Faceless the man, his scent woodless, his body of a twelve year old, ribs pious and teeming like pencils beneath a sheet, his smile bashful, his arm basking tensionless in your lap of fire, in the ocean around your waist dies a tide of guilt, hands worshipping the state, the state of its own disappearance which is how a critic describes the portrayal of Hong Kong in Chungking Express, and in it while listening to California Dreamin’ wild hands fight all day long a fundamental urge to pleasure the body, but how? By doing what? By clapping, by slapping the desk in quarter-life delirium as the man you cradled has left you a parting note, his boot prints on the floor a mix of sand and clay, porous enough for your gaze to perforate,
for your eyes to deliberate and catch a horizon in the ceiling, the long crack of an isthmus separating the dust of nations along which green twigs have emerged to teach unironically the value of resilience which apparently you have started to show a lack of, as evidenced by a tingling sensation on the surface of your belly, and some folks are calling you psychosomatic, and the doctor is asking you — have you been stressed — and the ultrasound reveals an enlargement of liver, and barred from alcohol and hard protein you develop an obsession with oversized single color round neck tees, the choice of monochromatic pleasure punctuating your being.
the lake brims over with rain and the fish spill onto roads as monsoon’s sacrificial offering to the juggernaut of the city’s traffic, the drivers fogwashed inside the icy room of their cars, those with spectacles most vulnerable to the recurrent haze of glass, opening their windows to taste the wind and letting a little fury of rain inside; the driver of my cab calls his beloved (I think), says I will come home only if you want me to come home when the call ends abruptly and by the drop of speed on the highway, I can assume nothing for the car wades through water like a machine operating with considerable reluctance in the wrong medium, my eyes catching the white of the driver’s teeth in the rear view mirror as the city is lit up by that optimal kind of lightning that shows us things we didn’t know we wanted to see
-- Satya Dash is a recipient of the Srinivas RayaprolPoetry Prize and a finalist for the 2020 Broken River Prize. His poems appear in Poet Lore, ANMLY, Waxwing, Rhino Poetry, Cincinnati Review, and Diagram, among others. Apart from having a degree in electronics from BITS Pilani-Goa, he has been a cricket commentator. He has been nominated previously for Pushcart, Nina Riggs Poetry Award, Orison Anthology and Best New Poets. He grew up in Cuttack and now lives in Bangalore, India.