No. 8


Dipak Mazumdar 

Fluid Twilight 
(a continuous/discontinuous canto) 

Canto 3  A trip to invent the other

        “Madame Bovary, c’est moi” Flaubert

sat tight
inside a flying whale, 
 a chatter-poem in my mind,
the evening moon losing her fish-scales
shuffled across our faces.
around us,
some heaving seals 
some wrapped 
their eyes with tabloids,
   a bunch of ice-hockey players 
shamelessly stretched their legs-
leering and baying 
 at stewardesses,
I flicked the pages 
    of "les Chants de Maldoror",
poured free gin, 
 calmly stirring the plastic tumbler,
  Churchill, the head steward, 
smeared with ashes,
    regally stalked past me
holding sticks of dynamite,
we scratched our charred wings
gaping at the explosive moon,
    Artemis and her howling hounds.
shut, like a group of school children,
we sang a nursery rhyme to ignore
the fright of flying, drank more gin,
imagined a ride in a cabriolet 
through a meadow of daffodils and snails,

the captain  walked in, 
unfolding the map
marked with cities en route in red, 
muttering gibberish promised 
more moonshine, a film on Tahiti, 
   ice cubes, pinacolada 
and Gauguin girls,

hunger piloted us to the chicken
on the plastic tray,
   a drumstick in Bisto gravy,
a mouse sang running up and down the tummy, 
passengers walked around with laptaps,
   toilets were on red light alert,
mouths unzipped, 
spitting out
   noxious mushrooms,
sniggering, no thoughts
on the plight of a magpie drowning in a pool.

my fellow traveller, a retired colonel,
a liberal cannibal,
at home a holy Baba,
abroad a Dracula, 

during holidays 
  painted watercolours  in Nice or Marakesh.
  how his halo reflected 
on a wall
when he sang to his Beatrice
  climbing a creaking ladder ,

his Harrovian headmaster 
  flogged and dragged him
with the same loving care as Hannibal
through trunkless pine, ash and cedar trees 
to the other side of the Alpes, 
love has been defined as
  "spare the rod spoil the child,"
it taught him to sleep and snore
while driving a Centurion tank,
mauling villagers, handing out blankets,
with a total stoic self-detachment,
gave him a poise, and an imperial accent. 

As  always, the night has disarranged 
our cabin,
 dishing out buckets of liquid rubber,
 on  telly,  helicopters exchanged fire,
repetitive rhythm of rocking and rolling
 of black fumes from electric guitars,
a macabre fairy tale of big bazookas and klashnikov.

 scenes shifted,
you caught a glimpse 
  of the virgin in a ski lift,
biting her fingernails of wax,
in a second's flat, 
she was escorting your fate
  beyond the margin, 
   beyond the stellar stations,
Venus is an island, Mars is a resort, 
 a pink bowl of symphony.
the Ideal Beauty
receded beyond the snow, on the Alpine ridges
Parvati playing the harp,
  Shiva dragged on a sledge by a bull,

  in a gigantic white crater,
a fast gliding skiier 
  on a downhill track,
you chased Eros, after a while
  in distraught, 
not feeling freedom and safety of a pebble beach,
at the edge of a breathtaking gorge, 
  ski sticks, 
  two hanging toothbrushes 
between the world and abyss,

plucking your eyebrows 
you dragged your hangman on to your nose,
a comforting phrase fell off your lips,
" thank God, my body is still radiant, immortal,"

  survived, relieved,
watched the silent haze of snow pirouetting
  towards the hurtling whiteness,
blew the cold wind shaking snowflakes
gently brushing the anarok, 
    flying batty helicopters
insanely in love with stars. 
  serene, serene, 
the quicksilver-night 
    queenly swanning 
from dale to dale,
   sheepish, you returned to the seat,
     familiar, not a home,
time and space,
  a planet 
  spinning on your nosetip,
took a break, 
    like  a TV serial, 
the same story, restructured, 
time and again
you reinvent the same trip
regliding down the same valley


 mist churning 
  in a glass of gin
  rise lotus and lynx.
is your "I" prisoner of your missing "You"?

Canto 4 A snow storm*

“Desire came upon that one in the beginning; that was the first seed of mind. 
Poets seeking in their heart with wisdom found the bond of existence in non-existence”
                                                           (Nasadiya, Creation hymns, The Rig Veda)

  the glacial morning 
  stomped with the news
  of an over-dosed ruffian’s death wish.
  a ketchup bottle in the left hand,
  in my head
  skins of twenty-two swedish phonemes 
  and the king Birger Jarl,
  facts which were off the wall,
  you would think of them wondering
  about an address, 
  somewhere, in a lost cul de sac,
  I started the day 
       among plants, chairs, 
       circles of hours, 
  a ruffian,
  nailed on the wall 
  of a fourth floor cubicle,

  white, white 
  were the billions of sleeping pills
  blitzing at windows,
  their frivolous violence seduced eyes,
  charm had a brutal desire,
  eyes were immobilized, 
  at north, at south,
the snow rose in the air asking for tons of black pepper 
  and barrels of absinth,
  the blond grunts of death
  caged in the cauldron of Eros,
  cherishing  fresh corpses, 
    its nails 
 were long daydreams 
 of future fashion models,
  flicked and dazzled 
  stroking the lifeless black thighs of the Other.
  the bear and the moon hugged,
  from time to time 
  the rhythm of the nostalgic 
  fleshy waves of the lake
  tapped their heads,
  on snow dunes they stretched,
  rolling into a tender word
   in each other's arms,
  fell asleep for several seasons.
  nocturnal gaze of white cemeteries, 
   leisurely focussing,
    tearing feelings without claws,
  a subway train 
    whistling through the virile body,

  no one thought of oysters, 
nor thought of 
the fate of the young hoodlum 
  who took a hostage, 
  and smelt the pure ice of his mistress, 
bear and vision danced 
hand in hand with glaciers,
  shadows of floating mountains 
  clustered around his anorak,
  lazily turned into a guffawing vulture.
  the polyphonic gale 
  cracked the mirror of love,
  his face burst open wasps of hate, 
  lungs were squeezed 
  with a mink-cape of an actress,
  resounded death-falsettos  of foxes
   over the somnolent void,
  where primeval Ymer
  weltered in the wardrobe of insomnia. 
  cars skidded off the roads,
  gathered on the giant roundabout,
  arms were boneless, blotches of blue, 
  the blizzard corkscrewed
  chasing the endless  lynxroad,
  hoisting the skiiers, 
  sent them off packing
  northward, northward
       on the Nifelheim's land,
  spewing icy nordic gods, 
  Oden, Thor and Christ,
   all entombed,
  thousand meters deep.


  after the storm, the landscape was vapoury, 
  slowly a quicksilver space dilated,
  a face unfolded with a spinning clarity,
  blind became the sky by the iceblink.
  no bites of passion, desire in transit,
  his belly was empty, no genitals of ambition,
  the feverish hoodlum lifted a carnation,
  insects of names buzzed on his feet.
  love, a shredded Gothic manuscript,
  always elusive, peddling sweet
  ripples of subliminal  mushrooms.
  smiling, the besotted child
  broke the spell of spiralling hours,
  destination blurred, an icebound train raced. 

* It was a severe winter. In the morning I read the news of the suicide of an young convict. 
He had run away from the prison and took his ex-girl friend as a hostage. The police surrounded 
the flat, he set her free, and later, took an overdose of drugs. 





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