“I Never Knew I Wanted to Be a Father” & “A Story of Speed” by Satya Dash

Illustration using reconfigured samples of 16 bit pixel art by Max Allison

I Never Knew I Wanted to Be a Father

Your letters are proof ink has teeth.
Jaws of camouflaging alligators grinding
years backwards. I, too take tremendous

pleasure in eating. Oh, to be a verb that imparts
flavour. Oh, to be a verb at all. Daily, roads
of earth slosh into cement down my eager

throat— this, my estrangement from indifference.
Even you acknowledged small delights under
the tongue’s creek where mountains of thoughts

dissolved, where the mouth pitched a tent
under stars melting into the sky’s unassuming wealth.
The winter your fate collided with mine, I first

understood the music of wanting to decay.
There was this beauty to bedsheets and grasshoppers
like a new layer of detail added to my retinae.

I can’t remember much about that time except
glass doors slid at the will of heels
and the highway glistened afar soothing

ears that came to listen and how the eternal
surprise of winding roads and paper-cup
coffee turned my anger trite. My lemon yellow

bedside lamp confirms my anxiety isn’t fear
but drives the hard gear of a vessel’s heft. When I hold
a baby, I’m gasping at the incomprehensible

conflation of blood, sweat and tears. In lights
of little corners where rooms are born, what once
had walls folds into shapes on grand feet.

A Story of Speed

                    What I didn’t enjoy chewing
I swallowed. The chewing I enjoyed was therapeutic. A new love
for my body gripped me into adoring
other bodies.
                    The fervor for scent squeezed
from a tube of toothpaste. The pale underside of a wrist revealed
the inside of a midnight secret. Lithium batteries coated
my breastbone calm.
                    At dawn, my wrist cocked
flicking wild insomnia aside. The rooster in the backyard shared
my ecstasy. A self-obsessed animal was nature’s riposte
to boredom. The delivery
                    boy wore the same jacket.
I was assigned the same delivery boy. For seven consecutive days,
his smile had the earnestness of new soap. Like rusty wagons,
the days passed. All the while
                    you counted the number
of times I could but didn’t have my hands washed. A hunger
or two transmogrified into hairs. Text messages
slipped out of phones
                    like sand from overzealous
fists. Batteries became red bull monsters crashing down
sugarcane throats. The nocturnal stayed itchy.
The zodiac trembled.
                    The swirl of fear in pleasure
was unmistakable. From my mouth rumbled an ancient mantra.
The festival of Holi was around the corner. I didn’t give up
on perspiration. Neither did
                    astonishment on me. The eggs I ate
were fertilized ones. They left in me, the yellow transience of chicks.
The rooster resting on my gallbladder cast a light shadow.
I suffered sonorous burps. On TV,
                    the parliament crowned new
leaders. Trumpets blared from the inside of trampolines. Balls
bounced in mild schizophrenia. Brains lay at the webbed
feet of ducks. The heart,
                    oh the heart was proclaimed a myth.
But X-rays across the world exposed the colossal lie. On a deserted
road, a red light inadvertently switched to green. After a power
nap, desire moved on.

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Satya Dash’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Waxwing, Wildness, Redivider, Passages North, The Journal, The Florida Review, Hobart, The Cortland Review and Poetry@Sangam amongst others. Apart from having a degree in electronics from BITS Pilani-Goa, he has been a cricket commentator too. He is a two-time Orison Anthology and Best New Poets nominee. He spent his early years in Odisha and now lives in Bangalore, India. He tweets at @satya043.

Max Allison co-founded the label Hausu Mountain with Doug Kaplan in 2012, and his visual art appears on the label’s album covers and packaging. His designs reconfigure small samples of pixel art from 16-bit video games made for the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis into dense collages that stretch into spreads of isometric 3D space. He records music solo under the name Mukqs and plays in the projects Good Willsmith, BBsitters Club, Pepper Mill Rondo, Lord Mute, and Crazy Bread. Max lives in Chicago; you can find him on Twitter at @Goodwillsmith.