Abu Siddik is a poet with a heart that beats for the unseen, uncared, downtrodden and marginalized. He can be called a poet activist who traces the truth and beauty poetry seeks in places, people bypass and ignore. His poems uphold the darkness that lingers under the flashy lights of money, fashion, celebration of the dominant festivals and fairs. He brings out the heart wrenching ironies of life and draws attention to the daily battles against odds for survival. Poems like ‘At Seven in the evening’ and ‘Fifteen feats’ are bound to move and compel the privileged to ponder over their position and attitudes towards those who live on the edge.
- At Seven in the Evening
At seven in the evening
I sit next to our security guard,
A tall, lean man aged over sixty,
And say, ‘Day is hot, but no sweating.’
‘You cannot stay a second at my home?
‘Why?’ I say.
‘A tin roof shack!
The skin turns into coal if the fan moves,’ he laughs.
I say nothing.
‘20000, they claim.
A house is allotted to me by the government.
Why do I pay cut money?
Moreover, how can I pay
The bundles of notes with my meagre salary, sir?
I refuse and so, we are toasted under the tin.
My friends faced the same,
They refused, and the party workers denied them sheds.’
I look at the sides,
A cockroach has lost its way,
It is moving and moving in a circle
In the shadow of the car.
Mosquitoes are biting us,
I kill two and stand to leave,
He stirs limbs, and the mosquitoes flee
Only to come home again.
- Fifteen Feats
Just as I take a window-seat
at 9:46 local train, and begin to read
‘The rolling plains arched her back,
to an obliging sky who lay down
between the lifted thighs of brown
hills all the way to the horizon.
And the wind sighed.’ from R Vol Lindsey,
a child in bare feet begins to twist her bones
to the rhythms of her mother’s beating drum,
she regales our eyes with fifteen feats,
and when her mother stops, she stops
and stretches a stainless pot to the pleasure-seekers.
Classy commuters, dressed to match the desire of the day,
find many a fault in the mother and the child and the system
and they refuse to drop a coin and argue in support
of not encouraging the way of visual pollutants.
Nonchalant, the girl next moves to the rows of labourers,
repairmen and tool-makers, seasonal performers, patient parties,
newly-wed couples and jobless lovers,
and almost all of them stretch their hands and praise the day.
Meantime, her mother moves to the next coach,
and the girl follows her steps and begins to repeat her
Abu Siddik teaches at Plassey College, West Bengal, India. He is a bilingual (English and Bengali) writer, editor, and reviewer. He loves to write poems, short stories and critical articles on the struggle and resilience of the Indian marginalized communities, the underdogs, the outcasts, the invisibles. Some of his writings have appeared in Muse India, Spill words, Setumag, Indian Ruminations, Mercurial Stories, Indus women writing, Different Truths, Café Dissensus, Story Mirror, GloMag, PPP Ezine, Atunis poetry, Literary Yard, Saranga, Destiny Poets, Boloji, All poetry, Countercurrents, Atlantic Literary Review, Phenomenal Literature, etc. He has four poetry books, three short story books and four critical books. His latest publications include Identity and Belonging: Mapping the Margins (Authorspress, New Delhi) and Banger Musalman: Somaj Pironer Dahan Brittanto (Gangchil, Kolkata). He is the editor of a Bangla literary portal: https://chetona.org/ . Please visit his website for more: https://abusiddik.com/