All your shapes are drawn into paperas jitter-quivery as brains;
your limbs flared out a little
for balance on the water;
someday no-one will bother
to ask what it all means,
someday all the borders will smear,
and where will cease to matter.
I ponder the asking of questions
that really have no answer -
the lift of pig-snouts in and out of
the muck and melees of rains;
the blinks of streetlights climbing into dawns.
East Bengal or Mohan Bagan?which of the narratives, dialects
do you speak at home, oh none?
yeah, your accent’s wrongly clipped -
where did your foremothers come from?
where are your descendants going?
what do you mean you don’t know
when our lives are being ruined
by borders drawn long ago?
how do you take your riverfood?
that’s the wrong recipe entirely!
The silver fishtail thrashes in the bowl,
the nib gleams in a sad chuckle.
An ad banner for a photo club saysto focus on the bigger picture
and then choose the smackro-ed details
to rub into an artistic blur;
someone like me in her status updates
has “control” paired with “gun”!
Somewhere a man holds aloft a banner;
near home the march of a million.
I ponder the building of echo chambers
that have no other options
except to return the same last words.
The domes and arches of your minds
fade away into the shadows.
Why do you worry about the murderedhalfway around the world
when your sisters are gang-raped
and your brothers killed
bloodlines can neither be erased
nor can they be re-drawn.
Sister, who do you call brethren
and which side are you on?
Specify your birthplace here,
and where is your deathplace?
The forms crinkle their eyes at me.
The ancient bones of pyramids crack
before the secrets spill.
For my readers who are not Bengali/Indian, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are football teams. Bengal was partitioned into two separate nations based on religious lines during the independence of India in 1947, and there was massive displacement of people on both sides and horrific casualties. The Hindus by and large came to India, and many Muslim families left their homes and went across to the other side. Bangladesh has subsequently fought Pakistani control and become a sovreign nation in which struggle India too played a role. They celebrated their Victory Day on Dec 16.
The Partition is an event that Bengalis regretted then and some continue doing so now, it is artificial as the heritage and language and the culture is common. Even now, where an Indian Bengali has his roots - "this" or "that" side of the border, is an important part of his identity. Signs of i.d. compliance, adherence to the correct protocols, supporting the "right" football team, cooking with the "right" recipe etc are given undue and sometimes quite ridiculous significance. And we as a race elevate nostalgia to a fine art! Probably a little like the Irish from what I've heard, but then I wouldn't know firsthand :)
This week has been eventful in a bad way, too many terrible headlines right round the world, Sandy Hook, a young woman gang-raped in Delhi, political unrest in the ME, where to start or stop? Expressing in a poem is the best way to cope sometimes!
Shared for OLN @ dVerse