Lost Poets Series| Hungryalist poets translated by Arunava Sinha| Part 2

We present to you English translations of poems by two more lesser known Hungry Generation poets for the first time. All the poems have been translated by the acclaimed translator, Arunava Sinha.
'Kusma's Door'* by Hungryalist painter Anil Karanjai
Source: Facebook page (with permission from his wife Juliet Reynolds)

Selim Mustafa

1. Hiroshima

Coils of smoke on ruined earth
Over the smoke millions of years 
Of enchanted nights
This night is Hiroshima
This night is Nagasaki

The moonlight comes up the stairs
Climbs down the stairs
The antenna shivers
Sorrow too has its staircase, its history 

This night is Guernica
This night is Bibhutibhushan.

2. India 1 & 2

Who laughs?
Who dances?
Who watches?
Who weeps?


Not here? Says who? I exist
Do you think I, like all of you,
Survive in the human jungle,
Underground or in goodness?
No, it’s in your prison that I live.

Falguni Roy

1. I have no conflict with people

No, I have no conflict with people any more
I can easily take my creditor to the hospital if he’s in an accident
I can unhesitatingly ask my old lover’s husband for a cigarette
With the ease of growing a beard I can in this life
See a universal sexual peace in Ramakrishna’s devotion to Kali
When I lose a single slipper I buy a new pair
No, I have no conflict with people any more

My uncomfortable gaze shifts from my sister’s breasts
On the ritual day of sisterly love I wander around whorehouses
When I die I will see the corridor of second births
Till the moment before my birth I didn’t know I would be born
I am a man without redemption engaged in destiny
I am a man without destiny engaged in terrorism
I have seen a dog sobbing within me constantly
For his bitch, a monk become an eager debauch
To deflower a woman monk’s self-imposed virginity
And even heavenly love is pulverised by this debauchery
Eventually I’m in favour of seeking the joy of life instead of
Rhythm in poetry, that’s why I have no conflict with life
No conflict with people.

2. A redundant poem

I am a newly arrived stranger on earth’s ancient body
Now as the doctor slices the poet’s vein to collect blood
I remember wanting to sell my own blood
To drink and write poetry
Have I gone to the dogs? Many mysteries are still under cover
I am still afraid to die, which means I love life
So I walk beneath the overcast sky
With the Red Book in one hand and Jibanananda’s poetry
In the other – I dislike those who wear sunglasses 
When it’s Cloudy, I dislike those who think of god 
When slammed by the world, I adore those who kick away
Idols of the gods and ask what is what, with great enthusiasm
I take Marx Lenin Sartre Joyce Kafka to the Coffee House
To destroy cigarettes and then walked by myself through a crowd
Of people, desolate, actually I’m getting nothing from books
Hoping to get something from my lover I run to her to find her
In bed with my elder brother, an officer, I am unemployed
I talked of love with the whores, my brother the officer bought
My lover a sari with his bonus and became her lover, the money
He spent would have paid for my meals for a month, which means
It costs the same to cover my future wife’s body and to feed me
Can you imagine this existence of ours
Still I love the naked child’s chuckles, the renewal of the
Ancient earth, in front of my hungry eyes the beautiful woman’s
Framework of bones passes through time towards the pyre, I sell
Fat philosophy books to buy bread and alcohol just for sustenance
I even manage to write, believe me, to write a redundant poem.

*This life-size painting (1985) belongs to the National Gallery of Modern Art. It depicts the abandoned home of the dacoit queen Kusma Nain on the UP-MP border. Anil had travelled there with the journalist Kalyan Mukherjee on the trail of Kusma who had fled after taking revenge on her upper caste rapists.

Read all poems from the Lost Poets Series.

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