The Ghost triangle


1. Baptism by time


in a clock desert,

like a thousand kisses
on broken glass;
or shadows of cold pendulum ash.

the night has a strange, winding demon voice
in lost cupboards of snow.

come to me you mad rain lover,
come to me naked like neon atoms.

lips of rain,
sky ghosts,
dream-joy of angels.

let the wind slice your breast
with her strange laughter,

let the mirrors find a hiding place
on the night of your blood-wedding.[1]

night-car of winds,
night-car of rivers,
song of the beggar-woman who dies
beneath the moon.

the world unfurls her orange petals
and remembers her now,
alone in her lonesome chamber;

spinning laughter,
spinning death.

when the night-car travels
naked through the rain,


blades of the moon
on your dream-lips,

voice of the darkness
on your night dress,

woodcutters in the sky
salvaging kisses,

your dream grows like the face
on the wound.

virgin on the violin
with a violet smile,

violate my solitude
with a violent touch.

un-sing your flute like a dagger
and undress my soul.

un-rain the river of bullets,

where women love in pink
in the old clock-tower,


The city has her secrets,
I tell you,
the city too knows to smile.

The city with her scents and games,
is plotting against you always.

when you are fiddling with a ballad
or the safety-pin on your wife’s night-dress,

the city creeps like an assassin
beneath your gown,

spreading like a love disease,

un-winding and undressing,
terminating existence.

to falter is to die,
never turn back,
never turn back,
if it rains again.

wild song of fire,
wild song of earth,

just leave me your love
and your blue raincoat.[2]

fallen lovers,
murmuring snow,
hermit women,
thundering blow,
capsized fountains,
panting rock,
dripping time,
all must stop.

to stop is to stop
like you’ll never stop again.


If it rains,
I’ll fetch a cab for you.

If the river shelters God again,
if the night shelters reason,
we shall wait doing nothing.

love, love
we can’t do nothing,

like the spider on the Himalayas
who sits spinning his epitaph,

we can’t do nothing
in this age of reasons;

to strive is to yield and bow
before a greater power,

to seek is to surrender.

yet we must do something,
just anything to kill time,
just anything to please

to please us and please them,
that burn and kill,
that create and destroy,
that wrong and seek revenge.

yet we do must do something,
if the night turns brown at her edges
and politics descends like fog at the dinner tables;

we can’t do nothing, love
for it takes nothing to do something
and something to do nothing.


where are the bells and priests?

where is the blood on tram-lines
and death on the hill?

there rings the tower in the winds,
with her fire-sermon.[3]

all the women watch in vain,
dying in the rain,
singing hallelujah.

and here we sit in our rain mansion
side by side beside the fire,
pawning love and death.

The river swells
like an orange cat,
kingdom falls
like broken glass,
side by side
naked in bed,
the world will heal,
the world will heal,
bells are groaning
the moon will fall,
the bride is fleeing
got to count ‘em all,
the wind is won,
the world will heal,
all is lost,
the world will kill.

nothing is safe,
nothing is anything,
nothing is nothing.

nothing remains of God and rain.

prostitutes in old brown asylums,
paint and pant in pain,

odes to water
and odes to dying women,

meaningless this life,
meaningless this verse,
meaningless all meanings.

the moon is sometimes your illicit lover;
the moon needs you at times
just as you need the moon,

for fragmentation and de-fragmentation,
construction and re-construction,
satisfaction and dis-satisfaction.

mutilation, rectification, hind-sight.

city lights,
wall women,
spring magic,
Buddhist peace,
dark beauty,
phallus God,
crawling chants,
prison music,
invisible rooms,
science of flashbulbs,
savage blue,
jellyfish heart,
opium sex,
skyline melting,
spinning sun.

spinning sun,
staccato earth,
assemble peace.

not now,
not again, no
never, ever again…

just melt, melt, melt.


Lady in the fountain
with telegraph smiles,

spit at the splitting sky,
and split before the sky spits back.

feel the radio lick your body
and convulse with half-truths,

un-truths, super-truths, ill-truths,
but never, never the truth.

all that resides in life
is dead and pretending,

the impelling spirit[4],
the attraction of hearts,
the blinding belief ~

-‘I am the Walrus and the Life’
-‘I am the rock on which you shake’
-‘I am the beginning you all end in’
-‘I am the Lord, I am the Buddha, I am the Allah, I am the Om’

‘But I am never you,
I am what I can be,
I am always Me’.

(the hymn of silence)
count the knitting women,
who never speak.[5]


Blonde in blue gown,

got down from her car
and blew me a kiss…

I see you still
speeding along Landsdowne
in your light yellow cab,

which your ninth boyfriend has bought you
for your nineteenth birthday,

and you are speeding along always,
the streets and my dream alleys,
never caring to stop
while I harp on my old organ
exploring places,

places that remember your touch
or smell,

speak, kiss, re-dress[6].

time is waning her sugary claws,
time is most untimely, timeless, tireless.

to pause is not to pause time,
to pause time is not to pause motion,

but relative un-motion,
like between two moving trains.

speak time,
reveal your pains and woes.

don’t outdate and modernize,
don’t just measure and move,
don’t count and crucify,
just pause for a breath;

pause for the innumerable deaths
and forgetting,
pause for the forgotten;

just pause for a pause,
for a change.

