Somewhere Around Despair
Poem By Sofiul Azam
for Sonja Broderick
'...the nameless pain from which one feels there can be no way out,
and one knows despair is absolute.'
- from The Mimic Men by V. S. Naipaul
As I wait for the return of hopes and grace,
always I feel I shake with fears copulating
with each other faster than atoms in a chain reaction,
and all the nightmares of mimicry I have reaped
and stored so far in the granary of my mind
must have been planted
by the long lineage of my ancestors.
It's not that I am always up against them,
but I think I could have assured you:
I must be shopping around despair.
It seems as if it were made sure
the seedlings of despair I saw growing faster
get proper fertilizers and the rain.
I will reap a good harvest of despair soon.
Life's not what it was before any more,
and could even be rejected by freshers
as something that only brings grief to the eager eyes -
no permanent release from all of my sighs.
It brings nothing but endless good-byes.
I know I won't stand up on the ground again.
I wonder what the hell we always do
in living out our life like rats in the graveyard
or cockroaches in the discarded loft.
Every chance there is to fumble around despair.
Yes, I do feel despair is absolute,
aspirations never spill over into reality
as you might have seen from a glass
cold babbling wine falling onto the tablecloth.
Rabbits we are in the roughest valley
where doom itself thrives,
always trying to scuttle far away,
feeling coldness rushing in our channels of blood,
just when hungry eagles swoop down on them
like the monsoon wind upon thatched cottages.
Always we hear ear-blasting clatters of cars
clumsily crashing on the streets,
and terrific screams do chloroform us.
Yet, we all wake to another disaster
and find it's dark all around.
As darkness with the nightfall does
rain upon the life we make, I wonder
if such hours of dark luminosity
much longer than necessary
could measure the worth we bring
out of our conviction that's been
drab as a long-used copper coin,
a farrago of a Shakespearean clown's
nervous sanity and nonsense,
a kind of somber procrastination -
ghosts yet to be exorcized from a pristine chapel.
You know there's no ‘only other way around.'
This is simply our life in a snarl
where often dreams are deported
as if convicts of an old dynasty,
later guillotined before the party of nightmares,
where frailty and fright fraternize,
making our gaze shift from one muddy scene to another,
where downright convulsion is the whole caboodle.
Now curious news for numerous others:
in the abyss of deepest darkness
we are fighting this monstrous hybrid of despair
born not from a mother's womb;
and, of course, will wide jaws of the monster
be closing over us straight off;
later at dawn, we will soon be a lump of excrement
stinking among clusters of dewy grass.
from IN LOVE WITH A GORGON (2010)