Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Day in the Life of Narcissus

by Sreemanti Sengupta

 woke up and saw that my grandfather had beaten me to the loo. I watched the painted wooden door which he had shut three minutes ago and thought about what a bummer Diabetes was. I was sure I would meet Diabetes some day, the same way I had met Migraine and Myopia and I would treat him to Pink Candy Floss. I remembered Candy, yeah that’s what they called her, but I was too young then. I loved her because she was around all the time. I had dreams of Candy and Blyton’s Five going on quests together and Candy stealing their picnic basket. I think that’s what she wanted - picnic baskets or men with big picnic baskets. I couldn’t look at Candy without getting lost in her lips. I was soulwrecked in their bloody excess. I cringed every time Candy bent down to kiss me, sighing at the hard work that awaited me, just to rub off the red riot from my cheeks. I lost Candy or she me just like we lose strains of beloved poetry to our memories. I had gone into some illicit wooden trance by the time the door opened, bringing on The Old Man and The Stink. I couldn’t hold it so I shuffled inside. I tore away the Three Black Ants that were sitting on the rim of the Poo Bin, waiting to pinch my ass. I sat and crapped serenely and couldn’t find one good reason for spoiling this with a newspaper which the Stereotype does. I am not interested in Stereotype types. I meet them everywhere, or they meet me. I think they are the real sneaky types, betraying people, choking people on their last drinks. I had a whole bundle at school and way up to college and to university. I doubt I picked up Paranoia from them. I never liked Paranoia, that insane creature. I was afraid taking her out in crowded places, like happening places with people and buzzing with activity. I felt rather irritated, nay, embarrassed when she called me closer and whispered that everybody on the street were either looking or bitching about her - her dress, her past, something or the other that was incredulous and disturbingly Unicorneish. I gave up when she demanded all the lights be switched off when we were doing it - “the chairs look queer” she said. I of course needed the lights, I needed to see them under me, feeling my enormous weight. I am done with crapping and the black poop floats inside the bin. I asked Mamma why it’s black and she said that’s because I take iron tablets. I remember when this happened, the time since I have been Black Pooping. I and Hemoglobin were great friends till such time I saw him making out with my girl on the hospital bed. It was a bloody mess. I throw up everytime I recall how he tried to explain that it was necessary for the girl to get well and have a Normal Life. I left him with my girl and he left me with Black Poop. I don’t like going out, I think that Paranoia bitch had something to do with it. I vaguely enjoy a mock solitude in my room, with an indifferent track playing in my desktop unless it croaks and stops...arrgh that bothers me. I am me in too many ways and too many of them are obsessive and protective, when the day ends it irks me because I haven’t ended. I hate this part when I have to go out and people stare at me. I have disorders in the brain which are friendly. I think Bipolar was a little disappointed when I told him about Low Confidence. I can still picture him brutally facing me and saying it within quotes that Low Confidence was a total Loser and I should concentrate on The Grand Things, such as Schizophrenia because I am destined to have exotic disturbances, not prosaic, beer bellied ones. I go to an Exotic Corporate Office to earn my bread and write Exotic Things to sell Exotic Things. I’ve travelled some places with my babes and brooms where Exotic has been warm and kind to me. I have had Exotic doing me favours and showering me with gifts. I have known Countries In a Single Leaf Of Tea and Suffering In The Rhyhm Of Dances Cut Short, just because I had Exotic around me. I have been easy on him and he on me, except his choice in women and people in general. I was Exotic’s guest once and he told me that there was no time to tour, and we needn’t. I watched as The Girl From The Tribe entered, shed her clothes and waited. I turned and saw Exotic breathing down my neck and marking the erogenous zones on the brown body. I stared and sank as he explained you couldn’t go wrong with her, she’s our pride! I anyway will now cross the street and you must know it confuses me. I can't understand roads or road signs in the same way bats do not understand the morning. I have a sense of distance because it tires me, of speed because it is the wind against my hair and acceleration, because it brings hopes and highs.  I cannot fathom why roads are not flowing and going wherever they want to and why there are destinations we must reach, why destinations are waiting so ridiculously where they have waited Yesterday and Yesterday and Yesterday.  I beg you not to believe anyone who tells you that I have gone to their door on a festival night to ask them about Peculiarity. I can vouch I haven’t done so. I can tell you of an old dying man who irritated me with a silly smile stuck on his face like a eight peg vomit to the bottle. I am sure these are Quirks and Peculiarities, and both are exotic and it suits me fine. I know that politicians will often ask you for the wheels to their wheelbarrow and you throw in some obscure Flower of The Hills, Some Rotten Old Lady Who Still Has Babies, Some Tea (ah!), A Dance Step Or Two That’s Swear To Zillionbeeps Authentic and some more. I try to convince myself that I have gotten into severer exotic things, to the soul, where politics cannot invade. I am disturbed about not being more disturbed. I think it’s mighty interesting to have a tortured soul, except that night when I had an unending dream and am not sure I’ve woken up at all. I had the the baddest day at office and I was thinking of the epiphanic words that would explain it on my Facebook wall when urgent sleep fell on me like a huge beam of burning wood on a forest sleeper. I saw a plush washroom, my shaving kit all arranged and pretty, the walls all lined with mirrors, mirrors I have always hated. I looked up and I got taken aback for a few seconds. I stood there trying to smile, as I naturally do in front of a mirror, any mirror, even those that are cracked and poisonous with scribbled abuses. I watched as nothing happened, nothing. I couldn’t see crease lines or the pupils lighting up and then I realised it was a mask. I immediately ventured to tear it down and did - tried to smile - didn’t happen - tore it down again - tried to cry - nothing - and again and again. I have developed a thing for the opaque and the simple after that, almost zen like. I am not necessarily the in-betweener, but habitually so, and damn it’s painful. I can tell you what it is like if you can tell me how it is to be blessed with immortality, that too on the condition that ‘thou shalt have a fish bone stuck in your throat forever.’ I am walking to office now and everything attacks me - the drizzle has torn up everything in shreds - the faces and the cars - the zip zap by and give me queer looks. I curse Paranoia under my breath and the rain falls harder. I open the Giant Black Umbrella, that titanic shield against everything, and I walk, I murmur a pagan prayer ...take me to the Corporate Office, will ya?. I think I think..that it’s always me and my and so much so…...SPLASH!...sonouva..the guilty car passes by and there is a little pothole filled with sparkling rainwater.

