Hiraeth Series poems 21-23 from Kushal Poddar

21

The country song in another tongue
drags me in, and I join, hoot and bray.
I do not know what the song conveys.
The evening rolls long, and although grey
dominates it displays streaks of colours
that remind you of your closed-door shivering;
first mensuration stained underwear and
your mother. Perhaps it is the song.
Perhaps because you have heard me
singing craps and singing happy never before.
And then there flows the shining country liquor.

22

The odd hummingbird returns
in that same evening – the first evening
in the new town, house, year –
inside your underwear.

Sometimes your man is not near
He sits in another dark room amidst
some packed and some unpacked boxes
waiting by the window for the shadows
finally learning to lasso in the entire mountain.

Miles apart, both the places shiver in cold.

23

The water, invisible and streaming,
sirens me out of the reverie
every early morning,
and I step outside, my hands bracing,
stand in the rented yard in this
one month old town (for me)
yawning and yearning to find
the source rivulet, finding none
as if the noise of the rill
and the cacophony of its
half smoothed pebbles
tell the tales of an island hidden in
my dazed consciousness.
I have given up on the people failing
to identify the din – even they can listen
to it when they stand near me.
No runnel runs here. Rain has not been
a regularity in the town
for the most part of the year for
years and years.
The trouble I bear, sometimes wonder
if this is not my mother crying
because I cannot and I need to be.
I imagine, by the next week I shall learn
to water-whisper, say, “Whoah. Calm down.
I have all the dopamine you need.

Wolfpack Contributor: Kushal Poddar

A Poetry Series by Kushal Poddar “Hiraeth Series”

Poems 8-12 from “Hiraeth Series” by Kushal Poddar

Hiraeth Series by Kushal Poddar (poems 13-20)*updated 9/13

Hiraeth Series by Kushal Poddar (poems 13-20)*updated 9/13

Hiraeth Series

13

The seller has included a river 
bubble wrapped - I realise
soon I open it. City's defunct sirens
announce Nine and the tide time
at that exact moment.

He has sent the item wrong as well.
I wobble and somehow
manage to hold 
the urn for ashes sent instead 
of the Floating Frame for photos
I have ordained.
I hear those sirens. My toes seek
the land inside as if 
the outside is the the new in.

14

Silence bows it a few hundreds
watermilfoil heads to the whim 
of the wind. My toes play with
the moist grass, and you giggle.

The abandoned mask in the mud
draws our attention. We chant,
"We can begin again. We can. We can't."
The sentences sprint in a circle until 
they're devoid of any meaning.

Imagine, from an enormous invisible bowl
I draw some meanings from the lot swirling
inside and try to match those with our queries.

We do not really imagine. Our eyes map
the water and weeds and the mask where
ends the land.

15

My brother's grief follows him
to his daybreak toilet
and to our kitchen filled with
claustrophobic aroma of coffee and bread.

                    Atrophied, I know him, 
he grasps for anything that may
haul him by his senses, anything
like those scents, benevolent wrinkles
in the dark cliffs of pain.

The tune our mother has left free 
in this household roams shedding
its tickling notes everywhere.

We sneeze a song. I put words
on the tune quite different
from those of my brother's.

16

From the penumbral cave 
of one halted building
a bunch of eyes stare at me
still huffing and puffing
from a close encounter with rain.

I disappoint them - neither
a man with money nor 
a dealer with crystals.

I have heard people take home 
a pocketful of eyes and free
them in a glass cage with cookie crumbs
pollinated walls, and on the powerless
nights watch them light up
blinking good stories from a bad neighborhood.

17

Near and far from the incarcerator, 
and near and far from our brother
good memories ambush the rotten ones.

What are you burning to forget?
Everything between the zilches.  
Now the one is gone. 
The code of the remembrance-
zero, zero and zero.

Did we remove all the metals from
his heart? Late evening crows scratch
the sky - that poorly polished firmament.

18

This the same water?
Remember the time
we went to stare 
at the eye of a spider's web
too near the water
and slithered into the current?

We had water burn 
in our lungs and
marks on our skin.
Our flesh would remain 
wet for years to come,

and even now when 
some psychotherapist shakes
our heads water gushes out
through our nostrils.

Remember? Of course it is
a rhetorical question.
The gale of one spider
blows strong and strange.
Our parents asked,
"What did you learn?"

'All is in the web' - 
would be the answer
albeit silence seemed adequate.

19.

Window leaves a dozen leaves
on my rain damp bedsheet.
I have nothing for a return gift.

I begin to sing.
The tunes are mostly unfixed.
On a piece of barbed note
I stumble and bleed memories.

Tim's mother
made us a rice platter, and that
had a distinct rusty iron nail flavour.
The blood still stains my toilet bowl.

We sang a thanksgiving song
that evening, were thankful
to be able to leave our houses
in a not so distant future.


20.

Someone's left the fence gate ajar;
the herd struggles to stream through
as far as possible from the bell jar,
from this ranch, rank and this rot.

In the yellow ochre storm 
one single tree lassoes for breath.
I state, "Fever runs amok, Doc 
Whenever I urinate love escapes 
my flesh - that fire, algid mold, rusty nails.

"You transgress and trespass 
the territories of metaphors," 
Doc declares, "mix and match."
A thermometer sparks like a cattle prod.
The sun sets in the wilderness of the West.



