Thursday, May 28, 2009

Calcutta Unbound

Long faded footsteps –
history books are silent,
but you can hear them
if you press your ears
against the mossy brickwalls
decorated with myriad
handbills and posters
and faded paint,
or if you walk along
those sunless alleys
where the stench of
bleak sewer-pipes
If you look closer –
into the rain-soaked grounds,
you’ll see hoofmarks on
the three hundred year old

Pilgrims, bandits, butchers,
saints, nawabs, thinkers,
poets, soldiers and Governor Generals –
they whisper together,
along the hanging roots
of the banyan tree
which has seen much blood
and has weathered many storms
Don’t disturb them now
Don’t wake their spirits up now…

Can you hear the rain falling
on the gutters
of the dark bylanes of
the mystic-drunk-red eyed
All the raindrops that have fallen
for the last three hundred
years have sounded the same…
Can you hear a gunshot
echoing through the death-black night?
That’s Warren Hastings shooting
Philip Francis down,
or maybe the police
shooting some revolutionaries
All the same
The entire history of the city
has been written around
the soundless nights,
the chain being broken
at times by the howl of dogs,
eerie shrieks from the neighbourhood,
the whistle of the nightguard
and the occassional distant
thunderclaps and lightning-streaks…

The river bears testimony
to all the tears, laughter,
oil and tar the city
has ever seen…
If you go to the riverside,
you’ll find an old man
in rags, smoking –
his gaze seems distant
and the lines of his face
tell stories of their own;
He stares
at the chimney-smoke-hazy
horizon – reddened by the sunset…
You’ll see the sun drowning
in the river,
as the old man
and the two bridges look on,
The river…the sleepless patrol…

But the sun will rise again,
tomorrow, like it did yesterday
For hope never dies in this city…

This is my city,
This is my nest,
It breathes in me
I breath in it
It flows through my restless veins,
and roots down deep inside
like the incessant sound
of the primitive trams
dragging themselves along
the dusty tracks
towards eternity, like turtles
like turtles

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wasted Waves

“I am the daughter of the sea” –
she said
Her hair was wet
Her lips were thirsty
Her face shone with froth and sand
The sand was black

She was the daughter of the sea
The sea was in her eyes
The salt was in her breath
The sun was about to set
She was the sunset

The waves danced about, wearing
little crowns of foam
Civilizations rose and fell with the tides
Seagulls dotted the red horizon
The sea was red, glinting
with pieces of the broken sunset
The shore was blue, blue and blue
She was the daughter of the sea
And her voice was a rainy night

Fairytales and hummingbirds buried
themselves in the sand, with oysters
and crabs The eyes of the whirlpool
saw phosphorus dreams and salt
Kings and crowns were busy chasing
mirages Her hair was wet

Her body was caged in the twilight
of foam and mist
She had no clothes on
Seagulls do not build their nests
They follow the masts…

She was the daughter of the sea
She became the water
She became the salt
She became the wave
She washed the shore
The sand was black

She stretched out her hands
And she touched my fingers
And my fingers…my fingers…
felt the waves

I touched the sand
And the blue cyanide from
the black sands clung to my fingers
My fingers felt the cyanide
I touched her lips --
soft, like an oyster's belly
with the pearls within

We kissed, we kissed
The kiss of eternity
The eternity that wears
the black hood, the
shapeless, formless mask of death
and rides on the back of a turtle
We kissed
Her eyes were silent
in the twilight

The waves danced like a carnival
wearing a garland of skulls
The carnival of blood and sand
was soundless in mirth
We kissed

And then I flew back to my nest
Evening was creeping through
Darkness fell

Friday, May 22, 2009


When I become the sun,
let me shine on you
When I become the moon,
let me smile at you
When I become the stars,
let me wink at you
When I become the rain
let me fall on you
When I become the snow,
let me cling to your hair
When I become the breeze,
let me caress your face
When I become the sky,
let me cover you up
When I become the wine,
let me touch your lips
When I become a flute,
let me sing to you
And when I become a heart
let me throb for you

To Love

For your heart I give my empty kingdom
For your soul I give my crown of thorn
For your eyes I give my starless nights
For your smile I give my burning tomorrow
For your tears I give the my poison blood
For your body I give my hopeless desires

But for you I have nothing to give

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Story of the Other Storm

I believed in the nude goddess of the dark
The darkness became my flesh
And like moss fern and lichen,
a world sprung up on the very flesh
Very flesh
Blood flowed through my rivers
Tribal drumbeats deafened the silence
of my heart
And like microcosmic reminders of infinity,
corpuscles danced madly to those beats
Beats Beast Keats Kissed
Hissed Pissed Missed
by a few miles, missed in the multifoliate
of the black rose – womb, womb
Future’s tomb
I entered through that door
like a husband and like a son
For I believed in the nude goddess…

Is it that very flesh and blood
that build up our days and nights?
That built up Leda, that built up the Swan?
Is it from this very darkness, this
wet darkness, that the future leaps
out towards the fountain of light?

