Rajosik Mitra’s is refreshing new voice written in almost a stream-of-conscious tone, capturing the qualia that would otherwise have sieved away.
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)
so nobody gets wasted
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.
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,
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,
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
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
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
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,
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.