Poetry from Charlie Robert

Don’t Eat the Blowfish

Tastes like chicken but like everything else it’s not.

The liver is Nagasaki.

The lungs Hiroshima or Jesse James and

Dear Old Death comes to us all but

the quiver is fantastic.

Like lips full of bees.

Like a bucket of glue and no one but you.

Hey Toshi! It’s Number One on the Hit Parade!

Who cares that The Deal is about to go down the Crapper.

Or that we may have to eat the pets.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom it is dark but this is the Shit.

This is the Rush.

Like finding Jimmy Hoffa in the attic.

Like kicking Mother Theresa in the teeth.

Like fifty-fifty at best with tubes in the chest and second cousins eyeing the Will.

Saxophone Heaven

Sidemen crouch in stairwells.

Waiting to make their move.

Microphones hiss.

Like snakes on the take.

Parker crushes his smoke and

Raises the Horn.

This is a Gig Baby and the liquor is Top Shelf.

Remember that time when he played the Grafton?

It was plastic but his reeds were Ricos shaved pussy thin and he blew us all away.

Those were the years of the Arm and the Needle.

When the lights were low and it was all Chalameau and any

God would drop their drawers for a taste of that

Junk Dope Smack Shit.

They are Gentle and Kind and sleep between sets like infants.

Knuckle Work

It’s the End of the Roadshow and

Grace she’s a No Show so it’s

Heidi versus Hitler.

Hello Kitty now a Kittler.

Kill your engines.

There are scorpions between the sheets.

Red liver and organ meats.

Dead Aunts who can see you.

The Furnace below the belt.

You are the first to leave.

You are the last to leave.

Feel the planet move.

Somewhere someone is doing everything.

Show them how to take a punch.

Nighty Night

She lies there.

Choking her pillow.

Breathing.

Scuba Tube.

If I should die before I wake.

She lies there.

The windows are black.

No one sees out.

But something sees in.

Her Beasts.

Her Kin.

Don’t eat me please eat me.

A shatter of glass.

Blood in the throat.

She lies there.

Eyes like the dolls

she hides in the attic.

What Lies Ahead

Most of the birds are swifts.

Once it grows light they slip into trees.

Rattling their leaves like

cheap party favors.

Colton Notch is true north.

Distant and blue.

Waiting to be made.

The light in between honey on glass and

there are men in the fields.

Cows eating grass.

Grateful.

Violent.

Deep in the center of the land.

They have their own Wounded Knees.

Their own Thermopolis.

These humans know nothing of the Wooden Ramp.

The Hammer between the eyes.

They bend to the ground.

Scraping the earth with their metal.

Seeing the sun in their heads.

The swifts bursting out of their beds.

Buzzing the beasts like Spitfires.

Drawn to the circumference of those who know.

What lies ahead.

Thesis, in installments, from Z.I. Mahmud

                                                                   Abstract

Two autobiographical Dickensian fiction, notably, David Copperfield and Great Expectations are the subject matter of this thesis: written to entertain book reviewers. As part of the book review competition, the integrity of the thesis explores literary criticism or critical appreciation that vindicate these narratives as best sellers or classics.

Chapter 1 discusses Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield from the realistic criticism and  psychological view: psychoanalysis and psychoanalytical theory. Glimpses of life and death, goodness and evilness or redemption and damnation, wealth and poverty or capitalistic society and proletariat society, justice and injustice prevailing in Victorian England. Furthermore, readers or reviewers will be intrigued by the social critique in Chapter 2, which discusses Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations unveiling a repertoire of literary and figurative language. Literary fiction lovers will be introduced to the themes of allegorically satirized legislative intervention or laissez faire policies concerned with reformation or amendments. Macabre of mass grave crisis, extravagance and ostentation of burial funerary before the passing of parliamentary bill has been Dickens’ radical or satirical self anathema. This book review emphasizes Miss Havisham, Pumblechook, Satis House guests but perpetually examines the icon of angelic sweetness and purity-idealized Estella, the heroine. Estella’s ironically Dickens’ seraphic sister-in-law, Mary Hogwart whose unforgettable memories: death, grief and mourning recollection-“I cannot bear the thought of being excluded from her dust…It seem like losing her a second time.” Sarcastically, Great Expectations’ Estella memorializes David Copperfield’s Agnes if  holistic or thoroughly evaluated. Gratitude and indebtedness to the journal of Anna Foley in this paraphrase of quotable quote. Emily’ was in fact, Agnes’ resurrected commemorative “so perfect a creature never breathed…”she had not a fault.” Dickens fictionalized characters in autobiographical genre and evolves the discussion of a symbiotic relationship linkage in fantasy. The erudite pageantry is in fact, a testamentary to the humour: Miss Havisham’s will of inheritance legacy

Twenty pounds to Georgiana. Twenty five pounds to Sarah to buy pills for her wind and five pounds to the Raymonds or Camellias to buy rush light to keep spirits high in the night

                                      Tension between life and death or acceptance and grief of the Charles Dickens’ literary canon can be a tender personal experience: with the post or ultramodern cosmopolitan unprecedented legislative measures lockdown amidst pandemic’s outbreak; blighting twenty first century’s humankind or genteel characters with the malediction of unemployment and famine.               