black umbrella
some blooms fine
I, me mine
I, me, mine

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Sreemanti Sengupta enjoys a world of divided minds. She is an advertising copywriter from Kolkata, India, a poet, a struggling author, an e-mag editor, an elocutionist, previously published in various online journals such as Mad Swirl, Paragraph Planet, Certain Circuits, Bare Hands Poetry, Ppigpen and more including print anthologies in both English and her vernacular Bangla. She founded and runs The Odd Magazine celebrating alternate creativity here www.theoddmagazine.wix.com/thisisodd and blogs at www.weareideating.wordpress.com

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The painting is by Zoe Nikitaki,  a visual artist - illustrator and a storyteller, who lives and creates in Greece. She also writes and illustrates books for children and for adults who keep on dreaming and want to reconnect with the inner child. Connect with her on www.zoenikitaki.com (under construction) 

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Why? a book review

by Pearson Oldmitz

Why? The Question that Could Save Your Life
Robert Brown, DDS
TriMark Press, 2014, 159pp

SO MANY THINGS come to mind. Why is what passes for television news so frustratingly awful? Why is winter so long?  That’s not the kind of reflection Robert Brown has in mind in this slender, read-in-one sitting book. Instead, he writes as a man who has had his own problems with the U.S. medical industry, and now encourages others to follow his lead and ask: why?  Why that medicine? Why that treatment?

Mostly, Brown’s thesis revolves around the very old, yet new again argument that we should eat more wisely and ask more questions of our medical caregivers.  His formula is simple to describe:  some foods cause inflammation, and inflammation causes disease. Eliminate the food and inflammation and you control and perhaps even cure the disease. He lists wheat, gluten, diary and other possible allergens, and includes an easy, no equipment needed, self-administered test for food allergies that I’ve never found in any other nutrition book.

What is interesting about this book,  in a market crammed with nutrition advice books, is what Brown’s book doesn’t do:  there isn’t a single recipe, no ten day or four week plan, no busy work and list keeping to distract the reader. What he does include are a few frightening examples of how medicine-as-big-and-profitable-business may be working against us, not for us.

If you buy Brown’s argument (and this reader does), the book gives enough information for you to begin to work on your own health plan. In that, this book is not really a self-help book, but more of a convincing essay that we need to be more active in our own health care and take responsibility for what goes down our own gullets…and to ask more questions. Always a good thing.

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Pearson Oldmitz is a short story writer and blogger. Friend him on FaceBook  https://www.facebook.com/pearson.oldmitz

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