Shabdaguchha: Logo_new edited by: Hassanal Abdullah issue: 71/72


Poets and Translators:

Dariusz Thomasz Lebioda
Nino Provenzano Fuad Atal
Peter Thabit Jones
Joan Digby
Kristine Doll
John Digby
Carolyn Mary Kleefeld
Richard Jeffrey Newman
Bishnupada Ray
Dileep Jhaveri
J. Scotte Barkan
Shokrana Sarkar
Rachel Mejia
Baitullah Quaderee
Motin Raihan
Dilara Hafiz
Anisur Rahman Apu
Roni Adhikari
Jasim Uddin Tutul
Hassanal Abdullah

A Tribute To

Shaheed Quaderi (1942-2016)
Syed Shamsul Huq (1935-2016)
Rafiq Azad (1943-2016)

Book Review

Nicholas Birns

Letters to the Editor

Stanley H. Barkan
Nirmalendu Goon
Belal Beg
Tomasz Marek Sobieraj
Naznin Seamon
Bishnupada Ray
Sk Kamrul Hashan
Hasan Ali
Firoz Ashraf
Ariful Islam
Shahab Ahmed Taher Ahmed Razu Rahul Roychowdhury Momin Mahadi Khondkar Khosru Parvez Roni Adhikari

Cover Art:

Al Noman

New Logo:

