Friday, 15 September 2017

Calcutta and I - Sunil Gangopadhyay

Calcutta is a dead weight on my heart:
I must destroy her before I go.
I shall seduce her away to Haldia port
and feed her sweets spiked with arsenic—
Calcutta is a dead weight on my heart.

Calcutta counterfeits moonlight, and has learnt
to mix thorns and gravel
with her kisses.
She forgets to add sugar to tea like her tears
and has so many paramours
that even at noon her thighs separate.

How can I let you go, my charmer, so easily
to the Supreme Court at Delhi? Instead,
when dusk sets, with perfume on my heart
I shall clasp you with violence
and taxi down the strand.
You shall twist to the music in a restaurant
and slipping your sari off your shoulders
rest two cameras on your breasts—
everyone will whistle and applaud.

There is such music in your limbs, you are like a brilliant light
in the mirror, at your feet
I could bring a virgin eulogy in verse from the south of the city.
Shall I offer you a lotus on a golden tray?

You shall be murdered at midnight.

Calcutta, where can you escape my clutches?
You cannot hide in Canning Street—
and if you run down the broken lanes of Chinatown,
I shall chase you like a leopard,
leaping across the traffic lights, past miserable Burrabazar,
down Chowringhee—the convalenscent’s diet—
I shall pursue you. My painful love like a strange phantom
shall track you down with vengeance.
Where can you escape? I shall turn back all the ships on the river
and switch on a powerful searchlight in the dark maidan
to grab you by your throat.

Before I escape I shall pour gunpowder in the secret ducts of your
body
and light a match between your thighs—
rows of mansions will be flung in the air, scattering
debris everywhere—all our lovemaking,
ornaments, the immortal universe of Chitpur shall be destroyed
in an instant.

As you have pushed me towards death,
you shall have to die with me.

Sunil Gangopadhyay (1934 - 2012) Bangladesh
Translated by Pritish Nandy
Source: Bomb Magazine

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