Uncanny insights

This month’s poet GAURAV DEKA is a classic example of a ‘Doctor as Poet’

POETRY COLUMN

POETRY EDITOR ANANYA S GUHA WRITES:
Gaurav Deka is a classic example of ‘Doctor as Poet’. His poems apart from their sonority reveal uncanny insights into life and its ‘problematic’; relationships and existential questions. But sometimes they take the form of soft, almost wistful musings, with ‘dark’; colours demystifying them. Sometimes again there is gloomy foreboding and a run, as it were with life. Moments seem stifled, almost mad… He is a poet par excellence, words overwhelm ideas. Go ahead and enjoy reading this brilliant poet.

If you wish to be featured in this column, please send your poems to our Poetry Editor Ananya S Guha at nnyguha48@gmail.com

“The Three doors of Anagnorisis”

(1)

This day forth we hold history in
our wake,

having known the inevitable
mathematics of time and death.

It is almost fifty years early in
Matheran now .

In your rented house,

you drink alone.

Beneath the immortal evening
moss,

the tamarind tree in the backyard—
in its own sad senescence—is thin in
its roots.

At the steering the AC is on full blast,
and half a century’s longing clear as
dusk in the rear glass.

I must reach in an year’s time.

Apparently there are rumours in the
sea-wind,

like any other scandal of men-in-love.
In a bar somewhere in Bombay,

on the night of your departure
I hear one:

The dead-doctor left his wife for a
boy.

But to grow old one must
hypothesize life through
possibilities of re-imagined
endings too, you would say.

As I pass by the Charlotte I run over
that memory; its foul taste clinging
onto me,

the rear glass re-adjusts.

Past six the earth rises and turns
red laterite,

its brown softness almost warm as
your skin.

You stir moonlight in your empty
glass now;

On my way, I drive down Neral’s
abandoned station; fireflies flick
against the headlights.

From your rented house,

you must but depart alone.

I shall reach in an year’s time.

(2)

Just after I left, there was rain

and for burial, the chronology of
remembrance and forgetting

It is less than a decade since departure
and we have given up the gravid
language of our innards

Between death and reincarnations,
there is night and its vacuous
spectrum of darkness. And you
seeking like a god on its heels, sit
here, on this pebble of my death
and wonder

that how In the cloying religiosity of
tests and myths,

man and woman stand locked into
the rigid anatomy of the world

you wonder on how the world has
been wrong to you:

the failure of being a man and the
parting vermillion wiped clean

like the edges of a puerile heart.

On an unremarkable evening when
my nephew turns five,

the accountant brings to you,

the cheque-book to be signed:

Its pages are yellow and the skin on
the knuckles shrivelled with holding
the pen for long

How long will you write of me?
memory must be weak now

The young one opens the door and
in a feeble first voice, utters—

Kaku, don’t be late. Friends are
over

you feign dry enthusiasm;
the deception is saddening to the child

you still wait with the pen between
your fingers,

the table smells wet-woody and my
mother’s breaths are sparse, like
the numbers in the account header:
2 0 1 4 5 6 8 6 4 5 3

you’ve grown old, You’re almost me.

In July the water in the steel jug is
cold, and the tumbler upside down
on the plate, its aluminium coming
off like skin; The house needs to be sold.

Beside the twisted oleanders the
window is unmoving, and the
accountant stares like a fish at the
undisturbed papers—

his face wrinkled like threads
dancing against the bare walls.

(3)

To know of night through light’s
passage, is another tale of
transit

And in the invincibility of such
belief the world knows not but two
travellers: the collector and the
anarchist

He holds the sea in his palm: its
tepid bark ages like soot in his
throat. The heart’s poetics freezes

The collector’s veins turn blue.

Like peace and sorrow, the
algebraics of colour is known only
to the gods. To the Man’s sanctum
of norms this-day, even the
creator’s nail is banal

He licks grime off the saffron to be
green. Inside Eve’s vaginal darkness
he has lost the algorithm to be
divine. He turns foetal inside man’s
exiled womb

The anarchist’s hide bleeds pale,
faithless.

Grief’s silent music isn’t equal
anymore. In the desperate
epiphany of death, love clots in the
inklets of the Executioner’s blade

In the end, the geography of every
return is vain—Are you left with a
country without a home?

“Castus”

(In the room of Ignorance)

Tussled, I see you changing shapes
like the faces in water,
They that sleep with a thousand men
to dream of nights-
Not known to return, not known to leave
wondering beasts in slumber.
To cry and waste in guilt,
drawing virginal tears in unending lines
fading in the redness of your palm.

Perhaps, I had left no choice.
Is it that you love me, like the careless bodies
edging in the entwining space
of your fingers, and the innards of your desperation?
Is it that you find me in them,
As one does, sorrow from turbid rivers of despair
and clotted words of dead poets.

In this winter of the quiescent sky
spreading like my inviolate blood,
I stand naked underneath;
clammy in the sweat of my coldness.
To let peel, and wound my skin around you.
To burn and mould like claypots of incense mist,
swirling—light, dark and grey.
To stretch and shrink into the souls
of the thousand men, you sleep every night.

Gaurav Deka

Gaurav Deka

Gaurav Deka is a writer from Guwahati, Assam. His fictions, poetry and essays have been published in The Open Road Review, Indian Ruminations, The Four Quarter Magazine, Fearless [poetry zine], The Northeast Review, and Solstice Initiative among others. He can be reached at gauravdeka@outlook.com.