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Poetry #241
(published August 25, 2005)
Poem In Six Parts
by Ashok Niyogi

I have placed you on call.
I am not Humpty-Dumpty
Forever teetering on some wall.
I am the philandering muskrat,
That waxes and wanes
Like the pockmarked moon.
I am the one-eyed pirate
With the cocky hat
And wooden leg.

From pouch to vein to liver to mouth,
I regurgitate the blood
On which you course my veins,
And you run helter skelter,
To fill me up.
Needles with timers
All through the night,
Gosh, I really have you on call.

We ran together, you and I,
We prowled the tall grass,
Together we whittled bones,
With which even now we fight
All night, all day,
Only I am craftier,
I am not answerable,
You are on call.



Words are needles on pincushions,
Double edged,
Puncturing pincushions and thumbs,
Words are Mountain Rivers
Pregnant with debris,
Words are Machu Pichu
Layered in cloud,
Words are Acapulco
Discussed in a Moscow cab,
Keep the phone down,
Who picks up the tab?

As limited as the act of coitus,
When we have so much to say,
Words are nails scraping vertical walls
A child's building blocks
By an elephant kicked away,
Let the monkeys chatter
While I go blind,
Building dumb words
On an inert computer screen.

The voice breaks,
But the eye is dry.
Silence at a red traffic light,
Traffic is bumper to bumper on 101,
A busload of children on holiday,
The minute hand ticks on.

You are right
I am right,
Two rails lined parallel
Make a track
I will stop this silly business
Of "you are right, I am right",
The engine will shriek,
Brakes will lock,

Grass will grow within abandoned wagons,
In there, sheltered from the elements,
Rattlesnakes will make their bed.



Master weaver,
Weave for me,
A gossamer spell
On that autistic wall,
Sing me
Your silent lullaby,
Switch off this streaming video.

My home nestles below
A craggy cliff
Surrounded by meadows of incredible bounty,
Magnificent black horse at the canter,
Now stumbling into your spidery web,
That reflects the seven colors of the morning sun,
Now foaming at the mouth
While you suck at his entrails.

His weight will bring your web down,
And crush you underbody,
There you will lie in the midday sun,
Spider crushed into the loamy soil,
Horse's legs pointing to the sky,
In rigor.



Life, my all weather man,
We have met,
Time and again our paths have crossed,
Even in tandem sometimes,
We have walked awhile,
Up to the next oasis,
Our camels, just four shadows, and we
Did you notice anyone else?

Discount the vultures, scorpions
Discount the lizard and the desert fly,
They are appurtenances,
They wait to scavenge, they do not take control.

I speculate
That the sun will determine
Adequate punishment for you,
Blisters on lips, peeling skin,
Sabers rattling in your throat,
The red ants impatient.
The vision will falter,
Dimensions will become fluid,
Now, now, don't already stumble so.

Crawl up to the next oasis
And I will take a day job, socially sanctioned,
I will wait on tables at the caravanserai,
While you eat dates and ruminate.



If a well starts to walk
It will leave its groundwater behind,
So the well has to stay,
Until it dries, until it dies.

Life has to stop by.
Memories, desire, anger, loss,
They all call on camels,
Or GPS guided all terrain vehicles,
Sometimes even a war washes by.

Sometimes, in the heavens,
Venus comes calling,
Sometimes the well dreams
Of streams that meander
Like an old man's poems,
Left in the trash bin
In the interlude
Between talking and meeting,
Dreams walk endless corridors
And come back to the well,
The well has to stay,
Until it dries, until it dies.



It never has meaning,
Like all fires,
Even those that burn in minds,
It goes up in smoke,
Charred and twisted,
Only bio nondegradables are left behind
Like evil crosses,
To mock the purity of our soul.

The householder builds house,
The artist lets loose and the house is color,
Hormones create passion,
Then possession,
Naked arm thrown over sleeping chest,
Then the safekeeping
With lock and key.

Intricate arguments
For and against the leash,
Fidelity in the living, fidelity in the dreams.
Positions on stage
Asymmetrical but not far off
From positions ascribed by society,
Lust that we can trust
Until the luster dulls,
Alcohol up to the Plimsol Line,
Experiments with opium,
Experiments with truth,
No rock of faith,
No balm of routine, the only refuge
Is in autistic thoughts,

After all,
You have me on call.

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