                                 In valedictory opinion, the concluding book review: William Shakespeares’ As You Like It can be traced to the 1563 epidemic diseases: contagious plague that devastated the colossal London. What had really happened to the legacy and fortunes of Shakespearean drama performed or exhibited in the Lord Chamberlain’s Theatre? Mystique and critique readers will be merely breathtaking and awestruck to establish textual references to present coronavirus pandemic contrasting Elizabethan plague. I don’t have the nerve to dissect the mummified 16th century buried bereaved souls… Ironically I have garnered the audacity with assiduous spirits or formidable resilience to revisit, reevaluate and reexamine: themes, plots and twists, motifs, characterization with perspectives to literary techniques or figurative language. I am grateful and loyal to the copyright of different stellar critics and wondrous essayists throughout the three narratives.    .                                                                                                                   

                                               Contents

Chapter 1 Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield Wordsworth Edition Review- A Psychological Novel With Perspectives of Critical Realism               

Chapter 2 Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations Penguin Classics Edition- A Moral Fable Appeasing Rhetoric With Laughter’s Appeal

Chapter 3 William Shakespeare’s Theatrical Drama: Elizabethan Comedy: As You Like It Book Review

                                Dedicated To My Dearest Wonderful Educators Inscribed In My Heart

                     Mr. Md. Humayun Kabir & Ms. Shaila Nasreen

                 Faculty of English

                 Ms. Razia Akter

                 Department of Psychology

                                  I am really blessed by these luminaries’ and guardian angels’ overwhelming smile, heartfelt encouragement, inspirational teaching’s charisma and motivational counsel. They epitomize incredible philanthropic hearts and embracing warmth fostering blossoming rapport.  Inevitably, as a humble student, I had been privileged with intellectual or emotional support in visitations to   teachers’ lounge, library, lecture theatres or tutorial coaching. These were conducive to my academic pursuits or extracurricular prospects of Bangladesh Air Forces Shaheen College, Tejgaon, Dhaka.        

                   Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield Wordsworth Edition Review- A Psychological Novel With Perspectives of Critical Realism

                                     1. Introduction

                                     David Copperfield Penguin Classics and Wordsworth editions of yesterday, today and tomorrow have emerged as hallmarks avant-garde of Charles Dickens. Literally, Dickensian prose: David Copperfield’s rhetoric and diction exhibit reminiscent of the novelist memorabilia recollections. Penguin and Wordsworth Editions are admired noteworthy amongst communities of multilingualism and multiculturalism diaspora, acknowledged globally as bestseller biographical literary fiction. Bookstores, saloons, parlors, coffee shops, magazine stores, souvenirs and gift shops selling at different retail prices UK pound and US dollars respectively.    

                                      2. Background Genesis

                                      Epochs of Victorian England have envisioned  reflective testimonials: critical realism decades of 40s and 50s (after the sunset of romanticism movement) in the historical context of 18th century English Literature repository. Charles Dickens appeared  enchanting spirits with incarnation of a social critique amidst 1849-50s, which were monthly installments of newspaper extracts anthologized by David Copperfield’s publication. 

                                     “Whether I shall turn out to be a hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by somebody else, these pages must show”. Dickens caricatured David Copperfield as flavoursome  biographical fiction, social satire, realism and fantasy, romantic and psychological thriller genre.

                                                Dickensian characterization in David Copperfield impersonate varieties of fictional persona including David Copperfield, the narrator and heroic protagonist, feminine personalities Emily Pegotty and Dora Spenlow, Agnes Wickfield, the paragon of paramour and heroine, Miss Betsey Trotwood, guardian angel, the Berkeys amiably hospitable household of Yarmouth seashore, Mr. Murdstone, David’s misery whose stone heart step parenting entrenched David into the down-in-the-dumps wine factory, Uriah Heep and Mr. Wickfield’s diseased love (Agnes becomes more than a simple infatuation or obsession for these minor characters), heartwarming and affectionate Micawber family, Uriah Heep, the usurper’s hypocrisy and villainy and feigned love or consummate immoral romance for Agnes, Tommy Traddles, the fidelity of true acquaintanceship, James Steerforth, the bad angel or antagonist, Sophie, the fiancee of Traddles and so on.

                                           Characters mysteries open secrets (moneybox of Pegotty or Mrs. Berkis) , widowhood and single parenthood’s overprotection and obsession, the tyranny of educational institutions, misery of child labour harbouring grimace in the grueling and grotesque conditions, treachery and hypocrisy, dilapidated debtors prison, Victorian femininity of household comfort and domestic bliss and prejudices of gender and caste disparity inevitably themes of holistic examination. Archetypal or stereotypical descriptions formidably juxtapose with the contrasting idealism. Entitlement and epitaphs of character significance have influenced readers or critics in adulation of coquetries, sycophancy of honeyed words, witty gimmickry. Mr. Wickfield’s  allusions referenced Dickens bed night stories of Mr. Vicar of Wakefield (whose sensitivity and overprotection regarding the family eventually endanger the household in iniquitous circumstances, sinking into abject despair and damnable downfall). In the following manner, Mr. Wickfield’s obsession or infatuation for Agnes results in sardonic overprotection and fortuitous disappearance from the novel.

                              Dickensian figurative languages in English Literature surpasses criticism with allusions to Biblical references, paraphrases from classics, Shakespearean philosophy and so on. Victorian Era’s colloquialism “Good Heavens” appeals enchanting minds of modern readers or interpreters of the narrative as modern English language expression of dialectal creole: anticipatory connotation of “huh!”. David Copperfield’s mother Clara showed resentment in surprise or disapproval in disbelief at the end of the statement when asked whether Pegotty acknowledges in affirmative mood. “Good heavens! cried my mother, “you’ll drive me mad.” Pegotty’s counsel and advice of remarriage was quite adversary which is why frustrated Clara referred her as “cruel or unkind creature.” “I wouldn’t buy myself a new parasol, though the old green one is frayed the whole way up, and the fridge is perfectly mangy.” Euphemism is a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. Miss Clara’s understatement of genteelness of gentry or politeness juxtaposes or contrasts  unraveled or worn green umbrella, scabious or yucky fridge with shaved head, blackened or disfigured self image respectively.