-‘A pause might kill me’
-‘A pause might stop me forever’.
-‘I’m always running, avoiding a pause,

does light ever pause for me,
or matter when it becomes light?

does darkness pause for me
when it attacks the quanta of light?

to pause is not to pause,
to pause, for me, is to die.

I’m condemned to move, mutilate and forget,
yet I, the catalyst
and always the culprit’.

I’ll remember to remember you,
another time, another place;

but for the time-being,
I will leave you Time,
(leave you aside, not behind)
with all your movement and mutilation.

We shall talk about time
some other time.


2. The Wedding of Crystals


Jazz of blue crystals,
jazz of blood,

cymbals, movement, colours
in the naked principle of light.

We invite you now
to the wedding of crystals.
Crystal Blue weds Crystal Red,
Crystal Red weds Crystal Blue,
(it’s the same you might think,
but it never it is, in the world of crystals)

There will be dancing among the atoms,
all the ladies dressed in jewels,
there will be food and merry-making,
all the fairies decked with clouds,
there will be music and mystery wine
all who have come will enjoy the night,
for Dream[7] himself has come tonight
to bless the couple in their sleep.

It is the wedding of Crystal Blue,
it is our pleasure to have you here,
It is the wedding of Crystal Red,
your company with us our pleasure share.

We have a lovely bride in blue,
and a handsome bridegroom in red,
may your blessings be with them
and light up their bridal bed.

we thank you once again
for your presence here,
at the Wedding of Crystals.


Eli, Eli
kiss me more

softly with your crystal paws.

the world turns square
in your arms

the sky turns pink
between your thighs,

in our world of crystals.

blue is red,
and red is blue,
when I’m in you.

Spring is round the corner
and the mist has cleared from Mirror Street,
the city drops her layers
like the crystals drop their garments in bed
and light echoes from glass
while the glasses shatter and merge,
blue and red with a violet tint
and a violet smile.

(virgin on the violin
with a violet smile,
violate the silence
with a violent scream)

violin screams
wool and water[8],
violent silence
violet dreams,
frenzied creation
let there be life,
blue dissolves
violet wakes.


-Is there anyone there?

-Is there anyone coming
at the birth of the crystal?

my little violet princess
with eyes like weed.

You’ll find some cold veal and porridge
on the table,
if you are hungry,
and gifts to buy at crystal station:
faces, masks and dolls for a dime
if you have time to ponder and choose,
you all will choose well;
you better choose well
like you’re choosing between life and death.

To choose wrong is to die,
to choose wisely is to die,
(not much of a difference, I’m afraid)
but you must choose all the same
and better choose well.

Choose a face,
choose a smile,
choose a grimace
and choose her words,
(for you don’t have much of a choice)
and you’re condemned to choose her fate
before you choose death.

you must go on choosing
when you have a choice,
and you must go on choosing
when you don’t have a choice.

So choose a life
for our crystal princess.


There is the silence
beneath the door,

here is the dice in the wind
spinning on the floor.

Spinning blood…spinning with the scent of atoms. Poets of fate and fall.
She travels in the wind, smoking Martian cigarettes. Your violet smile…
your violent fall, my Nazi princess[9]… a funeral of kisses…the violin
hallucinating in opium orbit.

You think more, you mean less.
World turns into onion scales.
And all that remains,
is the naked desire of cats.

The radio in the cloud knows your secrets. The world laughs at you
like a madman. Demons of memory stir in her breast…and slice
her skin like the ghost train travelling through the woods.
The moon sheds off her ghost skin…hides her soul
in her purse and smiles. Every skin she
sheds is the skin of orange time,
skin of the radio sky,
skin of crystals,
skin of

I am the silence, she tells me.

-I am the transcendence.

I am the violet monster, she tells me.

– Myself am hell.[10]


Now you need a guitar,

now you need the sorcerer of beauty
to create super-time,

and a madhouse for Dria[11].

As the crystals wither in the radio sky,
and their colours decay
into black and white.

Hearts throb colourless;
colourless in language,
colourless in love,
colourless in time.

Colour dangles like strained time
around their necks,
and strangulates in love[12].

What you cannot love must end,
what you love must never end,
yet it seldom happens.

We solemnly request your presence
at the funeral of the crystals.

We will all be dressed in black,
the mourning will last nine days
and after the burial
with tears in our eyes,
we shall once again remember
the happy life of the crystals.


3. Ghosts of the Ganga


The Ganga is your feline ghost lover
slicing through the heart of the city[13] ,
caressing and culminating existence.

The Ganga is your blood-mother,
dressed in her widowed veil.

transforming lives.

