Reading Dementia Blog, Vol II
correlate, re-evaluate, dis-member, vanquish, rehabilitate, aid
There are times
when all things correlate
the book about dementia to the war in the west
Alzheimer’s to the thought of someone writing
while being therapied for self-assertion
Reading poetry for once
plumes trauma, white ash coming off the flipping
pages on to my finger, not always, but often,
returning to re-evaluate, to re-examine
with the harrowing dread of self-doubt—
do I remember the tools at use, the meanings,
both denotative and connotative?
Haze, I see in the words still left behind
while erasure is still being enacted. This haze is health.
The last bread in the bomb shelter
There’s a man seated
against the grey wall wearing blue and red stripes, waving
a tiny blue and red flag. His need to do this blue-red thing
I don’t understand. I despise colour coding in poetry,
so there’s no grey lark in a grey sky on this grey day
the jubilation of red-blue may seem pernicious to some
I had to lie
to my vanquishing mother, sitting pressed against
the orange pillow on a demented swing
which we knew from a certain premonitory certainty
she’ll never be able to get off. I had to lie to my mom
that dad is on the other hemisphere with me
alive and well. It was awry rumour perhaps that he had
been run over by a taxi on the first avenue from home.
When fear buoys like the corpse, preserved under water
for all these placid months after what came to
be proven as an impeccable homicide.
It’s about the invincible
with which we know the old woman will perish,
the unborn is about to disappear and the wounded succumb
all on the same floor—a fate only a bomb can guarantee
as it strikes the hospital in Mariupol
It’s normal March is windy
it’s normal the war does not stop
that the river birch is shedding twigs here again
splinters, shells, the misfiring waking up the dog
in the basement; she cries in pain
that I remember the cow in a Bengali proverb
saved from a barn burning in the crossfire, she always
bellowed in panic, every time the sky painted its dusk golden
It’s imperative to keep the war alive
there were efforts made though, to stop
the Syrian refugee from rehabilitating in our community.
A clamour was made at the polling station
against the county rep. who helped the family get settled.
The Syrian man now works as a leaf blower, a cleaning agent
in an underformable clog
(I purposely avoid the word “untransformable”)
The sinister spiral in the drain has healing properties, it cleans
it clear, she is all sterilised and gauzed and the new sun
glitters on the scalpels and forceps of a new day.
Remembering the dis-membered
patients, their fates, friends and family, soldiers, civilians
—erased and refigured on a daily basis. Soldiers and civilians
wrestling with the desire to unremember, to submit to slumber.
C is silent for months now.
Is she asleep?
Hoping in desperation that life is still omnipotent
in all zones of blood ailments, and forgetting amidst the curse
of remembrance, that C will wake up again
and write, to aid memory
Some things proliferate where others don’t live
where it doesn’t live either.
Dew does not prefigure rain
but learns about the exact shapes of thoughts
choice of colours and brushes
rendition style on landscape selected
and the girl in the window comes forth
But there aren’t colours, brushes really
and the window now ascending to the fifteenth floor
the girl is empty
the window is empty
There was the swell no mistake
but I could not see yeast
now the bread is down to crumbs
still can’t see yeast
There was the dew
and there was no grass
Aryanil Mukherjee is a bilingual poet, translator and editor who has authored nineteen books of poetry and prose in two languages. Numerous anthology appearances include Future Library (2022), The Harper-Collins Book of Indian Poetry in English (2011), Indivisible: An Anthology of South Asian American Poetry (2010), The Literary Review Indian Poetry (2009), etc. Aryanil edits Kaurab, a Bengali language e&m-zine of experimental poetry and works as an engineering mathematician in Cincinnati, USA.