the memory card

the memory card

Men in jeans rolled to the valley of their knees huddle in a circle. A taped ball whizzes past Rodia, in stripes, the celebration of lights winding into barbed wire, trailing him until he catches himself against the parapet. He is not in rags but drowsily almost leans into the man with shot eyes rolling along the pathway. He imagines a knife, but throws the thought away. He turns his attention to the polythene bag, which he’d been twirling this way and that as if to make out the contents inside: the shape of glass, congealed, but you could still make out a few pixels, a few notes, refusing to betray the scribbler, and a packet of cheap condoms. He forgot the rest, as we do with stolen things.

The city is too old for strangers. Even more so than during his time. The houses are built different. Plaster still peels off the walls, inspectors dispatch to blind alleys and there is a winter palace, but that’s neither here nor there. No one is looking for him. He paces ahead to overhear about rising cigarette prices. ‘Then, who the fucks to blame?’ yells the customer as the one in his hand shrinks to the butt, falls and hisses underfoot.

Still in search for the perfect spot, he takes a seat at the argument, and finds himself clutching the bag even tighter the longer the back and forth goes on, and as the burden to chime in becomes intolerable, before his head begins to slump to his side, he tosses the bag into the water.

Fairoz: An End

Fairoz: An End

(9a; curfew; two women, niqab, flower power, cosmopolitan, un-tabulated; mazloom-silly; on a rickshaw; they have asked the puller to stop; the pair watch as two people, a middle-aged man—no doubt of his sex—claw-bunched up, hairline receding; and for records, a university student, a woman, collar-bone-length grown-out; have what is at the time called ‘altercation,’ but even without 20:20 is assumed by the observants as assault.

Note: It is not unclear how the observants avail such lucidity in a situation where it is patent who is hitting who, whose eyes are oil and water and what is about to happen

Furthermore, it is paramount that the reader judge. If not by the constellations, then by the sense of right and wrong, the insufferable urge to hope)

not the most watched event in television history
past unsafe-time
would call
even without
ballot boxes
stuffed, lack thereof
chintai, lack thereof.

not eager to show it
must bide time
(as it)
post-shudder —

only for the party allowed to go five rounds, bolo-punch, toying, machete, toying, throw the fight, toying, chole jao, toying, chole jao, toying, chole jao, toying, egula ekhon leikha ki hobe, toying?


there is solidarity among all involved,
except that, who we have declared
unanimous victor
future boyfriend
good writer
ভালো মানুষ
never would do
something like that

in cutthroat, jeans-saggy, bhuri, shemai, plural, agitated from where vermilion sinks to pink; labors as clockwork; motorboat knifing into the wounds of kalbaishakhi; the sinew and mosaic of leftovers; the brochure’s plunder of ivory; the horror of the mirror as a miscarriage of sight

অপোরাধ বেচে/
খাওয়া যাবে না/
মাফ হয়ে যাবে/
ইনসাফ হবে না/
মাফ হয়ে যাবে না

The Last Days of Jatrabari Crossing

The Last Days of Jatrabari Crossing

The curvature of the flyover buckling at the knees. The delivery driver screeches to the traffic sergeant’s abrupt right hand. His bike straps half-baked cookies at 170°. The phone vibrates between helmet and the sweat clinging to his cheek.

the eye of the intersection derailed with anti-trade; abayas, van-shirts, nekras every color of the লেংড়া spectrum, cat-walking the fire and brimstone collection.


আরং বুক মাপছে। মেজারিং টেপ কাঁধ-মড় ঘুরে স্তন ধমকাচ্ছে। দুই-জনেরি সাইজ ৩২।


My temperature’s too high for Yellow. Knighted by the red telephone booth, the infrared thermometer only peaks because I took the scenic route, pulling round the dead-nerve of flexiload, the shed, where the canopy is a canvas of গ্রীষ্মকালের বিয়ে; fixtures, orbs of ফানুস draping the trellis of Debdaru and Mahogany. Three revs, a smoky eye and a sherwani away from the Kremlin of Satmasjid because I did want to ever reach the end.


