Running Out of Other People’s Money

Running Out of Other People’s Money

রাজনীতি এখন পরিবর্তন হয়েছে

All the civil servants wake up before dawn: the sweepers jharoo dust bowls; the police men chew paan; the police women ask their colleagues if they happen to have change for rickshaw fare.

এখন হরতাল ডাকলে হয় না।

They precede us like nationhood precedes the citizen.

মানুষ এখন বুঝে গেছে। মানুষ উন্নয়ন চায়।

The gas hikes would be expected to ricochet off tea stalls, into dhabas and into living rooms if they could past the check posts. But the burners are best forgotten. Though they will tolerate the kerosene: the customary burning of the tire. Proceed.

যারা হরতাল ডাকে তারাও বোঝে হরতাল হবে না।

The first time around Shahbag, correspondents mic up: traffic is lean কিন্তু স্বাভাবিক

The second time after Katabon signal, things come to a halt. They are watching. There are shuffles. Shirts are pulled. Words are said. Wooden benches staff the roundabout. No one get’s through.  Maybe later. But not now. Pedestrians are curious. The bullhorn guides the uninitiated. Motorists are bemused. Those in the backseats sympathize but are ultimately annoyed (defaced is the word the Editor’s Council recommends)

 একটি দলকে যদি ধারাবাহিক ভাবে ক্ষমতায় না রাখা যায় তাহলে উন্নয়ন হবে না।

The third time,  we come back after looping round Ruposhi Bangla. The constable looks at his watch. Load up. It’s rush hour.

Quotes: This;

নারীবান্ধব or Legislating Rape.

নারীবান্ধব or Legislating Rape.

Hon. Meher Afroz Chumki,

 

I cannot appeal to your children.

The mind does, after all, afford compartments:

The hospitality lounge at Hazrat Shahjalal

if you pay American Express: the Madonna of credit;

the backhand pet,

the kiss flaying the ghumta for yours:

the sister; the mother; the daughter;

During the voice vote.

You do think of them.

During Mr. Imam’s protestations.

You do remember them.

But in the private house,

not just the shanty playing  L’Enfant terrible,

she is subject to eminent domain:

যেখানে ‘আমাদের দেশের মানুষ বাল্যবিবাহের কুফল সম্পর্কে জানেন’

যেখানে পুরুষ মাগি গালি দিয়ে বাসায় ফিরতে পারেন

উনি জানেন ‘কিন্তু মানেন না।’

অজ্ঞান

We must endure.

The Mollah Paribar

whose daughter goes into labor

in the middle of her SSC exams;

can we assign her to desserts,

the salish where flesh is judiciary?

No, you don’t have to.

One does not flinch at corpses after the war.

১৪ ফাল্গুন, ১৪২৩

Photograph: CJ Clarke/Save the Children-

The girl in the photo is May Yoi Ching Marma

(https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/gallery/2015/nov/06/escaping-child-marriage-in-bangladesh-in-pictures)

 

 

 

 

Rampal, I love you.

Rampal, I love you.

To occupy
Tear gas canister skidding off speed-breakers like warsaw pact skaters shining for the Motherland.
Except they didn’t tread the swamps, half-kneed
or wince at warlords farming shrimp inside fences
invisible
from satellite states.
They circled back: heroes,
cut queue at Mcdonalds
But where were the MoUs signed?
In double entendre:
I am alive, and so must be the lightbulb,

  • over the dock
  • flickering convulsions
  • Bagerhat in cold turkey
  • And. Pop.

Even if it is not my lightbulb.

To backstroke
Off canons,
even those descended from the mirage.
Chili had paraded back in January from its historic betrayal:
weighing European palettes with jungles,
the base of the tikka masala,
the banana leaf served as platter,
the bamboo timber hollowed for kung-pao.

Menus will spell out the Green Line
pruned from the yoke of the Raj:
Lobster Thermidor; Kacchi Biryani; Aloo Bokhara;
The Palestinian with the rock is the right of return.
The Bangladeshi hurling bricks is the riot begging APCs.

To indigenize 
Peregrines at shahbag

Irrawadys at Gonobhaban

At the dais, with a fistful of rubber slugs,
let me repeat:
That,

  • The Pasur will leak electricity as the estuary peals off Mukti-Joddher Chetona.
  • The fishermen will be brides at Gaye holuds presided over by transmission towers.
  • The silt thrown up by dredgers will resurrect the crust of public housing.
  • The mangroves will have their roots beam entrepreneurial.

And that Humus will be the stepchild of coal.

Photo: http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2017/jan/26/bangladesh-police-lob-tear-gas-shells-on-anti-rampal-protesters-1563813.html

Couture III: Anthimeria

Couture III: Anthimeria

On our way there, there wasn’t much to see.
The sea bid farewell to the bow
but the sea is, and was then, feminine,
and so judged us as what is called the unyielding matron

She showed us
Vinyl rotting, melting to will
Fakri’s famine curtsying to the mist of vaseline
Premier shondesh stuffed into mouths
Or into homes in takeout containers
Flyovers splintering into blockades
Into ignitions at starting pistol
And sparkling water at checkered flag

We are entertained.
And wake up stranded in low tide.

