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The Wordmaiden




And they got her by the hair

And laid the garden fair

Her white plumed the man-zoo

Fritters and chips on the couch

Fritters and chips on the couch


“I think you need the doctor.”

His stubble lay coarsely on his handsome face.

“You behaved strangely yesterday.”

“I did?” a tone of feigned surprise escaped a slumped form on the dirt bed.

“Yes. We were coming on fine. You told me to undress. And then..”

“Yeah? Now that’s interesting!”

“Not funny. You doubled up and howled. You sounded like a gay jackal.”

Gay Jackal. The Jackal clutched her morning frame.

“Are you even listening? I said you’re getting depressive.”

“Need black coffee with….”

“Lemon and without Sugar. Are we going to the doc?”

“Dr. Lupe, you mean. Firstly, he’s changed his Bengali name to sound cool. Secondly, he won’t understand. How would you feel if you’re raped without love?”

“Raped without love? It’s an obvious statement darling. You need coffee.”

You sound like the girl who doesn’t work in the morning.

“You got that right. I don’t. “



I once had a girl

Or should I say, she once had me

–          The Beatles



How much time do I have?

Three days.

And then?

And then, I turn a fish waist down. And go back to the ocean.

And never come back?

Yes. As a paid woman.

What about coffee?

I’ll only be good for bed. Tail fins can be damaging.

That promise? Is it so important?

You should know that better. You summoned me. You promised me. It’s got a cost. I got to give an answer to Mama Lise. Freedom comes with a fin.

I can’t

Will the doctor help?

No. The problem’s elsewhere. The problem’s everywhere. It’s even there in that cleft of your waist.

You chose it. I thought it discomfiting. You’re curious. Men back home find home in the breasts.

The breasts are noisy. Attention seeking schemers. I can’t write for it.

Is that why you cried?

Yes. Desire’s under watch. A promise pending for three days. It’s eating me up.

Don’t worry. I don’t cost too much.

I know. Buying you is easy. Buying anything is easy. It’s the possession that’s difficult.

Why not try some other part? What about the feet?

No! I’m a coward. I can’t write there. I can’t write on a dated sheet.



He turned to face her. And the coffee coloured face shone with that plaintive smile.

Do you know what Pablo Neruda had to say about your breasts?

Neruda? The poet? He loved me too? Huh, I lose count!

Difficult people loved you darling. Your breasts were two flaming balls for him.

No wonder I used to distract the sailors perched on the coral reefs.

Sailors. Millions of them. Devastated by you.

You got to blame Mama Lise for that. I don’t see it as a qualm. I keep my promises. Those shipwrecks meant food.

Was there a treasure you never found?

Yes. One. A mossed ship. Useless with scattered poems. Nothing you can make money out of.

That ship. Lemme see..was it the Ullysses?

Yes. Mama Lise nearly knocked me dead for lingering there too much.

Why did you linger there? Was there something you were searching for?

I don’t know. I stumbled upon it in a drunken stupor. It was the day I lost my virginity to this ill-smelling lonely sailor. I bumped inside. Seemed my childhood was anchored in the fleeting words.

You’re experienced now. You know the moves. Why did you risk it with me?

I was my last chance at reality. A promise from a man.



It was nearing dusk. The Poet loved it best. This time when light and darkness made love like the gentle breeze. Sometimes like lusty cowboys. Sometimes like Krishna’s flute. And sometimes like the black slaves who returned after mining, their eyes turned red with pain-dousing cheap rum and saw their wives like Russian Dolls, only there wasn’t anything to gain once he ripped her open.


Something original.Straight from heavens. And I’ll be yours.

When does the day end? How much more time?

The sun’s skimming the ocean’s surface. It should be night soon. It should be one day less for you.

Carpe Diem. I get it at last. What happens at the other side of midnight?

Things end here. But for us, down under, the day’s just beginning. The hungry ocean swallows up the flaming sun. And then it fizzles out to be a different person. It courts us, the ocean ladies underneath. It’s like a mischievous truant schoolboy. It steals up our beds just when our clients are anticipating pleasure. It comes and tickles the fish scales. We end up in undeserved childhoods. It spoils business.

My promise. Why did I make it? I’m so afraid. The day’s already over.

You’re not at fault, really. I came up your lonely window one night. I stole on Mama Lise. You were lonely. Too lonely.

Can’t you punish me?

Your loneliness is punishment enough! It’s just a promise! You’ll come up with something. I suggest you forget all about it. Let’s make love.

You’re spoiling me. I’ll miss the smell of the sea when you’re gone.

Shhhhh! Litsen to my heart. A hundred wrecked ships. A thousand lost poems. And just one promise. It’s too much to bother about. The sun’s playing with my golden haired sister downstairs. Come, now. Don’t cry today.