রাষ্ট্রপতি in his busking case, zills in his grips, cymbals cheering, fleeing to be corralled as the meter runs penny-fare into the Intercontinental parking lot.


I couldn’t tell you where to go, except left to the tolls from Chankharpool and keep going till you reach a city coming of gentry, the single chinese for every celebration, half-wondering residential complexes stunted in শ্রম, 7 ams pomp of northstar cleats, temples of white hijab, flooded rooftops, অমাবস্যা alleys urinating to catch a moan of the metropolis. 

that is all you will see unless you lean in: প্রাচীর ডিঙ্গিয়ে to the jaws of the horde, plaited from the nose-rings of the baro-bhuiyan; to a veranda চলো না ঘুরে আসি to a dance floor in the ruins, chinitikri crawling in right angles along the cornice, looping into spires of mollusc, blaring ribbons at the qibla, leaking down the columns to Pankhiraj Khal; sheathed in the loggia, সেলিমের ভালো লাগে না, মনমরা on a deck chair: waterfront busts of cavalry lining into formations of exodus

unless you hear cataracts clanging from the cells, nursing the diaspora of libraries, the wardrobes of mice, the coves of candlelight convicting Van Gogh for all the reasons we find him guilty, his hands limp, opaque — not with envy — the arthritis of the five maple leaves withering in a vase, purple slats দোলে দোলে:
blinds overcasting The Only Living Girl this side of the Shitalakshya

Art: Postcard for Moscow Spartakiada 1928, Gustav Klucis

Bacchu Bhai’s Garage

Bacchu Bhai’s Garage

We wait in a tong for two hours. Ali’s clawed eyebrows and pink collar belie his years. He’s carrying a bag pack with crudely written placards calling for rent-forgiveness. He doesn’t want to accept, but can’t say no to the packet of BBQ Ruchi Chanachur. Shams makes the rounds: 6 ta dudh cha, and the rong cha for Badal bhai. 15 minutes from now, he learns about the instant coffee and regrets his decision.

Nurjahan clambers on in a neta-chaka-super-white panjabi and a handlebar. He offers us a place. A rickshaw garage, but it’s a little ways down, he says.

A little. The roads peel into dirt into mud into puddles. The street lights uproot from our sides. A school of garbage floats a bridge across an estranged branch of what must be the Turag. But as we tightrope the stalks of bamboo, the deck seems made of stone. I lose my footing and gulp ankle deep into the debris. Jaf sends a hand and a foot in time. We picked him up, the seven of us in a three-seater, at tin-raastar-mor. He was in jean shorts and had spent 200 tk on a plate of teheri on a trip to Gazipur.

A flock of old newspapers, ink long absorbed by the grease of bhaja-pora, burns at the entrance. The smoke scratches the darkness in long, thin wisps. The campfire’s for the mosquitoes, we learn, though that is little comfort for our shins and elbows.

The men, women and Bacchi Bhai clear the benches, sparing us the manners to ask. Everyone who knows anyone crews up and the loners shuffle their feet, lingering just long enough for an invitation.

Saimon signs first, because he’s cool-like-that, and last, because he would like to change surnames: ‘সমস্যা আছে’

Mazed, in full camo, whispers that he’s not really in school anymore. He’s got a job doing some Photoshop work for a graphics firm. He lives alone, a highway away from his parents in Mirpur 6. I tell him it’s okay. It’s just temporary. His lips auction a smile, as if to say: it’s the loneliness, not the 1,200 facebook friends.

Raj is their gateway. His cheeks puff and glisten with oil when he laughs, which he does, a lot.

I last saw Tahmid during the election: অনেক দিন, he reminds me. Back then, the army was out of the barracks, on the streets, under sponsored umbrellas, hedging check-posts, accosting pedestrians and loose cigarettes, huddled battalions on the back of roving trucks; then they fought opposition polling agents, high voter turnout and boys with red tips, who didn’t answer to ‘জনাব।’ Now they were fighting a plague.

