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October 20, 2020 Poetry


Satya Dash


Being Helical

to survive
tenacious teeth held their nerve
cavities cloying pleasure rotten—clawing pain in canals
chewing their way—into the first mouth—full of coral treasures
mouth made—a voice sprang keen—can you hear me—answerless like a rainbow
rainbow during war—a deep shade missing—tinted debris of a voice—mouths tore alive
at liquor stores in lockdown—traffic of desirous throats—dire hunger chews liquid
tender ghosts claw across bodies—their idea of pleasure mine too
my nerves dangling teeth like medals
mocked survival


the first human’s best hour
wanting to be heard—insides scab speckled red milk sky
baby or adult—babble renders language relevant—what’s not said is written
a thing isn’t born in birth—but from lack—voices caramelized—into dying texts
diptychs hinge—on birth of surnames—stirring cauldrons—the caramel glow of death
my greed to stay relevant—babbling like a baby—what you said I wrote as mine
to be celebrated not heard—my skull leaving skies of sand red plumes
best thing the first human did
was re-imagine


to be cute
is a remarkable endeavor
penguins sing to attract mates—a panda rubs another’s tummy
absurdity mimics heavenly—Taj Mahal from moon—would look like a moon
burning sugar—I breathe like holidays—marked in oxygen—on a calendar’s face
calendar drips face spits—endless perspiration—pinning my face—to maternal chest
names effaced—died working on Taj Mahal—they stayed on moon forever
a penguin strives for romantic love—pandas still shy while cuddling
purpling inside me endeavors decompose
anything cute


A double helix is the geometrical structure of a DNA molecule with alternating groups
of sugar inside. This poem is interested in enacting that structure as an encompassing unit for both the micro and macro. The poem
attempts a sequence of alternate pyramidal reflections inside each helix:  the progression in the 1st  line corresponds to its alteration in the 10th , the 2nd to 9th and so on, presenting the a helix as a poetic structure for inversions.


Ancient Tide

The oldest evidence of kissing comes from Vedic Sanskrit texts
from over 3,500 years ago where it was described as inhaling each other's soul.


invisible yearning of a wild lily miles away    shakes my jaw
loose   bumblebee’s pollen-carrying speed   multiplied by time
gives the distance covered by the Lord’s will   if I cover my wound
and the sky turns brilliant blue   I have no wound   sprigs spring
on graves routing souls to the air they inhaled once   come feel
their extinct dispositions   in mild eruptions   ink squirted to fuel a pen’s
memory   those I wrote about   how our bonds grew stronger   letters etching

wet page   emitted electrons from the hand’s rib-caged rage   painted finger-
tips copper sulphate stark   when the painter wasn’t looking the canvas winked
in the dark   the blackbirds cawed   blessed by the banyan tree in a pub’s
courtyard   a man with his bowed head asked for a dance   today he becomes
a father and I an uncle   another man utterly rankled when addressed
uncle   he counted his three white hairs and offered the young waitress one
amused for a second she fled the table at once   the departure of one

organism can leave another in a pool of tedious tremble   elephants
die of broken hearts   a grieving cat starves its liver into a fist of hard
lard   what we feel makes a moment   why we feel makes it
momentous   that a million bacteria can be transmitted in a kiss
might make it more romantic if you are in a suitably charged frame
of mind   the origins of kissing traced to the north of India where now
a public display of affection might endanger your life   I was thirteen

absorbed in the English teacher’s tender reading of After Apple-Picking
admiring lips of luscious speech   long enough to be bewitched   by a forbidden
mouth’s lure   thinking for days how it might pucker in love   the smell of a pink
dove   on my lips   the golden hue of cider heaps   that I relinquished
at a temple for a hymn thicker than my fear   churning cream when milk
turned sea-sour   picture this : no gold of sun no surf of wave only my faint
wrist’s bleached want   gelling into thought the waters first rinsed then forgave


image: 翔音