Poems | Maitreyee B. Chowdhury

Photograph : Leela

Pice hotel

There's the desire to kiss you.

In the by lanes of Dharmatala,
find a seedy hotel with green shoddy curtains
and cheap tin spoons.
Where men wear yesterday’s satin ties,
and kiss women in frilled pink petticoats.

Where tea is a mixture of yesterday's thought and today's brew-
There, where
the chairs are a plastic Red,
bent somehow in anticipation
of transient love and lonely Sundays-

Where lonely men eat with themselves,
where turmeric stained nails,
talk to yesterdays' fish.

In a God lined blue wall
your smell became mine-
stale from whitewashed, distempered love
mixed in the incense of a discarded ten Rupee notes,
we climbed walls
and stayed Red.

There, where the Pice hotel still stands
forgetting is easy and remembrance long.

Kharap shomoy-
It doesn't last, I'm told,
then what does, I ask?

Little sparrows had perched on the long winter verandah,
the Beli just a nostalgia away-
The Canna that bloomed last summer,
Red and Yellow, still lingered by the fence-
just about to die.

Calcutta is a winter sun's peek
on some days, on others it is
the evening smell of Dhuno-
happy and sacred somehow.
A friend bows down to the blue Goddess in Lake Kalibari,
her erotic tongue thrown out,
laugh in every hair-
A letter without a return address informs me
'Ma ke bole diyechi, shab thik kore debe'.
The Marwari uncle in the house just beyond ours, has aged-
he smiles the same smile though,
toothless from years of lame reciprocation perhaps?
Aunty still wears red,
waiting for white in the wings?
Tintin the Dalmatian has passed away,
onek din holo toh boudi, I'm told.
What lasts, I ask?
Nimai da sings from a far away Bolpur memory,
'loke bole o bolere
ghor bari bala na amar
e bhabiya hason raja
ghor duaar na bandhe
kothay niya rakhbo allae
tai bhabia kande
loke bole..'

Kharap shomoy, it doesn't last I'm told.

Budhha Purnima 

An odd street in an unknown park bench,
Coke and a count of decadent insects later..
yesterday's Calcutta, and today's apology looks black.

Black, from the city's desire to hide?
Ghatak surfaces,
as a 215 tin drum passes by,
'Barir theke paliye'
Calcutta had spilled over,
Kolkata arose-
empty and full of another's noise.

Lovers, nearby whispered
'aaj Buddha Purnima,
make a wish'.
'Purnimar chaand jeno jhalsano ruti',
comes to my mind-
Drunk, I laugh and recede,
the lovers look startled.
I laugh and recede –again.
The moon follows,
you, and you there, you too?
‘Aaj Budha Purnima, make a wish’


You crawled on me,
while the skies turned red.

I swirled Coke laced in rum and watched from a distance,
little flies in an unknown halogen corner.
From Hatibagan, a 204 ambled-
the rut of tin,  long forgotten music.
Hatibagan you had said,
Sobuj porda and almost kisses-
theatre in decadent lanes,
stands still.
The promise of your smoke on my navel,
glittering through the evening’s lost light,
your tongue deep in mine, interrupted, annoyed.
It’s the last bus I say-
You remember the seat,
you and I had sat in, that distant evening..
making love in the public rut
my neck arched to your lick
our waists somehow joined.
I push myself,
you fall down a step,
I hold your back,
scratch in, an unwanted love.
Absurd pink and feline indifference
go well, I’m told.

The polish peels off,
my hair and yours copulate,
we become Rum and Coke
on the streets of Hatibagan tonight.


  1. Never read your poem,but was impressed as soon as I read your Pice Hotel!...

    ..."Where lonely men eat with themselves,
    where turmeric stained nails,
    talk to yesterdays' fish..."

    Your interview with Samir Roychowdhury is an outstanding piece of writing, by all counts, its style, content and treatment.

    অনেক শুভেচ্ছা... (লন্ডন এলে, আমন্ত্রণ রইল।)

  2. I love the way you write! Pice hotel is outstanding!