Poetry Showcase from Kushal Poddar

Braids of The Short Dreams

Mamma braids her daughter’s thoughts.
The cuckoo cooing in the back of the brain
sounds shallow and floating between
the weathered Coca-Cola sign and the dog barking.

And the dog barks for hours in this short dream
the way the watchmaker grandpa winds
a long spiral ribbon into a tiny coiled spring.

During the noontime the houses, lanes, half naked
men working on a cancelled project and the trees, all
become the Sun. Mamma has a small and big hand
that screens the eyes of her daughter, and they’re
the Sun; ropes of their entwined hair bounds toward
the hole of the burning maws of awakening.

Flesh of the Republic

Body and flesh float away.
Rivulets. Entire sky
seeks an address, finds
my vein instead.
Where will you lose
the threads that sew a quilt,
patchwork, tales?

Winter comes and goes;
frost never melts;
you know what I mean.
Body and flesh float into
my vein, and I ask them for their permits;
they can inside, but can not permeate;
I won’t let them be the citizens
of this rotten republic.

SERIAL

He records his chitchats

with the cab drivers, not all,

those with the ones

he kills.

There exist avenues

and lanes of cabs taxiing

driverless,

and recordings replayed

over and again in his id,

and then

he finds his son working

for an app-cab using

a forged license.

He records his son, as if

his ears metamorphose themselves

into two answering machines,

defunct.

These annals are better

than any psychiatrist’s,

the father of everything

listening to his killer instinct.

BITCHING ANAMNESIS

Deluge, the bitching mistress on our backs,

bites our earlobes as

I sent your claim – I can

efface life memorized.

I can. Only mine. The process

involves adding more, not less,

the same way you do most of the days,

except those when it rains

in the excuse of this balcony or

when it shines and you stare downwards,

see the hissing serpent of the traffic

looking up at you, out of reach.

I do not rerun the tapes, listen

to the protest pops from the Nam times.

Rain writhes to arrest my mind,

albeit an antiquated man has his disinterests.

I say, “Just forget.”

I Was as Cold as a Razorblade

In the late autumn winter

whimpers in her oxygen tent,

and we nurse this premature child,

see her wither, bloom, sear, brown, exsiccate.

Hence December surprises us

when she arrives for a date

wearing white sleeveless

and drinks from someone else’s chalet.

The potion was red. The poison bears no effect.

We toss our fedoras, shuffle to dance,

tire out and stroll outside,

our feet disappearing inside

the heart of crushed water.

Our hands in the pockets of warmth

seeks for a tinge of Yes

and finds some forlorn gums

we keep for protection’s sake.

*The title is wordplay on Leonard Cohen’s So Long, Marianne

Milestones

We sit there, oracling,

drinking for ages; we

chat about different drinking-ages

and different countries;

sun sets in liver tinge;

pigment of the stream cooling,

fibers of our thoughts unreeling,

we sit there, eyes on nil.

We sit there, nothing,

and water pegs down our shadows

as if those will be its

Maypoles and wheel – time will swing by.

Raising The Time

The torn dress from

the fundraising dance

taps some memory cells;

half of you desire to

make a mop out of its residue,

but since you cannot wipe

enough memories

your hands force it down

against your thighs.

I suggest –

“Let’s raise the time again.

Time and again.”

A GLACIER FOR THOUGHTS

The eye in the pink sky
denies any foresight.
“We have a glacier melting
in
Himalaya.” Says pop folding his freewill.

This means it will be
the rush-hour of depression
in his ecosystem,
and the day remains naïve native
accepting gifts from our invasions.

A coin decides
whether my sister
will enter in her classroom
and
shoot everyone or waive this.

“Don’t!” I whisper.
“Yes.” Pop says
on a topic irrelevant.

A crow on the ceiling fan
caws a dream
melting as my pop’s coral reef
corrodes away within.

