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Nitoo Das



Rosy Starlings murmuration. Photo by Nitoo Das




DECONSTRUCTING A ROSY STARLING

(i)
Beak

This beak is arbitrary.
It is grey now and pink later
as if undecided
about where to age
and how. A keratin-thing
that scratches the surface, it skulks
between words and bends
traces while searching for roses.

(ii)
Wing

Something is damaged here.
A wing, flight, conflict -- all the clichés
one can imagine.
Distance and difference is a play
without heartbeats. (Beak grooms wing.) The feathers trail
away into mayhem. I can proclaim:
At the end of this performance
is absence.

(iii)
Eye

The eye is exhausted.
It opens out of holes
multiplying truths around me.
The eye sees process, sees
a song in forests.
The eye arrests the wing.

(iv)
On Rosiness

Over there is the pink
of evening. A rose rising
fractal-like into a cloud.
All division between this clamour
and my silence is false. A trick
of light and eye.

(v)
Conclusion

There is a murmur.

Footnotes:
1. The impatient wave wakes
2. Mud and trees filter failure
3. There is a murmur

***

Three Poems from A MEGHALAYA TRAVELOGUE

I
The Elephant at Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew

He sits large-arsed, slow
eyes flapping a moan of air.
He flies, but with such weight.
He cannot remember
his sins and if
he ever committed them. And
did he confess? And
isn't he extraordinarily grey?
The Elephant
is a stone choked with water. He waits
untouched, limbs forking, trunk and tail crashing
with hard luck, and plummeting puckerings
of the mouth. Yes, he is
Elephant. He is there. Vast,
burdened by his own incongruity
in the hills. He knows
he will explode with the variability of the earth.
Who will discover his bones?

II
Bus to Sohra


I am a bus making my way to Sohra.
I am cut with significance.
Symbols mark my flanks.

I hunger up hills carrying
dialects of green.
And the sun in a glider.
And my heart in an engine.
And the world in anger.
And a rider in harness.
And smoke seeking an address.
And demons in my ears.

And a caress of groans
with each brake of strength.
With each shake of thought.
With each ache of breath.
I am a creature that cannot leave the pines alone.
I am divided into disasters.
I want goats to thud
against my bumpers.
I am a tourist by a stream.
I am a political party blocked in a dream.
I am historical. A zoo of sounds.

I am a walking monument to myself.
I scorn wipers in the rain.
I see my body through cracks in glass.
It is strewn on the road
kicking and screaming
in whispers.

III
Jennifer tells me about Sohphie Nam


Salt illustrates
the underside of a city.
An accent circumscribes
a colour I can't mouth.
It takes me a morning
to get close to
Sohphie Nam.
The class stays to mime
the surface of a fruit. Nothing is as is.
Jennifer will reveal a lesson
in syntax and incantation.
Sohphie Nam
repeated until it tastes like its name.
A suffix of blood. A surplus of sound.
She picks the ripest one for me
and says, "Eat this.
It's sweet."

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