Thursday, December 1, 2016

Where is Najeeb?

look for him in the snows
his dreams are all yours
look for him in the rivers
for as long as they flow –
there will be answers
cease not this search
look in the trees,
in mirrors that weep, in hills that speak no word,
in the narrow alleyways of living,
in the sharp edges of life
look into the eyes of darkness,
of this sullen dawn, that aching dome of dusk
from all your fetid confines –
in all valleys of death where
to survive is an act of revolution
to protest is an act of instinct, look on –
in all broken hopes,
clipped wings, choked violins – look everywhere
turn the world over in great anger
kiss hatred with great love
hold stoutly blazing torches
against the keen face of the sun
against the stoic face of the moon
do all you can, for we need to,

it is time to stand tall and roar loud
it is time to ride out, and ride such, that,
no vile storm may ever wear us down

let the peddlers of power beware
let the fiends of hatred beware
let the forces that break beware
your ugliness shall never match up
to his love, to our love -
because his love is our love today, and ours – his

we are writing our histories with this love
and ever shall we write.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

9-Life-Cat-Buddha-Haiku



when two cats part ways
the road that runs between them
is the middle path
....

cats that wear big hats
contemplating nirvana
feel no pain nor rain
....

mirror says to cat -
my friend, you are emptiness
cat fades to cheshire
....

cat says to mirror -
mirror, i have a black heart
mirror paints it blue
....

wise bhikkhu walked
looking for jellicle cats
wisdom ate the moon
....


some cats meditate
to learn of impermanence
from the mice they kill
.....

cats that eat maya
enlightened by all darkness
rise to feel all love
....

time wears a long coat
with many big deep pockets
kittens nest in each
....

eight-fold path of life
internalised in the ninth -
buddha-life, feline
....






Saturday, November 12, 2016

দেহনগরী

দেহনগরীতে এত তো অঙ্গার,
এত, রাগ বিতরাগ ভালোবাসা
তপস্বী বেড়াল তবু চাঁদের মুঠোয়
একাগ্র, অনড় – অথচ বহুদূর হেঁটে যায়
গভীরের মরুভূমি ধরে, ভিতরেও মরুভূমি আছে,
আছে খালবিল, চাঁদবেনে, সপ্তডিঙা
কত কিছু ভিতরেই থাকে, বাঁশীরোল থাকে অরূপসায়রে
শূন্যতা থাকে ভিতরে ও বাইরে

অথচ ক্লান্ত শরীর খুঁজে চলে ইতিহাস
যবে থেকে জেনেছে সে আঙুলের ফাঁকে বালি
চিনেছে কপোত ও কপোতাক্ষ উড্ডীন, সূর্যালোকে উদ্ভাস,
তবে থেকে, মার্জারক্রন্দসী, বেড়াল ধরেছে ইঁদুর
দূর থেকে নেমে আসা বাজ শিকারী তীরের দিকে
সেইখানে, নদী পার হোয়ো, থরেথরে ভালোবাসা
রয়ছে সাজানো রেকাবি ও পেয়ালায়, রেখাব ও গান্ধারে

সেইখানে এসো, বহুদিন ধরে এসো, ধিরে এসো
কেননা যোদ্ধা শরীর খুঁজেছে গাথাসপ্তশতী-ইতিহাস
যবে থেকে জেনেছে সে আঙুলের আয়তনে
ধরা পরে ঘাস ও শিশির, ধুলোয় ধুলোট প্রেম
বিতরণ হয়ে গেলে দেহনগরীর অলিতে গলিতে –

মোচ্ছব অবসান হলে –
স্বপ্নের ইগুয়ানা আসে, সালফির মৌতাতে ভোর হয়ে আসে
আসে নীলতারা, আসে জলপরী মেণ্ডকী নদীটির তীরে
জঙ্গলে রাগীরাগী দেবতারা দেবীদের শারীরিক লেবুগন্ধে মেতে
প্রশমিত করে ক্রোধ, টিলাতে আগুন নিয়ে আবুঝমাড়ের গাথা
পার্থিব ইতিহাসে গেঁথেছে সবলে শাবল, বেজেছে সরোলে মাদল
যাকিছু ছোড়ুব নাহি, লায় রো রেলা রেলো রে,
এলাই এলাই লামা লামা সাবাকথানি
ব্যাবিলনে ছিলো রাণী, ছিলে নারী – কোথা’ ছিলো কথাদের কথকতা

