p o e m s

p r a s e n j i t   m a i t i 



Where are you going my youth?
my fears, my poetry, my lines blown away
by whisky and aircraft crashing like a clash of cymbals
Where are you going my sanity? my images
that walk out on me and leave me whimpering
like silly old Calcutta
Where are you going my love? drying my tears
in tampons and the nowhereness of sorrows



there and you are not
like the dizzy sorrows that are mine
lining my shirt, frosting my drink
as I walk across downtown Calcutta
my beloved misery
where your smiles light up the stairs
and my cigarettes endless
like your days and ways
that are my sorrows, my ins and outs
because you are there and you are not



Your lips like skies and your eyes like anger
as I return all my rivers to myself
my rivers saline and sad and forlorn
your arms like castles and
their pits like wells of honey and dew
where I may swim and reflect awhile like myself
your smile like skies, your lips serene
your lips curled in silent rage
your smile frozen like yesterday’s salmon
that I chewed like vengeance
the mustard dropping slow down my teeth
like mercy, your smile like skies
your lips like skies
your lips like Calcutta
your lips serene, your lips divine



What really is sadness all about

and what does sadness look like?
I’d like to think like all Indians writing
in English that sadness is sadness

and has quite expressive Indian eyes
if nothing else ... sadness goes around

Calcutta’s Strand at a pretty amble
and does pretty nothing else ... sadness

is almost like innocent cigarettes smoked
as if in a frenzy, as if sadness
would leave tomorrow and leave us all
in an Indian ecstasy!



is an odd thing to ask before the
pen and the paper, and an hour
that is not ideal for confessions

It is morning, after all

Are you not reminded of the promises
round the corner that such mornings
used to brag about?

I am, and I have not yet recovered

from the treachery of nothingness

from the treachery of Calcutta



To a man and his resolution
a woman is someone steadfast
to be decided in the early morning
sun surrounded by the aroma
of a coffee drizzle
as the skies and the gods above
smile down bereaved and jovially
not benign but somewhat clumsy
in and out the Central Avenue traffic
lights smothering the blossoms of
all your soul’s passion flowers
as if in life as if in frenzy



You’re going away like a fantasy
the Southern Avenue sky far away

and somber
like your lush, swinging breasts
your calf muscles like egg shells
running into the tramways and

all those doors and windows

occupied by Calcutta’s downtown sorrows ...
I light up a desultory cigarette
and walk all those uncertain miles

back home to nothingness ...
and yet it is morning, and yet

it is Calcutta among the wild

wild rains once again



copyright 2002 Prasenjit Maiti


next page


contents download subscribe archive