New ___ Three Poems ____ Prashant Mishra

            The Two Beloveds of Janus


Janus stands in the balcony with the two beloveds. The first one, who is standing on the right side, is a bit distant—six feet distance. One face of Janus is looking at the beloved with certain pain. Janus’ lips are wet. Janus can still feel the beloved’s teeth on the lips. The beloved was one with Janus. The lips remain wet. They never dry up. Janus’ right hands are draught, and they run over the right lips, and yet those lips do not dry up. As if the teeth are still on the lips. That they are gripping Janus like a tiger, but the tiger Janus thinks of has dual aspects. Those teeth grip Janus’ lips like a cub and like hunted prey. Janus struggles, and the lips do not dry.


The other beloved, the one who stands to the left, is closer to Janus. The other face of Janus is looking at the beloved with a dry hope. The beloved is to approach the lips of Janus. The beloved is to kiss Janus. Janus can almost sense the breath of beloved. The beloved has nearly arrived. But the lips remain dry. The lips are never teethed. Janus wills to lip the other beloved, but the beloved remains close. So close that Janus cannot touch the beloved. Janus cannot move. Janus asks the other beloved to move. The beloved does move but, like the Achilles of Zeno, never reaches Janus’ lips. The beloved is always to arrive but never really arrives. The tiger is absent. Cub is still a possibility. Prey is still to walk. Janus’ right hands are rivers, they run over the right lips, and yet they remain dry.

Janus’ lips are wet and dry. Janus wants them dry and wet. Janus cannot move. Janus’ right hands want to reach the left lips, and the left hands want to reach the right lips. Janus, like a door, is a house and not a house. Janus’ draught hands run over wet lips; Janus’ river hands run over dry lips. Janus never is.


                                          The Star Child


Inside the room, the evening appeared through curtains in golden hair. The boy who seemed no more than ten was reading a book. It was the book, which seemed odder than the other objects. The inside walls had cracks and resembled the crooked legs 0f a spider. If one opened the room at night, it might have seemed to be the inside of a belly. The boy was reading, and with a gentle caressing, the last rays left the room. With a yawn, he closed the book and went to the adjacent balcony. There were boats, a river, a few people and the stonesthose eternal stonesadamant and confined.

He gazed into the horizon. A sharp, attentive gaze, as if he penetrated the presentthat ungraspable moment when it is not evening or night. As if, he stood at the liminal. He came back and opened the book. The book seemed thicker than before. He looked at the pages and numbers on pages and pictures on the number of pages. He carried it in his hand and weighed it for a while. The transformation was remarkable. After reading not more than a single unified moment, the yawn returned to his mouth. And he slept, or there was a hint of slumber on his face.

There was the churning of the ocean, there the tortoisea dancing god becoming a dance. In dance was birthed a sleeping god. From the navel of that sleeping god came a god who would speak the Word. From the Word came words and words became the first lilies. From lilies came the first cloud. From the first cloud appeared two lips. Two lips kissed, and the world appeared. The burning stars became flesh and talked like immortals. He saw the first men marrying rivers. He saw a man’s sperm carried by a bird. He saw the quasars hovering on a forehead. He saw the colours which were to be invented. He saw a boy asking an old poet with butterfly-beard what the grass is.

Slow walked the moon over his face. Gentle budded his eyes. There was the bookcomposing pages. The boy gazed at his skin and chest hair. He stared at the ceiling like the dreams of a migrated man.

He went to the balcony. There were no boats. No river. The stones vanished from their eternal realm. Pure mercuric constellations in oscillation.

He snatched one of the stars and kept it in his left pocket.

                                               The Insider


That what awakes in the gentle breath

and awaits in the next room.

The incessant need to touch one hand with the other

to keep the real, real.

What melancholy does the silence preach?

The One that is a stranger, It that lives within me

I have known it as the memory of my village,

the cactus and hibiscus of my memory.

What way, in what cave can I find the real darkness

where that obscurely familiar void does not follow me?

Perhaps, like others, it loves and in loving

allows itself to torment me.


I had seen it when there was no one,

my mother would sleep on the terrace

grandfather lulling himself with a thin hand-fan

and the house, turning so silent

as if a torrent was to arrive.

Keeping my head on one of my hands

I saw in pages escapes

but it arrived like a companion with whom

you have shared strange tales.


You still do not know what to do with it.

You cannot even give it an attribute.

It comes with nakedness one often finds

in the solemn music played

at the heart of a perilous tragedy.

You do not understand if it is verily you

Or it is you who looks at it.

It has a semblance with those old-healed wounds

with no sensation, un-fleshy

it senses you like ashes sense the last fire.


You sit calm, a sea happens and then comes

a vortex of undulating wind

and like creepers, it grows from the chest

you see it coming out of your navel

two black branches crawl out of your nose

your eyes are its leaves, your mouth

excretes an ambiguous silence.


You hear ice on your skin like a sinking ship

you do not move, it emanates

as the birth of a flower out of a dead insect

your body is empty of organs

you smell the stem growing between your thighs

snakes play on your back 

you stir, and the birds fly out of your sockets.


 (Artwork : Jonah and the Whale, Folio from a Jami al Tavarikh, (compendium of chronicles) courtesy Wikimedia Commons) 




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