Badal’s been radhuni for a couple of dozen mostly bohiragoto salams and barkats, running on a 115 days now. His sous-chefs were all women, and now that they are gone, the cups of cha-nasta at brainstorming, bhuna-khichuri at isha, mopped floors, spotless dishes, and the bottles of corona have disappeared too.

He still had his food cart. As soon as the committee cleared if and what it owed him, he’d have enough for the startup. He could see it now: some newly gentrified corner bloc, Taltola or Taj Mahal; narrowing the fonts to Baskerville or Helvetica; laminating the menus; kids on thrifty third dates spinning word of mouth: hot and cheap; gift baskets to shabeks; pleaing reviews; sure, on the weekends, he’d have to voodoo the chada, line pockets as permits, but who didn’t?

The entrepreneur: the terminal of the human form; billowing rendition of আমার সোনা বন্ধুরে unsolicited in my inbox; glove in a fist, disobeying lighthouse, steaming nautical, crosswise.

little wonder

little wonder

postogola flour mill
drums rotund over
two makeshift graves
debutante right foot
mangled into sunshine
crested-departed alps
bon-jongol of the saane
copper vats curdling rennet
dignitaries foreign and foe
sting of compressed oil
ফু! gasket at the valve
bevel 50° to landfall
bastard primaries lurching
ungovernable from plumage
rudder a parcel of doves
three streaks
jut shear mayday
১০ টা ২৩ মিনিট
distilled into getaway
৬ নং গুদাম
up a blindfolded runway
বীভৎস। প্রাণ-উজ্জ্বল।
a contraband goodbye



Behind the Jail

in pursuit of the third curtain call/
an 11 year old/
busing tables/
pliers stowing stainless thalis/
mobile as copper/
bobbling as cranes/
luchi in deflated fat/
specks of dye cradle the bone/
chana daal, coconut clot/
wraiths, cold turkey/
slippery with bhangti/
cotton the booths/
I hate you and/
I am faking it/
joray dhoro/


mother, receive me in drought
vivisecting our faithful/
hairband thawing coils/
zafrabad strains through the mesh
on the ridges of his spine/
a constellation of eviction/
spooning chutney/
chasing shots/
chiko’s milk teeth suckling/
the residue from an unpresent promise/
anil mukherjee’s pay up poised on the bureau
bruising more colorful, with each dispute/
more open to interpretation


actor kneeled/
clasp of the belt/
loops like a whip/
to score his back/
21 25 31 35
requisition left/
unsure whether to give into/
the temptation to rescue

পাহাড় ভুলে গেছি

পাহাড় ভুলে গেছি

ওদের পাহাড়ে ধোঁয়া। ফেরার ক্লাসরুম। ব্ল্যাকবোর্ডে দ্বেষ। বোতলের মুখে আবার অন্যায়। স্টিল সো ইয়াং। পাশে থেকো?

তুমি নেই তাই সেজে আছি। চার ঘণ্টা পর। লিপস্টিক গলে গেছে।

বাসে কোয়ায়েট। রোজি লারসেন কে মাত্র লেক থেকে উদ্ধার করেছে ক্রেডিট কার্ড আর নির্বাসন এর তল্লাশে।

বিরতি। জাতিঃ বিজিবি। প্রদর্শনের কারনঃ মর্টার শেল এবং আনুপাতিক প্রতিক্রিয়া।

ওরা ভাত খাচ্ছে। আমি খাচ্ছি না। ওরা জোর করছে। তুমি করছ না।

ভুল করে ইচ্ছা করে। করে না।

সকাল-ঝর্না। টক টকে ক্যানূ। বাজার প্রকাশ্যে। বিনিময় মূল্য। এক বারে এক তৃতীয়াংশঃ এক বছর, ১৫১ দিন।

কাচা চাদর। কব্জি তে সেলাই। বিদেশ বলে যা বুঝো তার চূড়ায়।

একসময় গোলাপিও ছিল

একসময় গোলাপিও ছিল

আসছে ফাল্গুনে আমরা কিন্তু দ্বিগুণ হব
Just behind Zahid Mama’s dokan. Where mid-season, gardeners decide to grow weeds-as-valentines
Under the cover of darkness, intimidating the nightwatchman jar chakri amra kheye disi/misil e aishen; for Gauguin’s left ear, aika, Samdani Award and hokey strokes; 5am; none of us have class in 3 hours