                                      “I turned my head towards the window, thinking of her calm seraphic eyes, he made me start by muttering as if he was an echo of the morning: “Blind! Blind! Blind!” These lines emphasize or illuminate the angelical divinity of celestial cherubic beings. Agnes’ eyes contextually alludes to the symbolic tradition Christian angelology as belonging to the ninefold celestial hierarchy, associated with light, ardour and purity. Agnes filled David’s heart with resolutions strengthening his weaknesses shedding light and ardour as emerald as the sister of boyhood. The light was essential in Dickens’ life to be awakened of the bad or evil force analogous to the premonition of forbearance or prohibition from James Steerforth’s satanic companionship. 

More next month!

Short story from Robert Thomas

Una Dolce Cossa Al Caffe
By
Robert S. Thomas


There was a long line line at Peets that day, and I questioned
whether I wanted a morning coffee bad enough to slowly shuffle
forward for what looked like a lengthy wait. But then I thought,
what the heck, I have nothing else of any importance going on in
my life on a Monday morning. Retirement was that way; days of
leisure interspersed with moments of well planned activities.
Besides, one consolation was the aroma of freshly ground coffee
wafting through the air. I once read where just the odor of coffee
was enough to get those energetic endorphins going in the
morning.


In front of me was a short Hispanic man with thick pomaded hair
and a leather holster on his belt sheathing a well used pair of
clippers. Someone’s gardener, I assumed, grabbing a morning
coffee before a day trimming another yard. Hispanics tended to
dominate the landscape and garden trades in California. Just as
other ethnic groups have found entrepreneurial niches for
themselves. I learned that when Tippi Hedren, while on a USO
tour, visited a Vietnamese refugee camp in Vietnam back in the
sixties, she brought a manicurist and other make-up artists with
her. Vietnamese women were enamored with her nails. So, she
had her make-up team teach the women skills. Evidently, this
was the impetus of all those Vietnamese owned nail salons
across America.


The cafe was crowded with a myriad of people from various
walks of life, and of many ethnicities, reflecting the cultural
diversity of the San Francisco Bay area. Coffee seemed to be
the elixir of social integration.

To my left around a small cafe table were the Asian regulars,

elderly men who prattled back and forth in some Chinese dialect.

I never found the Chinese language to be appealing.

The sound was too staccato and nasal to my ears.

There was just nothing romantic about Asian linguistics.

It was whiney and overly energetic for my taste.


Unlike the two Italians sitting at a table to my right.
The Italians were an older couple. He was jauntily dressed in a
long black leather designer coat. Swirled around his neck was a
gray silk scarf with short tassels at the ends. He wore a black
fedora with the brim slightly curled down above his forehead.
Across from him sat a distinguished looking woman in a dark red
short waisted jacket. Her hair was ebony black and in a page
boy style that belied her age. I could picture the two of them
sauntering down a wide strada in the couture district of Milan.
They spoke softly to each other with an occasional flip of a hand,
emphasizing some idea or emotion.


I loved the sound of Italian, particularly the dialect of Romans. I
never forgot those mornings in Rome, listening to the lilt of
women greeting each other across the open expanse of the inner
courtyard of the flat my wife and I rented in the old Trastevere
section of Rome. Buon gioooorno Maria. Buon gioooorno Olivia.
Come sta oggii? It was not spoken, but rather sung, almost
mimicking the delicate calls of the canaries hung from balconies
below the windows. Listening to the couple, I was drawn back to
the wonderful experience we had roaming the byways and
narrow cobbled lanes, amid stained ochre buildings housing
small niches with the image or statue of some neighborhood
saint.


Continuing to gaze the crowd around the room, I noticed a
penchant for dark muted colors in clothing. It was like an
invasion of shadow puppets huddled together, heads bent
forward, and preoccupied with their smart phones. However,
something suddenly caught my eye off to the far left.

A glint of bright orange flashed from between two dark forms, like a firefly
in the night. I could not see who it belonged to, as the person’s
view was blocked by two larger individuals. As the line
advanced, I intermittently glanced over to see if I could get a
clearer view, but each time people stood in the way. Finally, as I
became the next customer to be served, the veil of secrecy
parted, and a lone young woman stood out in a bright orange
flower print dress. I was taken aback by her colorful presence
among all of the darkness around her.


She glanced up and around the room, eventually making eye
contact with me, as she noticed my looking at her. I quickly
averted my gaze, not wanting to appear gauche in an era of “Me
Too”. However, I found myself drawn to her over and over again,
as I took surreptitious peeks of her over my shoulder.


Her jet black hair was neatly braided in rows of tight bands,
extending from the top of her head, and down around the right
side above her ear, and to the back of her head, culminating in a
multi looped bow, with the ends dangling down along the back of
her neck. The braiding was highlighted by shiny gleams of light
that reflected off them. Beneath hipster dark rimmed glasses, her
eyes were framed with a thin layer of mascara drawn out to a
small point on either side, making her eyes exotically Egyptian.
She had high cheekbones and rounded cheeks of flawless pecan
skin, and her lips were tinged in orange-red. Her nose was not
large, but slightly pugged in a cute sort of way. The orange print
dress was an off the shoulder peasant style, exposing her
beautiful shoulders and upper clavicles. There was only a slight
hint of cleavage. The dress was blousy around her breasts, with
a narrow bodice. The fabric pleated out across wide hips and
flowed down to the top of her knees.


