Numina Press, 2007
The title of the book of verse is “Pisces” which is the twelfth
sign of the zodiac. The picture of the cover shows three dead fish hanging
above water. Water is flowing and fish are dead. The picture has strong
symbolical relationship with the poems. Pisces is the last house
of zodiac, the portrait of the House, two fish swimming towards opposite
directions, also the end of the circle. As several poems refer to old age,
sense of loss, a feeling of absence, and the poet himself “standing
outside, watching through the window”, “turning into an old photograph
of a man. He looks from the picture straight into my eyes”. There
is something heavy footed, silent, introspective, intense, and momentary,
generally in all of his poems.
All the poems in this collection have beautiful black and white photographs
opposite to them. Black colour is more illuminated than white. The objects
and persons are blurred giving me an impression, persons, trees and other
objects in these photos are ephemeral, clocks are reminding us “time is
up”, sometimes pretty absurd, as we can’t relate these pictures to the
poems. Perhaps absurdity is the clue to life’s unreality.
Then the bitter-sweet parting, after meeting for a short while and “heart
beat of departure” as reflected in the poem “One day”. Encountering
after “fluttering of letters, a fluctuation of doubts”, after , “caressing,
feeding on my warmth” it is time to say good bye and return to “ our empty
shells”, ends up describing a sense of futility of even in most passionate
process of love making. On the photograph the couple are walking along
hand in hand, the other hand of the lover carrying a suitcase.
To me the same feeling of melancholy and absence in the poem “Catcher”
ramble on “lost creature”, “abandoned spirit”, “not seeing you, still
seeing you” again fill up the presence, not by romantic phrases but
by a painful poetic line,
“an ashtray filled with the Marlborough stubs,
like fingers fallen off”.
One feels all passion turn into ashes. But does desire completely wither
away and make us a disillusioned human being, cynical or serene, not really,
I relish his lust for life in the next poem “When we are old”,
“ cynical and romantic
with the same boy-like interest
in my penis,that became
the scales on a warm stone”.
Turn to another love poem “Love Letter”. Construction is different,
“you and I” rushing through myriad of sensations of taste, sound, smell,
“pressing all buttons at once dreaming
mumbling and singing
chasing a ghost, not seeing
you near me all my lofe, longing
writing by the fire place , crossing
out and writing. All my life I am writing
an unending letter to you.”
This a wonderful poem in praise of love. It has a sustained intensity
which has been created by “ing” forms added to verbs which are the driving
force and a powerful rhythmic structure.
There are themes beside “love”. “Frequent Flyer”, is a homage to his
loving father who has passed away, assuring him not to worry about him
because “when I fly an angel attends me” and there is a hint of himself
slowly fading away,
“I live on myself, expectation
melting slowly into waiting
as I keep flying
in the space given
for the time being.”
The last lines are poignant, waiting is very painful, perhaps a possible
meeting in the after life.
The theme of “homelessness”, in the poem “The City”
is addressed to a friend. Even the city has been described affectionately,
“ rarely visible
bell tower, scarlet flower beds,
barbed wire fence….
flag with a hundred butterflies
on the desolate square”
But the night opens a book reading silently the underlying feeling
of homelessness. This inner homelessness continues while you are “sitting
and drinking to the blasting music, and thinking of those heavy stocks
of incidental life insuring a worthless thought of relief” as the
poet describes his own existential situation in “ The syntax of Night”.
It reminds me of Max Ernst’s surrealist painting on City, a thick tropical
jungle from where no one can ever get out of his own loneliness and desolation,
all the partying and downpour of champagne slowly drive you to the edge
Finally, I would like to mention his three lined, haiku-like poem, “Three
“The plane crossed
a screened window
A scar in the sky”.
The poem speaks for itself.