Goldleaf; Dim, Paratha; Cha, Goldleaf

(A week later)

A dalmatian frequenting the chroma room, watches with the portal of his slobbering jaw, as carpenters chun mekhe fagun muche dey

Nadia Murad
Lest we become too centralized, too dictatorial, too powerful, too able to defrock

A Yazidi would not cater to the মননশীল tastes of the usual Lazz Pharma customer, so used to being captives to dice sold at the cigarette-burnt rates mandated by the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection—the appointed and unappointed magistrates of which will plead their existence: Amra kintu kaj kortesi, bhai. Apnara kintu boilen na je sorkari office e kono kaj hoy na

Finis vitae sed non amoris opposite Dhaba, the Great Kebab Factory and, to you, my beloved by bounds and knives

This Machine Kills Fascists
There is a land where Martha Jane Canary, Jesse Woodson James, and Pretty Boy Floyd, do not rob stagecoaches, kill abolitionists, rage at the demise of the Confederacy, settle Deadwood on Native Reservations and are not embalmed when the midwest hosts a massacre.

There is a land where Do Re Mi, ceteris paribus, does not go to Berlin, but fights for centenary flesh

There is a land where This Land is your Land is not played as an anthem

Leila Khaled
Fly me over Haifa.

In baby blue on Mintu’s Red Wall; B’ er Goli
One forth of I Can’t Quit You Baby saunters over: ‘Ei Mintu, eta ke korse, dekhosh nai?’

Mintu mama: na bhai, dekhi nai to.

My red-brown-toupee cowers in his winking-shadow. I have not yet recovered my bearings, which in either case consists solely of lies, contraband and kitsch.

Venus as a boy before she initiating into american history x, signals me with two sideway hauls of her head: left to right; right to left.

Everyone who knows takes a sip

The reunioned string quartet accepts, kisses the hun and takes off

Mou কমিটি-ভুক্ত at that point, shows up post-lecture: bhoy paisish, naki?

This statement creates unseeable mountain ranges between us

Be that strong again

Na, I lie, because I have to for legal reasons, but, more, because I have to want to be a man for killing reasons



I am told i cannot
see the outside of me
I receive the news
in a lull
in ceasefire

accidents kill

he with the keffiyeh
hair splitting lanes
back spittle in sweat
ashes bowled on a crater

barrels of ore
dealing rust
dizzy with fumes
helmets weld
the damsels of a cyclone
into sediment

logs hiss
crack knuckles
cough to the dome

he asks why we came
when he cannot leave
what we are to do
to extinguish riddles

কা warps at
the gates of Siddheshwari
sidestepping KN95s
redeeming in carts
of fresh produce

he strokes his head
to sift fine particles that cut
and torches:

a barber with an electric razor
a communist armoury
a moshari
a mattress
a kolbalish
a walking cane
an umbrella
a bowl of fruit
a vase of agarbatti
and the sigh of ‘ora ashbe to?’



Ripped from his context
shawl stained caramel
fingers trimming the spine of a tome
he considers pamphlet
but not one she tells herself
she will commit to

Claps to namashkar
cupping a match to the teeth of
his Express 555s
casting muleta
to snare

Difficult to understand
he never asks for
the cadence of a warm body
but in song
expects it lent on credit

চাঁদ রাত

চাঁদ রাত

Before accounting
where we in a car?
professional adventurists drew straws
expired BBC pass, after hours
shackling tin
whistles from the iron, from wardens
eluding munchies
tramping soles into
the kitchen market
এই দামে ভর্তা!

twine wings
palm cupped
mangled intestines
cough out the cavity
serrated edge
jag saw-like cross
craned skin of the neck
twitching in the concave
of its blood
murderers’ row
collapsing under
feathers needy
cawing wet
and red
a defeated people
ভাড়া দেন
dining to
rock vermicelli
fresh chini
the milk that failed to deliver

Art: Walter De Maria Untitled (For La Monte) 1963

২৭ Cashier

২৭ Cashier

চুল কেটে ফেলসেন?

