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Dilip Mohapatra

Dilip Mohapatra

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Past Perfect

Hey, don’t throw the rags away.
Don’t let them decompose
and die a decadent death
in the jaws
of a canine tug-of-war.

For they blaze a trail.
And perhaps
lead you to the attic
and to the forlorn tennis racket,
peering out of
a crumbling cardboard carton
and the bunch of tattered comics
that splashed the rainbow
on the canvas of your dreams
once upon a time.

For even now
they could
cover a bare shivering chest
languishing on the pavement
or may bring succor
to a festering wound
to ward off
the filth and the fly
or perhaps be a bandana
to soak off the sweat
off your brows
or even
to wipe off your tears
and keep your eyes dry.

Please don’t throw the rags away.
Save them for a rainy day
for they still have
a story to tell
and still have a present
and perhaps
a future as glorious
as ever.


The Blind man

His gaze unerringly demolishes
the temples of our smugness,
eyes are worn
as stigmata in a softly passive face
and look with seeing untold to his mind
but known by those
who feel themselves
tugged by the backwash
of his flowing gaze.

He’s poised, incognito,
Behind the mask of
reflecting eyes.
His undirected and aimless smile
piercing through us
the blessed ones.

The tentative tilting of his head
is questioning all the time.
He looks the speaker full in the eye
with his seeing ears
and moves behind
our movement with an almost
furtive dependence on a path
we often feel our own tread
faltering in tracing.

His strength,
being of dimensions
of darkness
and moving in our illuminated
troubles us
who know we never could
muster enough courage and
would fear to step out
of our comforting sun
to such an endless dungeon.


We two, in the Dark Room
Developing, fixing, printing

Hook the door
straighten the screen
the red-light
(the safe-light)
wink and grin.

The negative and
the bromide paper;
in the printer
pressed together.
Red to white.
White to red.

The exposure.

The timer ticks..
the timer ticks..
Stop bath.
the timer ticks..

Stars in the sink
stray light
more and more.

The print is pink
open the door.


The Resurrection

In the early hours of the dawn
as sleep played hide and seek
round the corners of my eyes
you ambled in
as a five-year old
in a pretty frock in chiffon
ruby-red-ribbons adorning
your auric locks tied in a pony-tail
the morning sun shining
from the slopes of your cherubic cheeks
and your deep brown eyes
twinkling in frolic and fun
you hopped on the bed
and sat astride me
like a jockey on the saddle
kneeing the horse to spur ahead
you held me tight
bending over me
almost lying supine
clinging to my neck
and whispering in my ears
to take you for a ride.
giddap, giddap, giddap.

And then, there was this sudden lull
wind stopped blowing,
blood stopped flowing
time stood still,
and with the sub-zero chill
you went limp
in my limpid lap
and grew in your limbs
and in time…
the baby fat melted
into the valleys and hills
of your contours
and thirteen more springs
swept over you
in fast forward mode.

And I dreamt in my dream
of your metamorphosis
into an eighteen-year-maiden
spread over me like a
luscious, lusty quilt
closing in and clasping around
like a mass of
viscous, livid lava
engulfing me
to devour me
and diffuse me in,
levitating me
into an osmotic ecstasy.

But the dream in a dream
is so far away
so distant and so remote,
almost on the brink
of surrealism
yet so real and so very sharp
that I woke up with a start,
though still in a trance
to find you cold and stiff
the warmth having oozed out
the life having ebbed out
one moment you lay there
frozen and frosty
and with the blink of an eye,
you were gone…
as if sublimated
into the crucible of cosmos.
sucked into the voracious vortex
of the celestial black-hole.

And I cry and cry
till my eyes are drained out
and dry
…and as my vision clears
I gaze through
the haze of the dawn
and scan through the unending skies
looking for you
till my eyeballs are about to fall
off their sockets
and then I spot a rainbow
in its many-colored splendor
in the farthest horizons
and find myself afloat
soaring high in the skies
sailing at break-neck speed
till I land below the archway
and find you resting in peace,
in your casket, cradled in the clouds;
a divine glow haloing your cascading hair,
apristine smile planted on your lips,
and as I bend down
with tears welling up in my eyes
that soon swell into streams,
and as they gravitate in droplets
and slide on your satin-soft-skin
you stir and sigh
and wrap up your arms around me
and say `my love, I have been asleep
for almost two decades,

and, now that I am up and about
let's reverse the time-clock'…


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