Poetry: Anchit Pandey

Anchit Pandey
Days of the sun  

Excoriare aliquis nosgris ex ossibus ultor - Dido, queen of Carthage 
(May someone arise from our bones as an avenger)

The barren encroaches more and more. 
Weeds grow on what has remained - 
No plants, no animals and no humans. 

Mind is the master and mind itself is the slave-
Seeing and judging, 
turning incidents into anecdotes of rage,
Misreading every sentence, 
convoluting every narrative 

Rendering what is present - waterless, mixed with dust,
Crimson under the sun. 

The barren is the fate, 
Like ashwathama’s leprosy 
Like a country’s predicament-  
Like a plague turning people into Lynch mobs. 

Throw me into the river after you are done with me, 
So, it rinses the blood on my body,
So, it permeates into the cells which are fed up with cowardice, 
So, it takes me away to a place where the whole sky is a river. 

Some general notes
(one and a half years after sister's death)

When you wake up crying every morning, 
you get used to the tiredness in the first hour of the day.

When numbness recedes, Pain follows
and yearning mixed with emptiness can be
good for a poet, you are told in a
countless number of books.

A mother sleeps on pavements in Delhi.
Her son has faded from public memory.

You constantly tell yourself that there are worse fears.

You look for hooks to hang on to and try running by the riverside 
because you have heard it does good - ‘elates', 
and is better than alprazolam 0.5 mg three times a day.

Nothing matters- is the oldest of literary jokes. Also, philosophical. 
I can form similar phrases. There are
no rules, there are no patterns -
what is new might also be depressive - the
way post-modernism likes it - expressive as a post-truth fact –
shaken and not stirred.

This is not good for your mind. 
you should look for distractions, your lover tells you. 
Your poet begs to differ.

That, we are, seems true
that, truth is, is implausible.

While listening to Giacomo Leopardi's opera Omnia at midnight

You stand on the axis
pulling and releasing the string I walk on
(at will).

Life unfurls and shuts down 
while I travel slowly away from you 
dissipating love and ideology- 
up and down as a wave of infinite possibilities. 

They talk to me of politics and communist-party-hats with red stars 
and I listen 
and I look for you in the crowd.

Gunshots are nearer every time-
blood more prominent at my hands

the insignia of love floats mid-air at midnight, reassessing decisions 
and behavioural patterns of comrades and martyrs 

You stand on the axis and 
I travel far into the world,
it unfurling and shutting down,
when a murderer speaks.

A right -winged murderer speaks 
like he is the moon; and 
some glee and some procrastinate 

and I am never midway,
always travelling far- 
I wonder to what deltas. 

Things can easily go south!

I wait for some intervention -
one in which you pull me back. 

For an old lover in Calcutta

Calcutta welcomes me in its full Glory.
Crowded, yellow, smelling of flowers and fish, 
very much like home- only marginally different, 
in between an ode and an elegy.

I often got lost when my fingers crawled along
the Hems of your light-coloured underwear,
the Polka dots confusing and the softness reminiscent of
Rimbaud, strawberry and old Christian Graves.

'True love lasts forever!'
You never said in any Canto of our togetherness.

I can only imagine how it is possible-
the malignancy that love is -

Once blood oozed out from my thigh 
when one of your toenails pierced it-
sweat and blood, blood and sweat together.
It stayed.

True love lasts forever
I told the cab driver on the Howrah station, 
as I had, to countless earlobes I had kissed-
those kisses -  straying and staying,
human and material, burning and crying out.
All at once.

We often talked of masks, Dear lover
and hid behind them till it was possible
like a city -
the river its Eyes
the bridge some mascara
deliberately put on.



A catacomb 
beneath a maze 
Is laid out in systematic patterns. 
Venom drips in the IV, 
in the tanks outside, 
On the frozen oxygen cylinder. 
Venom makes death patient. 

All eyes point in one direction. 
There is no battle - 
there is no one to tell you.


A defeated smile travels 
from one face to Another, 
nonchalant - evasive,
Like a frozen lake on the South Pole. 
Not a single incident is loud. 
Not even the conclusion screams. 
Efficient, slow and the only need of the hour- 
Like in a good poem by a master craftsman-
Melancholy arrives 
And leaves never. 


I am detached, 
I tell the girl who lets me sleep on her bosom. 
At night, she offers me refuge in her smell
And loves me from beneath a veil. 


She would be gone, soon. 
Like the country where I grew- 
Where venom drips in the IV 
Where there is no battle in the land of defeated smiles, 
Where there are only silences 

And leftover veils.   

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