Outta get-outta-jail-cards

Table of waffles, fluffy dolops of boshonto (blueberry), whipped cream liaise mapple syrup. Both xerox me to finish it. Both lock my arm in public, read my miranda beforehand. Only one asks for it.

Counter of muffin-tops, latte, americano, সর, creep, s’mores, hata-kata-romeo, black lung, sing-sing on volition, cemetery spent on methamphetamine, it’s-so-good-be-bad butter beer catering prom


Low fade, thwarted spikes, sole-less nikes, a-dennis-ekersley-type w/o the limblessat-bat, apron tying howitzer to homecoming

Seats of kopal-chata, sophomores, stone-wash, hugs as barrels, barishailla-nibbas, 12 haat, halal x-men, S-Z-Twist-Crepes, half-life-malaise, zara blue-ticked, plaantik-up-kicks, tangled ear-phones, disrupters, articles of fleece, beefeaters, woods uncorking fall collection, TikTok, spooks in dusters, ripped-knees;
miscegenation, synergy court-side to the dyeing process: @handsome stumble and fall to the piazza from a 7-footer porch: blackout

Smoking Zone of খুনি খুনি খুন করেছে

রাধা বলেন, কৃষ্ণ?
সব এ তার,
ভগবান্ এর
কপালে পা রেখেছে,
কি হয়েছে?
Shab e Mi’raj
মদ খেতে আসবেন
আদর করতে?
ঝিনাইদহ, মধু না কেয়ামত?


আপনার…মনে আছে?

Art: Billie Jean King

The Grassy Knolls of Somerset County

The Grassy Knolls of Somerset County

আমি তাড়াইল থেকে ঝুলছি,
Krist’s league of murmurs cling
a catholic confessional
to the tuttuk porda:

The tarmac is not laid at Hamburg;

Ziad does not stand, coffined,
in the telephone booth chanting to Aysel:
Bhalobashi ; Bhalobashi; and

For the final time,
bcoz he is in Newark:
I love you.

There is no Mr. Jarrah announcing:
“Ladies and gentlemen:
Here the captain.
Please, sit down.
Keep remaining…seating.
We have a
bomb on board.

There is no Ms. Grandcolas, who—
i am extremely sorry, my love—
is pregnant,
reassuring her husband:
“Jack, pick up, sweetie. can you hear me?
there’s been a little problem with the plane.
I am fine…
I’m totally fine.
I just want to tell you…
how much I love you.”

There is no Mr. Beamer,
to recite:

first, the lord’s prayer,
second, Take Me Out to the Ball Game
And, finally, the 23rd psalm redux:
“…though I walk through
the valley of
the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil…”

There is no lantern of courage in their eyes,
as they disobey signals:
outer, home, and advance starter to storm
Bahadur Shah’s chambers

The sepoys do not khamosh
in stumbled celebration:
‘it’s a fake; a fake
The bomb’s a fake
The bomb is a fucking fake.’

The khalifa does not barrel; rinse; nor swerve.

There is no takbir.
No hard-right nosedive.
The transponder does not turn off.
We do not
blip off of the radar.

But, I do have you.
And out of the three,
only one of you attempts, and,
unimportantly, fails,

To escort me through
even at ক্ষোভ-hour
ensuring this compartment
is not extinct of racket

To choke my stare
into simulating
something between
A smile and a strange thing

To administer
cortizone shot
at achilles heal.



