Shabdaguchha: Logo2 edited by: Hassanal Abdullah issue: 59/60


    Poetry and Essays:

    Hassanal Abdullah 
    Roni Adhikari 
    Kayes Ahmed 
    Rassel Ahmed 
    Chak Amitava 
    Pallav Bandyopadhayay 
    Stanley H. Barkan 
    Nicholas Birns 
    Jyotirmoy Datta 
    Jyotiprakash Dutta 
    Caroline Gill 
    Nirmolendu Goon 
    Clinton Van Inman 
    John McLeod 
    Manas Paul 
    Matin Raihan 
    Hasan Sabbir 
    Naznin Seamon 
    Amiyakumar Sengupta 

    Letters to the Editor:
    Maria Bennett 
    Laura Boss 
    Stephen Cipot 
    Joan Digby 
    John Digby 
    Arthur Dobrin 
    Kristine Doll 
    Maria Mazziotti Gillan 
    Adel Gogy 
    Mary Gogy 
    Mike Graves 
    Leigh Harrison 
    Yvette Neisser Moreno 
    Marsha Solomon 
    Tino Villanueva 
    Bill Wolak

    Letters to the Editor:
    Babette Albin 
    Chandan Anwar 
    Mansur Aziz 
    Laura Boss 
    Rumana Gani 
    David Gershator 
    Caroline Gill 
    Isaac Goldemberg
    Zahirul Hasan 
    Omar Faruque Jibon 
    Gholam Moyenuddin 
    Hasan Sabbir 
    Subir Sarkar 
    Tabrish Sarker 
    Bikul Hossain Rojario

    Cover Art:

    Ekok Soubir

Shabdaguchha: The 15th Anniversary Issue

    Poetry In English

    Stanley H. Barkan

    (for Hassanal Abdullah, 14 April 2013)

    I walk the streets
    of Dhaka . . . Queens!

    Men, women, children—
    all walking, too, with
    a quick and happy step.

    Faces full of festive
    joy in this new place.

    The women are
    in sparkling holiday dress
    —red & green—
    the colors of Bangla.

    It is the birthday
    of Bengali,
    the language
    of Bangladesh.

    It is also
    my poet friend’s birthday—
    a double celebration.

    Crowds gather
    in a courtyard:
    many speakers,
    poetry readings,
    singing, & dancing.

    The streets have everything:
    toys . . .

    Queens is jumping
    in Bangla rhythm.

    In the car, my poet friend
    plays a tape and sings
    some of the 400
    songs he’s written.

    The tape he plays
    is varied with
    woodwinds, strings,
    brass, and drums.

    The songs are
    of love & loss.
    They all link
    back to Bangla.

    I am admitted,
    to walk with,
    these new Americans
    on the streets
    of Dhaka, Queens.

    Bangla America—

    I love you!

    Merrick, NY

    Clinton Van Inman


    I hear they have placed
    A pretty blue plaque
    High above your flat
    So that tourists can find you
    And say that this is the spot
    Where you killed yourself.

    Lucky girl, you modern Sappho
    To take the quantum leap
    Like a comet to take your place
    Among the darkest regions of empty space
    With a brilliance that few can keep
    And even less the mind to know
    Where no dull planet can perturb you
    As fallen flowers have no faces.


    John McLeod


    I let my insecurity and prurience rule my life, my first regret.
    Followed by an education in banality.
    I rue the day that I defended my bugbear, with an idle threat.
    Exposing my weakness and justifying a call to security,
    Spawning an unholy clique, a furtive phantom, that will not go away.
    Now receding, ever retreating, only needing a reason to vent,
    Only light of day holds them at bay.
    A pent-up, self-righteous tide, regardless of my repent.

    Don’t pretend that “it’s over”.
    It isn’t for me, and never will be!
    As heavy as my condition, and as light as a feather,
    At my home and beyond the sea.
    What do “the better Angels of their nature” represent?
    Looming and daunting, “justified and deserved;”
    My interminable torment.


    They’re “them.” They’re “they.” They’re “those people.”
    Too many to cross or ignore,
    Too vague to accuse or reason.
    Wrathful, fearsome, and proud of it.
    Above reproach, yet complicit.

    They were a rumor, a phantom.
    With no account more than themselves.
    Evocative of the people
    Whom I have ever known that I
    Never wanted to see again.

    The murk has passed, gone with the tide.
    They were the strange scent in the air,
    The friendly pall, the looming shade;
    The squeaky wheel of righteousness,
    And the grassroots of fascism.


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Shabdaguchha, an International Bilingual Poetry Journal, edited by Hassanal Abdullah