Love Thy Father

You still love your father,
and do the one thing
that destroys him every day

and rebuild him again
as if he is naphtha or plastic.
His quick silver hand quavers with

the weight of your
nocturnal telephone calls-
“Hello! How are you?”

You always say,
“Talking to you dad,
is a remembrance of my mom’s winter.”

The State of Being During An Autumn Day

Autumnal gloaming, chill-filtered,
retains most of the darkness.
I stare at the pecans a hit-and-run
windy incident has crashed into the yard
I can always trespass leaving no evidence.

The rolled newspaper, asleep, on my table
wets its staple. A shiver walks my spine as if
my backbone recovers from a wheelchair
worthy trauma. Ticks, the Casio clock.

All these state the state of being.
Sometimes, since the outbreak, I hallucinate
my being shrugging off my body and staring,
first, at the mass of flesh, and then, at distance
ever vague and ever everything.

Death And Desire

That night you towel wrapped
the thirst of your partner.
You both died. The butterflies
in a painting behind your head
tried to escape, but the flight was cancelled.

The panes paved a shortcut to winter.
You picked up the towel dropped
around the ankles still wearing black
metal anklets you bought for her,
and wrapped her flesh. You both grieved
the death in the family. One craved for
flesh and the otherness in you sought for
the space where darkness garden blue agave.


An October Murder

“Did you see who shot you?”
“It was October. I opened a door
the size of a bullet hole.”
I whisper from a distance a whisper
can cross in its lifetime
to reach you almost dead. You hear,
and it withers. Withering seems
a garden, silent, and I on my bare feet,
grass appeasing one sensation
to swell me up with another.
“It was October. I opened the door.
It was a muzzle and a flash.”


Intimate, Unknown

The way one cleanses his October refrigerator,
without any provocation, without his partner’s hints,
almost as if that moment has been scheduled
or seen in the past, as if his muscle reaction
picks up the bottles and vegetables, packets and tubs,
casseroles and bowls full of forgotten experiments
with vegetables, and the contents of those packets and tubs
and a dram from the bottles’ nozzles, places them on the floor,
dismantles the shelves, sponges them gently and puts all together
I find me in intimacy with you, unknown.
Your hair unlocked by my hands, whisked back by my reflexive fingers
reveals the unknown in the unknown. I disassemble
your chrome and beige dress and unlock the sweat beads.
We could have been talking about the pestilence
or war or patience or the dire dearth of the same.
We could have been pondering over a jigsaw puzzle.
It does not matter. We are intimately unfamiliar.
Famously alone. The quagmire of cold water on the floor,
or our bodily fluids puddled around us evaporate. October.
The mellow songs are served at room temperature.


An Interview with Kushal Poddar

  1. Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the most, and what is the theme, mood?

Kushal – This Christmas, my book ‘Postmarked – Quarantined’ shall be published by IceFloe Press, Canada. The highlight of the book is the plague, human reaction, my daughter’s birth, and how a person, vulnerable the way I am, may interact with the rules of the universe he must abide.

  1. What frame of mind & ideas lead to you writing your current book?

Kushal – As I said, the book encases my own vulnerability, albeit I always endeavor to scriven in a universal tongue. The idea is – write from personal experience, blend with news, and then read and rewrite the poem from a neutral perspective.

