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Mandakranta Sen


Not even a grain of salt, you only have your wish,
Cook with your tears, girl, tear is also saltish
Make a full course menu, a full course of suffering
Sour dream, sweet envy, oh please don’t miss a thing!
Keep it to the east, to the south some lemon to taste
Keep wind to the north, a sleeping oven to the west
Now the ritual is done, shut all the doors and pray
The time has come girl, today is the ultimate day

Don’t let him run away from these offerings you’ve made
Onto the dish of God, girl, serve your own bloody head.

Translated by the poet

The Believer

Remember, you used to make collages!
You even made a weird Goddess

with her arms rising from her head
her breasts are her eyes instead
In her eyes lolling nudity
play around two brothers – passion and pity
Oh no! they are sisters, I mean
The Goddess can only be feminine
So many navels make her waist eclipsed
Then you put on her feet your lips
and the sacred vagina on her forehead
 oh my!
Suddenly lights up her third eye
Is it light, or fire! You burn and fall

Everything a believer has
The Goddess takes it all.

Translated by the poet


Okay, imagine
if I went mad today
what would be left in me?

Sensation of pain, hunger, craving
all these, which could be otherwise stated as probabilities…
And suppose, that lunatic me
have pushed straight to your balcony

Though at my sight you would never take me for crazy
just a leper’s rattle in my hand

You shut the door in haste
and through the window toss a coin at me

But, what can I say, I only came
To sing a new song for you…

Translated by the poet

The Wind

Wind is blowing
Wind was blowing.

With that wind, the pyre glowed brighter
Everything that could be burnt, was burnt

Gradually, the fire quenched. So also the wailing.
Having eaten up the ashes, the river wiped its face and lay down.

Strangely, even then, pervading the whole universe
Wind was blowing.

A stupid, deaf and dumb, blind, motherless wind.

Translated by the poet


I want you in my body, and then I want me to find
how and when this body meets with the mind
I want you in my mind too, digging deep into my soul
I want to see whether you’re there to take control

If you are there, then I don’t care what’s said and done
you are my lover, my father, my brother and my son…

Translated by the poet

Say It Differently, Once More

Call not Darkness Darkness, name it Night.
Night is a spiralling pen surrounding the poems
The time when the world changes her attire,
                                escaping eyes
                                                          is the night.

They, who watch her stealthily
Sin not, for they get reborn !

Through entire lifetimes call not errors sins,
                                    call them poems.

Translated by Shubho Chatterjee

Nights With My TV

Some days are just terrible
I hug the TV and take it to bed
channels churn through the night
chanting incantations, throwing
gold dust onto my sight

The fearless youth of the ad
languorous dark eyes, soft hair,
shirt-buttons open, ear-ring. He looks
straight at me, winks slowly.
He lives in my lane,
he will be mine,
if only I drink Coca-Cola tonight.

He sleeps with me in my bed all night
holds me tight in fifteen-second spots.
I caress the smooth skin of the TV
tossing and turning through the channels
Holding my little companionship tight.

Translated by Amitabha Mukerjee


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