A hog, fleshy and smooth. A woman
kissing it deeply.
A green dragonfly flapping at their feet.
Sudden gust of wind thuds at the window panes.
A man, likewise, crashes at their feet,
‘Save me, oh! save me’.
Yet, they stay unmoved.
As if they would snub even death.
A bubble, blue and enormous,
light, restless, and easy
Stuck at the ceiling;
Oh! the bubble seems to be in labor.
What kind of habitat is this?—thought the chiffon girls.
What home is this?—children cried out like ropes.
Characters dripping off the letters
Flames severed from the lamps
‘Easy, Easy’—saying some hairy beasts to them.
FLOWERS STREWN ON THE GROUND
Flowers strewn on the ground—I thought some poems are shed
From the stalk. So much more water flowing in the stream,
Chimneys, chequered in red, churning the blue sky.
I think verbs will be eliminated now
Mukherjee’s new servant would be cleaning the kitchen.
New porcelains have a tinge hitherto unseen.
What was in the supper last night—was there soup
cherries between the gleaming teeth, the highbred apples
a dish of mutton, warm, soft, and juicy
garlic, rose water, cloves, and attar.
What was in your supper last night—it left a mark on the bed.
—All dressed up as you are,
with a fresh green pen by the new leaves.
What did you see at midnight, your cracked lips
dry with thirst
—As if a worm-eaten leaf,
Water deep in an abyss, a raging dust storm, a desert bandit.
Call me to the table, hand me a cup and a proposal
Air has milk in abundance,
Light has sugar, plentiful in store.
I want to fly quite far, with a spotless mile-meter
Check if the wings are folded.
Break open the package, measure, and pour,
So I can now
Melt away in the cup;
The bright spoon, eagerly awake
And let the coffee be made.
I have come around from this end to the other
to reach your cup.
Do you likewise
pour all your milk and all the sugar you have.
Do you too love the written-down recipes!
Gradually, from the depth of the cup,
A strong flavor rises and permeates the embryo
in lips, in wombs, in myriad wings.
Water: the longest tunnel
Where the color blue is born;
Light: the lid of the tunnel.
A blazing knife and a firearm
Shriek of a lacerated vein, a flood
Warm, imposing bandage
And pains spreading, engulfing.
Wind: the crimson cotton, translucent in the air
Water droplets surround them
Droplets skirting the slender fingers too.
A finger opens the lid and descends
slowly into the tunnel,
Onto some bizarre buttons;
Rows of blue buttons humming softly in the deep.
Shankar Lahiri (1950) is a poet, editor, prose writer, filmmaker, artist, and an avid thinker. Now a retired engineer, Lahiri keeps himself fully engaged in forest safari, photography, book-designing, computer graphics and study of cosmology apart from writing and trying to curate his own universe full of endless possibilities. A poet of 80s, he has been actively associated with the cult Bengali little Magazine, Kaurab, as a member of its editorial board. He has authored seven books of poems, three books of prose (non-fiction), and has edited the complete works of Swadesh Sen. He has so far directed four films based on poetry, the latest of which (M B Rajmahal) is available on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEqy5VhR_ag&t=37s
Cover artwork: Denise Montresor “Microorganismi – metamorfosi”