History answers these question
every day
As the children of Adam and Eve
push on and on, in search of a
piece of sweet eternity…
The snake and the fruit and the tree
are but fairy tales
What matters is the throbbing warmth
And the rain that follows…

I thought of these as I lay half asleep
And oblivious of the bed of thorn…
Holy currents were flowing by
And a swan and a paper boat floated along
downstream, downstream…
A storm was raging outside
And the other storm – inside…

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ekta Themey Jaoa Orchestra

Ekhaney janmo maney aslesh
Ekhaney mrityu maney klanti
Ekhaney jiibon maney punorabritti
Ekhaney shwapno maney srot
Ekhaney jyotsna maney bonya
Ekhaney bhalobasha maney pounohpunikota
Ekhaney bishwash maney khola bajaar
Ekhaney asha maney aboshad
Ekhaney bnechey thaka maney stabokota…

Ei shob din ratri shudhu pitch er kalo
raastaye bus-tram er chakar gharshon
Machine er amogh kathhinyo,
Robot er shashon, srinkhholer nirdesh
Aar boba manusher gaan gaoar spordha…

Ei shob jiibon mrityu r shutoye bnadha
itibritto aaj o chhandomoye,
JhhNijhhNi der oikotaney shurjyer
protikkhyae jomayet andhokarer mato,
Shibii o opekkha korechhilo,
pathor hoye… Pathorer o kaam achhe
Pathor er shenanii aaj srenibaddho
louho corridor e, andho chokhey,
nistabdhho aarti niye dondayomaan…
Tobuo brishti ashey, phool photey
Shoshye shobuj hoye diganto
Aabar shurjyo othhey
Prakhar dahonjwalaye
Raajprashader shamney stupikrito
barud aguner chnoya r kamonaye
Prashadey shomrat achhe,
Taar pathurey kolijaye niil rakter
kshiinotoya aajo probahomana…
Aar prashader bairey footpathey
aajo ardhobhukto janosrot…

Ostitwer artho holo
adhiir protikkhaey niyato kNepey othha
Aar bishakto aguney pooretey thaka
ekekta chhNirey phyala kobita …
Lohit-konika, shwet-konikar
Probaho aajo chokitey boidyutik
shonketey jhholshey othha diganto
ekhon chimney r dhNoya e dhhaka
Bishakto tulitey aaNka jolchhobir
canvas ekhono shobhyotar kachhe
gopon rekhhechhe shilpi,
Jyamon ami gopon rekhhechhi amar
dagdho kshatochinho gulo…

Michhiler bhhirey hariye jaoa
Amar osthhir shahor Kolkata…
Ekhaney juddher patobhumika
rachona hoyechhe, hochchhey,
Padatik shoinyo aaj prostut
Adesher opekkhyae sthhito…

Tobu o siren e aaj bishad
Aar nishachar kobi o kono ek
agatopraye lahoma r utkonthaye
udgriib, udbel…

Saturday, May 16, 2009


When it was dark and lonely
stars floated on the water
And the moon hid the owl
Under the sleeves of her long
white robe, we set sail

As the darkness rose and fell
with the tides and the wavering
Oars – the eyes glinted beneath
Eyes of fishes, fishes
Fishes never close their eyes
Down by the whirpools,
the jaded out solitudes became
one with God, and clung to the
nothingness, and we set sail

Layers of darkness had gathered
over the night sky, accumulated
throughout the centuries, as little
men and women were busy
knitting the history of the night
Darkness is nothing but the robe
of the King of night, solitude
is his crown, and eternity is his skeptre
We rowed through the night
Silence fell like raindrops from
the starlight,
The stars – they stay
close to the kingdom of dreams,
Dreams floated on around us,
Like the halo around the moon
In the waters we could see
the blazing image of Prometheus
His eyes were burning with the
Passion he had stolen from Zeus
And we rowed on…

