Translated from the Bengali by Rajosik Mitra
You were insane back then, and so you’d begged for a piece
of gold cumulus to the sunset like a tramp
Sepia hills trapped between your eyelids
This sorrow took you tipsy down to night’s hell-bed,
endless bottomless down to a labyrinthine abyss
You thought yourself a butterfly, a bit too much flying
you did, womb to womb – all infertile, hey casanova, did you have canines?
Dirty nails of a bum? Did self-portrait mean only van Gogh to you?
Were you gripped by a strong desire to bathe in Pampa Sarovar one day,
bloodied stalk and stem, your follicles sucked on by leeches, you wanted to
come clean, purified; you were insane back then,
you saw sunset hue on the naked skin of evenings.
Pampa Sarovar – Pampa Sarovar is a lake in Koppal district near Hampi in Karnataka, India.
Ode to Somenath
Passing through Sudder St. I saw Somenath
scraping his meal off a dumpster,
He too had mistaken for the innards of a wild musk
the scent of paint-glue trapped inside a polythene
a long long time ago on Eliot road;
wanted to eat the heart out of Jesus,
at dewfall, little beads of repentance
gathered over his forehead.
Fish-cranes take to the sky
wounded birds rain their feathers
and nowhere in his calves and thighs
could he find the golden mean,
he found the blessing
of the god of stones,
didn’t want to bathe in the
effervescent acid rain
that came gushing like waterfalls
out from between the evening’s thighs;
instead, wanted to make love
to Jinia in the fading rusty
dusty brown light of the moon;
wanted to tame the demon of staying alive
in the darkness of Stuart lane,
no, didn’t want to write poems
Ice-cream and paanta-bhaat.
I wonder what he really wanted
a chandelier bright as the Sun
or a lock of hair from the Sea
I wonder who cursed him
to the darkness of Stuart lane;
Krishna Lal and the wiggle of a tapeworm
had moved him too much already,
there was a boat moored nearby, probably
when he heard echoes in deep blue
did he want to write something-
some lines, some words
that he couldn’t understand
he was a space-traveler
did he ever find himself again?
Jhumkolata – Passion Flower
Panta-bhaat – Sticky, watery rice.