There was something uniquely alluring about her, as she stood


out among the others in the room. She seemed confident in her


surroundings, unencumbered by the need to update the latest

social media script on her cell phone. She was engrossed in reality,

and the people around her.


I ordered a medium house blend, paid the clerk and strolled over
to the condiment bar hoping for a final coup d’oeil. I set my cup
down and slowly filled it with Splenda and half and half, glancing
at her from time to time.


Surprisingly unable to contain myself, I turned to her and said, “ I
am usually not this forward, but I just have to tell you that you
look stunning in that dress. In fact I find your whole look quite
alluring, from your beautifully braided hair, the dark rimmed
glasses and the orange off the shoulder dress that exposes your
lovely brown skin. Yes, girl you’ve definitely got it.”


After a short moment of silence, during which she most likely
tried to assess my intention, she responded in a coquettish
manner with a demure smile. As she fluttered her long
eyelashes, she whispered in a slow soft southern drawl, Why
thank you very much.


I bowed my head in recognition, smiled and continued placing
the lid back on the paper cup. As I turned to leave, I felt a tug on
my sleeve. I looked around, and found her hand outstretched
with a business card held tightly between two long glossy
fingernails. I took the card, and looked at the name; Shanna
Benton, CPA. Not only was she attractive, but she was also well
educated, and knew an opportunity when she saw it. I thanked
her for the card, bid her a good day, and began to leave. As I
departed I heard an older woman standing next to Shanna utter
in a terse and sarcastic manner, ‘My god woman, he could be
your father, if not your grandfather.’ To which Shanna replied,
“Honey, with a rap like that, I don’t give a damn.”

Short story from Robert Thomas

A Hammer, A Drill, and a Black Lace Bra
By
Robert S. Thomas


I hired Jack from an ad for a handyman in the local
newspaper. The ad indicated that he had experience in
carpentry, plumbing and electronics. I only needed his
carpentry skills to repair a side yard wooden fence that had
rotted over time, leaving gaps at the bottom where the old
redwood boards were attached to the frame. Lately, local
skunks and raccoons were using the openings as a passage
to my ever-running backyard water fountain. Additionally, the
pesky critters dug holes in my garden rooting for various
grubs and other ground dwelling creatures. I decided it was
time to lock them out.


Jack was a handsome man in his late twenties or early
thirties with a slightly receding hairline. He had a brawny
muscular physic, suggesting that he often worked out with
weights at a gym. He wore a sleeveless t-shirt, exposing his
massive triceps and biceps, which rippled in tandem with his
use of tools while he worked. He seemed the epitome of a
well testosteroned male.


Jack was extremely adept with his tools. He had a stainless
steel hammer with a black rubber handle, which he used to
drive three-penny nails into the wood. His strength was
obvious by the way he was able to pound the large metal
pins into the boards with only three strokes of his arm.
He was equally competent with his use of the yellow
cordless drill. Without looking, he reached down to the
leather pouch attached to his belt, grasped a single long
screw, and blindly placed the Phillips screw head onto the drill bit.

Once the screw was in place, he pointed the drill at
the wood, using his other hand to guide the screw to the spot
where he was going to place it. With a quick thrust of his
arm the screw quickly sunk to the hilt. There was no
hesitation in his work. The alternation of hammer and drill
created a syncopated rhythm of whack, whack, whack whirr,
as he worked his way along the two by four fence frame
Jack completed his job just as dusk began to descend over
the horizon. Once finished, he held a tool in one hand,
pulled a rag from his back pocket, dripped a slight amount of
oil onto it, and began to wipe down his tools, lest they begin
to rust from the sweat of his hands. As if they were rare old
objects, he gently placed his tools into a gray metal toolbox,
and locked the lid. Holding the box in one hand, he wiped
his brow with his forearm, and turned to admire his work for
a minute or two before coming to my door to collect his fee.
I thanked him for his work, and paid him what was due. Jack
then looked at his watch, turned and quickly strode to his
van parked in front of the house. He placed his toolbox in
the back of the van, waved back at me, entered the cab, and
drove off.


Jack lived in the upper story apartment of a converted
Victorian row house not far from the Castro district in San
Francisco. The exterior was covered in contrasting pastel
colors, similar to many old Victorians in the city. His
apartment was almost overly tidy, with muted colored walls
and furnishings in the style of late Pottery Barn. Being a
movie buff, several photos of movie stars hung on the walls
of his living room, along with posters of musicals he had
attended at The Golden Gate, The Orpheum and San
Francisco Playhouse over the years.

Once inside, Jack rushed to his bedroom and quickly
disrobed, placing his dirty sweat soaked clothes into a
hamper in his closet. He headed for the shower, where he
relaxed in the heat of the hot spray as it washed over is
muscular shoulders and arms. He soaped up a good lather
and cleaned his entire body. From the shallow shelf
attached to the shower wall, he grabbed a water resistant
razor and began shearing the short stubble of dark black
chest hair that had grown over the course of a day or two.
Next he shaved his face and legs. Jack hated the fact that
he was so hairy. He often mused that his genetic
endowment derived from some clan of silverback gorillas
somewhere in the Congo, and not the Southern Italian
ancestry of his true family.


Once dried off, he went back to his bedroom, and sat at a
mirrored vanity. He stared into the mirror, examining his
face, giving particular attention to his nostrils and ears. He
took a pair of tweezers and began nipping out a number of
errant hairs. Next, he spritzed a bit of lotion on his fingers,
and gently daubed the luxurious scent on his face, taking a
moment to delight in the wonderful sweet odor of the product.
Jack’s wardrobe was sated with various articles of clothing.
He was indeed a clothes junkie and rarely left a boutique or
haberdashery without something new. However, tonight was
special, and he wanted to make an overwhelming
impression. He shifted through various items in his closet,
pulling several out, closely examining each of them. Not
good enough, he thought, as he replaced them back on the
rod.


