Patri 3

I translated some poems from Purnendu Patri’s Kathapakathan II.

33.
You might laugh
but I swear wherever I see licks of flame
these days I am prostrate as if watching a movie.
Let me tell you the reason.
A couple of days ago I read somewhere
that on an unfortunate day of the national movement
Nandalal Basu had drawn a bunch of posters
to make invincible
anti-imperialism and the emergence of tortured people.
But in fear of police raids
all incendiary posters are in the belly of fire.
Immediately having read the news
In the fire stony faces of proud humans feeling fury
In the fire incessant glee for chain shattering
In the fire the shining magazines of Chattagram.
On one side applauding youth march toward a hangman’s platform
on the other side behind naked soldiers
in the blaze of my own chest, a rib-enflamed bone-skeleton.
It was like this for some days.
Then I forgot everything.
Suddenly several days ago another impact.
Lorca’s life’s-worth of sonnets were tucked
in a soldier friend’s pocket.
Within Franco’s butcher-fire
Both soldier and sonnet burnt to ashes in a day.
After having read the news
In the fire blood wedding’s sprinting horse
Behind the horse a crooked blade of unbridled lust
Behind the knife a blue moon’s red blood hunger
And the green guitar’s endless yellow mourning.
Believe me, Amitava
Now whenever I look at fire
I see the various alphabets of
Lorca’s sonnets burnt to ash, or these:
Heaven, death, murder, blood, wing,
mountain, love, rock, dagger, root,
urine, hate, laughter, breast,
liberty.

Patri 2

I translated some poems from Purnendu Patri’s Kathapakathan II.

32.
Amitava, that I ripped the dreads-tangled darkness of a deep pit
and collected a rock, you know this. That I wanted to build
such a woman with a blow of a chisel-hammer that she’d look
as if she’d just awoken and showered at the earth’s magma falls,
this you also know. So the following story–

The day I struck the first chisel blow, a spray of blood. All night
a hand pressed on her wound. All day inside of her emptiness
like a mother. When no longer dripping in blood, and
her wound is brimming with green leaves, sitting down again
to mold with the chisel-hammer.
– What are you putting on me?
– A sari of fire. That which suits your soul.
– What is that smell inside me?
– I scattered seeds of yearning in your blood. Flowers are blooming on those trees.
– How shall I show you my gratitude for this new life?
– Turn the petals of my desire into golden jasmines.
– You are the one who will give me that power.
– Here, take this heart.

The next incident is very amusing. Immediately upon receiving life
she broke down the door of the room and ran away toward the earth.
She hasn’t returned. Having lost my own
heart, now I am the rock of a deep pit.

Untitled

This is a poem my mom wrote a long time ago that I translated from Bengali to English for my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary a couple years ago.

 

Untitled

For him I stand on bended knee.

Having noticed the beauty of a shoulder,

Having been an alveoli beside his lung,

Having been the skin stretched across

His soul, I have been so close,

Because I love him.

 

And if he does not bind me

I incarcerate myself in

My quiet penitentiary.

And if he never fulfills me

Then I exist, forever exhausted

In this dense obscurity.

 

But give me a little love

Some small piece of familiarity—

The vagabond scent of windblown hair.

And give me something more

If anything more remains.

No. 119

This is a poem my dad wrote a long time ago that I translated from Bengali to English for my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary a couple years ago.

 

No. 119

On destitute Kolkata’s
three cornered grassland tiara
Keep three and a half feet of land for my second me.
Flanked by centers of coursing civilization
stands No. 119 in the middle.
Tripping over calciated stairs
climbing up to that three cornered room
where I felt my second death.
From the old kitchen wafts smells of
reminiscent foods.
Tick tick answers, not the clock
But the old house’s childhood friend
tiktiki.
Spring shattered sofa, Pandora’s closet
and in the triangular middle
of the gold dust covered table
“Jagate Ananda Jogye Aamar Nimantran”
The volume of my triangular heart is rising.