Shayan Bhowmik’s Five Poems

Of Weary Hands and Lost Rivers

Clouds are always written
In an illegible hand.
Only those
Who have spent
Their entire lives walking across languages
Know how to read the rain.
With every downpour
The number of alphabets change
And the weather Department
Predicts new words.
The rules of grammar suggest
That it always rains over cities
Where lovers run their weary hands
Across lost rivers,
Their hearts now twisting
With every bend.
Only they know
What it takes
To summon the rains
On terraces of their choice.

Of Wounds and Scars

It only occured to me,
Upon attending the funeral
Of a really long poem
That most of the mourners
Were Street fighters of sorts.
Every evening, these words and forms
Abandoned, discarded and scratched out
Met in an alley
More sinister than politicians,
And sparred without gloves or headgear
Till one found a place
On a page like this.
The ones who did not make the cut
Sat, sharing the tables with patrons
Who could furnish no documents
To prove that they love someone else.
When the bars downed the shutters
They gathered on the roof of the night
Tending to their rejection
Under the dripping stars
The scarred looking after the wounded.


Of Beginnings and Ends


Some journeys always
Begin on the ledge,
With dangling feet from your reflection
In the mirror
Or from the 45th floor
And even in the opening of a bottle
With an entire beach
Of sleeping pills.
Just a start,
Turning on the gas
Shutting the windows
Because it is always the first draft
That needs the most corrections.
People don’t sit with death
Over a cup of tea anymore.
Everything always begins
With stopping a cab,
And hoping you are never asked
To get off.

Nine Lives or So.

Every friday, at the local market
I’d see her buying clay pots
To plant her poems,
A Jerry can to water them,
Just in case it didn’t rain
For a couple of days
And small packets of manure
For those words that didnt
Howl at the moon.
I sat on a bench
And watched her go from shop to shop
Her white apron
An invisible shield
Against the dirt of the world.
Later, the children gathered around her
And she patiently handed over
To each of them
Unruly rivers flowing
Within the folds of her dress,
Instructing them on how
To make paper boats
If the rains arrived
Like unwelcome visitors.
When evening came
And the local pub opened its doors
We would wait till the air was so heavy
With grief that we could
Write our names on it.
She came often
Staying long into the night
Later, I often saw her
Running her long fingers
Over a tropical storm
Like one tends a cat
With care
With the intention
Of inheriting
All its nine lives.




The wind scratches against
The window of the Sky
Its nails overgrown with the years.
The storm that was meant to arrive
Has waited for a worthy candle
To show the way.
And now one waits for
The invitation of the moon
To turn it down
Because there are too many stars
Inside the rooms of the lovers
Who hardly sleep at night.

Shayan Bhowmik

Sayan Aich Bhowmik is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Shirakole College, Kolkata, West Bengal. He is also co editor of Plato's Caves Online, a semi academic blog. His poems have been published in journals both in India and abroad, the latest being in South Florida Poetry Journal.

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