SINCHAN CHATTERJEE - POEMS
I tie a rope around my stomach
And ask to be lowered again.
I hang in the air
And wipe the four sides of the walls with care:
One layer at a time.
I sing myself a song
As I go lower and lower,
Starting from the top
Scratching the surface,
Every day I see new depths
I scrub and scrub,
I toil and toil.
Sometimes I get crushed
Between the narrowing walls.
Someday I will reach the bottom
Having swept it clean
All the way to the ground.
I am journeying through my mind
And all the darkness that has gathered
From years of ungrateful, exhausting use.
I run my fingers gently
And dream of buried memories.
Nothing passes here except for fire
Nothing stays except for soot and ash.
The God and the Human
Play see-saw all day
To see which one outweighs the other:
The human self sins and repents,
And the God self forgives and smiles
And washes the slate clean;
It's a ritual. They do it every day.
Until one day
The weight of the sins is so heavy,
It dries up all the mercy
In God's pocket,
And with a dull thud
The human side
Crashes onto the ground,
Then into it,
And digs a hole -- so deep
It reaches the womb of Brahma.
On the other end of the see-saw,
With the supplicant's sacrifice
On bowed knees
At His altar,
Until the sun
Is a halo around his head.
The Eternal Postman
Each moment is a baton
A parcel I must deliver
A letter I must carry
In my beak
From the past
To the future
The only time I can call my own
Is between the picking up
Of the feathery gift
And the setting down
Of the wingéd weight.
Under the Broken Bridge
He sits stooping with his arms folded
In the shady corner under the half-broken bridge.
No vehicles pass through anymore.
He has felt the pulse of the city throbbing through its veins,
Now numbed, now dead.
He sees another diabolic lash of the cosmic fang
As a lightning flash lights up the world in violet.
He prays and waits for the dark to return, like for an old friend.
He wishes to be forgotten, drenched or drowned.
The first drop leaks through the crack and shuts his eye blind
He goes to sleep without praying for tomorrow.
In his next birth, he hopes to be a crop
So the sky can be his roof and he may learn to love the rain.
I am alarmed out of my sleep
After a night of dreaming
Which seems like a few seconds in Paradise.
Like bird-shit, I find myself
Dropped on earth again
(Enacting a daily lapse) ---
I collapse into a sanity that seems mad to me.
Afraid of being seen naked
And terrified of not being seen at all,
I wear my language like a robe:
Recall the sound of words and greetings and
Brush my smile and take on my body
I put my muscles to ignition and
Drive myself to the car
I console myself with photographs of my forefathers
Who found solace in this daily trade
And would be proud of me if they were here.
On my way to work
I mourn the freedom of those who sleep all day
In railway platforms and under road-bridges,
As I hawk my madness bit by bit:
I dig drains to guide its flow into a sanitary pit.
I bury my screams in jokes and dreams
To remember I am sane.