scarecrow poetics/essays

Monday, July 11, 2005


Six new poems - Ashok Niyogi


a man a woman a boy and his dog
a fire that has to be nourished
in darkened woods the party has begun
the smell of cooking sizzles fry
woman’s laughter woman’s shriek
on the shoulder of the forest road
in car headlights a deer blinks
I twist and turn in my sleeping bag
zippered between memories and desire
I look in corners for some leftover warmth
shadows in the tent gather near
weigh my eyelids shut and then the dreams
of cobalt blue lighter fluid
in the caldera of an imploding life
after this the precipitations will matter
love and hate and sheer indifference
and inch upon inch of falling snow


it is a beautiful brown mountain
of considerable girth at the base
as it rises from the Cascades
it has a peak and a ridge and hump
snow cap patterned down the slopes
into tapering snow melts
meandering into sparse pine
it catches the whites of morning
the gold dazzlers of a bright day
and is dutifully pink and rose
and orange blush with the setting sun
like a performing artist
orchestrated with the violin chorus
maybe on a full moon night
it will quietly glow
and the violin will come unstrung


the sun is perversely bright
on an empty camp awakening
I cannot pretend to be busy
like a humming bird or a bumble bee
so I nag at raisin from a Pine tree
squirrels have read the morning paper
they are out gathering
as are people for tit-bits of life
black ants climb up single file
to carry away booty
from a half eaten donut
in a half squandered morning

bodies come together
and break apart into multicolored pieces
as in a brass kaleidoscope
in the hands of a very old man
there is much vigorous wagging
of dogs’ tails and a few excited barks
tighten the leash on sounds
that camp dwellers have thrown
women in shorts
read hardback books in garden chairs
men wonder
what to do with their feet and hands
small puppies yelp and want to act

I kick pine cones into squirrel holes
I foreclose


the white bark pine
bends windward
the west wind
roars in from the west
mercilessly flogging
flurries of snow
the white bark pine
turns away
and doesn’t want to know
it does not have to swivel
and twist through human debris
it just must ride the winter
arthritic as it is
and show up living white
in next year’s summer sun
without articulation
of twisted pain


from the depths of your inner core
you wailed so primal
I saw desire indestiny implode
from structure to dust
like lust sealed for ever
with a red hot lava flow
you scattered tatters of life
over continents and oceans
pumice and scoria chased
galloping horses that flew

and then the purest snow
sans gravitation in meditation
wafting down the heavens
you had challenged with your fist
braceleted with lightning
the snow enveloped all
snow soothed your angry womb
snow was a salve
for the ragged tatters of your belly
snow numbed your umbral pain
insane you had vaporized rain
now it fell as salt less tears
that are without recrimination
only incredibly sad

the seasons change
snows melt into pristine flows
open eyed you mimic the sky
in shades of blue with truant cloud
such blue as will color me blue
before it mirrors my pock marked sins
even as I bathe my eyes
I ripple all over in cobalt shade
near the shores are magic greens
touched by pink even as
we are touched by madness
when confronted with excellence

this phantom ship
with lowered masts and drooping sail
cannot be anchored it is impermanent
hewn in fragile sensitized rock
it will float delicately away and break up
in the reflection of a wisp of cloud
to sail forever the starless sky
and watch with hollow delicate eyes
the sun draw lines across the blue
ruffled by a westerly wind
that cleanses and cauterizes
and makes it entirely proper
for gods to kneel in noiseless prayer


this is how hell must have looked
to dinosaurs full of fear
now it is a lazy stream
threading its way through time
loose scoria give way to gravity
but what does the stream care
it adjusts and changes course
between dormant chimneys
shored up with rage
now the cement is weak with age
now the pinnacles mock and grin
mouthful of cracked and ugly teeth
once they bled at the gums
now they are empty inside
but madly angry with the sky
opaque cement evil gray
shadows are arthritic fingers
down the pumice gorge
shaped by grotesquely ugly
giant flaming hands
in everlasting unbearable pain

we have railed off this abomination
it is an awesome geological marvel
now that hell simmers like steak
sin everyday pots and pans

Ashok Niyogi 2005.


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