blackmail press 20
Ashok Niyogi

Featured Artist Amanda Kemp
click on image to view more
of her outstanding works
Ashok Niyogi is an Economics graduate from Presidency College, Calcutta, India. 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 has undertaken serious study of scripture.
He has published a book of poems, TENTATIVELY, [iUniverse, Lincoln, NE - 1995] and has been extensively published in print and on-line magazines in the USA, UK, Australia and Canada. Numerous chap books of his poems have been brought out by SCARS Publications, UC-Davis, Slow Trains and others.
Ashok writes about life.


this interlude
between the word
and the litany on his flute
between dreams and death
is stretched

there is this incessant need
to crack my knuckles
again and again
before I embark on my marathon
with prayer beads
calamity is the emptiness
of a packet of incense sticks
disturbance in my shaving routine
the extended paraphernalia
of getting out of bed

the animated talk around my hospital bed
is about holding back on carbohydrate
grandchildren daydream about their first date
it seems I have been consigned
to hold my breath
until they have debated the semantics
of interstellar patient care

a half remembered prayer
nags me in the abdomen
these earphones are silent
who will tell me when
my daughters start to cry
into their Silicon Valley phones
and the music starts
to signal the onset
of the twilight of the lord


tottering on the brink
a hummingbird drinks
your sepia tones blink
this poem is my hand
soothing your sweater front
your nicotine stained finger
feverish over laptop keys
after the watered vodka
spurious sleeping pills
wink at your nose ring
discarded water lilies
queue up for cremation
animated fuchsia march
to battery operated drums
a pacemaker sums up
this wind assisted marathon
earthworms will go on
and annihilate our soil
daffodils will boil


I will rediscover malignance
in the holding of your red-hot hands

even as I walk on black sand
sequestered in my sarong
volcanic flows asphyxiate
crackling light
stones evaporate
elves mate
I will irrigate our stagnant moat
over which
we have built bridges
with our lives

in the distance do you hear
the ululation of the wives


now you will withdraw
the opportunity to worship
the privilege of making love

hobgoblins will tap-dance
in my cranium
a fever will touch my brain
and make me laugh at madmen
busy acupuncturing with tridents
an empty bed
on which a poem is spread-eagled
partial numbness
on Quasimodo's face
an exhausted Quixote
will sup at Arthur's table
lilies will rot
in Camelot

Mary Mary
quite contrary
how does your garden grow

dwarfs will kneel in your chapels
and hurry back
to squirrel away surreptitious pension funds
I will crack senile knuckles
and chew with toothless gums
on roasted monkey nuts


caterpillar curls up
in that moment
energy has singularity
he is hunchbacked
with desire
he jumps and lands
the blade of grass
bends beneath his weight
one dewdrop
is shaken off

ladybird is out
from beneath the rock
in rain laden sun
she airs her wings
energy is total abandon
unshackled from chores
she goes walk about
eventually she is trapped
in a vaguely scented blob
of sugared maple gum

snake is deliberate
energy is pinpointed
in snake eyes
breast slithering out
from fragile discarded skin
as ephemeral as wax
salivating scales actively emerge
each with a malevolent eye
that cannot actually see

pure magic
this wool gathering is
just supercilious tricks
embedded in the belief
that caterpillar is snake
and the world is torn apart
by a taloned ladybird