Jai Chakrabarti is a writer of poetry, fiction, and mathematical algorithms. Born in the bustle of Calcutta, India, New York City strikes him as having lots of open space, being slightly rural. He spent his college years studying artificial intelligence, and he escaped the horror of this by writing and being published in a series of periodicals and journals that comprise the literary palate of India. His writing interrogates the experience of South Asian diasporas, settles occasionally on the beauty of mathematics, drifts in magical realism, and always aims to escape classification. After writing an honest algorithm, he can be seen performing his work at various venues in NYC.
Weíre all scared of the Great Whale.
We set seashells in our gardens to remind us.
Near Dowager Lane & Shakespeare Sarani,
us dyslexic boys stumbled over street
signs, took turns to misread epithets chalked
We waited for the Gospel to be delivered,
waited for the echoes to lift the pages,
let pauses end our stammers for us,
let our throats be husky
with words we couldnít pronounce.
Great Whale pushes up against the waves,
creates a tsunami by turning his nose.
Heís not hungry for us, exactly.
We think of him as a sleeping volcano,
his mistresses trekking to confront him.
We interview homeopathics
bootlegging powder, promising to smear
any mention of your undiagnosed illness
--try to find what made your bones
stick together, how to tape a childhood of
loving Train Rats with the grasp I have that you,
must not look like your father. I refuse
to tie garlands around your neck and cry.
Our school of dyslexics were bribed
by lozenges, flies stuck to our lanterns
while we studied falling palaces, riding
on your shoulders. Little men knowing
they were marginally human. You telling
me, Yes, You are from outerspace,
but I can still love an alien.
They say this Great Whale
has no bones in his body. He moves all slick
flesh jettisoning reckless. Corners or ends
do not trouble him. He can bend his wings
and float through the narrows.
On a skimmer, I lay with your dead body,
formality and flowers thrown overboard.
Here, I can move your hands any which way,
can explore why your beard began at the tip
of your ears, can move your mouth,
create ripples making you smile,
rub my cheeks against yours, friction
our faces until I smoke the stubble away.
Iím hoping it doesnít come to this,
hoping Great Whale might wake up,
steaming & shaking buoys, snorting
lava from his fins, turning, flesh & wings
moving tangent to the shore.
Heíll notice us, lying there.
Iíll scream, Iím not a hypocrite,
I came back to bury you, didnít I?