Poetry by Namrata Pathak

Namrata Pathak

The Night at Mohanbari

That night is a mouthful of nothingness.
Its enormous teeth gnawing at your
tilted voice. That upward thrust
on the roof of the mouth tastes of wind.

The tongue tipsy enough
to do reckless things with our names.

Smoky scavengers come down
as rejection
from lips. The night continues
to smoke weed languidly. Only its lashings
part your rebellion
into two halves
of the resilient sky.

The night gives in to the same
double-edged rotation
of words between us.

They say, in Mohanbari
an alcoholic language runs faster
than second thoughts. Again the night
swallows a betrayal of stillness.

The night does not arrive
 at a faithless conclusion of skin on skin.
Everything else is a riot of smells,
a faint hint of crushed adulteries.

In sightlines, visions
of a tangy potent kind,
the night before has a history of killing itself.
It has eyes that are lips. Hands that are feet.
It eats our oblong sorrows in small quantity
of bitter steroids.

The air is sour with anticipation.
It is the gurgle of an airplane in the knot
of trees and water.

In gelatinous nights footfalls get stuck
to porches. Only a verbatim monologue
spreads across the night sky.

Our words are nubile,
the rest non seasonal like star fruits,
poky, plump artefacts on hands.
The night picks the words back
from slivers of mirrors, the pallor of grief
blooms in long fingers;
we have seen them pulling away
the voices of ghosts from steely throats.
The night cuts across the breath,
partly across anything that is not musical.
This night is a museum of mourning.

This night encircles the window again
in red and blue of a Kingfisher.
It’s floating body a mausoleum of thin air.

The airplane carries the reek of its rotten mouth,
an orifice that breeds sneaky memory
in total abandonment.


(When he told me about the dying tree on his window)

You told me about a hunger in the Palaash,
of lies thrusting up as half-buds in the sky,
the leaves  are mouths ajar, the wind splits into a
noon and a dusk, your bold eyes drawing
the flowering disappointments
 in foamy palms, the sky, then,
 is a watery hesitation.

You told me about last summer,
when the disappearances on windows are violent
as lands after partition,
the red pregnant moments of confrontations
in veils among faces, not knowing
the missing links that we carry
in our bloody heads, days after days.
A tangle of resignation, the Palaash,
stands askance.

 In asphalt and lead,
dead-still as sand words on paper,
growing into sheaths of distrust,
it smirks, cowers a bit down there.
Your Palaash is a flaming vengeance,
a bloody performance,
a boredom in your window stretching
from this side to that side:
it is a contradiction called life.

The Palaash, bent with fatigue
grows roots out of your hands:
the day spills out its disease
in a haemorrhage.
Look away. It is platelets
and clots now.


In the dampness of leftovers
the ceiling spreads the gait
of an aged night.
Sleep coils in a tapestry of threads
as the city picks the groans
from a starched sky.
Near that stiff barricade that expands
to hold
the third-eye of the town
the night coagulates in a glass.
Shillong runs down in cracks
of your pale concrete. It rains.
 Days are no different.
They walk on a tightrope
from one pole to the other.
Sun-caked faces hang on the dull arch.
They peck and fly.


The oven sticks out its tongue,
heats the cells,
sets memoirs on fire.
Charred words remain.
Your nameplate
is a place to hang upside down
an uneventful life.
an insect
in a confinement
in spools and sprouts.
It moves
in a reverse order.
Your nameplate
is an
Probably, the place
is bursting
with an anonymity.

It parodies the lit sky,
the sieve,
the criss cross
of canopied evenings:
it grow like lanes,
grows further
still like lanes,
into a strangeness
of one another's touch,
into a faint scent
of the yet-to-come,
of not living in one body.

It carries
a forest of names,
a ululation
a departure.