  1. How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting
    Kushal – I was fifteen, and although I imitated writing rhymes since I was a six years old child, it was during a summer holyday of my sixteenth year in this world I began to adopt my only identity as a writer.
  2. What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?
    Kushal – The list may lengthen itself but the salient influence, I must say, oozes from Wilfred Owen, Frank O’Hara, Charles Simic, Franz Wright, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Mary Oliver, Graham Greene, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Borges, Milan Kundera, Hemingway, Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Philip Roth, John le Carré, and Neil Gaiman and the music of Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Jethro Tull, Billi Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Nina Simone (as of tryst, and the list drifts).
  3. What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally outside of being a writer, and do you find any of these outside writing activities merge into your mind and often become parts of a poem?
    Kushal – Sketching and painting often clear the cobweb of my mind. I used to take photographs. I often write whisky criticism. These activities add curves to the flesh of my writing (writing includes, poetry, short stories, and now a fragmentary novel).
  4. Tell us a little about your process with writing. Is it more a controlled or a spontaneous/ freewriting style?
    Kushal – Writing is a continuous process. I write in my mind when I am not on paper or computer. I mumble an entire poem or short fiction sometimes to my daughter or to my wife, and then when time permits scribe it down. Is it free-writing? Not actually. The process is curated by years of reading and syllable counting presently made into a reflex.
  5. Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that have helped influence your writing?
    Kushal – There are all my fellow poets I met online and offline. There are my wife, daughter and a difficult relationship with my parents. There is political news and the news of sports. I deliberately created a fictional hometown for my poems or other kinds of writings. This town consists of elements of East and West, and can be felt as the reader’s own one.
  6. What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?
    Kushal – The rewarding part is mental peace attained after writing it down as if I have cleansed a part of my memory, and also whenever a piece is published I receive the thrill of a junkie. The frustrating part is not having enough time to write everything I desire to write.
  7. How has this past year impacted you emotionally, how has it impacted you creatively if it all?
    Kushal – I had many premonitions about this past year. I was living a tale written by Stephen King or Camus. The part that took me by surprise and that made me defenseless was the news of my wife’s pregnancy during this pestilence. I was deeply worried about the safety of my wife and my daughter. I began to write a poetry-journal about the day-to-day emotion that surged inside out.
    Author Page Amazon – amazon.com/author/kushalpoddar_thepoet
    Author Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/KushalTheWriter/
    Twitter- https://twitter.com/Kushalpoe
    An author and a father, Kushal Poddar, edited a magazine – ‘Words Surfacing’, authored seven volumes including ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel’.
    Find and follow him at amazon.com/author/
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*Submissions Open* Avalanches in Poetry 2 Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen (on the blog only)

Keep sending work inspired by the poetry, lyrics, & all things Leonard Cohen to be published & featured on the blog. Sent out on Social Media for a few months (Twitter/Facebook/wordpress blog)

Make sure you say “Avalanches in Poetry entry* somewhere in e-mail.

We have already received a few & have already posted a few. Check out some also from the Print Anthology from Avalanches in Poetry 1 in November 2019.

Photo of Canadian singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen posed in 1972.

artwork by Geoffrey Wren

Poetry by David L O’Nan : 9 poems from Avalanches in Poetry 1 November 2019 Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

Shenandoah Tramps

You walk the streets like you are still in Tabriz
You miss the Iranian Summers
While fumbling full of wine
Feel the prickly goosebumps from the breeze

And we walk in a squint
As the sun masks the city
Eyelids bouncing,
And quivering drunk lips

You desire the kiss when the night stirs
Dressed in scarlet red
Looking for that efficacious effect
We are like the stars in the sky
Celebrities in meteoric flash

We are just lost
From the waste to the lakes
Trying to unlock the code
To flee us from the beams of Heaven’s Gate

We can wish on these wine bottles
Throw in the pennies for the luck
We can invent beauty
From the contagious Shenandoah muck

Our city is just a bullet town
Our love will fall like tramps in the rain
With our hands for umbrellas
Protect us from the downpour
Awake our celestial shine with this oncoming train

And here come the dollies
And all of the sheep men
Who gathers our fossils
And uses them for swanky chaotic sin
Our rose is a misery
Burn the shell right off this redolent city

The streetlamps are as dim
As a yellow puddle
With hints of chickweeds growing around –
The blacktop tumors
And we can talk about all of the music
Hum until poetry rifles through our brains
Study the fallen art stuck to the limbs of trees
On the edge of what was Calliope

