What is there to write? by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

A zebra.

I want to write a zebra.

An array of upturned coffins keeling over an indigo road leads me to the border.
Maybe I should try to write a spine.

Quieted in that spine like melancholia, the sunrays still keep glinting. Cobwebs hover over the kingdoms of killings.

Sunshine yes.

But I would probably keep sunshine aside and thousands of its likelihoods, thinking of the ripples of weapons murmuring like a saline breeze around our best immediate interest.

Fingers, perhaps, growing sunflowers?

Fingers, not bloodied, smudging the pastel until a hallo appears lodged in the hollow songs freshly hatched out of the muskets.

Fingers wrap us in a musical of red poppies glimmering in the sun beneath the water with myriad skulls weighing down the long drowned boats.

The sea is known to be turbulent at times. Think of the firmament?

Yes, firmament! From under those naked skins it keeps gazing on the slalom of lives awaiting a starry Lych gate.

And with all the starlets dripping fireballs in mind, I open the lifespan of lullabies for the children of war.

Dreams only root out of dreams & their shambles roll across the rubbed pastel debris to shatter against your silhouette of folly, oh muse mine, what is there to write?

Sail on, doll head, sail on, the night is your wool of time, your doom, your womb of lilac, just go fetch a zebra.

‘menos tu vientre’ by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

(after Miguel Hernandez)

that the borders of our memories are (always) shifting : Yeats

she knows


just said

footfalls & wings

been broken kind

always undoing the hasp

tugging endless


that’d played & honeyed

loft sorrows

of silk

laid over blue nails




borne away

in a scant light

rosewood beads

around the neck

around nothing


the tang of longing


she knows

nest hollowed out

and nails hammered into

the hatchlings

always blind & naked

what a moist evening

branches beneath



always lopsided roads

tossed to

her incised map

to terraform




blinds & baffles

and her

bath bubbles narrate satin in life

over the crust of bleeding

marauder in her womb

stars’ egress

sultry blubber

& biography

cracking up


she knows

brambles that hide her eyes

hide the sea in a fold

such old words


said before

never before


shifting borders

darkness abloom

the hackneyed strings of guitar


tu vientre

tu vientre

menos tu vientre


* Link to the original poem with English translation : https://sites.google.com/site/nightingalesthatsing/40-poemas/menos-tu-vientre


Menos tu vientre by Joan Manuel Serrat on Youtube :

How far are we really from Havana? by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

Tell me, how far are we really from Havana?


I hate poisoning, but I always forget. When you invited me thinking we ought to drink to my obliging cross, I looked through the window. The damp birds looked brighter along Malecon. You said, forget, simply forget, and the far off tomorrows seemed suddenly washed away. The books that lied open on the table were turning into a tender smoke that one can see across the frenzy flesh of all those cats sitting on the extreme edge of the cornice believing in sweet lethargy of gravity. The guava juice came in an oval jar as if bringing my death of my own accord, and I asked again, tell me, are we really a long way from Havana, forgetting I hate poisoning. You had to sigh over the bay of juice and whisper, forget, forget the hollow, and the scarlet kiss kept beating across the spiderweb of CIA.


I opened the vault and glanced back at the prerevolutionary maps of this island gleaming ninety miles away from the Americana. In each alley, the everlasting dome of taciturn biographies was muttering bloody Providence or maybe Hosannah, Hosannah. I peered helplessly into a dark cavern where the lonely crabs were crawling along the bare elbows of Che in search of a lyre. And like a criminal, I was there drawn to a miniscule Castro caught in a fishing net gloriously discarded by all lesson books studied in Jose Marti primary schools. I tried to gaze with the help of a sunburnt lantern flaring more and more bright only to discover the amputated hands of Che amassing folk songs for tourist ladies like you, Senorita. Don’t just reiterate Hasta la victoria siempre, siempre. Tell me, why are you so quiet to your bird of prey?


The blue ham of the bocadito resembled the motionless thick smiles you granted me on my birthdays. Forgive me, I said out of trepidation, I don’t want to go home, my fluffy verse can still linger, and just forget, darling, there is no such window through which you can hear the Malecon, just try to look at the bottom where I have kept the oblivion still rosy. I told you what could be also your own words. I hate poisoning, sorry, I am so insolent, what can I do? I followed the path of dragonflies, lifelessly or just bitterly, if you like. And you said with your moist lips, forget, forget dreaming, see, your shoes are chirping away. And I howled, hail thee, Cinderella, I swear I remember for the hundredth time I was limping alone up the calle Muralla to the Plaza Vieja where the guns were leveled at my head. Behind the wall of cries of hate of the spectators, you can still hear me now knocking, La Habana, La Habana.



Debasis Mukhopadhyay lives & writes in Montreal. Recent poems have appeared in The Curly Mind, Yellow Chair Review, Thirteen Myna Birds, Of/With, I am not a silent poet, The New Verse News, With Painted Words, Silver Birch Press, Foliate Oak, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Snapping Twig, Scarlet Review, Eunoia Review, Revolution John, Down in the Dirt, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere.

Follow him at  https://debasismukhopadhyay.wordpress.com/ or @dbasis_m on Twitter.

Song and the bottom of the root

Go, I am to reclaim you as a song that misfits the memorabilia. A song that rustles through from branch to branch pecking, over and over, at all the blossoms cramming into a gap which has been otherwise declared truly unbridgeable, yet glistening. I once was a place. You have come a long way to hand me a song like that.

