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Two poems by Kamal Chowdhury

  • Published at 08:24 pm December 10th, 2017
  • Last updated at 08:29 pm December 10th, 2017
Two poems by Kamal Chowdhury

Third World

Both are lovely, beautiful and loving. Whom to choose, whom to leave— whom should I touch with my longing palm? On my left is a serene beauty. On my right a body of gold. Should I reach out for the left hand? Whom do I need more? I can’t understand a thing. I can’t understand. I touch the chin of the left—a shadow rises in the full moon light. The dew drops of the night get touched by the heat of its light. A right turn makes me doubtful as I put my shivering index on the nipple of her breast. I feel someone is scattering grapes to evoke desire. Is this my desired woman? Right left right left right left right— where do you want me to lose my way? Whom should I embrace—whom should I kiss on the lips? I don’t understand a thing, I don’t understand. I can feel them pulling the two ears of the donkey. I stand between them out of my senses, without reasons. Overcome and dancing with my lungi over my head.  

The Uprooted

They piss and sleep on the footpath Darkness clings to their clothes They’ll join processions if you pay them In public rallies, they make up part of the public They know who the godfathers are, and the flunkies too Only their slogans change on command Often they face police batons Their butts are tough, so they offer those up The prisons are rather hospitable, Sometimes they’re taken there too Shall we not give them a name? If this was America, we would’ve called them homeless Alas, our triumphant motherland is worn out searching for the perfect Bangla name. (From 'Selected Poems of Kamal Chowdhury.' Reprinted with permission. The poems are translated by fellows of Dhaka Translation Center, and published by Bengal Lights Books. The book was launched at the DLF 2017)