New | Poetry | Tuhin Bhowal


Julian Alden Weir/ Autumn Rain (Wikimedia commons)


after Allen Ginsberg




A range over the horizon

a garden atop the sill

a grove along the threshold

a tree beside the kitchen

a quarter through the winter

a skull above the head


faces in the range

peaches in the garden

plums in the grove

cones in the tree

socks in the quarter

archives in the skull.

Variation on the Theme of Translation

                         —Frank Bidart



To develop all your photography in a third world country. To lie
hammocked beside you under the canoed persimmons of Gokarna.

Extracting eucalyptus from birch, then your legs. Ciphering ship
anchors at the end of Hell’s Cliff. Licking argon & boiling tungsten

ducking past the palette of your eyes. To derive nobility in our
collective acidity. Murmuring melting points of alloys thereafter.

Antithesizing between gold & another worried metal like the words
‘garbage’ & ‘sewage’. Electing the latter as the better word for fascism.

Dreaming of ultralights in a dreamless sleep. To ogle at you & Kafka
coming to each other. Reaching a point of no infinities, or infinitives.

At Chilika, as you become the only woman I can see for her clarity,
I begin gathering the fisherwomen & all the women inside of them.

Beautiful being your only pathology; ugly my only imperative. Narrating
William Bronk’s The World relentlessly to realize writing rescues little.

Your spiralling fingers in concentric helixes plummeting gravity between
my nipples, their elliptical loci our numinous genomes emanating from

catenoid wormholes. We signal for air, then death. Studying rows of
jacaranda in the monochrome of semiotic Shillong symbolized with

chthonian ghosts. To love you like Lawrence & Pound loved Emily—
unmentionably. I kept watching you to witness how god works

—a flamingo limping on the surface of a tensionless fluid. You
relishing the viscosity of a carbonated lake. Skewed shrimps & squid.

And the rains. The rain, the pitiless rain, the rain. At us, squirting.





Prime Minister



Tonight in your good time swaying away the earth
you have no anchors
that won’t carry you through the drift of this world.









Sonnet Where Nothing Happens

                       for Jack Gilbert



All night I kept sucking on wisdom like pain harpooned
between my teeth; Linda and your marriage failing with
no adjectives. Buoyed under the cerulean of the Aegean—
a child is thrown into mid-air by its mother as a trope
pointing out the commonplace in memory. No one
catches the child even in Pittsburgh as it disentangles
into nightingales singing underground through steel.
Michiko dead and buried somewhere in Asia where
men warn other men against caring—her translations
of Japanese poetry as smooth as Greek figs. No habitual
breakfasts for four thousand mornings. Hunger archived.
Gianna now reduced to a miniature woodcut from 1960
with disease chiselled all over your poor portrait: Why
then do we allow our mouths to be busy in reticence. Why?









 Answers for My Penis

                   “Love me, love me with two hands & no rearview.”
                                     —Aracelis Girmay



Do you enter like a fist or a knife

At the moment of your sufferings do you choose a door or its knob

Have you always been nocturnal

Which is more violent: force or torque

How many temples have you come to

Will you cry at Kafka’s grave or shag

Which do you think is the best amusement park in the world

Why are you convinced god is just as miserably big

Does sleep claim you

Can the virus contract you as much your heart

Do you still remember the sound of his voice

Was it easier to internalize the length of his thumbs

Did you know that you can only fracture—not break

Why do you love savoury so much

Is it in the idea of things or images

Other than feet what else have you fetishized

Armpits or thighs

Are you as smooth as a bone

Or loud as a harbour

Is there any other way to enter than a fist or a knife






Sonnet in the Play of Flight and Smog
                        after D. Nurkse



At first, a fianchetto of feathers. A toothless murmuring on
wires. The scurry of squirrels is lost in flamboyance. Parrots
in pandemonium of three, sometimes seven, their chest-thighs
and canoe-tails limping to dispute the mush of a jujube, a
grain, or a nest through my doubly hinged windows. Under
those pines and their cones, we are the same. As the parrots,
we believe the largeness of our loneliness to be small like
the size of a goitrogenic throat, untreated, still granular
pirouetting against an unbroken canopy. If everyone who dies—
dies out of love, what do the living bequeath? When we
implored each other taking turns being I, we found there is
only one season—spring for birds in flight. Like them, we
too want to fetishize the code, fuck midair—helplessly
in freefall, flying, coming upwards into gravity. 









On Monday evenings, I
spend about twenty minutes
picking at a piece of chicken ligament
                                somewhere in between
                                my first molar & the second:
                    Toothpick. Tweezer. A safety pin—
It doesn’t rescue the pain
as much as I think
it can
         —I see you in a dream
white as the cragged enamel on
the crown of my fingernails
& wonder












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