Finally, he eyed a long slinky red low cut number, thinking,
This is just what the doctor ordered, and those new tall black
patent leather stiletto heels would go perfectly with this.

Next, he pulled out a dresser drawer and flipped through a
number of frilly bras, choosing a beautiful black lacy uplifting
number that would offer him the best of cleavage. Cleavage
was all-important in his genre of entertainment. Without it
the illusion never quite becomes real. He pulled the bra
tightly against his chest, and shifted the cups from side to
side, pushing his chest skin together in the middle to form a
deep narrow slit.


Jack went back to the vanity to check himself out. Pleased
with the effect, he began to finish up on his special look;
applying cerise lipstick, pale pancake makeup, extra long
eyelashes, and an ash-blonde shoulder length wig. He
slipped into his seductive red dress, pulled on his pumps,
and grabbed a black feather boa. He headed for the door,
casually flipping the end of the boa out and over his
shoulder.

He smiled, and said to himself as he walked out
the door and down the long flight of steps, Tonight,
Jacqueline, you’re going to give those queens the best
damned version of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” they
ever heard

Screenplay from Chimezie Ihekuna

Title: Experiences
Adapted from a book by Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben)
Screenwriter: Robert Sacchi

Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben) Young Black man in a collared shirt and jeans resting his head on his hand. He's standing outside a building under an overhang.
Chimezie Ihekuna

Genre: Autobiography

For reviews, production consideration and other publicity, please contact us through the email addresses below:

mrbenisreal@gmail.com

rsacchi@rsacchi.20m.com

Experience, as the old saying goes, is the best teacher’. I have been thoroughly schooled through the hard knocks of life. And I am still being schooled! Each phase of my existence has been characterized by peculiar experiences that have shaped my thought process towards people in my life, my environment and the society in general.


Experiences is a collection of stories about me: my family, friends, and romantic relationships, career exploits and congenital facial disfigurement. The stories depict what I have been through in my over-three-decade period on earth—lessons learnt and what the future holds.


I have been humbled by what my experiences have taught me through the years. They have made me transcend the puerile mindset of mediocrity to reach a mature psyche of sagacity. The stories contain elements tantamount to the lessons of pain, inspiration, bitterness and hard truths borne out of the experiences I have had all through my growing years.


It is a condensed penned-by-me depiction of major experiences reflected in stories that I have chosen to put down in writing: moments I live to remember always.
‘’Your experience is what you have to tell about you when what you thought you knew are already told about’.’

Essay from Abigail George

The day I fell in love with an intellectual was when I first met you. Although I didn’t think it was love, call it that at first. I don’t go around meeting people like you all the time, keeping my distance, marking the distances. I think of the people who are ghosts walking the streets, because I too am like a ghost walking the street. These apparitions by day, ghosts at night. Yes, too in ways I am also an apparition by day, and a ghost by night. Sleeping God only knows where. Trying to get by. I relate. I relate more than you know. I fall to the moan in the wilderness, I fall the distance (I am always talking about distance, or, distances, the divide, about the separation between us), to the sea and it captures me in the same way that you did. You did. Never forget that. I fall to the energies in matter whenever I think of you, long for you, and I think of everything that I have lost, and everything that I have gained. Sometimes I think in the end I will be happy. I am happy now, so, what difference does it make if we are together, or, if we are not together. There’s something philosophical, something intellectual even about love. I tell myself that. I think of the rain, I think of the seafront, I think of the beach. I think of you with your family. I have half a family. I have half a life. I think of you visiting your friends with your wife at your side. I think of her cooking. I think of her cooking for you, cleaning for you. Becoming an intellectual because you were an intellectual. This could also be seen for what it is. A love letter from a single woman to a very much older male figure, a very much married life figure in his world of meetings, running meetings.  

I think of her with your children, the half that look like her, the half that look like you. I think of your grandchildren. Those who have inherited your staggering intellectual beauties. I think of couturiers. I think of myself as a couturier. Surrounded by their empires. Surrounded by male and female gods, and seamstresses, and designers, and models. My models are the words, you see. The male and female gods the characters in my books. And I work and have the life of a seamstress. Painstakingly putting it all together. You tend to humanise everything. Maybe it is a part of your intellect, or, just your humanity. I’m bemused. You’re detached. I’m amused by many things. You’re attached to work, to seminars, to traveling, to flying from city to city. And I wonder what you find attractive in women. I mean I live the life of a poet, living vicariously through my mother, then sister, then other women, but I live life, I live it vicariously through other women in a rather incomplete way. I can’t really inhabit their lives fulltime. Of course, I know that. I know I can’t be someone other than that person that I am meant to be. So, I am always writing to some man, if you want to know. Fake. Pretend. Pretending that I am still in love with someone is something that I am really good at I have found. I will only admit this to you.  And when life becomes torture, I think of you. And when writing becomes torture, I think of you. When my loneliness becomes torture, most of all, I think of you. And I simply don’t want you to think of my life, or, anything in my life, the writing, the loneliness, the hours, the marked silences, as being anything but torture. It can be torture to me, to me, but to no one else in my life. 

