The Cauldron 8th
|Cauldron } 8th |
It pays to be a poet.
you don't have to pay prostitutes.
Marie has spiritual thingummies.
- Eunice de Souza (1940–2017)
The 8th edition of The Cauldron is dedicated to Eunice de Souza. We celebrate her for her provocative verses.
LETTER TO JULY
The world has taken a toll on me. There have been countless instances of rainy days, flooded roads and staying at home. Quite often, you bring cloudy days with you, but I will not complain. It has been a tough year since we last met. I have decided to move out of this city, you see. I want to start anew July, I want to feel the fresh air and get away. I will not lie but yes, I will miss this city immensely. But July, if I need to find myself again, I need to do this.
Over the past year, July, I have learned to accept myself the way I am. I can never say that I am flawless but yes I am trying to change. I know its easier said than done but hey I am really trying this time and not just complaining about things. I have grown fond of listening to old music these days. I listen to music on cassettes and it’s sad people do not do it anymore. Yeah I know, we have to be progressive and change with times. However, July, it’s funny how we can turn the pages of a calendar to the month we want, change the time in our wristwatches but we cannot really travel to that moment in the future or in the past. It is really scary how swiftly time flies. I have met you seventeen times in my life but it’s interesting how I had to introduce myself every time we did. I still remember that day, eight years ago, when I went out with Satyasikha, had a lot of ice cream and visited the marble palace. Do you remember July? Do you remember how you couldn’t stop the clouds from breaking then?
Things have really changed July. I have apparently grown up. But what is growing up July? Getting your own driving license? Owning your own bank account? Or is it becoming a skilled actor off stage and hiding everything from people because of the overwhelming fear of judgement. Is it wrong July, to cry about the cookie your brother stole from the jar that day? Is it really humiliating to admit that I am scared of the dark, just because I am an adult today?
Dear July, I do not know when I grew out of my habit of playing with building blocks and dolls. I do not know what growing up means. However here’s the thing, July. You have been my truest confidante for years now. You bring this air of melancholic happiness, every time you come around. Your dark eyes offer me the solace, the brutish summers take away. When the gloom descends on cloudy evenings, how I long to be with you, alone and pensive. I will always need your company July. I will always need that dull smile of yours to feel a little a live again.
The girl with the blue umbrella
The streets are a mosaic of yellow and blue.
Smoke rises from the open fires in makeshift-hearths and makeshift-eyes,
It billows out
And fills the empty spaces of the twilight...
The air is thick with prayer -
(It curls out from the depths of cool, green mosques built by some forgotten emperor to match the jade of his beloved's glance) -
It licks it's way
Into the smoking pots and pans of the faithful
Into the smouldering desire of the infidel.
Across the haze of diffused neon and prayer and ittar-sprinkled delicatessen vendors -
A jafri-window twinkles,
Trapping the blue of the night
In its criss-cross weaves.
Perhaps, within its invisible depths
Some forgotten Scheherezade sits
Perfuming her hair
with the leftover dreams
Of young lovers
Who've traced patterns on her skin all night.
How many make love to her limbs?
How many make love to her lips?
How many to the faint smell of spices that linger on her breasts
and seep from her skin into the little shuttered room (long forgotten)?
Tha jade from her eyes, brims over
And trickles onto the street
Shading the slivers of night, and prayer, and love.
(The wise, old men say
They've seen her pass this way
I'm hunting, you know I'm on the field
Circular, sometimes diminished to hell
Rectangular, it's not heaven though
The field of mind and souls
Where to go? Let me rather sit on a cartwheel and think of my merry days
I am thinking to share that with the cow-man
He said he's two kids and a lovely rainy wife!
Oh that's beautiful!
Fragments, nothingness cuts through this unconditional happiness
But hope smokes smilies and rants about nothingness eventually
This is circular, it gyrates and create gyres
The night snorts as if it's happy
Beside, beneath, into the abyss
Of this unknown Gothic pleasure
Eerie and gibbous Spring taunts
And twists his wintry scales and smirks and winks
Look, the night snorts!
Motion is again reviving
Steps walk black into the bluest chambers .. I know where.. I won't tell you
You bother , bother yourself with multitudes!
Incarcerated blind mozaics
Where Queens dance with imprisoned wings
Rub your spineless head and walk back
It is a big yawn!
I am hunting you know
And slow breeze blows, waterdrops giggles
At your slow pace, at me!
But I am hunting, with mouth watching
With eyes talking, obviously invisible
I have known one thing
That gape is hanging even
On your childhood mountain top
And that pulls you with every single drop
I am just above the zenith
Striving to hunt outside this gaping yawn!
Cakes and forlorn!
Fragile sea, incumbent ancient tree
A coxcomb of memory
Jazz food and amnestic books
Fluttering wings of moonlit hooks
Those hang me and you
And footsteps those sleep on misery
"You egg", these foolish rebukes
You grin with yellow penury on your teeth
Engraved thoughts of a barren heath
Yes, you wear a tie and a suit
With a pilfered boot, don't be rude
With that docile look, look at you fool
You play guitar as if it's a tool!
Easy as othello, imperfect video zone
Gibbous motors of silent rotators
They want to convey.... bluish and grey
Not too fast, not too slow
Here's a stubble without a bow
Ah, after long such a scenario!
Talking banners gaze at me
Every evening as I walk on the streets
Open windows gulp in jealousies
Rotten smell of fallen fruits
Eaten by the laughing city
Senile juices flowing out and in!
Run with dogs, do not whimper
Or sigh or drink or fake hot temper
Ebb and flow of white bulb lyrics
Has no music, some just pennyless
Oh how I wish they sang Cleopatra-Antonio
But damn these cajole, quickly roll,
Run from this bent city
Look behind, your nemesis and Apocalypse ...
