A long twitter to the eleven green leaves
I am a brown leaf, drenched in the water
that blocks light but reflects shame.
I float near an erect stem,
a stem more erect than the Washington monument,
with a thick bark that ignores the tender touches and
the gentle whispers.
Are you mocking me?
Yes, in case you have not figured out,
I move with the water, like a fashion,
no roots, no conviction, only seasonal conveniences.
All rotting leaves know their veins are swollen with a complicated past.
In harmony, we take the lazy escape of being just inspired.
Only inspired; no less, no more; just inspired, but with precision.
Why do you have to be so green, so mature?
Why all eleven of you have to sprout together?
Why sanctify my black water,
inject life into the stem,
that deprives you under its shade
and fears the wind?
You have robbed me of
my privileges of ignoring you.
I pray you forget that
you inspired me, scared me,
when the green leaves intoxicated the wind.
Life sleeps near death, memory near dementia,
hope near fate, waves near shore,
like separated lovers unaware of each other,
until stirred by your breeze,
and provoked by the dawn.
Listen, you, the eleven green leaves,
you have to forgive the rotting and the rotten leaves.
I beg you, please.
I will listen to you.
I am secretly scared and
proud of you.
(Dhaka Tribune, January 12, 2019)
The Metropolitan Museum and After
Why couldn’t we meet at the MET
Under Aurangzeb’s dream in the Asian gallery,
Before the Persian river from your eyes
Devoured me like a forbidden vortex
Numbing my Victorian immigrant senses?
We both miserably pretended that
The thunder between our well-demarcated worlds
Did not pull us together
Like a black hole beyond every pedestrian’s view,
Before we slid
Into the zero gravity of an early quiet morning in the Central Park
Until you suffocated me
With your hair and
Even after the empty glasses
Stood silently on the crowded coffee table
Like obedient soldiers.
(DesiLit Magazine, USA, Winter, 2008; Forum, Daily Star, 2007)
A little possibility
It’s the simple possibility that
I might bump into you
but not suddenly recognize
your now unfamiliar
in a twisted way.
that Princeton creek by Alexander road
had the possibility of becoming
the voluptuous D&R Canal behind Lake Carnegie
turned on by the spring fever
was groaning like the Nile.
Sorry. I am prone to exaggeration
when I see no possibility.
But wouldn’t it be wonderful if
the creek turned into the Ganges?
And the canal into the Nile?
the low-income country version of
An overused campaign promise.
We all need it sometime.
I need it now.
Let’s suddenly bump into each other
in the crowd.
(Princeton Prism, New Jersey)
A Krishnachura in Cambodia
The haunting krishnachura
in Phnom Penh transports me
back to Dhaka
of the 1980s
when I had a father
the sky had clouds.
Here, the jamburas in the rain
are a bit pretentious,
but behind their green skin
I can smell my childhood
and the run,
and the walk,
and the dream,
green and unspoiled.
That jambura seller in the soiled t-shirt
with her little son
next to the double-parked black Lexus and the grey Range Rover
and below the krishnachura
has a quiet face,
hiding the pains
of losing her family
in the Pol Pot ocean.
Now I know why that krishnachura
is red and flows quietly like
the Mekong water.
(August 22nd, 2011, Java Cafe, Phnom Penh)
The Starbucks Table
All the tables were
taken except for
the one for the handicapped
It is big and flat, and
overlooks Nassau St.
I look at my asset pricing notes:
indifferent look at Indifference Pricing,
Good-Deal Bound Pricing.
Then comes Dynamic and Incomplete Hedging –
a must learn for every new bride
to deal with
her manipulative mother-in-law.
One Polish physics geek on my right
makes a nervous move
for holding the left hand of
a shy Kerala girl,
seemingly on their first date.
And the Australian grad student
turns his back facing the crowd
and shoves his face on
game theoretic equilibrium concepts.
I drink my $1.87 Izze drink
with the whiny Bob Dylan dropping
from the ceiling
my asset pricing notes
on the handicapped Starbucks table.