The waters trembled between
our oars like the absurd happiness
of Sisyphus when he saw the stone
rolling down
The world rested on our palms,
And hope and faith rested on our
dusty boot-heels,
We were the faithless fanatics
In search of light, love and happiness
Like a drop of rain from the
heart of the steadfast firmament
Waiting for Oedipus to sigh and say :
“I conclude that all is well”

The night, the darkness, the solitude
and the starlit waters revolved round
one single moment – and that moment
of bodhi came down like
all the love that comes down from
the heavens to the earth to proclaim
the Kingdom of Eternity in our hearts...
And God said – Let there be Light
And there was Light, Twilight,
dotting the first pages of the Day,
Green, fading by our borders
Visible through the canvas
of the same Flesh and Blood
That makes up the Divine world
That makes up the tombstones
That makes up the First Light,
the First Sight, the First Sound

We saw an old man
digging the dust for gold
We saw a child
sweeping the blue skies
for a penny
And we saw a primrose
dancing all by herself
We heard the innocence of
the breeze over the forlorn
passes of the Himalayas,
We heard the mournful songs
of Philomela, songs about
long lost kingdoms and dreams…

Such were the first Sights
and Sounds of the Day that
was destined to fly on the wings
of the nascent Hope…

We thanked Pandora as we rested our oars
The shores were new and green

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Zero Tolerance Zion

Everyone doing something
Breathing, eating, dreaming,
Staring upwards through the skylight
Sleepy eyes, floating dreamwards bound
Poet, muse, mystic, haha gibberish
matchboxes with nomadic operational hazards
Lazy times, lazy squirrels like a caterpillar
with broken back
Black and white clockhands
Seven sea sands with sea monsters
and Beethoven with the night of the narcissistic stonehenge
Antagonist, Agnostic…

Golden Monkeys – they stay in the sky

Upper regiment with broken ribcages
Minuites, hours and seconds standing at the door
Reflected in the mirror
Fire leaping up, bellowing like a
hushed up aristocratic scandal
Ministers and councils advice the king
The king of frogs – his voice is hoarse
and cracked from incessant croaking

Golden Monkeys – they chatter in the sky

The door of my cupboard is cracked as well
And in that crack cockroaches reside
The kingdom of the cockroaches – they have a king too
And they have a god named Gregor Samsa
And a holy book called The Metamorphosis
Parallel to the edges of the multi-angular dryness of the crack
Darkness sets up his unabashed throne
Darkness has a wife named eternity
Eternity has a paramour named religion

Golden Monkeys – they eat the stardust

Cobwebs filter the hollow vacant nudity
Numbness of the frostbite grows free
Unrestrained by the monarch’s big toe and the dog-eared lawbooks
that state nil nisi bonum
Windows keep on staring inside
the pale of the moon and the skyworn
sickness of lovelorn Rasputin and the
frittering fickleness of meat and bread
Waves, echoes, boredom, ennui
and Revolution thrashes on the washed feet of
the Apostle – he has lices in his beard
Food for all, shelter for all, hope for a few…

Golden Monkeys – they drink the moonshine

Droplets of wine, poison fire fuming
down the chimneys and tunnels and
fireplaces where greyhounds meditate the
passion of the minstrel of paradigm
and holiness of picric acid gulped down
in hollowed out moments of vacuous
hypnotism and agoraphobic Philomela
Tapping the sidewalks of the democracy of
jesters and troubadours, down the slope,
into the valley of Bob Marley

Golden Monkeys – they tried to bite the sun but their throats got burnt

Canals of the passing monotheists dive dream
down deep Don Quixote windmills windmills
Don Quixote Ringing for a drop of heaven
and a dip in the rivers
with the wombs full of fire
and ashes and wanderlust and Armageddon
thirsty for a piecemeal antique of the thoroughbred
subterranean suffering from Oedipus complex
and Jocasta’s dilemma silence of Sophocles
says a thousand words of the confusion passing
the pallid ardour of the whirlpool, ceasing,
open-fire, castrate the bastards Love of a woman,
mother, wife, daughter, love, struck by
John Henry’s hammer aching shoulders and
mourning dynamos of the impetus behind motion
and existance of duality and public information
counting days like philatellic verses

Golden Monkeys – they fell off the sky

She sang to me a lovely song
She sang to me a lonely song
She was from Venus and she loved me crazy
She gave me a plastic rose