To think that you are a song, because a song can open and reopen the wounds of past and passing. And when you cared to roll over those immaculate burns, nothing came out healed. Now the suture does not quite appear as a mere buzz as dead blood threads keep seeping through the parchment. What is it a song, a brooding beak, or an engine blowing smoke, a falsetto of that kind?

You as a song, because a song flows down to read the retreat address over and over and fails. Flow is something that is innate to the song. And flow holds at its root an incessant movement, a reforming displacement, an eternal slippage, a bubbling friction being dragged away from where it was previously remembered. The journey of the song could only mean the drifting waves that undercut the shoreline to carry it off. Am I to think of you as a song slipping away from the root harbored deep in the throat? No oysterhood, no cries, I know the song always riles the bottom of the root.


Debasis Mukhopadhyay lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. His poems have appeared in publications in the USA & UK including  The Curly MindI am not a silent poetWith Painted WordsYellow Chair ReviewThirteen Myna BirdsOf/WithSilver Birch PressThe Bitchin’ KitschFoliate OakEunoia ReviewSnapping TwigFragments of Chiaroscuro, among others. Follow him at https://debasismukhopadhyay.wordpress.com/ or @dbasis_m on Twitter.

It takes a train to see America by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

What a kooky ride

The fire-roasted red peppers yellow squash & carrots are still lapping the edge of your rack

Served with loaded mashed potatoes

You said you always enjoy baby back ribs

The tender lean pork loin meat glazed in bold dark sauce humbly falls off the bones

Yesterday it was seafood jambalaya with rice pilaf & salad

And the day before pan roasted wild sockeye salmon with fries

It has been a whale of a time

I can see how easily you could coast into the scenic dreams

For these three days and three nights

Your train is soon going to pull into your last stop

But before you sign the guest book

Jonas liked it here

Take a look at yourself from behind the window

Upon which an eclipse of moths are dissipating

Since the train left the foggy Bay

Your knife looks remembering rust

Your fork looks shining into blood

Maybe you are taking too much time to bring yourself to them

Huddled between your hands they look so displaced

They do not know you know when your heart beats

Unwinding the sweet America without stopping to wind the bones

The soda can is left undrunk and perspiring

Since the time the train crossed

From Nevada into Utah

And then rolled through the canyons of Colorado

The ice cubes keep waning in your hyper dreamy glass

When treated to the view of a setting sun

That stretches down from the desert cliffs

And tumbles directly into

What you ordered for lunch

With yellowed teeth a couple of hours ago

And a couple of hours ago the clock was reset

To isolate the runoff moments of yearns you might think they had ever been

During the time the steelhead train traveled from coast to coast

Leaving you with nothing to do but

Admire the view of your hollowed out dreams in free fall

And take a glimpse into the soul of remains and moorings

The train is now pulling into New York Penn station

Time to cut loose from America

America is not the world on earth

You can now remain tight in life

Dreams will not come again

Poem with a lunar grapefruit by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

Bedside, window side, flowers on my nightstand and so you tell me not to walk the path in my head, I just have to look outside. I have to take your word with reverence, no more sighs that shimmer on the landscape you have been trying to reorder inside these walls. I have to just pick a greeting amongst the ones everybody is handing me over and bear equally with you from here to anywhere.

Life is taking shape around me. Cankers unlock the door at night and shake their rattles. I crawl toward the window pane sheathing a moon that looks like a grapefruit. “Don’t tell anyone”, I confess, “I was mother once and I won’t survive”. I take my quota of medicines and awkwardly fall asleep thinking the world is being created anew. I hear the clock ticking and darkness exuberates in my eyes. Rattles once again, is it you, son? Before life blows you away from me, come shake your rattles again.

Bedside, window side, and mornings make me cradle on my knees in an epiphany of cirrhosis that goes on to match its positive-sense particles with my memories trying their wings in the transfusions. And you become a child paddling across the lake of my blood. Smiling away. Then again, you are the everyday stalker by my side telling me not to walk the path in my head as I hold onto my bedpan to pass urine and stool. I am not locked from the outside. I just have to stop peering beneath my blood count. And I try my best to rise from bed to see my rites of being are not pleading mercy inside my thoughts.

Life is taking shape around me between hospital and home. You insist I put on display my life that lies though scattered to and fro. Life, yes I am hacked to life. I had to let the tumor out to play naked. Submerged in chloroform and methanol, my liver is waiting to be homogenized. So if I must wait, I don’t want to hear of no death surpassing my own. I am not the one who will fall backwards into death. Alive, I have to just put my life on display. A lunar grapefruit awaiting the blind blade.

Bedside, window side, I am not locked from the outside. As you say, I just have to try my best to look outside my sufferings while they take their regular bite. The concoction of memories has been dried up. I am not flopping anymore in the bottom of darkness. That’s perhaps you. Once again, I am to harbor you inside me to help you shed your skin. I won’t blame you, son, if you are writhing with all this waiting around. Little one, stay there, once again, inside my womb, I anoint you, as you have to choose between peace and your mother to clean the slate.


(The fragment in italics in the poem is from Lorca’s Lunar grapefruits.)



Debasis Mukhopadhyay is a poet from Montreal. His poems have appeared most recently in over a dozen literary magazines such as Yellow Chair ReviewThirteen Myna BirdsWith Painted Words (U.K.), Of/WithI am not a silent poetSilver Birch PressFoliate OakThe Bitchin’ KitschSnapping TwigEunoia ReviewDown in the DirtFragments of ChiaroscuroWords Surfacing, etc. Follow him at  debasis mukhopadhyay or @dbasis_m on Twitter.