When all was tame and flowery
The strong was not frail
Our frames were not broken skeletal grey
And we would dine on evening air
And dance to the melody of church bells

Drinking Blue Moons

I was burning poker chips
Looking eye to the cavernous eye of some demon
I see all misleading in your passions
In all your passions are the flaming dollars
And all shoes dancing for triumphs

You have a Malibu boy doll home
With wives that sashay in the golden
Beautiful gardens and thrusting seeds
Water this burning just a little

And we all want your suits and all the glory
The perfect hair and the white teeth
Maybe the jealousy lives in all of us
But we know you’re as fragile as a toothpick
When your way begins receding

Drinking Blue Moons when the Red Wine runs low
You begin pacing like a war of pistols
When the bombs begin flashing your photos
To the World,
We know there are truth whisperers

Your flavor of the month decisions
Begin to disease with constant new kisses
After dark in powder kegs
Hearts dancing around the bones
To erode them
Three sheets to the wind
And your toy world is for sale and crumbling

Love, Love, Love
Is in the twist of a bottlecap
Love, Love, Love
Is putting your head to the ammunition
The boattail bullets dip you to the round ripples
Love, Love, Love
Your blonde in black crying

As she reads your messages
To a Lucy, an Alexis, and Leilani
In bedrooms with White curtains
And all the money was never his to begin with
Rest in peace in your suitcase graveyard

An Autumn Scarecrow

If my song for you is Autumn
From the roof I will sing to a soft chill
My voice is an earthquake quivering
Little sonnets and trails of letters
Coming down faster than the snow

Soon, an early season blizzard –
Will blade through all the farmland
The prairies ruined, and guillotined scarecrows
Bleed straw like a hydrant
And should I beautify this for you
Will you say I love you, from this Midwestern view?

And we can warm each other in praises
In the hills of sleet, we share our first kiss
Your cap keeps falling like all the stars tonight
And I keep magnetizing our hearts together in our newly found love

Let us birth the Winter Solstice in the death of leaves
I really never cared much for all the scarecrows
Anyways
They were nothing but a lie
To keep the dying birds on the street

I know, I know I Can love you
At least in this arctic shift
Well, do we escape together?
Before all the tornadoes of Spring
Begin hunting for our shelters

looking for fresh meat

All of the Miles Between Us

Many miles between ideals
And indecisions
Between the women
Riding on wheels

Do I feel artistic,
Or just swing around to a psychopath’s touch
How can I be me?
When I am constantly feeling stalked

By shadows or sheriff badges
Or broken wheels rolling down the road

Play the actress
Play with the best of them
I can’t see myself in these mirrors
Is it the lipstick or the lie?

Just cradle me
You are a melting candle
Like a mind without sympathy
These are wails in the air that would’ve crawled for you
But you felt more secure by naked irises

On Dalrymple and Possibly Dying

Awoke or maybe I’m a splattered angel to the road
In feathers like a cardinal in hot August breath
Burned down to the move of a wicked gravitational spin

I’m laying on Dalrymple Street
Watching abandoned Subway trains
Moving once again
Like a 1940’s traveling preacher on the corner

The cigarette smoke wrestles the air to the gray we all see
From this industrial sewage drains to the tobacco fields
With death stares of scarecrows just
Funneling energy from the clouds

On Dalrymple
And I think I’m lifeless
Although all the colorful shoes
Race by you
Do they see a man, a skeleton, or invisibility?

