Dhaka Saturday August 18, 2012


Two poems by Lori Simpson

Birth of a Nation
They stand among the lost and forgotten
Beneath unforgiving swollen skies
Waiting for splinters of lighting
To awaken the blinded eyes,
The billowing of our breaths
In their deafened ears.
Lingering for the explosion of thunder
Begging to be remembered

That they were not only bodies of pilferage and plunder
Unwilling wombs to intruders and invaders,
More than casualties of war
They were more than mere words
Ranted and scribbled in history books
More than pictures in an album of
Anguished scarlet red faces
Lost to glossy shades of black and white

They were sisters, wives and mothers.
Their flesh, their blood
Spilled red onto an earth of green
They are the forgotten faces
The lost women who helped give birth to a nation.

The Dancer
In days that dawn with a golden haze,
And finish in hues of silvery grays.
She dances beneath the whitest clouds,
Leaping and spinning in breathless bounds.
Emerald tresses blowing with the winds,
Twists and turns, and plié bends.

Rays of light from a glowing sun
Reminds all that the work of art has just begun.
The ballerina dances for all to see
She dances the ballet of the Willow tree.

Port de bras and pirouettes.
Pointed toes on silhouettes.
Dancing in uplifting allegros
Swaying with some sad adagios.
Bursting into frenzied gales
Floating back; as the earth exhales.

She curtsies to those in this earthen hall
Bowing to winter, spring, summer and fall
To all who watched and came to see;
A ballet performed by a Willow tree.

Two poems by Shabnam Nadiya

Him and Her
It was better when she was without
than what he'd given her now
This constant ache in her warmth
pulling towards his. When she goes
around the room shimmying to
the distant heat of song, when
she takes their laughter by the
hair and shakes it silly, when
she pours in rain and lights the
sun from her tongue, her teeth,
her unclenched jaws, is when he
craves her, sucks the well of her
dry. Her summer storms bother
him more than the spring eruptions
of budding leaves. But hey, that's okay:

Green can be frightening. Black always is.

Flying Blind
We saw
Death while we had
breakfast at the Bluebird
this morning

and we were sad
the scythe he carried
appeared to be
in the wrong

(You) die and let die
[To Mr. Ifte Khyrul Amin Abbas and me, who are alive and to my beloved sister, who is dead]

Shuvo Ahsan
Have you ever had a dream of being dead
and walking along the streets or running errands
being not so alive from the cerebral or, so to say, rational point of view?
Whatever that is, the POV is that you are alive
but not in your senses, and that you have your memories
of the period of after life six feet under.
You recount your days beneath the ground
and of your deadness, soon after I have exhumed you.
Then you inhume me and bury me deep with a flickering hope of my second coming.
However, I come back like those migratory birds
to tell a death-tale.
And then you die,
rise again,
and then I die;
thus starts the waiting to be in the tale to tell a tale of
being dead to resurrect and to die.

Two poems by Ahsan Akbar

Full Stop
Age offers hyper-sensitive feelings
About death and sex
My ambitions mostly erased, tortured:
Everyday I'm compounding, renegotiating
Caressing them horribly
With pragmatic attachments;
It's noir.

Stop crooning for an occult
For miracles and surprise inheritance,
Yet I expect to fully savour the rapture
In the nakedness of eternal sleep,
An exit strategy
Without a succession plan,
Induced with a dash of optimism:
A schooner flight, a rocket launch;
I'll fly.

I'll leave no creative force behind,
No leftover from pain or joy
A raging inhaler for murderous fumes.
A raging bull in a china shop.
Your legacy is not yours
And mine can just be a punctuation:
Full stop.

Suits Me Not
I don't like the idea
of wearing a suit
of wearing a tie
The motley crew
of the business world
of the power world
A homogeneous approach
to work culture,
to corporate mantra.
Suits are unimaginative
Oh the drudgery!
It sums up pure drawl
the sort glossy pages
of a recruitment brochure
will sell you in plethora.

Suits remind me of clerks:
mail sorting,
ad hoc clerking
and of boring accountants.

I want to quit the suit
grow my hair
go unshaven for days,
weeks on end
or months, liberating
my ruffled nature,
at ease with proto-success,
to write poems in Havana.

A Common Purpose
I set off in lashing rain
to catch a train home
from Surrey,
on the other side of the hill.

As I walked into the town,
focused - head down,
avoiding the puddles,
I could not avoid the pavements:
packed with people.
The rain bounced off their umbrellas,
forming a silver mist.

The clouds gnarled
the sun chose not to come out
yet a few minutes later
everyone began to cheer,
waving their flags;
I swayed, joined in,
as the Olympic torch was carried
down the road, far from Athens
farther from Dhaka.

