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Ashok Niyogi (email)


About the Poet:

Ashok Niyogi is an Economics graduate from Presidency College, Calcutta. He made a career as an International Trader and has lived and worked in the Soviet Union, Europe and South East Asia in the ‘80s and ‘90s.  At 52, he has been retired for some years and has been cashew farming, writing and traveling. He divides time between California, where his daughters live, Delhi and the Indian Himalayas. He is increasingly involved in his personal spiritual quest and studies scripture. He has published a book of poems, Tentatively, and has been extensively published in print and on-line magazines and in Chapbook form in the USA, UK, Australia and Canada.






how foolish

that I look in the mirror

and fervently pray

that you should deliver me

from my sins

when all I can actually do

is slash my wrists

and watch

as you profusely bleed

while in the mirror

I crumble up

and slowly die





passing shower

a fresh pile of sawdust



a cobbler stitches


one door-mouse

peeps out of a crack

darts back


into fallen foot-soldiers

made with red hibiscus


between blades

of verdant green

my lily blooms

late afternoon


come dusk

parrots will nibble

at a half-baked moon

my frog leaps

it is not quagmired







floods have washed away

their pots and pans

mud colored sarees

vests with two or three holes

and one half-pant

they have lost little

they had no land


a family of three children

two adults

one mongrel

and two malnutritioned pups




every year the rains

leave hill stations weepy

and pot-holes

on the picturesque roads

glowworms are in heat

monkeys retreat




the family has come

to re-tar mountain roads

equipped with new

‘flood-relief’ pots and pans

the dog and pups

have monsoon ticks




at dusk

the frogs come out to eat


the woman has lit

damp twigs with kerosene

profuse smoke

that quickly blackens

their brand new pot

and brings tears

to the woman’s eyes

on three red bricks

rice boils in the pot

garnished with salt


the children are intense

on the grass

the mongrel plays

with her trusting pups





our rag picker has genius


into one used

polyethylene sack

that once had cement

he neatly packs

the following



thirty pounds

of used


with views

and quotable quotes


price of onions



what stars foretell

suicide in a well

games people play

and loose

ecological threat

to mongoose



pints and quarts

that make this

horrible empty sound

of sin

that will again win



keys to locks

that used to open

onto garden plants

that are so old

they are herbivores



old clothes

that belonged to children

who now have children

and regularly give

to the Salvation Army

to save on tax



this will go on

but no one will read poetry

which is that long…….




he loads his sack

onto his bicycle

and vociferously bargains

he pays me

in the end

enough for one more quart


his investment

in emptiness for

the next time he comes around

he kicks the ground

and finds his balance


he resumes his litany

you see

he hawks



NOTE: In India, rag pickers pay for old newspapers,

empty bottles and almost anything else that is used

and empty. One day, soon, they will bid for me. They

actually come to your doorstep, and plead with you to

take away all this. They, in turn, sell the stuff to a

wholesaler, who sells it to a recycler and so on.

            The rag pickers just survive, but the

wholesalers are big fish.

            India is charmed.





between so many

two moments of agony

there was ecstasy


a moon was luminescent

in another quadrant


the mongrel and I

walked hand in hand

to our pastry shop