Leonard Cohen’s Ghost

And all the gods, the ghosts, and deities

Parading orbs in my bedroom

On the walls that they call home

In their wooden eyes and popcorn ceiling shedding

I feel a leaking roof’s carcass form an IV drip of falling rain

Onto bedsheets, on my cold Manhattan muscles

And all the holiness, the prophets, and the seers

Drink the electricity from my blood

In my slumbers I see the hereafter

In windows bonded by straps

Paralyze my brain to a schizophrenic trap

I wonder if traffic is subsiding

In my room lives the melancholia

Reflections of Orion

And all my visions, Judases, and disease

My bones,

They crack and break

Til I cease

To being an old man

Although I dress in fashion

I sleep in my suit, with another suit for pillows to cushion

My opium days make for a possessive night

You may try to steal my soul

Reaching up from the floors and pretending you are Christmas Day

I have your stains in my DNA

And your perversions scarred in my brain

I looked you during griefs and hungers

And you, the angel, the woman, the saint

Gives me a drink from my flask on the worst of Winter days

In New York the rats know you by your name

And you gamble with them in Central Park

Drink your coffee with the visions of Virgin Mary

The herald angels we Hark!

We began to dream of waterfalls and

Mountains on my deathbed calls

How did all my children grow to moral adults?

I have grown skinny, skinnier every day

With a beard always itching

The room feels like it’s a melting paste

And I sketch all the martyrs, my family, and the founding fathers

And pray to a wisp of light that shatters against the lamp post

In all of its fury, I meditate on the path

And see the jetlines of Leonard Cohen’s ghost.

Smoke Halos in Endless Winters

The infatuation with you was immediate
You complimented me on my shirt
Then the clouds of April and the sun of May
Began to burn me in the cracks of dirt
I infected myself into your routine
Day after day
The ring on your finger seemed to be a display
And not the deepest feeling

In coffeehouses we roamed
The same crowds we knew
I wanted to draw you closer
But your heart was frozen to a soldier’s march in a sick hue of blue
Even when he screams
You come sit on his shelf
And observers said you were his trophy wife

Many admirers were left blushing
At the parties and in the silence
And in the New Year’s trips
I was hanging on to my sanity
From the tip of your lips

And I cried for your nomadic footprints
That I lost and battled myself to find
And everytime I thought you had found
The green pebble in the seas of red
You became a borderline aurora
I saw my body thrown in the piles of dead
And audited for the cemetery

You would come home in tears
After months of smoke halos in Alaska
Beating hearts revived
And trails of broken ones in all your shoes

I would ask for a smile
And you would hide behind a mask of newspaper
I would write you poetry, as I bled out my blues

I would ask for a dance
Even if my legs were broken
I would have treated you as an ultimate prize
I would dance my tears to a drought
I would’ve lifted you up above the clouds
And pull down an Angel’s wings
But I was stuck in the Earth’s shutting crust
And the younger years became dust
And full of those whom are paralyzed

Here I am an older forehead
A husband and a father
And I know you are around
Still fighting off ghosts
But I think your nomadic days are over
And the footprints are now buried in the mud

And my love now lays in a resurrected heart

The Shrinks and Street Heroin

From the morgue you seem restful, finally
Your blonde hair, blue eyed German swirls intoxicating
From the battles of Berlin and Cologne
You walk like the death of magic

The rain dissolves in your palms and falls
In the puddles were you always envisioned Hitler

Needles come from everywhere
And you collect them as if they had value
And all your shrinks push you closer to the brink
And the fashion becomes flooded
Like the blood in the plunger

They inject the dye and the lies
And you swim in a coma through the streets
And all the boys watch you like a sunset
As the opium drips from the tap

Soon you know the devil
And you say you hugged Jesus
You’ve bought flowers for the battles
And you dreamt up an artistic sewer

There are weird, wicked, and wonderful snails
That lay on the concrete in your heart
And they just want you to feed them the freedom
From the points of lust in needles
And all the injections and ejections

So, let us travel to your voyage
Withdrawals and we surround you like all the pneumonia
Pounds, pounds your lungs
Pounds, pounds your breath
Baby, baby, baby
The palpitations, the scarring, the stench
Living life like the jagged nails on a bench

