Sayan Aich

The Moths

Calcutta returns home,
Inside me.
I count the cars,
With their seat-belts around my tongue.
My eye-lashes sweep the streets
A storm from another time
And whatever remains of the day
Stays back like crematorium ash
The dead having already escaped.
All the available pin-codes
Sit with missing story-tellers
And listens to ships returning
To empty harbours.
My Janus city has two names,
Both quieter like people
Who have already removed themselves
From telephone directories.
At night,
Moths travel between Calcutta and Kolkata
Planning a trip to the moon.





Last Friday,

Everyone I knew

Living inside me

Walked out of my room

Like disciplined and industrious

Summer ants.

The bridges that needed to be burnt

Surrendered meekly to my

Letter writing skills.

And my visit to the laundry

Only revealed that

I had forgotten to collect the overcoats

In whose folds

I’d hide as a child.

The afternoon wore

My worn out pyjamas

And walked the neighborhood

Ghosts, too old to scare children.

When evening came

I sat with a bottle of longing

That I’ve been brewing

Since I was 17.

I sat there,

Waiting for morning

The way the abandoners pets

Wait for their masters to return.



Of Simple Things

I woke up earlier than usual
To write on the remains of the night.
I told myself
That it must be a simple poem.
No complex images and metaphors
Being transported in slave ships.
It should be a simple act
Like opening the fridge
And a simple disappointment
Of finding it empty.
Furthermore, no violence
Related to choosing and squeezing
Words and ideas inside freight trains
Vanishing in the German darkness.
No negotiations with former lovers
Who spoke like Public Address Systems
When all I wanted to do
Was stand like a streetlight
In the rains.
It should be a simple straightforward act
Of tying the noose around the neck
And kicking the chair.



In a Couple of Years

The tea pot meditates
On the affairs of the world,
The stock exchange
The power cuts
And inflation.
The washing machine turns
Like planets
Cleaning the dust of broken hearts
As I crouch inside it
And close the roof of the world.
Inside the months of longing
Swirl like hula hoop
Till someone switches the power off.
The telephones don’t work
The operators apologize
For not being able to connect
All the terraces in the city.
The dogs come home,
It will be night in a couple of years.

Sayan Aich Bhowmik is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Shirakole Mahavidyalaya, Kolkata.  A published poet, he is also the editor of the blog Plato’s Caves, a semi-academic space for discussion on life, culture and literature.