Ferrying tidings of the sleepy sun
dissolving his orange petals in death,
as the dots in the city murmur on her banks;

halogen evenings on clay
and the vibration of rails,
a city conjured up in the white mist,
as she protects her banks with her flapping shroud
and the lights in the city twinkle;
the mercury lamps of a ghost city,
the stadium towers[14], the floating noise,
the soft halo of the marble dust palace[15] in the breeze
refracting life; unreal in the movement
of the swaying bridge in the winds.[16]

Those moments of light, life, unity,
staring at the cityscape like a speechless assassin
and watching the buildings rise and melt
like Illion’s flute,
conjugating the matter and spirit.

The river is your flowing Goddess,
stopping at the land of death,
and carrying the ashes beyond life.[17]

The river is the metropolitan blood of the city,
purifying the crystal ghosts
and ghosts of time,

ghosts of the blood wedding,
ghosts of the violet princess,
ghosts of the orange cat,
ghosts of the sleepy sun.

Ghosts of you and me.

Driving insane through the haunted streets,
the Bypass swerves like a ghost tongue
vanishing beyond headlights;
or the little violet figure,
transparent in the wind on Dhakuria Bridge;
the little ghost-seller blowing out his oil lamp
at Gariahat Market as he walks towards Golpark,
sleep-walking almost, beyond an earthly destination;
they all feel this strange presence,
all a part of this strange dance of ghosts
that flow within a river through the city.

Strangeness her mask,
strangeness her face and flow;
the Ganga is your ghost lover
raging in her sacred tumult
through the nerves of the city.


Jelly nerves of the city
throbbing at her synapse
with nitrate grins,

post-modern, post-colonial, post-structuralist
problems of existence,
post-temporal blues,
political ghosts of killing,
wherever you look
there’s no left, right or centre;
just a ghost-land of struggle
for the crystal noose.

Red is no longer green,
Green is no longer red,
(what happened to crystal blue?)
just the elegy of crystals
with their viole(n)t descendant
to violate beauty.

Yet the metro gushes in the underworld
carrying semi-dead walkers
like a blood demon.

I can’t care less, sitting with you
in this tiny café
and staring into the ghosts,
form and un-form
in the hollow of your eyes.


The secret of Time
is to travel like crystal impulses,
transmitting the sky-ghost,
the night-car, the radio and cold pendulum ash;
the secret of time is the happiness of the walrus,
the violet smile, the orange cat, the blood wedding
and the little yellow cab at Landsdowne
beneath the dissolving sun
and the love-making of crystals
beside the Ganges;
the post-colonial ghosts of the nitrate grin
with the metro rushing in her night-dress
when you fiddle with the safety-pin in bed.

Everything then dissolves like the sun
when you dissolve into me;
arm in arm,
lips on lips,
breath in breath,
a single static reality
sans time, sans crystals, sans ghosts.

Transmission of truth,
telepathy of the ghost city.

In the name of Time, Crystals
and the Holy Ghost,
the trilogy of truth,
triangle of existence
and transcendence,
oblique madness.

To be mad is to see the truth,
when the green walls of the asylum
and the fluorescent lights
and crystal vapours dissolve
in isolation and derpression,
the syringe fiddles with the blood veins of the city,
and you dream up the trinity of harmony;
the ghosts, the river, the crystals, the love-making
are then mere spectral dots of existence
like the murmuring ghost-lights over the Ganges,
twinkling, throbbing with life
in synchrony with the swaying bridge.

Even the moon sways then
and shines on the violet crystal,
the clock-desert records super-truth.

– Are you really dead, my blue crystal?

– Do you steal a pause, time-still?

– Did you complete the trilogy, Ganges?

purge my sins
and baptize me in your faith.


Words make worlds collapse;
the mad rain lover
is counting and crossing herself.

Time breathing the blades
and the laughter of wool.

Crystals making love The Ghost of Ganga
in the rain, peeling away the
with a violet smile. orange petals of the Sun.

The virgin smiles at the mirror;

to live is to learn to pretend
to smile the violet smile.


[1] Borrowed from Lorca’s play The Blood Wedding

[2] Borrowed from Leonard Cohen’s ‘The Famous Blue Raincoat’

[3] Borrowed from T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland

[4] Allusion to Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey

[5] Reference to Charles Dickens’ A Tale of two cities

[6] Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caeser says ‘speak, strike, re-dress’.

[7] Allusion to Sandman.

[8] Borrowed from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

[9] Taken from my poem Winter ‘Song for R’

[10] Borrowed from Milton’s Paradise Lost

[11] These three lines are a tribute to Inam Hussain Mullick.

[12] Reference To Browning’s ‘Porphyria’s Lover’

[13] Heart of Kolkata

[14] Light towers of the Eden Gardens

[15] Victoria Memorial

[16] Allusion to Howrarh Bridge. The entire scene describes the beauty of the two cities- Howrarh and Kolkata, visible from the Howrarh Bridge at sunset.

[17] Reference to the river Styx

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