Selected Bengali Poetry

Presented by KAURAB


Aryanil Mukherjee :: Poems

Aryanil Mukherjee was born in Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta), India in August 1964. He grew up with lingering memories of the Bangladesh war (1971). He writes in Bengali while constantly translating and transcreating them into English. He is actively involved with parallel literary movements and is published widely in Bengali poetry circles. His first poetry collection KHELAR NAAM SABUJAYAN ("The Greening Game") was published in the Calcutta International Book Fair during Spring 2000. HAWAMORAGER MAN ("Weathercock Mind ") , his second poetry collection followed in 2004. Aryanil is also a prolific poetry-columnist who writes regularly in both electronic and print media. Aryanil migrated to the United States in 1995. An engineering mathematician by profession he lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. Aryanil edits KAURAB, an unbeatable journal in parallel Bengali literature that has lived for about 40 years now. KAURAB is also the first Indian Poetry Web Magazine (http://www.kaurab.com). Some of his english poems have been published in Maverick and ZNine.

POEMS


Late Night Correspondence

The sycamore is hyper
I can make out from this correspondence
Nothing has gone out in print yet, nothingís under cover
The rain rarely writes, lacks a capital language
keeps flexing and fixing the visuals
blackened tears       draining out the abscess
as they exit
The man limps towards the bathroom
Now we know he is still there

Swallows always sing for the swallowed

so you can step out of measuring cups
and all the do-re-mi-faís following the piper

How could a nursery rhyme without a plant

Cones footprinting the sycamore
I get a sense
the threads in the sky havenít lost their ends yet
didnít notice your dried pimples now slowly filling
boys searching dark waters for the sunken deityís head

Lamps in their dying oils

Upcoming winter shrinks tight in a childís grip
It's time for you to leave
Those bridges canít be seen from here
The metronome ticking much milder today
just as we hear the dove
outside the radio station


Meaning Berries

allegretto
     red ball leaving green fields singing blues for which sky from where
     Berry Sarbadhikary, the veteran cricket commentator
     jumped and took his life      why
     who knows     why your face surfaced
     while we crushed the blueberries in the yard,
     mistakenly, stepping on them
     and high temperature tonight     visions moistening around eyes
     - "typical symptoms of wet beriberi"

allegra
     a little short of breath right now, ran 3 miles at a stretch
     calories burning in all annals and crevices
     smoke above the chimney in Evening Whisper Lane

andante
     quality letters     black ink anointed all over
     a bunch of ashberries arrives between the covers
     in search of death
     much like evening calling from within a rolling cylinder
     like a callpoet from across the river
     from across the mind a cooing Kaveri

crumbs:
Kaveri is a river, and a bird.


Notation

losing is a daily affair, like breakfast
with every one in the house looking for my lowercase poem
while it was right beside the window
hidden under the blanket spread out to the sun
remunerating

its piano break now
try a little cucumber with
breadrolls and tea, some gossip
thatís when the notations begin to wobble once again
from the ruins
rising thick black heads       multipliers of life
whose loghouse full of children did the hurricane sweep away ?
whose wife was eloped by fresh flakes of cotton ?

and the parents and husbands, their sad, black tidal wings
flapping amidst the density of inchoate dark cries
crumpled, agitated but alive all afternoon
cawing and cooing
your letter said Ė "weíll have a solar eclipse today
i hope you didnít forget."

in this sudden 5:30 sunshine
our bluish souls stare at the dough of minor clouds
around the ribs
a goatís ear caught up in a scarf veiled over nosepins
mute music on blades of evening grass


Your Angle

which angle you would view from your angle
is up to you
trying to see it all from a merry-go-round
when nothingís no longer visible.
joy throws up your spin
triangle turns into cone
approaching the king with cautious steps
on clear black and white
but someone charges in diagonally
and swallows us

us and the swallows

those who can play break-and-mend games
split a triangle in four
and fix it partially to get back a quad
with two other triangles

where the circle always follows life
yet hexagon broken, two quads holding hands
our travels trying to measure up the earth


Meaning Eyes

I have seen step-mother dressing up her twins
A like B
let one eye be close to its pair
let one's desire flutter inside yours
her dance provokes his
one floating when the other waters
and when it doesn't I am in the doctor's office

this doctor graduated in electrical engineering
finally succumbed to optometry
he says his office is like a temple a mosque a church
none comes before the other
most importantly, the third eye must sprout

a hanging drop, endlessly
a hundred mending eyes looking up to it
when red turns white returning health
the vision improves
we look better than we can see


