Two poems by Rishi Dastidar

The anniversary issue

I am forglopned*, struggling to load,
pixelated while walking down Wardour Street.

Greying personalities with media hair
pass me, talking about intertextuality

and Paul Morley, while I pretend
to be Eustace Tilley, the way you do

with the anniversary issue.
The queues queuing to get pancakes.

beseech me instead to contemplate
the fact that DFW would have been 50

today, and that he and I will never
write the Great American Novel,

so my green card will forever be
a redundant bookmark. If only

there was a dummies’ guide to help me,
like the one I am currently following

to write this New York School poem.
I don’t mention any of this to the ex

I meet, merely contenting myself
with the standard envy at the sunny

contentment. I am left to discover
I have missed the LRB with the best verse

ever in it. I settle, to await my move
to an emirate, knowing that resident there

is a metaphor involving a lemon, a butterfly,
a monocle and the rest of my life.

*overwhelmed with astonishment


The last neon sign maker in Hong Kong

His hands flutter by the five tongues of flame,
joints articulating at 800 degrees Celsius,
lips blowing commercial wishes down glass tubes,
speaking of honest scripts for certain characters:
light-heads, bending, swirling, inflating.
Thousand layer paper slides in to protect
the messages, before chicken intestines
shake hands with neon breath and iron hearts
for a brighter light: “without displays of prosperity
my city is a ghost town.” If you’re feeling blue
the answer is argon, he says, but best
is daylight red. A door above an air con
unit glows rainbow ready, the past slipping out.
He inhales the town gas one last time.

(Inspired by:
Rishi Dastidar works as a copywriter in London. A graduate of the Faber Academy and a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, he was a runner-up in the 2011 Cardiff International Poetry Competition, and featured in the 2012 anthologies Lung Jazz (Cinnamon Press/Eyewear Publishing) and Adventures in Form (Penned in the Margins). He is also currently part of The Complete Works II programme.