Translated from the original Bengali by Kushal Poddar
The stormy shuttle car
climbs up the flyover.
My finger descends into your fist,
joyous, barrier breaking.
Shall stay in touch, infinity.
History’s curtain will come down
over the horizon of time.
Moments will guide ahead.
Rain falls on my chest,
When red ants smite the chrysalis
no caterpillar wings into its
Explosions tear the frontier.
The enemy bunker is shattered
in a jiffy. Who, I don’t know
wipes the light’s beauty from within.
The birds of my lips
desire to lick with wet eyes!
Now evening will descend.
Azan is in the wind.
The old mosque
will be populated soon.
My birth took place in a morbid palace
with a canyon of a wound on my left brain.
Since then I cannot sleep at night.
The ether projectiles from the radio station
nail my grey cells,
say: May the memories fade!
Tear out the paintings done!
I step on the street,
and the rejected dreams
murmur to be insolvent once more.
Tells me to change the past
and flip the hourglass.
‘I smell other woman
on your body.’
Middle winter mellows.
Light dusks almost.
The shells of some peanuts
fly to and fro…someone
sniffs faithless sweat in the breeze.
What has not been said
ricochets amidst four walls.
Solitariness sleeps turning on its side.
A hushed voice
keeps its hand on the bed switch, s
says nothing, shakes,
‘I smell another man
on your soul.’
Death, an advertisement, was your nickname.
‘A sparrow’s shower is in one minute’s rain-spell’
Sung Kabir—even that tune has chocked on moss…
I turn the page and still your face is all that floats up!
The mustard seeds roll out in the breeze.
Once again the sceneries fling open the cages
to circle the azure, those folks of returning birds.
Sun drowns in the light of cobra pearl…
Once I retrieved a gem from the depth of water.
Its color was off white…the grain was strained with blood.
The one whose face appears on the red
mercury less mirror, even he was seen by me
on a wintry morning’s maidan—fading in
the foggy sunshine…The torn phrasings
of the poems hit by a calm tram to Khidderpur
are entangled and piled here and there.
Your precarious household was blown apart.
Shackles shivered along the torn seam.
Trouble’s long life rotted you from inside
day after day, and since then you have been
fighting with the sleep, talking to the mirror
at dawn. Someone advised you: ‘Sell all the clocks.
Past will be erased.’
Go and befriend a rat, ask him to open the hell-gates
through its holes so that darkness may traverse
the tunnel and see once more—
the down under of the earth, moon’s dark side.
Scheherazade spun a new tale every night
to keep the Sultan’s death at bay.
Thus 101 Arabian Nights was born. You too handed me
my death warrant once, August 5th, 1971,
Maidan’s foggy morning be its simile, when
they stopped the prison van, told me: ‘Run!’
Near the horizon, even at the time of touching the base
I didn’t get their time to press the triggers and shoot,
and at the time of putting my finger on the finish line
my blood soaked soul flew towards the alien planet,
toward the other end of death, where a thousand tales
clash with the audacity to travel space, and
meteors run with heavy stony hearts in order
to stand up for the Scheherazade’s proxy.