Six Poems by Kushal Poddar


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Cardinal Sins


One cardinal cheeps

near your sinful pane,

open in summer wind,


near your bedpost failing

to disentangle the white shirt

of the other man. You wear

the black boxers, not yours.


One sweeping finger can shift

a paradigm, alter a filter

the way they used to see differently

with a new pair of contact lenses. 

Not that anything changes. 

Cardinal song, the sudden provocation 

of a new leaf, Bible in the bedside drawers,

cigarette kills, and strangers may.


So Cool So Metal 


I opened your gun-safe

this evening.


I know you kept those bullets

for a ticking stimulus,

for a sudden provocation,


but our neighbour

played that wedding song again

and again and again.


Goodbye, Cold Pies


The night is drawn toward the pallor of the dawn. 

Drowning is not unforeseen.

The bird that tweets welcome is the one that bids goodbye. 

What do I know? The poet lives moored in our basement. 

Our daughter may never go to a physical school, 

and yet we fill a box of tiffin for her with our thinning 

resources and pack a bag with books and notebooks and pencils. 

She may never use a pencil, still, we sharpen their weapon-heads 

as if our muscles follow a covert mission the agency has forgotten. 

What do I know? The poet lives in the basement and refuses to 

write what hurts him most.


Fool For A Flashback (Memories Sent by Algorithm)


Some flashback snaps, 

sent by a fool,

tool with my gloaming;


a kite, kind of an accipitridae, 

stills a cloud with its firm claws;

I sip some waning coffee;


far I go, perhaps to the tomorrow, 

I shall reach one memory

for the day after.


A clown tilts its conical comical

ass-hat from the footpath

on the other side; 


crosswalks wait for my shadow;

I can see me crossing, julienned

in black and white paints;


but this is a flashback, fool. I am the clown.


Cliché 


By the time you end your story 

I've stopped listening to the words. 

I have been listening to the sound 

your words make, been thinking if 

anyone can narrate a tale worth listening to, 

and about the way we grow up to be 

different, but not very varied 

from how we fared as children, 

and that - I may think all these unfairly.


You say something about the woman 

("In red?" I interjected.) you met as a teen,

and again as a man in a protest rally,

but after you shack with her awhile

she stole your poetry and made her own.


In the space meant for a garden, 

oh, what a garden it would have been 

if I've endeavoured, our girls flare a fistfight.

I wave at them. They stop, pant and after awhile 

end their ceasefire. Will they ever meet years later

to compare the wounds and belittle each other's

journey that far? In red? I ask. You say yes.


An Unsatisfactory Story


"I remember meeting you before."

Says the robber,

"You were in some patrolling shit.

Gave me a speeding ticket."


"And you were returning from a job?"


"No. I was not into crime."


"This does not make a good story."


"You still had those eyes

as if you were from the future

warning me to mind my gears."


"And?"


"I changed my career."

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