আছে,
যৌথখামার ভরা প্রতিরোধ আছে
শূন্য খামার জুড়ে পূর্ণতা আছে
পূর্ণতা পেতে থাকা শূন্যতা আছে
আছে বলে, সোনালী ডানার চিল,
সারারাত গান গায় আঁধার বোষ্টুমী
যুবরাজ বাঁশী – সব আছে কবিতার স্বদেহী মিছিলে
সমস্ত শরীর দিয়ে কবিতারা হয়ে যায় ইতিহাস
পাপীতারা ঝরে যায় হেমন্তবিষাদে
কোনো এক নিষাদবালক তার কুড়িয়ে নেবেই পালক
কোনো এক হিমঘুম তার কেড়ে নেবে ভরমার রাইফেল
কোনো এক স্তম্ভিত হলুদ জেসিবি এসে থমকে দাঁড়ালো
কোনো এক রডোডেণ্ড্রণ সমীপে – বিদ্রোহী, অথচ,
নিশ্চল, নিশ্চুপ

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Beautiful, this is for you


Stay calm, for they seek your anger
Love, for they want you to hate
They seek to get the worst out in you
For they know, that, 
in the game of ugliness
they will win
they have set the terms long before
the Masters of War – they’ve always been the same
For once, look into their eyes,
and say, 
that you are not afraid of them,
that you know that they are afraid of you
for they really are
they have always been
Say that you know your history
for you really do
Every flowing river, every grim hill, every screeching automobile
have taught you
haven’t taught them
They have learnt in schools how to make money,
how to make bombs
And you, who love, who are beautiful,
you have learnt,
from the school of life,
how to live.

Friday, October 7, 2016

it has been

it has been a long long time
made of clock-hands, coffee cups and cinema,
furtive glances at slender fingers;

we have been scared
of love, of touches,
of poetry
of children sniffing polythene bags
between steel tracks
beneath empty coaches in the rain
the coaches are still and silent
the children are still and silent
the rain is still and silent
Señor Pablo would’ve known

it is cold
for long has it been so
but don’t you worry
it will not be cold forever

certain birds go to the rivers
to learn magic
and turn into twilight
and don’t you worry
we shall not be scared forever

it has been a long long time
and all the horses have returned
to the dark secret valley
to drink moonlight
and dream of an ancient revolution

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

ঐতিহাসিক


থাক থাক সুঘ্রাণী সন্দেশের উপর
সিরাজ-ঘাতক ক্লাইভের সামনে
মহিষাসুর-ঘাতক দূর্গামূর্তি সাক্ষী রেখে
সেইদিন ছিন্ন খঞ্জনার মত 
নেচেছিলো যারা লম্পট নবকৃষ্ণের সভায়
বাংলার নদী মাঠ-ভাঁটফুল কি ঘুঙুরেরই মত কেঁদেছিল তাদেরও পায়ে?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

106 years later

what is to be done
with all the memories of forgetting
all the trivia –
red ants, dead people, shooting stars


what is to be done
with all the anger of grief
all the madness –
flames leaping up, zombies in terror, sullen postcards


what is to be done
with all the rain that never fell
all the history –

candles burning, candles burning on, candles snuffed out. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

by the river shabari


by the river shabari
i wander and i sigh
a thousand faces in the waters
a thousand in the sky

by the river shabari
sad breezes blow
sad birds sing no song
fireflies never glow

by the river shabari
guts curl in fright
cursed wizards cry all day
banshees wail all night

by the river shabari
history makes no sound
it’s just the waters flowing by,
and humans hurled hellbound

by the river shabari
silence cuts through bones
tales of life ever lost
humans turned to stones

by the river shabari
sunset rides the waves
my children there never dream
they sleep in unmarked graves

by the river shabari
i bend my knees and weep
and pray my atheist prayers to
the earth that runs so deep

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ratnakar by Saroj Dutta (Chatushkon Magazine, 1952) - a translation


bloodied feathers fall on calm river 
a sky chewed up through chest-smashing calls of parting 
Hunter – the Nishadh – 
He stands, shameless, stoic, stark in laughter,
Inebriation of non-violence in hand, red eyes,

Bandit Ratnakar awakes
sad questions in eyes, he stays awake, stunned by this sudden pain
two eyes of one swan – hurt to death 
– strewn astray by feet
Rishi, speechless in shame, Vedic mantras make no answer

Golden dreams of fortitude in eyes, 
the Hunter has won
From ashes of forgetting rises –
a past, aflame 
Vessels of blood burn in brutal wrath, 
Rishi burns in the hatred of denial

-- Today, by the rice-bereft hut, does she still stay awake?
His lover, her breasts are made of skin – does she hold a baby-skeleton to her?

