rain,

and that bolt from heaven,

scattering us into the night,

as I walked down Error Avenue, 

the Delusion Bridge,

down to my favourite street 

one weeknight in the universe

to see you; 

it was nine thirty, three hours late – 

now everybody’s good friend

(Time rest his soul)

Preetam’s dead, 

so nobody gets wasted 

anymore, 

Neil is cleaning his lungs far out in lonely Trivandrum,

and the world spun so fast we couldn’t make sense 

of the simple summer rain;

you should know,  

I don’t go looking for fixes anymore,

like on some grand quest for Truth, like one of these days 

I’m going to pull down these cheap jalousies and blinds

of Maya like they were hanging from a hawker’s hanger 

in Park Street; then break into the control-room of existence

and catch truth with a toothbrush, in its underwear,

naked, not ready and maybe afraid.

You see, 

I’ve imagined the truth arching over the south-city black tower

wind-flat mercurial suspension-steamed emptiness and sweet,

rich, sweat-bead sigh of the plexiglass and frigid ATMs,

inaccessible to the cabbie parked inside a patch of street cancer

boiling in oil and noon but accessible to me,

and my enlightened air-conditioned academies.

I’ve imagined it in the alley inhabiting the beehive sting of the queen, 

I’ve imagined it watching over me from the balcony 

two chillums away, in the railyard evening, 

where flowers give out smoke and smell of hashish,

while Bittoo sits between scented money

and the wind smells of vodka rushing  

in the winter dry-drizzle cold-alone gutter of the dead, 

’cause he’s figured he ain’t no movie star

dredging every day that black drain for bread;

then the police took him away 

I could hear a faint siren fading, 

the probable cloud of truth shifting,

disappearing completely. 

Do you see? 

A dark night has fallen upon me, upon you, upon those pupils that are cellphone-blue, 

upon those that are happy, upon those boys you knew

making spiced potato-mash in the forest under the moon, 

it is night now, on the moon, it is night now in the stars, that sleep deprived

of oxygen in the red flesh-eating smoke, it is night now upon the surface of the sun,

it is night now, in the heart of the universe and we’re not programmed 

to further understand.

There are more complex things to write about, you’d say,

it was always this way, there’s nothing new in the cycle of ages, 

and you’re right, you know, 

I wish I could write about living more;

the intricate sugar cube, the old man balloon, a moment with dad, 

the daily afternoon melancholy of my mother, my sister, and how her little daughter says 

they went on a visit to washing-machine-ton and how last year, all of a sudden 

winter changed colour.

I’m sitting here, my vague grasp weakening on metaphors and similes

while in 2017 the world went mad with creativity, 

I’m sitting down with the old man junkie,

melting wax, undead, undying, mixing with the underpass – 

looking for nothing, here the long hairy hand of advertisement can’t reach us. 

I hope you’re doing fine, and don’t beat yourself up about the flowers you’ve trampled

trying to catch a butterfly, they’re all petals of the same lie, 

and don’t ask me why I bother to write;

all these bad lines, insult subtlety and rhyme, 

honestly,

I don’t feel like writing long-ass poems, 

I don’t feel like being a severed head about town, useless in a wartime globe.

Honestly, you know, I’m writing bad more and more,

I’ve been mostly dishonest lately, but believe me,

honesty is poetry in this world.


Since I wrote

I have now a heap of sand,

the great hiding spirit that guides 

all stringers of words 

weave me warnings and tell me

I’ve burnt 

my only matchstick-hand. 

In the desert on a moonless night

in my tatter-old jeans

I’ve searched for some airborne light

a breath long and inescapable to the mind, 

you could say I was searching 

for signs of life. 

If you’d know me you’d learn  

I hate petty rhymes

and in the sand there lay 

the ruins of the king of kings 

reading Coleridge now 

I fear he’s not been so kind.

I walk two paces, no more than that 

everyday, and before me the great 

endless arch

and somewhere between them 

I’ve killed much time. 

Darkness grows bottom shallow 

so you’d think it’d dawn

but you’ve not seen nothingness 

not like this 

neither gray, black nor white. 

Lung full of gunk and a life

of two squares 

hyenas on a freight train in the quantum

realm snigger plot and smile.

Pixels bookshelves clat-key uber-green alphabets,

what words could come out of the dead 

what poems could do to the absolute 

endless zero? 

So I raised myself onto the keyboard

and walked on lego-earth flat

my father says I’m old, 

mother strand of hair-grey sadness never spoke, 

only listened 

 listened for some promised morning bird.

Poems don’t pay neither do paintings 

 when you’re bad you’re bad at everything.

Shouldn’t be so personal, these are trying times- 

 in my dreams I go to Varanasi 

not knowing what I’ll find, 

 great gray moustache collapsibles 

soda lemonade ice-cream I’m sorry I said, 

 I’m only looking for an N-95. 

Somewhere I met dead Niladri barely 

 twelve when he died, searched him up on internet, 

and found nothing but death.

 Found my schoolyard changed 

and I think sometimes 

what a blessing to know Ideal_grave 

 great composer caught by dragons on the page 

we should never be rusty- he said. 

 Drag my face across the keys, out-dreams 

and visions and Denver and quiet seaside Edinburgh 

 and souls of swords and their names through 

the redbook of Jung 

and archetypes of the void, of everything gone quiet,

 my usual tropes of windows and sinister flyovers, 

everything gone quiet.

 And I know of Trappist, Andromeda, Susskind 

and America of Morrison and Moore I know Mitras 

 and Mukherjees and Chaudhuri and Chakrabortys some of them so kind to me, 

some outright cold. 

I’ve learned to speak to run and hide and climb black-brick

 mountains and prose and there are words I stole – Kerouac Kafka

Milton everyone on this poem and on and on it goes,

 In this I am in this I’m all, if there is something 

in me that is me it is mute,

 there is nothing I long for more

than to stare at nameless long-gone stars through a telescope.

Rajosik Mitra was born and raised in Kolkata, who likes to read poems, classics and comic books, and prefers to stick to the straightforward and uncomfortable when reading and writing, and sometimes has a lot to say.

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