Wild Donkey’s Bray

On January 3, 2014 by admin

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Rana Roychowdhury

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Rage I Have Veiled

Rage I have veiled

Cranes fly I see with binoculars

Their whites flutter in  the skies

This janasamaj, medicines, bandage

Blazing flowers, window concealed

All this he had jotted down—in notepad after notepad

Everybody on the T.V. is saying killing someone is a sin

He had written about such a sin in

Notepad after notepad—

The dog’s mute stare he had written about

And about boiling rice.

*****

Now He Hangs As the Moon In the Sky

Moon in the sky—tonight.

 

This news the pristine girl brings to me

This news the shadow of the adjoining door sets free

 

All of us the neighbourhood gang

Climb up to the rooftop. And see

Truly moonlit it is, this sky and that awash.

 

Right then someone in the crowd said: But that is not the moon!

Heck no, that is the land grabber little Khude!

 

And we all see now, indeed

It’s that ruffian Khude, for whom the police

Was on the lookout; right now in the sky

He hangs as the moon.

*****

Adda

When Ramachandra left for the forest

You got emotional and howled and wailed

Right from that day we had decided

That if we have to visit the forest

Let there be occasional jungle safaris

Treetop houses and no less

Manas sanctuary, Kaziranga, at the least Gorumara

(via Lataguri), for travel cars please contact

Bappa Ganguly: Phone 9433425179

And if one is looking for a good, healthy cottage

On the forest outskirts

It must be Mithu Banerjee’s

Now the question is whether Mithu Banerjee is a man or a woman?

If she is a woman, we may decide (with alcohol and dancing adivasis in tandem)

To inhabit the forest for 14 years

It is our long standing wish to see copulating wild elephants.

*****

Water

Water

Fills up the bucket

 

Filled up bucket

Makes me happy

 

Water

From the bucket

Goes far away

 

In this manner, everyday

I fill up and get drained

 

A world of water

Revolves

Around me

*****

carrom

Playing Carrom

The way the professorial couple plays carrom

Is still beyond my ken.  Especially the red. From distant districts

Hopping trains, skipping vendors

Prancing past the splendour of chanachur-lipstick-peanuts

The professorial couple will make sure to gobble up the red.

I think: those of us from Kalyani, Basirhat—till date those who

With upright tables, vertical minds,  childlike, play carrom—

Red is our cherry toy. Our claim and our due. Our clear-cut poetry magazine.

Look! There’s Shajal, just crossed the bridge to hit the red straight into the net.

But the professorial couple nets it obliquely

At an angle—winding down the Sahitya Akademi path via Banga Sammelan

The red makes its way to the net. As if a bride’s hibiscus got stolen from the garden.

No one knows the thief—blurred, he’s the yellow river bank.

But in anthologies they dazzle and on the dais too

In tea cups and in editorials—

But they are no robbers, no killers, no.

Famed carrom players merely.

*****

Words

Snake

Touring around the house.

 

Dread

Touring around the house

 

Thus touring dread

Gets into the hole

 

But if words

Surface again?

 

Then where shall I keep the poison?

Then where shall I keep the pain?

snake

*****

Dreadlocks

Tables and chairs

Garnish this universe

Pranayam and party-diktats

Dress up this sandy shore

 

The Tamil mad-women gave me this bit of news

Lights from group theatre delivered to me this news

Madwoman with livid liced dreadlocks

Love-dining-table garnishes

 

In the conifer-island lights blaze. Illness

And dreadlocks unravel. Such power truth wields

So much light today such guest-speak

Shall I not stand in the line too?

Marvel at the sky, galaxies!

*****

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Wild Donkey’s Bray

How shall I call out? Moo woo?

Or Bande Mataram? Better Inquilab Zindabad?

Whining ruff arff? Or growling bow-wow?

Snarl and roar shall I?

All’s hushed—sunsan, silent-empty.

Falling leaves in the sunsan.

 

No man, won’t needle no pricking

His brother’s younger sibling just bought by sweat

No man, won’t prod no pricking

I swear I won’t

Beacon Tagore up there

And Joy in my quill

This restraint sees me through

Restraint, winning party’s restraint.

 

Hey Abhik, let’s dive under the train?

“Nope, Ma waits with warm rice.”

Hey Abhik, let’s enlist our names in the Maoist centre?

“Nope, Ma still waits with warm rice.”

So what? Be a corpse at the dinner table

Tell Ma I’m your flower in the pot

And I am your almanac, anthem, chorale

Moss on your broken staircase—

Look some bloody mangled meat; like London bridge has smashed

My skull and character.

If one dies unnaturally, at the end of maya and desire

The soul orbits, turns round for two years at least

Yes, it’s written loud and clear in Abhayananda’s “Beyond Death”

That after death the soul doesn’t grasp

That he is no more a poet,

He thinks there is rain in the fire still.

 

See, Abhik and I

Evil spirits after death now, spirits of infirmity

Banging doors, running about Pirgachha road

Spotting lovers shall scream “Let us live, please let us…”

Fuck your English speaking habit we will yell

Utpalbabu has gone the Bosebabu way now

From tree to higher tree barking aloud: ‘Cocaine Cocaine.’

Bullshit, that is never to be, that dream. Tut!

 

Wild donkey is shaky and shy

Can run faster than a mule

Our table used to house ten wild donkeys

Abhik and I slipped and fell

Into your… oh dear… into your misery—

 

And remember, Gopal at home means hassle aplenty

Ministerial treatment, three meals a day

Bath, scrubbing the lazy organ

And Gopal can’t be left alone

Still Gopal’s a darling pet.

Harmless Gopal, no sex, no craving for fame

Harmless Gopal won’t enlist in the CPM, and no suicide attempts too

Vegan dish vegan wish

Just make sure to pray thrice a day.

 

But see, crafty  Shyama beckons him now!

Shall Gopal respond?

Will he not commit suicide?

Will he not ask awkward questions within the party?

Abhik and I will ask for sure.
And hound Binoy-da: we the evil spirits, hee haw!

Ma some water please, we need some cloud, yes a couple of clouds

To Joyda: How is Mitra-di at Silchar?

To the Prime Minister: How fares your knee-ache man?

 

Look, Gopal’s getting upset seeking fame

Sits vacantly by the pond

He is shaky and shy like the donkey

Tonight there will be a dance-drama

At Rabindra Sadan

On Gopal’s sense of right and wrong.

 

Is Gopal puerile?

Does he love Jatra?

The press folks shove the microphone

Right at the dhuti, the panjabi, Gopalwear

His underwear and his dhuti flutter aloft in the air

Like janagan they quiver in the air.

******

one

[Rana Roychowdhury is an untamed, unheralded voice yet. With five formidable collection of poems in Bangla and a prose work. Translation by HUG]

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