The Poet took a sharp look at the cloud passing by. The angry cloud with the yellow cheese moon. Two more days, he thought. When the sun gets into business tomorrow, up from the comforting secrets of the ocean and up above, bringing warmth and skin cancer to the planet. It was time for love. For pain. For ship wrecked love stories. Tomorrow, something will happen.






God does not play dice

–          Albert Einstein



Eisequaltoemseesquare. Even he couldn’t put it down to words.

Not like James Joyce. And you thought I wouldn’t catch you imitating.

You anger and startle me at the same time. Now, how did you know that?

Ulysses. That ship. It changed everything.

Joyce. That man must’ve suffered.


Yes. With…

Lemon and without sugar. You’re getting repetitive.

Is it morning already?

Yes. It’s the second day.

Damn it. Time’s never been my friend. What’s with all the research?

Time travel. I didn’t like the sound of it when you mentioned it in the first place.

Ah! Don’t let my cynicism influence you. Einstein. He won it. He kept his promise. Did you know Time’s the fourth dimension? Have you any idea that time actually slows down with speed?

How much speed?

Too much.

Nothing we laymen can do with it?

No. Nothing. How was I last night?

Okayish. But you steer clear of the spot.

Yes. Like the cat who couldn’t decide whether to die or live.

You got to face it. It’s skin after all.

Einstein couldn’t face it. He lost it to Uncertainty. The universe, the changeability. God, he said, was smarter than that. Smarter, organized. Had it all sorted out.




Is being half of something very difficult?

For me, it is.

And for the others?

It’s sheer fact to them. Imagination loses hands down to facts. It’s nauseating.

Don’t you wish you never came across that ship with no treasure?

No. I should be. Any sane person would curse that ship for disturbing her peace. But, it gave me the world I desired. A snatch at hope. Three days with reality.

The promise. I don’t know what to do. A poem you say. A poem. That’s too big a demand. I can’t get past pretence. I haven’t got the ship.

Maybe it’s too early for you. Maybe the challenge came too fast. But something tells me you’ll get there one day. You’ll find your ship with no treasure.

Do you know what happened to the cursed sailors of the ship?

Yes. They grew lazy and drowsy on the drug from the island’s exotic flower. The captain, he couldn’t persuade them back to the wild life of the wild seas. Most of them died in hallucination of a better life.


You live your life

As if it’s real

–          Leonard Cohen


What’s your purpose? You loll about the bed. As if you’re waiting for the ticking to stop.

Would coffee help? Coffee with…

Lemon and without Sugar. I’ll put the water to boil.

The promise. You’re never going to fulfill it. Are you?

Please! I beg you! Am not hones!. That cleft on your waist. It turns me to butter. I’m so helpless.

Exotic. Ain’t I? That’s what you thought when you dealt that blow with Mama Lise. What’s a two liner for a lifetime of immortal beauty?

Yes. I deserve all that. You’re behaving human now. I don’t like the Goddess voice of yours.

I’m not human. I’m standing on bargained legs. And Sanders loves me.

Sanders? Who’s that?

The man who loved me with no more than truth. I let him down when I came for you. Greed done the death of me. It’s night already.

I’ll come up with something. I’m a Poet. Don’t you worry. Let’s have some fun now!

It’s called making love.









Let us go then, you and I

When the evening is spread out against the sky

–          T.S. Eliot



I’ve got it!

Don’t do it. It’s not from your heart. You’ll be horrified by the result.

Shut up, woman! Let me write on that blasted body of yours!

It’s three minutes to midnight darling. Am rolling over. But don’t sell your soul for me.

Who’re you? Ho gave you the right to wreak ravage in my life?

Am the Wordmaiden. And you were good in bed. Striking twelve darling. Witching hour. Don’t bother yourself with the promise. It keeps me living.The unkeptness of the promise.



And before his eyes

In a slow demise

The wholeness dissolved in thin

And showed in fish scales and a tail fin

She bothered but a faint smile

And said, ‘Will you carry me home?’

The Poet lifted up the Wordmaiden

And lashed the dirt road with jaded denims

Reached the ocean and gently laid down the lady

She turned and smiled

‘Do I look alright?’

She reminded him of the coffee flask

And vanished into the blue cruel mass

Some words from her former self

Became gold and silver fishes

And played ahead

The night drank up the promise again

The Poet merely sighed and said

‘Oh! How I’ll miss her fishy smell!’

Author’s Note: The Wordmaiden managed a Consolation Prize at a short story Competition conducted by the Indian Writers Guild with the theme – Unkept Promises. Hope you enjoyed it.

Yours Joblessly,  The Jobless Ideator

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. C. Sen
    February 10, 2012 at 6:55 am

    And the foolish poet lived ever after in his make belief world of joy and pride, while she died one more shameless death, at “the unkeptness of the promise.”.

    • February 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      I like the way you read into things 🙂

      Yours Joblessly,
      The Jobless Ideator

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