Wolfpack Contributor: Kushal Poddar

A Poetry Series by Kushal Poddar “Hiraeth Series”

Poems 8-12 from “Hiraeth Series” by Kushal Poddar

A Short Bio: An author and a father, Kushal Poddar, edited a magazine – ‘Words Surfacing’, authored eight volumes including ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and ‘Postmarked Quarantine’. His works have been translated in eleven languages.

Poems 8-12 from “Hiraeth Series” by Kushal Poddar

Hiraeth Series 8-12

A Poetry Series by Kushal Poddar “Hiraeth Series” for 1-7

8

Rain. I murmur the fact
as if you have sewn eyes
and are born without ears.
Still the petrichor will
shove the rain up your nostrils.
You do not know my tongue.
This needs no vocabulary.
Rain. I say.
Two bikes, black, wait for us
in the shade. They look siamese.
And sad.
They have been adopted in
different families.

Rain, deus ex machina, intervenes,
prolongs the moment of togetherness.

Do you smoke? I ask.
I do not. What’s the point
of the question.
Nothing. Nothing.

9

The nextdoor daughter
claps “if you are happy’
and I know it.

I know my rain.

Someone throws razor blades
from upstairs. Now you see those.
Now it bleeds.
I wonder if those might
have finished the job for my sister.

I clap myself out of one bad memory.

10

Sky streams river Styx today;
I renew my subscription
to our panes.

                        Oink, oink. One pig
                        runs the lane.
                        I wonder about if its origin,
but nothing is beyond reality in this city.

The rain and the blinking autumn
flowers - probably Nycanthes -
stare at me in the manner of one
mid career actor. His eyes browse
the audience. His craving has
no hunger. He is not really looking
at the people as a group or as individuals.
The flowers anticipate the usual response -
thunder from the clouds.

I can use a little snacks.
The door-light of the refrigerator
beacons me – that faulty lighthouse
on a desolate shore.
I can use a little shopping, I decide.

11

They call him Im, and he
runs away with
his father’s third wife,
or so they say.

The sticker lingers on him
even after it is found
to be a coincidence –
two people disappearing
from the neighborhood,
tanning leather, dust, highway
within the tight compartment
of one single day.

Imon, he extends his hands.
I shake.
This is the Neverland.
We are lost boys and girls.

12

Again that season,
people adopt God and hope,
take home the trees and decorations.
Divine nests and lays eggs.

A sudden heavy autumn rain
quashes the steeple and the stone,
pillars and stairs where I stand.

In one moment I am
holding my shivering father
together between my tiny hands,

and still he melts and slides,
all mud and chips
choking and slaying.

Here we exist in both beliefs and doubts.

3 poems by Kushal Poddar in memory of fallen friends through the Pandemic

Poetry Showcase from Kushal Poddar

Wolfpack Contributor: Kushal Poddar

A Poetry Series by Kushal Poddar “Hiraeth Series”

Hiraeth Series

1

Nothing, in sooth,changes;
nothing does;
the shapes and shades though
may differ a dash.

Mine is the azure hue; shades
in its neighborhood and apart,
jotted in the dirt; 
you know - in the matter
of dream and heart.

Eyes shut I see someone
saunters, and the water shivers
as if the fever it runs
has climbed up a stiff ridge.

Again I see this. This again.
Wherever you go 
the same narrative depicts
this life with a few pen-throughs.

2

The canal,
tree,
        one falcon
        between the blinks.
For no reason
I stare-lock a muddy cigarette butt
thrown away by some stranger
here.

3

"What are you starting at?"
"An abstract." Says my father
standing in our yard
without his glasses, with
his narrowing vision.

Everything is a soul,
fleshless, out of focus.

4

The tweet draws my attention
to one bird,
and now my eyes and my mind
are that bird -
one and single and nilch 
and an egg 
and a fledgling too shy to fly 
for the first time or the last.

5

A parcel of birds and a sycamore
seek morning's crisp air,
and at first,
nothing else ants its way 
into my brain, nothing,
no thought bearing
the buzz of money, health or weather.

Then one red buss speeds past
our pro tem shelter by the broad bad road
reminding everything in crazy waves.

6

Forgive the parrot.
It vomits the word-lumps
human fed it.

                        Forgive it for
                        cussing and narrating
the tales from the back
of the household coop.

I leave a lean and soggy green chili
at the parrot's place.
Sadness levitates the veg.
It floats between two kinds of gravity.

7

Two tired girls 
lower their bundles of fire-wood 
and pitchers of water
to rest near the slope of the dry canal -
the odor of rot bothers them not,

and they fold their knees
as if they are synchronised.
They do not know death sniffs their ankles,
but scurries away without biting. 

8

He floats through and through
the woman crying
and bleeding by the crushed sedan.

I switch off the neighborhood
and the siren careening,
and yet a white noise sizzles.
The sound reminds you
of a cruel cigarette burn.
One moment. Eternity.

"How long were you lost?"
Later the woman will ask her memory.
"Overnight perhaps. Perhaps never."
It will answer.

Kushal

A Short Bio: An author and a father, Kushal Poddar, edited a magazine – ‘Words Surfacing’, authored eight volumes including ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and ‘Postmarked Quarantine’. His works have been translated in eleven languages.

Wolfpack Contributor: Kushal Poddar

Poems 8-12 from “Hiraeth Series” by Kushal Poddar