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Three Poems

By Ishan Marvel

Conversations with Young Belano

 – comrade! after ages, I sat on a park bench. I almost cried

month end. whiff of money. back to the bar. lonesome tables and single seats. shooting kingfishers to overplayed songs. closing time. to places of sleep. trying to shake the premonition. that pre-dawn pulsation we refuse to understand. voicing: you’ll never be sure, even when you know it.

the waiters know. and the mad men singing paeans to the evening. faces, chairs, words, ideas and places are interchangeable. everyone knows, but they won’t tell you – these poets of the city, abreast and feeding.

– when do I find love, comrade? what’s all the penance for?

curse of the 90s. all that liberalised crap and hollywood and TV had to show up somewhere. bosomy bullshit fed to a generation still chomping on the pervading umbilical cord. fruits of the internet and good times. god of our times. grand know-it-all, everywhere and almighty. and soon, with levels of discrimination – just like a real god.

 – but do girls have an expiry date, comrade?

yes, so do you, and you’ll see it alone
for devotion is lost on bastards of the gossamer kind
while the cigarettes burn, rising butts on the window
and in the chest, a clog that refuses to go . . .

the good ones leave the city, or they dream of leaving – all the time. ’cause our time is not our own. some escape, others bend. everyone falls

 – someday, comrade, someday . . .

***

A work in (and for) progress
OR A farewell to guru dutt

in 2015
the 90s kids had grown up, or were trying to
and same for the city

everyone was drinking and smoking
and white powder was in the backrooms
as the spiritual regime took over delicate minds
with techno trance and a thousand other genres

everyone wanted to escape the post-modern
so they discovered travelling, consciousness, art, and poetry
and there was much talk of the acid revolution

however, the scattered flames that emerged, always died out
and in the end, american TV turned out to be the bigger difference
(more than the guns, the bombs, and the black president)

’cause apart from money and happiness
everyone was looking for love
the internet and wifi and smartphones made it easy
they took away that first step, the hardest one
where you must look into someone’s eyes and engage their spirit molecule

you didn’t have to do that anymore
the old sow called convenience had come rolling
and like with everything else, everyone loved it!
they took a picture of it with themselves
and then made up a word because they did it so much

now you were so made for choice
you could go screen shopping for a date
and you didn’t have to play half the games

everyone knew what they were out for
the conviction came from rational and liberal
and there was no denying the modern impulse

people were looking for threesomes and orgies now
and motel rooms flourished
and parks and cars and abandoned buildings
’cause the regular stuff just wasn’t cool anymore

it wasn’t like the old times
or what you heard in the stories
the gals were looking to fuck as much as the guys
and the guys were looking for love even more than the gals
and sometimes, the gals and the guys were all the same

everyone was so happy, so carefree, so rich, and so cool
that each night, they prayed for mommy
getting off to memories of the primal nipple

sexual confusion was the new thing
the sole hints of romance led to whores

and meanwhile, fact-peddlers and pedestrians were being killed
for in other parts of the country, life went on as usual
that is, it went like shit
people were writing poems though
and killing for god, money, sisters or a joke

the fascist at the helm, though, declared that everything was a peach
so, everyone waited for a bite
even as kids started protesting everywhere, for everything
including something called gender equality
just because they could do it
and the TV people and the marketing people told them they were right!
and that a click in the right place will make them righter

. . .

yes, in 2015
things were the rightest, alright
the brightest

brooding and proper were out of fashion since 1991
now, guru dutt consumed the nights
he stopped walking away

his mother forwarded him inspirational quotes on whatsapp
and later asked if he read them

one night, drunk and bleeding on the side of a road
he realized it must be something to win the world

lying in that pool of vomit, piss, and blood
he remembered a quote from 90s television

gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast
hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto[1]
here, in 2015

***

city, are you getting funnier?

or am I just becoming more of an asshole?
I know it’s sad, I should be venting and fighting
30 january 2016: people I know, and have drunk with, beaten by cops and possibly sanghis. again, same old faces. students and journalists, their cameras and bones broken. salvaged proof on digital media, and thankfully a video
because video makes for good news, and interest. at least for a while
but for now, it’s a good headline to munch on. goes well with the mulled wine and napkins of privilege: PROTESTERS THRASHED OUTSIDE RSS OFFICE

a former colleague was on NDTV. an editor friend joked, “his career’s made”
Really?
meanwhile, the former colleague and others are unsure whether they want short-term compensation or long-term tamasha
thing is, you only get one, and either way, there’s always a risk

1 february: at the local dcp’s
tech-savvy, new-age dcp sits in elegant office with hi-fi TV, trophies and random art
the zee TV journalists and the public prosecutor have their tongues up his ass
a round, affable, this-guy-is-too-cute-to-be-a-cop ass
we drink tea from cups with saucers and nibble on kaju barfi
I’m the only one who takes two
and while they’re busy talking camera angles and city scum
I contemplate a third

finally, it’s my turn
my generic idealistic blowjob of a story angle does not interest the dcp
Shouldn’t I be talking about the lost alzheimer woman sent home thanks to his twitter post?
or the dcp whatsapp group? something concrete?
the ujjwal nikam of delhi helps though. turns out there’s no story
the dcp cuts us off and raises the volume on the TV behind us, and facing him
we turn our heads
choice clippings from the protest, run over and over
manic-eyed khaki minions doze the fuck out of scrawny students
but who are those bastards swashing fists in the flowing ganga?
brainwashed sanghi volunteers?
and why are they beating that one with the saffron scarf? isn’t he on their side?
questions discussed amid laughter and a plate of kaju barfi that no one touches
I take a third

“see, it’s the stupid commandos who are just standing there. our guys know what to do when they see a camera – they hit and run,” laughs the dcp
“but yes, they shouldn’t have beaten girls – that is shameful!” he nods
later, it turns out that the girl splashed across a million screens, being dragged down by the hair, was a male student from the north-east. (remember the north-east?)
not that it matters, because later, there was another video of protesting girls shouting and clapping, “your modi is a eunuch. go tell him, what can you do?”
section 144, CrPC: unlawful assembly in place: among other things, obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed
NOTHING IS TRUE, EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED
and the standard response: “it is an unfortunate event. we have set up a departmental investigation”. case closed, token suspensions and transfers at the most.
everyone who knows anyone is taken care of. everyone else forgets. more people die. more protests.

although, things seem to be changing—but we’ve been through this before.
still, a beautiful story: a tortured boy dies in Hyderabad, and becomes symbol for nation-wide revolution.
but haven’t we been through this before? how many symbols does it take for a so-called nation to exorcise its demons? what mammoth symbol of all symbols would it take for us to not forget?
“wait and watch. refuse to commit. and stay sane, brother”
words of wisdom from a stoned ragpicker

meanwhile, I found the commanding officer’s blogs the other day
the bearded-but-still-baby-faced sardar who was smiling at the protestors one moment
then thrashing them five minutes later
what happened?
the man quoted Shakespeare and Ghalib, and this gem: “treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you…not because they are nice but b’coz u r nice.”
that was 2009. he joined IPS in 2010, and the posts stopped after that except for one after a four-year hiatus about GONE GIRL in January 2015. that was the last, and the blog is called:
IT’S ALL AN ILLUSION
what happened?

[1] If there is a heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here

Bio:
Ishan Marvel
was born in the mountains, but has spent most of his life in Delhi. Among other things, he writes. Lately, he has even started hustling.

***

For more stories, read Café Dissensus Everyday, the blog of Café Dissensus Magazine.

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