Not bathing in oils anymore
Sleeping naked on the bathroom floor
Your shrink now has an unlisted number
Winter smacks you to a freeze
And you are no longer the fresh breeze
It smells more and more
Like decay of all personality and poetry
Mortality surrendered
Like the knife to the back
We are left numb
And permanently in that doorway is your dark shadow

An Ode to Tessa While in New York

The juveniles gathered around your blinds
They studied to memory your silhouette
Dancing like Ann-Margret around the room
They would watch all your waterbed games,
On New York City nights
I was one of those college boys in the alley.
Looking for a clue and a view.
Out you’d walk, slightly drunk
Smiling at the crowds of boys
And there you are riding a green bicycle
To the Jackson Hole
Your scent of sweet cigarette smoke and perfume,
Lead to a perfect follow
Maybe I will have a drink
While you chat about the news to some hipster folks
You will flirt with them all,
Laugh until we all bruise
My heart just flips around like a petrified fish.
I have to walk by, say hello
Even though there were more handsome faces in the shadows,
In the stained spoons in this diner
However, you say “I am Tessa”
“But I believe you already know that”
I introduced myself, she said “I’ve always liked your artsy hat”
We drank coffee ‘til our stomachs bled
And I was as shy as a detached bubble
You carried the conversations, lead my hand
Picking flowers out of the cracked sidewalks near Brooklyn
Lead my hand, as we joined silhouettes
And other jealous hustlers sat in the rains.
Lead my hand, through others diners that smelled like bladders
Drinking our time away
Both being catty, flirty, bitchy
Tessa, you really forced my greed
Nights I swayed with you
Nights we cried into each other’s chest
Nights we drugged ourselves to nightmares
Nights we laughed until the extra strangers left
Now, in New York here I am
Long distances between the walks in all the burroughs
All the pigeons, drink at spilled chilis
The statue of Liberty looks plagued

Since
You lead my hand, to the bars
You lead my hand, to Harlem diamondbacks
You lead my hand, to you breathing your last breath on the back of my neck
You lived your life for many,
But to yourself you hid away all your suicides.


Poetry by David L O’Nan : Oslo in the Heart from Avalanches in Poetry 1 Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

It was 4 seasons in Oslo

Where they greased the wheels for our eyes

When they bleached the brides

My skin turned to purple veins

Locked my mind inside the chains

And all the Norwegian women bled like rubies

Over a beach of shells

Candlelight on the bones in the moon

Cooked peasants in a Witch’s ritual

Oslo was in my heart

When we wed

Winter crosses full of lead

Turned my mind to paint

And rippling vapors whipped at every corner

Oslo was in my heart that day

We danced a fandango

Through the avalanches of sleighs

The mountains broke for all old anger

Oslo nights in wonderfalls

Heartbroken men, and the shallow women call

For the moneymen from the big U.S. city

The commercial life

The vacations and all the models

Bankruptcies in graveyards of drifting winds

Featured photo from the book by Geoffrey Wren

Ripped Off my Jean Jacket by David L O’Nan from the 1st Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art inspired by Leonard Cohen


As the symptomatic leaves begin to fall

I watched noiseless waterfalls

Drink the deranged and lame

Our bodies are blush

Decorated into these parks

By the stabbing strokes of a paintbrush

Brush away these harsh devils

Wiped away all of my tattoos

My head is clammy and sweating

As I watch the stars penetrate the heart

From the moon

I have become the decorous

The ultimate gentleman

To all that is blind

Whip in the inhales

And shoot the arrows to the waves

If I am uncovered,

If truths are found to be false

I will carry myself like a casket

And image myself as the lifeless wooden doll

I collapse

To the thundering faint to the floor

I ripped off my jean jacket

The wild, the seeds plucked to be reborn

Long nights listening to this same rain falling

The owls are silent in their hoots

The traces, our footprints

Are known to be crazy

Picking the serpents from our boots

So, is this white noise?

I live in either gray or electric shock

An impulse is easier to swallow

But sin takes time to regurgitate