Feet gassed in mud
Feuding with the cataract of the tube well,
Dodging cow dung,
An expedition of tents to curry amends
For we have sinned
And Fridays were not enough.
Only the Earth forgives:

Conifers unfurl like corollas
In panorama;
Soft shell grabs are admired,
And fade pink in the pot;
Turtles lay eggs at midnights
Marshalled by our flashlights;
Combing the stretch of beach
Is religious,
Exoskeletons for the wife to hang around her neck.

This milad is interrupted,
Tourists are also journalists
In the south.

Villagers run errands on pocket change
And with the kids watching,
We burn ourselves on the twenty second loosie:
Don’t they go to school?

And they tell you about the textbooks and the teachers and the students and the four dogs on the island and the soil that is estranged family and the dialect, the dialect, the unsent wedding invitation like you are the district commissioner.
And you do not correct them.

But they were not ready.

Life, and hope better life.

I know how you feel.
But the way you feel about it will not create jobs.

Couture I: The Sleeves Of Tradition

Couture I: The Sleeves Of Tradition

The machine gun motor boat incited recollection:
Black plumes pulsing out of cylindrical pipes, spitting ember
Boatman tugging on the aquamarine rope, bred with mildew
Swampland high tide purging the industrial hull, rudder clutched–a trail of evaporation

I am wed to the life i promised to dread:

The altar is a waterway rippled with torch lights,
Eroding the sediments of cohabitation
Embankments cultivate water buffaloes,
Polythene headgear and stretching mozzarella
FB post similes 21 tourists into Rohingyas,
Shipyard surging like the orchestra of a soviet, unaccompanied by conductor

The groves can see themselves falling off the saline cliffs–
Starlight guiding us through columns of low hanging fruit,
Crew-boy bucketing water out of engine room,
Bamboo oar rowing against a militia of opportunity.

Bhadralok 1-16

Bhadralok 1-16

You are on auction
Half a century after
The floods plundered Bhola

Her stretched linen
Serviced future PoWs
To rift valleys

Heartstrings deployed to
Suture
Paddy fields

Factories
evacuated at
Half-mast to your father’s funeral

You learned
To fold your arms,
To accommodate session jams

To crack the whip
At state television
Lunchtime specials

To manicure
Irrigation channels,
Subways to withstand the dearth of coverage

To employ mid-water trawls
Ensnaring currents
Impaired of Capital

The 90s engender
Fairy tales at zero point,
Sandbags are extinct,
A homecoming

Cock hammer spur
Burn tariffs
Fiefdoms sound the clash of luminaries,
Charcoals commissioned
To daub a new people’s hegemony

Bunkers rehabilitate
Into college sweethearts
Into handshakes built on swampland
Into fangs monopolizing betrayal
Into balms flirting with the cantonment budget
Into midwives courted by centenaries of resistance
Peeling rinds of delta, re imagining time zones, seeding clouds for latitude– platoons patronizing orphaned coastlines, sights charring helicopter money

Can I borrow your table manners?

Artist: Unknown

All Quiet

All Quiet

Tadmadaw
Blue raincoats
like shawls draped
Over shanties,
An inflection point for the generals
Who have for decades fought co-option of the 969
By liberal arts journals,

House Arrest
Your father’s colonial struggle
Has been amended to serve
In the trenches
Infested with secession,

Night-Vision
Naf Nodi culls
Observation towers
Sandbags gunned Type-81
Jihad: a transaction,
Un-licensed brokers
to
Federal grants
Issuing annexation

Teknaf
The watering hole is
Contoured as a red light district
With the UNHCR’s
Revolving door policy of look don’t touch
For locals after a day of swindling Reagan Democrats

The Sequel
Longest stretch of tombs on earth,
A buffet of deck chairs
Umbrella peddlers
And coconuts for tourists
To etiolate their quota of
Third world unforeseens

Photograph: Christophe Archambault/AFP

Community of Hope

Community of Hope

Dispatcher scrambles slum,

Suburb reports dress code violation,

Scanner like a tambourine breaking up the beat,

9mm kisses holster,

Trigger moonlights law and order,

Cruiser on the prowl,

Skid marks engrave lanes,

Skull to pavement, flexicuffs,

Writhe on bonnet, pepper spray,

Water cannon numbs quotas

Barbed barricades, salve courtesy of brass,

Cartridges smear blush,

Chucked over the shields,

144,

Fast track non-lethal,

Ammunition, the social contract,

Avant guard,  the new slogans with bullet holes,

White noise to reruns of Mati o Manush

Crossfires hold conferences,

Fourth Column drools

Front-Feature, a balanced piece

Quoting press secretary

Pall-bearers mute sirens.

