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Venetian Symphony

the castle of dreams,
but floating the greater art

sleepless, torrents of being,
ledged, shuttered,

what secrets lie within
such timelessness?

which lovers will fling at
each other tonight?

a place for secret love
a cat descending the narrow passageway
paws wrapped in silk
her steady eyes watching you
watching her
in the darkness

there are no right or wrong paths
each leads you on,
growing narrow, growing dark
where secret terrors lurk,

a hand behind, a gull squawking, a woman’s cry-
waters lapping silent as darkness

lanes lure you, alive,

the sky is out, blue
where the waters meet

no its not you,

but time floating by

 

Nine Planets

This temple has no
gods or goddesses

Just a dark hollow carve
Where the nine planets live, as neighbours

I crisscross nine lives in nine minutes
A planet at a time
My palms lamp-lit and warm to
My faltering reason

Outside,
Simians chase felines
We pass undisturbed, on two legs.
Someone else’s war is our peace.

This clamour too
Is written in the noon white of an invisible sky

 

Italian Summer

The drift of
Our eyes glance — unawares.

I know you, perhaps,
from another life.

Stop by, beauty and art — sirens to a lonely sailor.

Museums are for a rainy day.

Inside, the solemn room
Where Keats bled to death.
He looked from the window — convalescent — in lonely splendour.
The laughing crowds. Roman holiday, the Spanish steps,
Bernini and Fellini, Medici and Da Vinci,
All bleeding at the altar.

I see his bed. White with sorrow, like a Hindu widow.
Circle his room — a circumambulation.
A fallen star. A beautiful lady sans merci.

I walk on. The lost landscapes of the soul
Winter with my past.

Where the sceptre
Changed hands, where it didn’t.

The oval dome. Silence on marble, the click of
Cameras and heels.
Footsteps march on — the tune of history — lambs to the cliff.

But it is time I am after — not history…

It is time that follows me to the crematorium.

It is time who lives in a forgotten alley,

It is time who dresses as dust on the road, where the shrines still live.

A gnarled banyan offers noon time shade to a weary traveler.

It is little time I love.
Those delicious afternoons — these quiet evenings.
Dawns who come too early.

History fades. Only the afternoons remain.

The winter sun is forever bare backed, her fingertips touching furtive.
Sharp as nails. The arms rest.
Akimbo. Shavasaan. Quiet.

Behind us, the charming bookstore
Reminds time of herself — her wood and fading yellow
Are wise to sorrow,
To the laughter of tyrants,
To the moment of this now.

To this evening quiet. When Vivaldi passes by
Carrying a broken violin that sings only of
Life. He is broke.
It makes you cry. The pictures go by, without warning.
No one told us. We could have prepared ourselves.
Phone in hand, arched at ear,
You are still busy with life, work and groceries,

While Vivaldi disappears behind the twilight cupolas.

And art lurks near a hidden wall, behind the façade.
Crisp with meaning, the ruins of lost time.
Her notes are faded, the curling plaster of — blue and yellow.

Even the sun turns a deep dark Krishna blue
And the night, the night comes dressed in an evening

of slow purple.

 

This work was first published as part of the Basil ~ October 2017 Issue, of the Coldnoon journal.

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Amlanjyoti Goswami

Amlanjyoti Goswami

Amlanjyoti Goswami’s poems have appeared in publications in India, Nepal, UK, South Africa, Kenya and USA, including the recent Forty under Forty: an Anthology of Post-Globalisation Poetry (Poetrywala, 2016). He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.

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