Through pin-like jabs of cold rain
The sense of common purpose was tangible,
and the readiness for sacrifice
- in the form of a thorough soaking -
just as evident.

Two poems by Sabrine Binte Masud

Streets of Tbilisi
She said, “I love to travel in the night in dark streets of Tbilisi”,
and I asked - what do you mean by “love”, do you mean
to say you wouldn't mind letting your mind travel at the
touch of a pebble underneath your toe, sniffing for the
Black Sea resting her hip so far away from your finger
tips, and exhaling when the wind trots a step away simpering
for the echo off the Byzantine dome trapping its voice or
do you mean to say you wouldn't deny that “love” that
makes you pick up that pebble and throw it to shatter
the light into pieces, or does the straight symmetry of
the lanes make you whimper for a curve here
there or do you mean to say you would allow the
autumn wind to brush past your thighs and tug
at your skirt or is this “love” not as mundane
as being pushed against a brittle wall of a balcony
overhead, legs almost parted or would you frame
the shadows of one street leading on to the other
and the faint scent of T'one1 blazed morning bread
pulled out of your navel, or do you mean the “love”

that course lips sucked out of your breathe while
you were too engrossed in the scent of morning dew
and forgot the chokha2 clad rebel pressing hard against you, because the trinity of samaia3 inked your inheritance to a woman who once was a King…
…is this the “love” you speak of?

1. A Well shaped traditional Georgian oven
2. A traditional Georgian attire
3. A Georgian folk dance performed by three woman glorifying King Tamar, the first woman king in the 12th-13th cent, representing a young princess, a wise mother and a powerful king.

“The monolithic gods of our time
Only lack shrines”, said my friend,
Her finger-tips tiptoeing over
The galaxy tab, a swish of her
Nail edge removed the barriers
to a new Window
The coral band on the middle,
Creates balance enough for the
Nail to perform greatness from here
-to there the netherworlds, somewhere
in Singapore, a benchmark
Blinked an arrow “Up”

She took a moment to look ahead and -
found me, enquired, Maybelline crusted
Eye corners shrunk to a line,
I moved my head, twice,
North to south
Cover girl lips flicker no light, this season
Requires invisibility…

It took “60” seconds to reach the
The bottom, the ground from where
the concrete Rod, starts, that ends
in a Prick, of a
Blinking antenna, a buzzard's height
From its beginning it goes “Up” All
around us, jutting Columns,
Height and length,
Size does matter, vertically

My henna crusted hand reaches out,
My dopatta is tasseled, matching
The twinkling stars
on my bridal sari; like a will of
The pagan god, the one who worked
In mysterious ways, I,
Give her Valentino back a
Shove she stumbles … clip clop…
Jimmy Choo holds her balanced on
A seven inch needle point,
Always floating, only, this once
Her lips part ways and breathe “Shali”!

Two poems by Seema Nusrat Amin


Well I had to die to live again. And it was strange to die.

This “Good-morning” i've been waiting for
from the slowly drawn curtains,
of a commoner, friend.

The roof at pre-Assor.

and later I could see, down the alley (but from here A dome
higher than the ship-like windows of unfinished buildings,
its flag and its steep rising stairs)
my boy in long robes, getting admonished…
my six year old nightingale, whose smile is ravishing
welcome, weeps at the doors of his patriarch
Baba Coothubag.

the river Thames and my Barcelona courtyard…bursting
in the blood-blue

o level four hundred, eyes.
Seven up and downs of ragged buildings straight, gorgeous

is this a plane, are these heights? Am I taken again

Before Ajan
I stroke the vast memory
of the world:
histories are thin antennae.

I sense the ghost
walking past..our eyes unmeet
as the time, succeeds.

I have often accosted
these pavements. Sure of my heart,
this protruding stride.

God's eyes
rise in an ascent
the lover returns as feathers in the morne
when I stop, you start
Are these the rules
are ther any?

I walk a thin line love
and sickness

I catch the bolstered krishnachura
flame of your own world
striking the ship on the mast of heralds

Pauses the dynamite,
crescendo of unhidden stars.

silken clouds
balk at flesh…a scarecrow of me,
hanging on the clothelines
gone, Gone. gone at last, alive.

we are we who we think we are not

through the pale of the air
from an open window:
mishor namaj
I can not be in the dark green wet world.

Four cold birds, shiver like raindrops
touching the leaves

I wince at the ocean of colors, dispersed in a grey
Of twilight newer than Mecca

Serums, hiccups, all are beside themselves
The thin-worn arbertum
The dull ship in your wake

Passing through storm, to love you.
And then again,

In the empty brushes of the open gales
Inside a house I can not live in

Breathing the gallant deaths
Of the ethereal sea…against dark knives, Phallus

Medea in silence, spliced
Between his. And her. Life.