[Biplab Chowdhury is one of the most self immersed and outré poets of Bengal at this point of time. A journalist by profession, the fond and universal chacha to his close ones, Biplab has traversed a long, forlorn path as a poet. He is intimately connected with the world of the Bangla little magazines and travels far and wide with and for poetry. This is a short selection from one of his recent collections—My Meat is Yours–আমার মাংস তোমার (Chnoya Publications, 2015). Translation: HUG]
“Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”
O White Swan
Did I know that god himself has banned meat for my benefit!
Would I have flown then at the speed of wind–
At the edge of the serrated greed of the blazing scimitar?
O white swan, from my acute wish to wring your neck
He wants to turn and deliver me to the rose-forest
And I, ignorant, go and sit in the peoplesparkling park
No one remains, my partner, a pair of tongs
And the eternally-aged mind, my mind
Nibbles away at itself mistaking it for meat.
Last time at the fair, you had disappeared O clay doll of mine. No longer there, was that the reason you could not tell your name to anyone? With the thud of the first wind you cracked into a million pieces. And then you sank into water. And mud. O clay doll of mine—still no one dare make you cry.
Unable to look downward, is that the crime? Fastening the sack, the cat you lug far across the train lines. Those eyes, smouldered in terrific lightning, I must draw! But that can’t be done alone, for they stand in rows neat, all aligned; from their sockets like torchlight luminosity is drawn out. Over our spines, the speeding wheels of the train roll over.
Everyone is writing his Best Poems. In the desert a drunkard slurps camel’s blood. The moon pours silver light-beams on his head. Sand particles glitter. Our greedy faces turn ruddy. Like morning teeth—truly unstained and the most ferocious. These my writing hands do not stop always at writing. From yet-untraveled deserts the stench of camelblood strikes my nostrils. I slide away from you. You who had, one day, clutched tightly the railings of some ferry-ghat…
Dearest, I want to just sit in the flower-garden. Unperturbed by thorns. The bloodbath beneath the feathers I shall hide carefully. You shall only see flowers in the flower garden. Red and blue and yellow and more yellow light all over the place. I am talking about morning. Is that coming to you as evening’s language? I am spent, old, you are correct, but look the flowers are all new. Blooming all over beneath a blue sky—all blue. Not my ribs anymore, ignore those. Sitting in my favourite flower garden I want to forget even me.
Look at your own shadow and walk on. Especially when in the evening’s light, he walks in front of you. When he is alongside and you glance at him sideways, there may be dense bloodshed if you walk into a lamppost. When he is behind you, why will you accept such an antithesis? Walk on, straight. When he is all over you, around you, warmth and shanti you will take from him.
Yes, one day after love what will remain is sheer sex. On a viscous marsh we shall sleep all rain-soaked. Night and rain will get fiercer. When morning comes our sex-exhausted sleep-trench will be cloaked by soil. And then we shall sleep, and sleep…
From the trees they have not plucked flowers, leaves. They have not gotten hold of anyone’s neck in a grizzly strangle-hold. Over the waves of your breasts they rested, assuming that the softened world lies there. All sounds of the world they thought had come to a halt. Hoping, one day they will be placed under another pair of hands. Right now the world wants to see blood in flood, so overwrought, twitchy it is.
Make the bed for me. Cajole me to eat warm rice, fish made for me. Before that they offer me, with hands trembling, quivering, glassful of booze. Recite new poems, incandescent writings. I see the new strokes of their brush over paper and canvas. I dream and am imprisoned within a web of dreams. One day, all of us shall fly. Bewinged.
My Body-less Head
I have chopped off my own head and placed it at my feet. Blood rushes, in the way its atoms will. Drenches the earth. All the gifts of this world arrive and stand wordlessly by my side. Friends of the beheaded all. “If there are so many murders, there will be more suicides”—at the end of the writing they ruminate. But one can hear them aloud, plainly. With a loud thud my decapitated body falls over.