Mountain Dew, 1 can

• Murgi (Farm; Skin-on), 1kg

• Kolija (of Beast), 300g

• Ata (Lal) 1kg

• Chal (Nazirshail), 3kg whtever the price

• Peyaj (Bideshi) 2kg if tk300, 3kg if tk250, 5kg if tk150

• Lal Saag, 2 bushels

• Beetroot, 250g

• Nongshim Kimchi Ramen, 1 pack

• Life Oyster Sauce, 1 bottle

• MSG, 1 pack

• Northend Ground Coffee (Espresso Roast), 850g

• Mediaworld Ltd, The Daily Star, 1 second edition issue

• Surf Excel, with the free bucket, 1 kg

• Vim Liquid, 1 poly-pack

• Fay or Bashundhara Toilet Paper, unscented, 3 rolls

• Lotte Spearmint Chewing Gum, 3 sticks

• Whisper Ultra, Joya, Senora, or Freedom Sanitary Pads, in order of preference, 3 packs or non-কর, or whatever dipu moni inaugurates next




Sending off the troops

Michael Thomas, referred to by the other 10 and Ray Houghton, on afterburners, who had his shins tied skipping-rope, as the only man on the pitch who would, did slot it and fit past spaghetti-legs-Grobbelaar that night where he and the rest of North London couldn’t graph the latitudes of their silhouettes—ruled unnatural positions, or, in the words of the superintendent, voluntary— from the Anfield advertising hoardings


Collapsed, crushed, procedurally alcoholic advertising hoardings, btw.
Not just on Friday evenings in May.
But on Wednesdays.
Especially on Wednesdays, postponed out of respect.

They never told you the time, asked, back, then, anyways.

It was as if your dew were mere yards from John Barnes not tossing and blowing towards the corner flag or,

as the few not drunk nor worse for drink spectators later opined,
not tossing and blowing towards 30 years of a day in infamy, cautioned by the ombudsman’s shears

When we would steadily and at a fast walk walk through exit gate C.

When we would walk through storms

zǒu gǒu

zǒu gǒu

I. Lam Bun chats shit/gets banged

A DJ is mad as hell.
He is not going to take it anymore.

He is lampooning new-territory communards: cheap, dirty, obscene.
Owing to his tremendous foresight, he says he knows just how the red sun will die.

24 August, 1967
A shade past 9 am
He, sartorially certified dapper, metsubushi lapeling the dark side of the sun, and his cousin, Lam Kwang-hoi exit their Waterloo Road apartment.
They enter his Blue Volkswagen, the undercarriage of which destines no rust and

Are mummified with a petrol bomb and three unfalse red flags carried by three maintenance workers, three allegedly fake maintenance workers, who surkh hai, surkh hai aimed

To only gonna scare him: no Fourth Degrees, spurring tendon and muscle thru entrepôt onto Queen Elizabeth DMC, autopsied clean bill of health, vicariously pronounced dead the following day and six days later, respectively.

To pay their graves, the authorities and his employers announce a joint HK$150,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the thugs resp

Stop the car.

But he is not going to take it anymore and
does not step out en route to
Commercial Radio Hong Kong,
where he is due to host ‘Can’t Stop Striking,’
a show satirizing stone-broke plastic-flower-factory workers
for they shoot horses, don’t theying to the balloons of The Gang of Four instead


Of the British Isles Mandatory diet of
cheap labor: high opium: cheap bodies
but with no Jane Fonda to pick em up
by their ball-rooming feet:
‘What else…do they want?’
Or as Shujon, discharged from custody ছদ্দবেশ Shaon,
roman-à-clef engraving pellets,
cramping No más, on his casket,
so eloquently cross-examined, to disabuse
the Master of Ceremonies:
Did they really চাষ Nil Khamars in Nilphamari?
Or did they চাষ civil wars?

Not west of 24 Pargana, they did not—
they farmed Renaissance-Men,
in The Mirror with a cast, medical and thespian,
of paper-tigers and a few thousand clerks.

‘Land, Far far far away from
ferries towing
afim in wooden chests;
detonating poppy seeds
in Bihari chests;
lascars consorting
♑in treasury chests,
auctioning the Agency’s
bouquets to the Canton’s
soon-to-be-romanized highest bidder.

The catch.

In Nilphamari,
There is no PLA stationed at the pre-emptive coast.
There is no Premier to call off the pre-emptive coast .

There is no coast.

Photograph: Birdy Chu