And the Golden Monkeys fell asleep

Friday, May 8, 2009


Like first love, rain came
Inara Serra - she stays across the streets
Waiting for yet another loveless night
Sold out for a handful of penny when she was twelve
Sister of sacrifice, child of hunger, bride of lust
People call her the fallen woman
People made her fall
Her helplessness is her sin,
And her redemption lies in her submission…
To her, the rain means nothing but
the wet, warm smell of a long faded
The rain makes her sad
Yet, like first love, rain came

Like first love, rain came
Ahasver – he rests for a while
under my window, his bootheels are
muddy now
He has been rambling across
the world for many years
and is doomed to ramble for many more
People call him the Wandering Jew
People pity him too
He has seen and heard everything
And he can still see and hear
But his senses are covered with the
dust and dirt of two thousand odd years
He didn’t feel the summer fury
And he doesn’t feel the soothing raindrops either
To him, the rain means nothing but
the thirsty expectation of the Second Coming
The rain makes him thirsty…
Yet, like first love, rain came

Like first love, rain came
My neighbour – she’s an old lady
And she stays all alone
I can see the pale yellow light
from her window
She’s knitting her wool
And her pet shepherd dog
is lying on the rug, close to her feet
With his drooping toughtful eyes
and his morose chin resting on his paws
The dog’s pretty old too…
Once there was a war,
her son went to fight,
and never returned
But no letter from the army came
And so she kept on waiting
And she waits even to this day
People spared a few drops of tear for her
People forgot her pretty soon
Her own tears have dried up from inside
Now she spends her time
knitting sweaters for her son
To her the rain means nothing but
staring vacantly outside the window
for a few brief seconds
and emitting a short dry sigh
The rain doesn’t fall on her…
Yet, like first love, rain came

Rain comforts

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Beliefs and Nightmares

The twilight believed in the day,
The desert believed in the mirage,
The drowning man believed in a piece of straw
floating by,
Leviathan believed in his King…

As the deafening silence echoed across
the stone corridors at night,
The eerie martyr believed in his blood…

Time, running between Zero
and Eternity, was fading by
the mossy wetness of the dark
womb of historical absurdity, of
angels, demons and fireflies,
of mice, of men, of leeches and maggots…

When a flash of Light blinded the mind
of the Creator, the Created and everything
else in tenterhooks and hindsight
Hope got trampled down the staircase
of Odessa
Faith was dangling down a vicious
greyhound’s teeth,
with dripping blood and chlorine…

Stories of life and death, of hope and
butchery took birth, floating by the
absinthe of fire and mayflower…

Laughter ran high, cutting through
the remnants and the ruins of the
bedouin bridge that once joined
the entrails of Gargantua and
Shattering the mockery of
Innocence, of Time and Death
The scorched earth, filled with
the sullen temerity of conceptions,
development and Destiny…

Deathly whispers flew around
the fireplace, riding high on the
wings of suicidal moths
The single moments trembled on
the rainbow of the timeless times
and the rhymeless chimes of sonority…

The dice rolled
We were burning
And our collecive beliefs -- those

were burning too --
Burning in the cold blue neon light…

Life – left dry, hard
bitter and cold, with the first
pain of birth…
High by the progenies of
supposed miracle
the single room,
with its walls covered by
tattered pictures of Cactus
and cobwebs eating through
the tentacles of the morose
waiting for the day,
or at least for light
Might be the sun, might
be electricity…

Hazy fragments and tuberculosis
from benzaldehyde or Kekule
dreaming of snakes and Freud
dreaming of his mother…

The lonely nights keep us awake
And whispers, moans, screams

and tolling church-bells
which only we can hear in the
darkness drop down from
the bleeding heavens to our
burning foreheads…
Darkness takes the shape of
Fairy Godmother and pays
her nightly visits to Cinderella
to collect her dream-rent and

Darkness, Fairy Godmother, Freud…
Faithless screams and burning passions
take the concrete yet abstract
shapeof belief
As moss grows on the corpse of
one whole generation lost
in the sea of directionless tidings
and the same videotape being
played backwards over and over…

Cras credemus, hodie nihil
Cras credemus, hodie nihil
Cras credemus, hodie nihil

Porcupine, porcupine, porcupine…

Preludes and Afterthoughts

When I live to live no more,
When I love to love no more,
When my nightingale refuses to sit
in Your Garden of Agony and Ecstacy,
When the first raindrops fall on Your blushing
And Your moist eyelashes glisten in the first light
of the dawn
Remember the boy who once used to strum his balalaika
for You…