Meaning Dusk

lift your swamped face, hey you
for the afternoon, gold-plaited hour
that has a cage, feathers in odorland
warm breasts - mini red
cut open and pulled out of snow heart

if the shepherdís quick, so are his cattle
dust rises
birthday came up at a railroad crossing
bogies so slow
tortuous
sleek
heavy
eternal
repititive
cold murderer of time
yet serialized beauty
in the jungle I saw smallprints next to roman numerals
calendars chatting with maps
waste papers flying, chasing a rainsick boy
a catís cry fades out with the light
we went that far to sing to the birds


Meaning Marks

your needleís working and the blue jay, on her nest
I, on the brillo, scrubbing away the crockery,
working,working     on the marks
the dinner left on our taste
all of its spills, spots and lines
unfed, unattained

the fact that these cars crowd in front of morning synagogue
inside the hindu temple, private space prohibited
keeps only the sense of the matter alive
we marked them on the cave walls as we learned to count
like cavemen marked their women on the forehead -
an I-sign
that
took us back to the ancient text
underlined in red, those lines somehow helped
like condemned cells help isolation.

"sky" is an unscientific word      for poetic use only
yet, who's surveying the night's territorry
between silver milestones ?
who's attempting to weave a white hose
under orangeskin ?


Rocker

out comes from finesse its best sound
or leaves like autumn
leaves behind its snake-skin.
pick up love with an intense sip
eczema all over the river birch
and yet the reason works deep inside a thrill
the chasemasterís pals
elude the crowd, trick the cops, the killer
and run into a faraway dark
where powergrids donít trip
colored candle flames wave
Rituís hair
beats the sea breeze
the black brassiere flies off the rope
and the moon calls Ė

democracy, autocracy
democracy, autocracy

and other words that donít rhyme
words that drench beat burn and empty
this fall-night
the open book on the elm rocker
still draws me near


Basudha

its the glass that differentiates mirror from window
a poet from the reader


a few priests at the mouth of conversion
doing their rounds in shabby lanes
looking for hermaphrodites
everyone's road isn't every road
these Chinese kimonos were made in Myanmar

where is the validity of a disagreement ?
Joy is a boy's name on that side of the planet
opposite is another pose
although the other is always another

likewise mirth=sadness advent=depart birth=death boy=girl
the priest's scarf has binary figures painted all over it

yet basudha has her own life somethere on the globe


Moonstruck

After almost ages, the moon's spell descended
to live on water.
And the long girl with rustic hair walked into it
Purnima....listen....Purnima

Someone mentioned Jamuna
Darkskinned Jamuna, who coerced me into her
dark world of dark gaze of dark blue edges
Shadows that moved like secrets in the pine forest
Seemed dark, too
Melatonin burned, Jamuna seemed and felt like
real Jamuna

Suddenly, after ages, the moon's spell descended
To live on water.


Fence

You are always behind a fence
You are always aimless, while walking
While suddenly snaking my arms
And I sense fences even then
Like the Magnolia has its fence
The fencing at the end of Hyde Road
Like the rummaged green unclaimed shirt on the fence
Did the Eucalyptus threw it at us ?

I think of you, and those two
human shadows at dawn
One face submerged in another, uniting mouths
One face sculpts, the other, its art
I came to the edge of your easy stream
But fences, sharp fences
Prevent.
Your flower, still unplucked.

In dark channels you dont see blood turmoils
Bends, folds, excrutiates itself out
Jumps over the neighbor's fence
into unreadable swirls of rose.


Niagara River

Perhaps winter has it's contrasting odors
Perhaps a simmering blue cup held up high
Entire New York growing red poppies below patio-stairs
Mist pulls at the milk-maid's brown skirt
Scorched hydrangeas immerse oranges in our tea-cups
All stores closed, morning nine
I don't hear a single human voice in these homes
Not a single kid in the play-yard
Strange city called waterfalls

Morning turns blue over steel bridges
A river wrapped in zinc-papers from cigarette boxes
Never saw a boat there, never a desire to flow
Allegheny mountains, don't know why, wear foot-bells of purple grass
In the artpark, why did they paint a rainbow on donkey-skin ?