You’re like some social animal. And your mood is mostly extrovert. I virtually am a fisherwoman. Waiting for her man to return with the catch of the day. Guess there’s no reason for us to see each again, is there. Is there. I am the fisherwoman listening for the sound of a wave, the vibration of the ocean, the genius of the fish, the children to wake up. The children we will never have. I have made believe this life. It feels as if I am going everywhere these days. But the road is fairly quiet. I am traveling alone. I am in the driver’s seat. I wish you would come. I wish you would come. But I am weak. I am a limited kind of human being. Pages come to me in torrents, in torrential downpours, like a tsunami. Pages come to me like you did. You came to me on a summer’s day carrying an obituary. So many things happen to you all at once. So, few things of significance happen to me. You live. You live. I write books. I write books to survive. You cannot be caught up this. You cannot be caught up in me. I thought my life would be different. I am happy. I am. I am. I am happy whenever I think of you. I am. I am. The stage is set then. Whatever happens, happens. I wonder what you are doing, thinking. Your response to everything. The world around you as an intellectual and a philosopher. I haven’t seen you now in months. You’re with your wife, your children, surrounded by your grandchildren. Did you go swimming today, did you answer correspondence. Our letters are so few and far between, but you, you are never far away from my thoughts. I am always thinking of you, what a life shared might have felt like. Been like.

I have nothing to show. I have nothing to show you. No shame. No drama. No change in the way that I feel about you. I get this feeling often when we’re apart (which is more often than not). There is no future in this perhaps. There’s no bridge to the future. Only desire. The desire is very, very real to me. What I feel for you. I get this feeling often. It comes to me from everywhere. While I’m eating, or, drinking tea. You’re water. You’re like water to me. I think of you when I am with other people. I think of you often when I am alone. It is law. This desire is law. I can’t be with you. I can’t be without you. I dream of you. Well, I have the dream of you anyway. Which is more than what most people have. Or, secure in a lifetime. I have the best part of you. And I am not ashamed to speak of the desire I feel for you. Why should I? You belong to another. You will always belong to another.

You let humour into my life. It is enough. It is enough. It is enough. For now, it is enough for me. Good night, my Amadeus. I could mention names to you. You will never know. You could mention names to me that I will never know. You’re a father. You’re a father figure. You’re charismatic and instil fear. You’re go, go, go. You’re a man of action. I am a woman of few words. I am not a mother. Never had those children. Put it way in the past behind me. The chances I had. The people I met. I think particularly of the women you have fallen for, but I don’t even want to go. The one you, like my father, eventually chose to be wife and the mother of your children, the matriarch of your family. You don’t have mental illness, and suicide, and alcoholism, and addiction running through your bloodline in the ways that I do. It is at moments like these that I tell myself it was good thing not to have had any children.

I found you. That is the most important thing. At this late stage of my life I found you. I suspect you have your qualities, exquisite, exquisite, exquisite, and I have mine. And perhaps this is all will ever have. Stolen moments, hurried notes scribbled in a journal, digression, oh, I don’t know. What I don’t know. There are so many things that I don’t know about you. That you will never know about me. All I know is that both man and woman are dangerous. Love inevitably spells danger to me. It is all-powerful to me. It can send me into a stupor. To my bed for days on end. I am built like a poet. Built for the supernatural, not the marrying kind of life. There is such a contrast between the two of us. How you go about living, how you go about your life. I have no life. Only the writer’s life. The poet’s world. Love turns me into a sleeping woman, a depressed woman. I am a rather limited being, as I have said before. I don’t know what you’ve done, what you do with the writing that I have chosen to show you. All I can think of is that you share it with no one, or, share it with as many as you can, or, you only share it with the people closest to you, person closest to you in everything. Your wife.

I can do many things, but I cannot love. You’re so accomplished and brave. You have to be brave in your line of work. I gathered this early on. And when you came, you came out of the blue. I never expected you. I don’t expect you now. Only these intermittent emails. You’re distinguished. You’re distinguished looking. You don’t do anything you don’t want to do. Oh, how you do. How you do. It drives me to despair. It drives me to distraction. How you have purpose. And I lived without purpose for the longest time. You don’t know me. You know absolutely nothing that there is to know about me. You’ll go on living after your death. In your children, in your grandchildren, in your future great-grandchildren. I often do ask myself that sometimes that what have I done. On the surface of things, it is such a small life. Not filled with children and a life and work and illustrious career and spouse to fill the hours. Only writing long sentences. And I can only love from afar. Perhaps that is the hardest thing of all. Going that distance. It’s a trek. It’s a trek. I love you. I do. I will always love you. And in this return to love, there’s a return to the page too in a way. Because in one sense it is always the page that frees me in a very, very intense way. You will never eat anything I cook. We will never go on an official first date. I don’t drink red wine. I never drink. I don’t smoke. But you, you have this heart. It completely exhausts me to the point where I cannot do anything. Where I cannot dream, make plans, or, lists, or fulfil goals, or, even think. And whenever you go, you bring contrast to my life, to my world, to the environment in which I live.  

You have everything, or, you seem to have everything. Education, wife, house. I have nature’s bridegroom. The flowers, the trees. Is this my life now? Stolen moments, hurriedly written letters written with mock abandon, the fake pretence of being someone that I am not. I think that I, I love you in a state of empathy, with consideration, with confidence and compassion. I think that I, I love you in a state of flux, in a state of harmony, in a state of my evolution as a novelist. Time is slower. I have all of these hours to fill. You don’t have the same problem. You must have everything because you are a man. I am a woman so I must submit. Submit to you. Submit to man, to the dominant species, to a patriarchal society. I loved it when you said sorry. I know it doesn’t come easy to a person like you. I know you meant it, and I adored you for it. I adore you as I have never adored anyone before. I think of you in stolen moments, in hurriedly written letters written with fierce mock abandon, in the thinking processes of someone who is being the fake pretence of being someone that I am not. I don’t want to think of my health. That is the last thing I want to think about. The cause for concern. The issue at stake. The renal unit, drawing blood, waiting for blood tests, to see the consultant who worked at Groote Schuur. I do not miss the harried nurses working o their feet all day. The confidence of the young doctors with their cute backpacks, product in their hair. Their will always be the jokester. I will always get the jokester. I think of the day of your wedding. I think of your wedding feast. Was it at a hotel? Was it a buffet lunch? Did you dance. Things that it is of course, of course, of course not by business to know. Nothing can ever come of us.

