week of January 2 - 8, 2006
Brandon Cesmat and Ashok Niyogin
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Brandon Cesmat's Driven into the Shade (Poetic Matrix Press) received a San Diego Book Award. He teaches at Cal State University San Marcos, serves as president of California Poets (CPITS). He has received a Pushcart Prize nomination and first prize in The Music of Poetry Anthology (Palabra Productions). His work has appeared in Homestead Review, Red River Review, Pemmican, Weber Studies, California Quarterly and Pacific Review. He and his wife survive gracefully on the edge of mesa above the San Luis Rey River Valley in Southern California. Once he and Brenden Constantine read at the Ugly Mug Cafe in Orange, California, where they hoped to make clear that no matter how the name is spelled, it means "from the fiery hill." Visit Brandon on the web here: www.csusm.edu/profe
The following work is Copyright © 2005, and owned by Brandon Cesmat and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
A Cold Heart
The symmetry from my heart of dust
branches out as a snowflake.
This is the shape of my love
that I can‚t explain and you don‚t understand,
but the mirrored evidence shows
I am enigmatically whole for you.
In this dry cold I have pulled all nearby moisture to me
for one moment. Quick, see me, this one side of me
that rings in the quiet, then melts into the rushing hum.
On the Broken Coast
Just before this world turns to face
me into the dim morning light, I see
one starfish sitting still,
stuck to a low tide stone,
not like its namesakes above,
their jagged jets of green or white pulsing.
I bend close to this starfish spread in five directions,
frozen in indecision, and wait for it to move.
This one star stopped while the rest
went with the tide. A complex thought
coming together in the balanced gravities
of universes that throw light
as far as they can.
When earth turns us to mid-morning,
the stare of the sun breaks the five fingers
so this one complexity, the one I noticed
this morning, slips beneath the incoming tide.
I imagine it waving as it parades over a sky of sand.
If I lie down for the wheel of time
to roll over me, I am full of use;
I keep time from falling, I catch memories
and hold words as sand holds the colors of
a mandala. Everyday on the beach,
blueprints to circumvent suffering are thrown
and then withdrawn to the laughter of waves.
I remember while selling plasma
the similar salinity of seawater and blood,
while the centrifuge lifts white corpuscles, then
my cool red cells flowing back into the vein,
the temperature of my strange self
on the path back through my heart
Ashok Niyogi was born in Calcutta in 1955. He was schooled all over India in Irish Christian Brothers' Schools and graduated with Honors in Economics from
Presidency College. Ashok spent 30 years in the world of International Commerce,15 in East Europe and Russia and the CIS. His work has taken him all over the world and he now divides his time between California where his two daughters live, Russia and India. He is currently unemployed because writing poetry is not considered gainful employment, but does have a timber plantation in Goa, India. Ashok has two books of poetry in India - 'Crossroads' and 'Reflections in the Dark' (both from A-4 Publications) , one book of poems from the USA - 'Tentatively' (iUniverse) and numerous chapbooks from ScarsTV. He has been published extensively on line and in print in the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada in magazines and Anthologies.
The following work is Copyright © 2005, and owned by Ashok Niyogi and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
In front of me
On this journey
From park to park,
How much longer
Must I walk,
Hyphenated beer cans
In a morning trailer park,
In the rubble of sunlight,
A mongrel on a frayed leash,
Life is in roughed up hands
Milk less shriveled breasts
Jiggled by a smoker's cough,
Broken nails through colorless hair.
From strains of Mozart,
Dipped in a paper cup
Of luke warm coffee,
Before children rise and shine
To play on sleepers of railroad tracks
With punctured balls.
How much further must I walk
Until my sleeping pills
Overpower giant dreams?
I must but breathe,
Take the walls away,
Lift up the star-filled sky,
Bile has osmosed
Into my capillaries.
From park to park,
How much further must I walk?
Can't you see the Northern Lights
Tear up the horizon
As if the sky is brittle wallpaper?
Can't you spy the silhouette
Of my wooden sailing ship?
One solitary lamp
Swaying in the night wind,
Over the slippery ice
Without my shadow,
Over miles and miles
Of undulating monotony,
I have to walk towards the lamp.
In this land of bears
We have to walk
Always in their shadow,
Only the lamp is ours,
The miles belong to them.
Different flights to different worlds,
Life went on its way.
I stole this shopping cart
From Safeway before
They had security in place,
Out through automatic gates,
Deported from the freeway.
You were still at the counter
Waiting to pay.
Now I wobble through the yellow hills
That will turn green in winter rain,
In the cold, joints will pain,
They will hear me shiver.
Before that I must abstain,
I must shave and shower,
And wear my Salvation Army greatcoat.
I must eat at the soup-kitchen.
The earthquake came unbidden,
No one had deciphered the seismic fault.
It cleverly rearranged homes into houses,
Scholars remained immersed in Gender Studies,
Agenda became propaganda,
The car factories kept rolling out
Better cars, to move the world
Guided by geo-stationary satellites
With American accents.
I settled with buses that were done for the day,
Beneath the BART stop
With a half eaten muffin
On a half moon night
Near a closed Starbucks
Behind the Station House.
They are cruising tonight,
School is out,
The contents of my shopping cart
Are 'awesome', incredibly fascinating,
And make jangling noises like my bones do
As we trip over a flagstone on the foot walk.
Taking me down is some growing-up macho thing,
As was tearing wings off dragonflies in primary
They are actually mortally afraid of me,
So are their mothers and fathers,
So is my ladder-climbing wife
When blood comes out of my nose and mouth.
It is a pattern that I do not fit,
I am afraid only
Of the lonely walk,
How many mountains must I cross
Skirting valleys, envying the snow line,
Perpetually waiting for a Siberia, an Alaska,
Before I stop and learn to fly.
The winds are my cushion,
I bank above a forest of tall pine trees,
On the lake is my 'bird shadow',
The moss and fern grow below,
I am in the sunlight and clouds,
How much more must I fly alone?