Departing Thoughts

Every blue has a washing of its own
It rains when its time to leave
A plastic patio stretches out into an auditorium
where the sky rehearses.

Last week a black-moled waist roamed
on the verandah
A boat in sinking sand recalls its hull
its cabin
Minutes holding breath between two faces

Its time to leave the moled waist
time to forget hands changing flowers
Each class of wine has its kind of glass
Murano has its own history
A hard look through the heavy lenses
then wipe the black board
Silence drips in those forests
Dreams of agriculture die.


Sense of reflection

Shoulders brush the walls around dark stairs
A gentle rear-ending on the avenue
Collision begins the music

Look at the conscious stream of new generation cars
Digressions in ethnic folklore
Note the calligraphic alterations
Headless bodies in more paintings -
A face is not your only ID

In my dreams, women change their walking patterns
their haircuts, pseudonyms , hip-plastic
Stars do the rounds while each circle bounces,
touches the bounds of dream
and gradually, like an ellipse
conjectural space. I look at the lake.
I turn around, think about a star's life lost in it
A sense of reflection outgrows the water.


Forest Department

These reserve forests devour mailmen and insecticides.
We've seen the granite museums for displaying letters
Terminal mailmen, proof-reading their autobiographies.

Todays' insects pierce the can
Eat into the insecticide, and live.

I see a greening game in all this
every green, each vegetable waiting in the reserve
their shadows cast on the monitor
where Anita reads my e-mails -
page-up, page-down
Anita watches the boughs bending over my face,
forest department in my book-pocket.


Conspiracy

The sky takes off its blue three-piece
Homecoming bullets could finally kill a day of work.
Put down the fog next to warm wild flowers
Chirpgirls already in watersongs -
A variety of monocolored tapefrocks hang from
barbed wires.

Neem and Sirish trees , at this hour
Share a mild mockery of the man
Who, estranging himself from the reserve forests
Grows mannered multi-national roses in his balcony.

One stems from last week's tree-plantation ceremony
Hears the whisper, conspires
Pet forests burst open their wombs

Coming fall
Hair-doers on the third-floor
Won't see the sky.


Some Nights

Coffee dragging the night in its smoke
A loner on the snow
Those wordly babies sleep now
Brushfires speak up in our bushes
Have you seen the ducks ?
Whose creeping hands weave the cyclamen ?
Fog rises and coffee settles
Finally freed of memory, we stare at the roots
trees burning, unnoticed

Mr. Bloomspring, the actor, is long dead
Snow all around this house and that
A piano, mouthshut, reveals dark spots between white teeth
Somewhere, a flute chokes with melody

Even when they're off-board
the pawns, strategize


Didnít quite become an Orange

Rain recurs and hence holds - sound and meaning
Who's the recurring addressee ?
Donít think. Choose a first-thought
Donít show me a daily sun
A deer walks in, burns, in and around the mind
A strange tastelessness controls us.

Amidst death, in the afternoon, he sat up to drink some soup
Noodles with lives woven as one
remove him from all the sweet excess
Once upon a time, women would sing of abundunt flowers
a curseword
would split a village

A lot of thought makes a mindverse
What was put down here in afternoon light
didn't quite become an orange


Daily

If no one fills in between a poem and a song
like between sprout and wither
a scent comes full circle.

Do you read that solitary eagle on an Alaskan treetop
Is it warbreak now ?
As kids, we liked water colors
thought, what made the colors stay afloat?
In the scorching orient, flowers get little sleep
eternally awake, high and swarming
petallegs spread far apart they offer the sun
fresh yellow vagina-spores
The ones that moved in
are allowed re-entry.

Daily sciences pronounce themselves in beautiful repititions


After Promise

Probably nothing follows promise
White flowers of crab-apple in the left hand of spring
some spill, lay below
to grant us the much needed scent
that makes us eat well, ask well,
mend our minds so we look up to the cracker flames
hanging above the city's skull
lanterns rekindling the violets

These plateaus didn't occur like a soulful country
On the contrary, we borrowed from them
light breeze
fields, forests and figs that abscond from time to time
Lincoln park - too crowded this afternoon
The leaves are dead, instead flags of a million countries flutter


Poems translated by the poet

-----X-----


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