The stress and loneliness, the useless feeling of emptiness and stupor, the burnout over the last months. And now this new trauma. The loss of Rabbit. I am in a state. Disappointed and morose, miserable and stuck in a cocoon, my life literally a bubble. I don’t see you, but you’re everywhere. You move in the right social circles with your wife. I move in no social circles. I don’t read about you. You and your wife read about me. Things I thought that would be lost in this town community. Things that weren’t lost. I think of my madness then in the dark. It is appropriate to think of it in that way. I think of you surrounded, ambushed by your people. How different you are as a man to my father. Taken up by duty and obligation much in the same way he was. So, I live on the edge. Always writing to you from the edge. Pretending to fall in love. Pretending for romance sake. I think about children about having children for the first time in my life. I pretend to be happy. I am so good at it, that I feel elated some days. It is enough to think of you. Not to be with you physically. I am in awe of you. I am afraid that others will see this. There will be more whispers, more derision on the part of women more or less. I think I can take it now. The men feeling sorry for me. Sorry for the men that want to be in my company. There are times when I think I can’t bear this. I can’t bear this scrutiny. As with the madness, I keep my lamentations for the dark too. I think of the wisdom of owls, and I think of another love, before he got married love who collected them. I think of the starlings in the gap figuring out the world around them, and I think of another love.

Before he got married love. I am always falling. I am always falling. Falling into a voyage into eternity. Falling backwards like a leaf concerned with finding the art of wooing gravity in a cocoon, falling with a slightly forward-motion into the sea. I am a lover of Jane Eyre, African literature and the future, chairman. And I am sad. Being together means the physical. Being apart, the separation doesn’t have to necessarily kill me. Time just stands still. And I have the hours to fill with music, I have the hours to fill with writing my novels, getting on with the job of living, and perhaps studying further in a few months, and listening to soundtracks of films I use to watch with my sister who is now in the Czech Republic. Am I bad, for writing about all my loves? I don’t know. I think that any woman on her own would. She would want to be reminded of the sum of happiness in her life. The pursuit of love at all costs, against all odds. I think of you, I think of gravity, I think of the pull and the sway of you in moonlight, in darkness, in light, and of course, I think of the distance between us. It is like a trapeze artist balancing eternity at the end of his nose as he does his act. I am always trying to find the mountain, the valley, the future in everything. You have found everything in house, in wife, in children, in grandchildren. I think of night rides and distances. This physical separation. This distance that divides us completely. Yes, it is good that we have this distance. One look, a glance from you, a glimpse and I’m a goner, I’m afraid. I cannot think. I cannot feel. I cannot ignore you. The brevity of the situation. The art of the seduction, the education at play.

I can’t not think of seeing you. All we had was the briefest of moments. I can’t struggle with that right now. That you’re gone. You’re a hidden thing. You are. You are. One thing about me is that I don’t slip into feeling anxious about you, wherever you are, or, fall into anguish. You can be cold, I’m sure. I can be cold too. I can be aloof. I can be indifferent, and you can be all of those things all of the time. A man has to be, a man who lives in a man’s world. I’ve given up on marriage. I am sure many can see that. Maybe it is a struggle for people who want to be married to see this in someone who so obviously doesn’t want to be married.

I have adopted other mothers’ children. I am sure many can see that too. And now I want to be on my own. And all I seem to do is write. And look, I did the impossible last year. I wrote my first novel. I don’t know if it will be published. I don’t know what will happen to it. But that is also exciting in a way. On some level I can share that with you. I am tired. I really am. I am tired of grieving. I am tired of the affairs of grief. I am tired of losing people that I love. I feel like a second wife sometimes. Hidden in a secret world. A world of the history of complaints. I surround myself with things, objects that please me, images that remind me of you.

Of the laughter and the world of women, and you’re the church standing tall amidst the solitude of the waves pounding the chairs in the pew, or, before the reading stand. I will always be a fan of yours. Like attracts like. Intellect attracts intellect. The light is neon-lit here tonight. You’re I your home. I’m in my house. And the loneliness. It is like an anchor. You’re like a frontier to me. Another marked territory. Oh hell, oh hell, oh hell, I’ve fallen again. Fork in the road, cocoon in hand, you are meaningful, you are occurring, and that is the most important thing to me. That you occur to me on so many levels.

And all I seem to do on the return to my elderly parents’ house is find my truly wild Sargasso Sea, which is my childhood sea that stretches along the inlet of this coast. And I’ll write a book about you if you must know. If you want to know. I’ll write a novel. I’ll make it magnificent. I’ll make you magnificent in it. I’ll make you young. You’ll be reborn. I’ll make you as old, or, as ancient as I want. I get to decide that. It is as if you can see my hair. You can see that its unkempt and dishevelled and I haven’t gone for a blowout in a long time. I feel completely safer around other men. Other women remind me of my mother, my sister and not in a gentle and complacent way either. I feel you have been surrounded by beauty your entire life. I wait, but you do not come. I also do not want you to see me like this. Pale. Bored. Fresh out of hospital. I don’t want you to see the labels that other people have put upon me.  Don’t want you to see the burnout, the trauma written all over my face. Remember me as and if you want to remember me. Only if you want to remember me, that is. So, so many have forgotten me. I am hardly worth remembering if you must know. That night. It is my father that kept us apart. Away from each other.    

