An Unequal Extramarital Affair: Mandakranta Sen

You can talk to my parents
I don’t mind if you do
We’ll talk later, you and I

So restrained in every way
But reckless in private
When was it I came to know?

My mother quite likes you
You’re a brother to my father
But actually, you’re my friend

Why didn’t you bring auntie, darling?
You mustn’t tell her ever
How well I can kiss

To open the front door
We’ll go downstairs together
Our moment of madness

A secret storm in our breaths
The scorpion stings without warning
A constant flow of blood and pain

It’ll be staunched soon, it will
Have you seen how easily my face
Fits on the width of your chest

How are auntie and Mitali?
Do they ever come near you
In search of marks and bruises?

I’ll go to your office tomorrow
Exactly at four twenty-five
We’ll lose our way after that

Climbing to the top of Shahid Minar
I’ll scream out to the skies
Indra-uncle is my lover

June 22, 1962: Binoy Majumdar

Then let it, let it all burn, the fountain, the gaping, wounded heart
Let peace stay away, let me forget all satisfaction
Let my body, my soul, fill with my agony for her
Her eyes, oval like a boat, had held the intense call
Of the ocean, shadows, clouds, rainstorms, the sky, the wind
Like the memory of the blossom that pricks with its thorn
Her thoughts won’t go; this agony, it is as secret, as sweet
As the sting of the membrane torn at the first lovemaking
Then let it, let it all burn, the fountain, the gaping, wounded heart

A Foreign Land: Mandakranta Sen

Wait, before being torn and ripped
Let me memorise your lips
The border of grass beyond
The lips; the slightly fragile
Intensity; the danger-engendering
Heat; the irresistible, excellent
Rain; so much of it, so much
And, on this bursting summer day,
From the northwest corner of your lips
A storm arrives

I stand with my feet on the frontier
Within our lips there’s a growth of
Barbed wire. Say I’m dying to visit
Your lips today, I think it will
Take many years. Still, tell me
Try to remember and then tell me
What was it that really changed
After our lips were partitioned
Besides our kisses?

This July: Mandakranta Sen

This July you went to the mountains
Are the rains different over there?
Do clouds suffer less from forgetfulness?
Does Tiger Hill always keep its word?

It rained in the city too, as usual
She wandered alone on mud-splattered feet
Weeping without reason, an old habit
In the sky the hours signalled heartbreak

In the mountain were you distracted
Your hair soaked in rain? Did young clouds
Garland your body with vaporised sweat
Falling to earth at your faintest touch?

In this city, in its lanes and bylanes
A cloud had sought a familiar cruel boy
Who had promised, hadn’t he? The rain
At dusk returned alone to the outskirts

There Was Somewhere I Wanted To Go: Premendra Mitra

There was somewhere I wanted to go
But never did
In the closed room the panes are rattled
By a wild gust of wind
Let them, I’m just fine
Picking out my thought worms
When that irks me I swat flies
I know all wants will die when I shut my eyes
I have learnt to grow where the sunlight falls
To pluck the dreams within reach of a stretched arm
Or to avoid the rice because it is bitter
I’ll weep no more for the absence of what cannot be
Why not instead spin a yarn of ‘oh, if only’?