A poem from Rishi Dastidar’s debut Ticker-tape was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018. A pamphlet, the break of a wave, was published by Offord Road Books in 2019, and in the same year, Rishi edited The Craft: A Guide to Making Poetry Happen in the 21st Century for Nine Arches Press. His second collection, Saffron Jack, will be published in the UK in March 2020, also by Nine Arches Press.
A leopard parses his concern
1. I am concerned about Claudia Cardinale.
2. By ‘concerned’ I mean ‘in lust with’.
3. By ‘in lust with’ I mean ‘I sigh for’.
4. By ‘I sigh for’ I mean ‘my eyes are hungry for her when she appears on screen’.
5. By ‘hungry’ I mean ‘revel in her’.
6. By ‘revel’ I mean ‘enjoy’.
7. By ‘enjoy’ I mean ‘endure’.
8. By ‘endure’ I mean ‘wait in the hope that she might, like a god, pick me out to be
noticed, even though I have done nothing noticeable’.
9. By ‘pick me out’ I mean ‘not actually come near me lest my reserves of charm
desert me at a highly inopportune moment’.
10. By ‘not actually come near me’ I mean ‘actually come near me, preferably in a
darkened Neapolitan hotel room’.
11. By ‘darkened’ I mean ‘the presence of Lampedusa will be evident; he will be
sitting in a green damask armchair, his walking stick tapping out the beat of a fugue’.
12. By ‘fugue’ I mean ‘a Morse code translation of his most famous quote’.
13. By ‘quote’ I mean ‘the only appropriate approach to living’.
14. By ‘living’ I mean ‘love’.
In my pocket
In my pocket
is the moment
I woke up
with you stroking
my left bicep,
gentle alarm clock;
image of intimacy
from a red-eye’s
But it isn’t;
time and touch
leave nothing apart
from a memory.
I rest my head for a moment on the cool concrete wall
of the art gallery and in its undulations I can feel the past
trying to break out of its unexpected vertical tomb.
I could rub the back of my head into one of the grooves,
wear it away, erode it imperceptibly over a day’s eon
until I could place my head right back into the crevasse,
a temporary sarcophagus, an extra heavy duty crash helmet.
This of course might be an over-reaction to the images
I’ve just seen: a world melting, gangsters wearing dresses
and razor’d scars of silver stars, lakes of petrol waiting
for paper boats to be sailed upon them, as if Neptune had
said yes to a sponsorship deal from [insert oil company name
here] but only lately realised that the proposed replacement
for a rapidly-drying Aral Sea might not have been everything
promised in the brochure. Caveat emptor, as we all should have
said in 1764 when Hargreaves spun Jenny, but how could any
of us know that coal + steam would equal not just movement
but the end? I might stay in here, it keeps my head cool.