You took my hand in yours. That is all I have. And a fire swept right through single woman me. Right through my entire being. I remember you holding me, me holding onto you as if I would never let you go, but of course, I had to. We were literally surrounded by small children, and people, and someone visiting my father. It is enough to know that I am here, and that you are there. I was disappointed that you thought I was only a good writer. Not a great one. That I didn’t have it in me, I thought that was what you supposed. So, I go in the big night. So, I wait to hear from you. Laugh at you emojis. Suppose in a way that is the highlight of my day. I want you to think of me, but I don’t think that you do. Feel, feel the same way about me as I do about you. There’s too much thunder in my life. Sometimes it can be a good thing. It makes me think. I write, and write and write and it seems to never come to the point of a beginning, or, an end. That bubble, that zone in which I live seems never to come to an end. You’re the most beautiful thing to me. I think of the Parisian rooftops I will never see. Rilke did. Van Gogh did. Rodin did. Perhaps I will too, if I get that far ahead in life. To Paris. Perhaps our silences betray us. Perhaps they are marked by the moan of day caught in the light. I don’t want you to even know the person I was before the day that I met you. I think that you transformed me. I think of the silences a lot. Too much. The hours in a day that I spend at a desk writing about myself, thinly-veiled semi-autobiographical short stories, or, that I write about other people. Or, I write about you. Of course, I write about you. I always write about the person I am in love with, or, am falling for hard. The people I have loved.

Poetry from Mahbub

South Asian man with a gray suit and a white collared shirt and a green and black tie. He has glasses and short black hair.
Mahbub

The Floating Humanity

The floating humanity on the ocean

Starving for long time

Listless and die only drinking water

Somebody can flee from the jaws of death

Avoiding the guard on the border line

Some are hiding themselves in residence

Virus, virus and virus all around

The roads, the localities and the provinces of the countries

Industries and factories, offices and shops, bars and restaurants

All are closed in lockdown

Humanity fleeing away from ideology may dive in unsteadiness

Nature takes a new shape with its spring flowers and branches

On the other side

They float or rot

Can eat or starve to die out

Sound low or loud

Not a hand you see on head to calm down

The eyes close down in sigh

The souls flying higher and higher live in peace forever

And never come back to make you sorry anymore

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

18/04/2020

If I Live One Day More

If I live one day more

I would like to utter one word more Love

Blazing the heart forever

How I spend the days?

If I live some days more

I urge on care and support

You are my holy hunt

If I can go one step more

I want to reach you dear

My long nourished rose

Sweet fragrance and petals

A joy and fervor

In the midst of life and death

If I live one day more

Like to sing the songs soothing the painful heart

Shaking my hand with you

Embracing all around if I live one day more.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

18/04/2020

Corona Ghost

The ghost is all around me

Meet me in sleep

Walk in fear of this

Every day and night

Appears to be a monstrous figure

Sits by me and devours in a second

Jump on the bed, the unrest heart cries in deep

Going outside I watch the birds’ calling

With the fluffy feathers

Come on to me

Taking food and water

Go back to the nest

On the branches of the tree, beak into the beak

My heart leaps up with joy

Again when I go to bed

Watch the news of deaths

The ghost Corona disturbs the mind

More than it’s supposed to be.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

18/04/2020

Hand in Hand

I consign myself here at this place

Not besetting guilty horror

The lights in the pages

Morning songs of the birds

The sunrise breeze I walk over

With the sweet scent of roses

And collecting the nyctanthes

Under the tulips – my graceful state

Facing the challenges to kindle the heart 

I find myself in your hand

No colony war overhangs there

We must fight the war

Not leaning the head sideways

Following the promise head and heart.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

19/04/2020

My State

You are my state I live in

The marshy land, the thick forest

My sweet heart, all you have made promise

I visit every day I wish

You are my part of thought, my loving world

I love and proceed

Peace of mind, heart-felt moon light

Journey over the lands

States after the states

A world over the world

I fly over and over

O my sweet heart, my joys.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

20/04/2020

A Strenuous Reaching

Can we count the deaths before the eyes?

A matter of thinking over how many they are

This scaring sight from my birth never been seen

The world now totally hung on

The string under the roof tight in the basket

An effort to survive

The sky confused with thundering and clouds dazzling the eyes

Snatching out the soul

A light on the dark, a realization on

The humanity bargaining with the responsibility

How can this be designed?

A strenuous recycling in reaching.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

21/04/2020

Turn Aside

It stopped raining

The clouds are roaring

Darker and darker it seems to be all along

People stuck with corona

Mask has been the most wanted robe

To meet you in and outside home

Made us each feel like a ghost

The hazy outward, crossing the uneven grisly path

Life is not fit for coming forth

Who cares? —-

All turn away from the maze, the crooked world.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

22/04/2020

The Heart Zoomed in

Why does stress make nest on us?

Unsafe breathing taking all over the world

Zoomed the heart in

Flows in fluctuation

The world fever

Live and die

Die and live

Walk and lie

Lie and walk

O fumigating earth —

Would you be able to make us all cheer-up?

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

23/04/2020

A Cluster of Golden Clouds

The afternoon clouds glowed with the soft sliding sun

In the north sky

The golden light reflecting on the cluster of the cloud

Kissed my face

Enlightened and resolved my heart

For the time being but lasting forever

A soft heavenly breeze all inside outside

Foreshadows tomorrow morning

The sunflower light in its recycling wind

The scented jasmines – the world’s plight.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

23/04/2020