When the Sunset...
When the sunset rained
And infused a dragon into the wilderness,
Oh beloved, we met,
they sold it as insurance.
Berserk, we looked for colours,
Palpating in a delirious odour,
Red, saffron, green.
Hush !! Hush !! Hush!!
Listen, someone’s crying.
A plaintive roar;
They want you to kiss me.
The sunset lay recumbent;
Upon the vermilion they raped,
Cursed, enforced the loitering love.
Our smoke penetrated into the redness;
Embroiling theories and emotions;
I gasped for breath in the mist,
You had my hands tied.
A kinky fantasy.
The last drop of the sunset is now our precarious affair;
The horizon upholds insurgences,
They have come in numbers;
The colours smudge my eyes.
Oh beloved! Take the acid and brush my eyelids;
Let’s be blind ourselves
And my heart will not think anymore!!
I miss you
In the smell of my isolated curls;
they treasure your fragrance,
the one that weaves
your passion and diligence,
sweat sweetening the earthly disruptions.
I miss you when my words
Desert me to collect oysters,
colour of ruby steals pearls;
I feel the cry of your books,
Waiting like me
in the flux of our fate.
Shells catch sun dolls.
We see a flying bird
searching for her wings.
The mirror said,
and wingless stated my
a restlessness painting
I wish could be ours.
I miss you
when they talk of rings and bangles;
my wrist loses its gravity;
my heart beats for the hour,
each beat reminding me,
I have survived
for the promised land.
I miss you,
because it's not love;
because you are the reason
Would I care
for evenings like this,
my trepid heart basks in
I see you smiling
where worlds collide
and a deluge is
Perhaps, it's more than
a care that swallows
Perhaps it's yet to be coined
as the storm bows down
upon your sword;
I saw my reflection in the storm,
The reflector in the reflected
and that's how
that word was born!!
Jizel crawls up to my bed
Like a sunflower
On lazy days across the lake.
Broken, chopped, minced talks
An unruly love making.
A light hid us
settling splintered glass
my hands were slit
I observed through the orifice
the body is a quasivoid
that for existences
is scaring an earthlike ellipsoid
of submersing it in darkness
for you touched — increscent upon the touch
I have risen from the water to the body
an ogre has entered the body
a god has entered the body
from the body exude together god and ogre—
adding to subtract
the flower blooms to wither…
they say every day he unleashes
awful phallic disdain!
cursed by the woman’s vagina
weeping, he will create a river without shores
and find his religion merely once!
then death will come about through his contagion,
we may offer them only compassion
some money, food or mere clothing
they become ogres
body that has desired body
myriad giraffes tug at leaves
a reptile’s tail drops
the instant when sowing ends
body is named soul
this small family
lonesome pea seed
lying beside soft torrents of water
grant complete ecstasy divine being
they move gently upon the table
this small family
elusive pea seed
a girl in a torn blouse
is scratching her belly—
Translations: Inam Hussain
The sculptor had a clear voice when he was 20, and newly beginning the art of shaping and molding, as a mentee, still on a tangent from the world’s definitions of success and progress. Still when his diction was sharp, he sculpted masks, busts, models, statues, figures and figurines in metal, wood, terracotta, marble, and granite. He carved waves in tresses, oceans in faces, spins in galaxies of human forms.
But soon one day he stopped talking. His voice went into a monosyllabic grunt, then a disgruntled cough.
People around asked his curators, gallerists, art festival directors, critics for what had gone wrong. How were they even to speak to him? His answers were garbled between Hindi and English, but generally indecipherable.
Soon they understood a tangent had gone too far. What came out was one startling sculpture after another: alabaster panels that stopped onlookers in their strides, clay statutes that spoke of worlds unspoken….
When the middle-aging sculptor opened his mouth to speak of his Medusa, Saraswati, Ganga, or Teesta, it was one discordant stream of sound. They led him further to doctors, speech therapists, psychotherapists, and counselors.
But nothing changed. He only shook his head with every suggestion. This refraction too far from the incident.
Only he knew he was courting posterity, whispering to echoes in stone, wax, wood, and metal.
He had traded with a lurking shadow when he began, asking these questions again and again.
He had called it upon himself. What will happen to my art in the future? What will happen?
Will they see the global light of globalization? Or remain in a small village, lost by the sea?
The shadow traded. ‘Put something inessential on mortgage,’ it whispered sharply.
He gave up his voice to save his vision.
“Let there be sound.”
It took away the noise.
“Let there be voice.”
It took away language.
When the sculptor died, he had 50 sculptures across avant-garde galleries, exhibitions and world museums. Also, miniaturized into memorabilia-merchandize, pen holders, fridge magnets, and regaled of in glossy brochures. Curated over the internet, given a deep sense of retrospective both by curators and punters.
Years later, the watchful-dead sculptor saw his sculptures cut the linear lines of time. The concentric circles of existence, ceasing, turning spiral, returning to infinity.
All had caught on to his art.
Students studied it. It was trickling down the next generation.
His silence substituted by hundreds of interpretations, either downplayed or exaggerated. In most cases, missing the point. His point gone into a blind-spot of new meaning.
But the world celebrated each of his sculpture for its own reasons.
And he now had his sound back.
The lingering ageless shadow having returned it as promised.
From his abdominal cavity, thoracic grid it now blew like gust through leaves and trees. He sculpted hurricanes, dust storms, clouds aping all dear to him, in a world of steel, clay, stone.
But what was redeeming was he had saved his soul.
Senselessness was another voice, too.