Najib Tareque

Poetry in English

    Richard Jeffrey Newman
    The bird was a dove; the gun,
    a blowgun Joey ordered through the mail.
    We took it wrapped in a green cloth
    out back by the tracks. Joey
    placed the weapon in my hands,
    holding up once he’d done so
    a dart, toothpick-thin, blunt end buried
    in a marble-sized plastic orange sphere.
    “Don’t inhale once it’s in the tube,” he warned.
    “You’ll break your teeth.”
    I crouched down behind the bush
    blocking the view from Albert’s house,
    slid the long metal barrel through the fence,
    and put the dart in the blow hole.
    I don’t remember Joey urging me on,
    or if he tried to stop me,
    but the moment the breath that killed the bird
    left my lungs, I wanted nothing more
    than to inhale it back.
    The summer Joey murdered himself
    the news found me too late for the funeral,
    and so I see him now
    the last time I saw him whole,
    sitting next to me on the wooden fence 
    he climbed out of his room to smoke on
    one last time before he left for the army.
    The beers I used my early beard to buy
    were gone, the friends we drank them with
    as well, and Joey held out a joint
    he said he didn’t want to share
    with anyone else. “My father,
    he chewed the words, “can be
    a real asshole sometimes.”
    Then he’s home on leave and we’re walking,
    his right arm conducting
    a slow four-four march
    he tells me he can’t stop,
    not even after three years of no acid.
    “I feel like a fucking drum major,” he jokes,
    so we start marching for real,
    like when we were kids,
    down Tulip Avenue
    in perfect step,
    holding our horns
    in front of our chests,
    as if we were again
    first and second seat
    bass baritone bugles
    in the Knights of Columbus
    Drum & Bugle Corps.
    Joey gave the signal,
    but just as we started
    to raise those phantom bugles,
    he grabbed my wrist
    and pulled me behind him,
    holding his finger up
    for silence.“The hole,”
    he whispered, pointing,
    not taking his eyes
    from where our next steps
    would have landed. “You
    can’t see it. It isn’t after you”
    So I’ve decided to embrace his death, 
    the way, before, I did not embrace his death.
    I slam the phone down on his mother’s voice.
    I will not allow her to deface his death.
    One by one, the cars behind the hearse
    pull out, slow runners forced to race his death.
    Autumn leaves sweep the air above our heads.
    Few fall. That we’re still here amazes death.
    They put their brother in the ground and leave.
    “Revenge,” his sister says, “replaces death.”
    Sun-bleached on the sand, bones stripped of flesh.
    The tide rises, recedes, displaces death.
    A moment comes when what has ripened falls.
    Your hunger is a hole that chases death.
    I kissed a woman young enough to be
    my daughter. Age receded. Face this, death!
    Snow accumulates and melts, gives way
    to each fruit in season. Come, taste this death.
    I’m never more alive than when I come.
    Only true surrender erases death.
    No other path will lead you to the end.
    Each step, if you are fearless, praises death.
    They’ll tell you Richard’s words besmirch this page,
    but virgin white will not efface his death.
      —on a painting by Allen Hart
    Inflamed, your rival rushes you. You fight,
    grab him where you can and lift him high,
    puncturing his thorax: you win. Nearby,
    the scent of the right you fought him for, bright
    compulsion calling you to what you are,
    though she too struggles at first. When you're done,
    and no one should confuse this with having fun,
    she leaves to bury the future she bears not far
    from here. She goes alone. You wait for death,
    though you do not understand that you are waiting;
    and if I say that you are contemplating
    anything, it is myself, my own breath
    I measure. You are nothing more than spent.
    Your epitaph? You won; you came; you went.
    Stubbled mouth of a living cave, curved edge
    of a clamshell’s hinge; a moss-covered hill,
    unopened bud, curtains across a stage;
    sphinx’s riddle in a dimpled cup you fill;
    a place of refuge that swallows why you’re there;
    pages of a book you read with your tongue;
    a feast, a flame, a supplicant in prayer;
    the world’s hunger focused in a song
    that bathes you till your need is all you know;
    riverbed swelling at spring’s first touch,
    the spread wings of nightfall, cat’s eye aglow;
    the hollow in your heart that’s left unstitched;
    a mirror showing you the way you came,
    different every time, yet also the same.
    New York
    Bishnupada Ray
    a cold swirl catches up the land
    a penguin boat floats near the ice wall
    a dry wind blows the year round
    the grassland sways in the rhythm
    of an avenging memory
    here the rugged north meets the draped south
    upon a bridge of floating stones
    a long distance polar express
    has just crossed it
    shaking the rigid hands of a compass
    the undecided fingers are unwholesome
    around the loose libidinal centre
    like the floating lumber from a wreck.
    we who live at the crater and see
    the seething flames rise to our knees
    and breathe sulphur and cough sulphur
    we who sacrifice our organs to the untamable
    and dance with the stars of chaos and death
    and see our souls melt into molten metal
    are now nearing to the shape of a cannonball
    in this ungraspable smithy of a hell-bent sun.
    Kristine Doll
    Sometimes sorrow drops
    softly, like a wounded bird.
    Sky and earth shudder;
    a moment, a sigh, move through
    just an ordinary day.
    I shall be cozy
    	in one of your nests.
    Safe in the reclaimed
    elegance of delicate birches.
    Soothed by the scent
    of stately cedars;
    or snuggled, perhaps, 
    inside a majestic oak.
    Secure in my woody armor,
    eye to eye with all that is aloft,
    I am freed by flight 
    and upswept hymns.
    My legacy is all that has been 
    and is and ever will be–
    sky to earth,
    earth to sea,
    sea to sky
    Shokrana Sarkar
    Winter is coming
    And so is your winged memories
    Like the guests from North.
    Each and every tree resembles me
    And my life is like the
    Foggy weather of the morning.
    I know the Sun has risen up
    But it’s hard to see
    And feel its warmth.
    Left alone in this cold world
    I search for the smoke from
    Your burning fire.
    Turning into ashes
    Now is my only Desire.
    While sitting beside a bonfire
    I glimpsed at my
    Own distorted shadow
    And wondered, “How could
    This shadow be mine?”
    There were others also sitting there,
    And I watched their shadows.
    Their shadows bore
    The resemblances of their masters.
    Then I asked one person to insure,
    “Look at this shadow and
    Tell me what do you see?”
    He replied, “I see you
    Lying on the dirt
    And shivering in pain.”
    Then I again looked
    At the other shadows
    and saw the same.
    Have you forgotten how you used to
    Walk beside me on that
    Small narrow bridge
    That connects our homes.
    And how you used to light a lamp in the evening
    On the middle of that bridge.
    You always said that this lamp
    Would show us our ways whether
    The night be a night of
    Full moon or lunar eclipse.
    And we will always be able
    To reach out to each other any time.
    Don’t you remember? At dawn
    You used to visit that lamp
    And seeing it burning itself
    You used to be pleased—A little sacrifice
    Essential to make sure we never
    Fail in connecting ourselves.
    Did you know I used to fuel
    To that evening lamp at midnight?
    Rachel Mejia
    9/11, how much I hate that day,
    the day when the havens were
    screaming in terror and pain!
    All was calm and cheerful, 
    the skies were a vibrant blue, 
    not a single cloud in sight
    suddenly I felt that something was not right,
    ignoring the uneasy feeling,
    I continued to walk,
    suddenly there was a deafening sound,
    of metal and glass breaking.
    There was screams of horror, 
    my own scream escaping my lips,
    a airplane was inside the twin tower,
    stuck like an arrow to its target,
    dark smoke was bellowing, 
    staining the blue sky.
    I hear frantic cries for help, 
    many were calling 911,
    chunks of the building fell,
    my blood ran cold,
    as I saw another plane crashed into
    the other tower.
    By now many people were exiting the towers,
    the fire kept on growing,
    I closed my eyes— 
    hoping it was all a dream,
    soon I heard the wailing of the sirens,
    from the police and ambulances,
    it was a total chaos.
    Many people screamed, helped, called and cried,
    news reporters were reporting the tragedy,
    by now the skies turned black with smoke,
    suffocating us.
    Minutes, hours passed,
    the smell of death, blood,
    smoke and gasoline was everywhere,
    the fire could not be put out,
    then there was a terrible sound,
    the towers were falling,
    people began to run,
    I did too,
    a baby was left alone in its stroller,
    I covered her as the first tower fell,
    creating a wave of dust ,
    shaking the ground.
    From that day on forward, 
    things were never the same,
    for that day left a scar in our memories,
    9/11 that fateful day when all began to change.
    New York

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Printed Version
পত্রিকার মুদ্রিত কপি


Poetry in Translation

Poetry in English

Poetry in Bengali

Poetry Dedicated to Stanley H Barkan

Book Review

Shabda News

Letters to the Editor

শব্দগুচ্ছর এই সংখ্যাটির মুদ্রিত সংস্করণ ডাকযোগে পেতে হলে অনুগ্রহপূর্বক নিচে ক্লিক করে ওয়ার্ডার করুন।

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