The International Poetry Journal in Bengali

Translated Poetry
9th Issue
July-Sept 2000

From Barishal to Briarwood:
Bengali Poetry in English

Jyotirmoy Datta (1936-)

Letters from America
I have been intrigued by much
That I came across in this bewildering land
But by none more than the winged corkscrew
Bottle openers I bought at our neighborhood store.

The object looks like the skeleton
Of a man without legs
Whose spinal column
At turns of its hollow skull
Becomes its penis, which penetrates the cork.

Punctured, with loss of a little wine,
The cork is evicted from the bottle
Following a manly pumping of the outstretched
Metal arms
Which is why in the local tongue
Making love is called "screwing."
But itŐs a love even more heartless
Than that of the caliph in the Arabian Nights.

I think of all the empty spaces in the world:
The slits of my shirtsleeve buttonholes,
The hollows in the breasts of shoes
Waiting in cardboxes in the stores.
But in all the earth there is nothing emptier
Than the hole in the punctured virgin cork
Pierced by a ravisher who was cold as steel.

Translated by the poet

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    Shabdaguchha, A Journal of Bengali Poetry, Published in New York, Edited by Hassanal Abdullah.