Photograph: AP

 

Carrom

Carrom

I wanted it to be 270
Four steps forward every amputation,
My rental at your park
For your 1:00am gluttony,
Your cum on my tits
The moleskin at the brewery.

Arm in pocket
Your donation at the gala,
I’ll be your bag of bones
To drop in the basket-case,

No lipstick on the collar
Home along the whisky tracks,
Tough slog at work
I am gonna turn in.

Photograph: Christopher Doyle, Mark Lee Ping Bin/In the Mood for Love

Meritocracy and Grind

Meritocracy and Grind

Filibuster of secretary,
lap dog,
out of order elevator;

your blinds,
demarcations of
Foster-home
literacy drive,
Honor roll
Prenup at the registrar’s;
Elbow grease for every roommate burnt out on Ritalin

Tagore saved you from millennials,
So your children are nightclubs in suicide nests;
Family funds fuel bombers during the national parade;
Plaques are “Employee of the Month” when hot-mics infiltrate fire exits.
You enjoy funding documentaries about the next slumlord transitioning to app-designer,

The office is IKEA with an Espresso machine.
Her takeout stops appetizing.
We are to increase efficiency.
Discover the internet of things.
Reduce costs.
No handouts
How are we?
Take care.
And this how it was when we were up,

Mannequins weren’t guillotined,
Husbands sanctioned choke holds,
Reserve Armies expired on the shelves of motherhood,

Photograph: Lucy Rugirello/ Los Angeles Maritime Museum

Younger

Younger

Macau claws digging into my forearm
She started wearing contacts in the 6th grade
As an 11th birthday present her mother
Parlayed into a deferral on divorce proceedings.

Syrup weeping over scrambled eggs
The answering machine you promised
You’d use after you graduated into a career transcribing
Shit smeared northern Irish bastilles has fallen into disrepair.

8 hour trimmings and fond
You are a fossil in an unmarked grave
Nightcap in the hands of an alcoholic

fostering co-worker grit.

The Anatomy of a Mourning

The Anatomy of a Mourning

Flanked by kin
Holding up the stretcher,
The white sheet charting your casing like the afternoon mowing down inner cities.
The mosque hurling the compassionate to your side
To temporarily wreck their composure
Uncovering how you were a pillar of the community,
Your tenants took a furlough from their inflation adjusted lives
And stuffed their mouths and shot their feet under the flash of cold showers.
Doorbells ducked into tin-foil wraps,
Dirty dishes into slumber parties going through laminated albums

No one said it was your penchant for red meat,
Or the hostility of habits to diabetes,
It was remember how he used to keep to himself mostly, but was a good man.
It was he is survived by his wife, five children, and ten grandchildren,
The likes of who will gargle the holy water used to bathe their wounds.

Industries of sorrow 

Industries of sorrow 

Periodically, pension off memories
From assembly-lines,

And shuffle them into greeting cards.

The principal characters of your stories have forgotten their lines,

The audience’s faces have begun to tighten in barely restrained dismay,

The stage hands have all clocked out and de-unionized.

Strobe lights bounced off walls,

Painting obscenities along the corridors,

Redeeming friendship coupons.

Jumeirah listed as a deductible on the paycheck.

Lifeguard towers are cozy.

Almost enough to atone the wagon ride.

Not the front door,

Not the Gas station shoplifts,

Not the Construction-site Hand-jobs,

The In-utero tempest.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Promissory Note
You have matured as an aneurysm
Your use of pronouns are seldom and provoke want.

Clutch Free Throws
As we approach tip off some under the bleachers fuck you has captivated the hearts and minds of the nation: alimony is finally off the table.

Pompoms-a breakaway NCAA
The parole board has green-lighted proposals for the whites in their eyes to use all available tools to combat recidivism.

The scuttling fishermen are hard boilers in a B-Movie.

Mother-ships of Convenience
“What would you say to the allegations?”
“Unfounded in scripture. Unholy in their essence.”
“And the accusers?”
“Blasphemers, who believed they were wronged. Below-average GPAs,welfare queens, anti-depressant overdosers, would-be fornicators.”

Ceiling Fan
I wanted to tell you about my brother. He was born a few years after me. I barely remember the times he was a kid, not that he grew past it. He was one of those children who died in the death throes of smallpox. I would say that I miss him.

Photography: Patrick F.Tobin

Beached whales on the first day of thermidor

Beached whales on the first day of thermidor

You sssshh me because it’s the world’s best kept secret and that’s all you are telling. Even if i am the one the cashier on the graveyard shift at mcdonalds calls welcome back mister. And he’s loving your bangs, even post-mortem, and your stumps for fingers tornado the ranch and dollops of-effacing i am a pig and i am ready. The safe cracks. But somehow he forgets his lines and no you would not like today’s special with the sauce on the side, please.

Photograph: Robert Chappell & Stefan Czapsky