In peals of laughter the Dasyu poet 
– he tears those false flags of non-anger 
Day of darkness, fulfilled, 
to end by the dimly caving shores

Monday, August 1, 2016

for the sake of

for the sake of the hills
for the sake of the valleys 
for the sake of all sadness
that weep in lonely alleys


a touch of love, a kiss for life
a book of poems to write
to wrap around and shield us in
when anger comes to smite


for the sake of rivers gushing by
for every bend they take
for every smile and every sigh
for the noose on martyr’s neck


songs to sing, fists to hoist
broken hearts to mend
countless friends sticking on
a handful dreams to defend


for the sake of slogans on parched lips
for the sake of what they mean
for every eye, though squished by pellets,
yet keep on shining keen


voyages of wisdom, voyages of love
those shores of freedom afar 
this road we make, this road we take 
unto the morning star….

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Certain Questions on Behalf of Dead Soldiers and Dead Children

whom do soldiers die for?
who teaches them to kill and hate?
it's you and me, sweet friend,
through sixty nine years of bullshit
that made us forget
how to ask questions

some never answer,
must never be questioned
and for the rest - we've been taught
to answer on -
to get jobs, mortgage loans,
dead children out of morgues

who kills all these children?
whom do children die for?
it's you and me, sweet friend
through sixty nine years of cowardice
that made us forget
how to stand between the killers and the killed

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

বস্তারের আকাশে গোলকায় চাঁদ

বস্তারের আকাশে গোলকায় চাঁদ
নানাবিধ কথা বলে, বলে চলে সারারাত -
বলে কুয়াশায় ডুবে যাওয়া স্বরেদের কথা
কোন গাঁয়ে পানী নাই, কোন থানে বুঢ়াদেও
গম্ভীর থেকে গেছে খুব - গাইতার চোখ তাই অসহায় -
বলে সেইসব কথা
উপহাস ছুঁড়ে দেয় আমাদের আধজানা ইতিহাসে -
আমরা তো জেনে চলি হিংসার কথা,
মেপে চলি রক্তের দাগ, ভেবে চলি
বনখেকো, নদীখেকো খনিজের কথা -
পুলিশে নকশালে ধুন্ধুমার - আর কিছু জেনেছি কি?
শুনেছি কি মানুষের বুকফাটা গান? মেখেছি কি মাড়াইয়ের মৌতাত
সমস্ত শরীরে?
চাঁদ জানে এই সব কিছু, অতএব
গোধূলির জাদুকর ইশারা দিলেই
গুঁড়ি মেরে উঠে পড়ে, জ্বলে থাকে সারারাত
পাহাড়ের মাথার উপরে, বনানীর গভীর ভিতর

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Weakness

you know how weak you are
your feet tremble
one mistake and down
down like autumn leaves
in scream-choke spiral
down like a cascade
that never knew
when the angels of freedom will come
and they never come
no light to stare at, no darkness to hide behind

you know how weak your are
in a world where everyone
even those that claim compassion
claim to be against social Darwinism
worship strength, worship vitality
seem to stare at you like tall statues
of humanhood
stoic faces twitch – the moon twitches away
to the oblivion you are banished from

you know how weak you are
you are the rabbit, everywhen
and there’s headlight everywhere
and happy faces make you sad
and sad faces make you sadder
there’s the snake and there’s the ladder
you sit by the feet of the latter
and wait for the venom
between your eyes that have seen much,
that haven’t seen much –
and you want to move,
to run away, to break through
that liberating movement
towards those anklets, now broken
that once had rung like the bells of love
but your feet tells you to fuck off

you know how weak you are
when you want to cry
but your tears have dried
and you want to scream
but you are scared to bother the neighbours
and you want the heart to puke
but you are scared of the pain
and you want the soul to flood
but there’s no soul
and there’s no rain either

you know how weak you are
when you don’t feel like fighting on
and you don’t feel like giving up –
you don’t wish to accept
you don’t wish to reject
na hanyate
na hanyamane
Shadows hang heavy
over hills you once had wished to climb
to drop, like curtains, abrupt
over dreams bereft and longings forgone
and that’s all that there is –
A pendulum halted mid-air
A sonata chortled in transition
Dante beholding the stars
The stars beholding you