Two Poems

    by Tuhin Bhowal

    Against Translation
    “My secrets cry aloud. / I have no need for tongue.”
                   —Theodore Roethke

    The body moves like dust & our. Rain. Rain from Shillong, Paro, Bangalore.
                   I congeal the fat between my index ngers & thumbs approximating its atrocity. Like the measure of time while browning a roux. Or force. Water
                   
    tanks re ll the hospital nearby & I sni the petrichor like an emergency. Three dogs fuck; I touch myself. The way language can also mean
                   
    & be. At the end of my sadness—the threshold is ecstasy. Once I was a child at the trough of hills, a skinny boy: leek, of pines & peaches—dark
                   
    as mulberry; now—I am the king of fetishes. Feet & pits. Once my legs celery: my mouth gooseberry. Now—it is just a mouth. I mull tea leaves
                   
    beneath the remains of a cup. All my desires light & so melamine. See. “Mutual funds are subject to market risks.” Diversify. Diversify. Diversify.
                   
    Smallcase portfolio or invoice discounting? Tell me your thighs. The body moves like dust. Pirouettes. Wrings like a wound ayed by a blade—
                   
    The body moves. Squirms like a worm in the ass; twists in the gut.
    The raccoon heart dies. This heart dies of a sweetness but late. Love / then
                   die lest love dies.
    The body moves. The thigh breaks; I touch myself
    &
    shake. I was wrong about so much: At the end of my sadnesses, there is no
                   threshold—only ecstasies: Fields. Some grass grows & bends like
    lovers in a war singing a song. Someday I will be sinless as the sun & hum.
                   
    Until then a body. The body moves like dust. Like ower. Rains. The body moves like a canticle in verse: My own personal nomenclature of
                   
    lust. Cruelty kneading me. “Motion is equal to emotion,” wrote Roethke weighing two hundred & twenty- ve pounds of gut vitality. How
                   
    do we enter the world from behind without rupturing a life? The body naked—a circus of bones: Nakedness its only show, its enamel shield.
                   
    Early in this life the millenium turned into the walls of an asylum:
    Teal & north-eastern; taught a boy a body. Fatherless & still a boy: Love, less
                   of a moment, more, more a consequence, long, containing spillage:
    I

    live you. Diseased—I live you. Malignant. “As long as you’re feeling the
                    chill of the knife, you’re ne.” I learn to dice as we yearn to die.              
                    
    That boy
    is me & still only a body. This body is me. All those boys are me. All those                
                   
    bodies me. Me—my mother’s womb. My father’s tomb. Once
    the glance was my favourite shot; now—I stroke myself. See, see, don’t                
                   you see some muscle already?
    Once I lived in a ladderless orchard; now—I
    pluck. Once I was a body; now—I am a body. My mother mushroom.
                   
    My father fruit: Both their hands vermicelli—my ancestry & you.
    Our sad family on the sad ground in a sad country at this sad time. The body
    moves like dust & our. Rains & ower. Then the body moves
    curling towards shame. Petals in that rain. A body is a body is a body is a                
                   
    rose then a body. Then a shrimp. A colander. Then water. Then a river &
    you. Twilight—your knee. I too have a frugal need for tongue. Until
                   the body. Until the knee. Until your mole: A monastery where
    I
    moaned like a bell once. Till then both our bodies, birch, mere
                   attempts in trying to concede like an eye.

    Self-Portrait as Epiphany of a Fat Man’s Growing Gut Vitality

    Mirror, use me.
    Like joy—

    Throttle me Bodiless,
    Totally re ect: Mirage A clear
                              undisputed
    Lie. Clarify
    Furniture of
    Fat like

    Fish.
    No plurality;
    Braise me, mirror,
              Bottomless
    In a pool of butter
    Refracting
    Slantly as light

    Escapes into
     Years—
                      Store carbs
                      Inside Stolid
                                      eyes.

    When you fasten
    Wrists across
    Loins

    Of
    your
    Belly

                      Do you gather
                            Paradise
                            or
                      Comedy?—

    Density
    of All my
    Desires:

    Probability
    A graph of
    Cocks jelly,—

                      Then, mirror,
                            Coldcock
                      Me again

    Until I
    Pressurize
    Mass by sting

    Moaning like
    Bells:

                       I ring to
                            Wring
                       Then
                          eat.

    The           body
    only            An
    experiment Towards
    death

    Ask her father.

     

                       Is it the yolk
                            Or the
                       albumin That is
                          the egg?

    The whole is
    Not it.
    Never protein

    (Surely you can’t
    have Everything
    But you can want)

                       Who tastes her
                            Cotton in the
                       City yet to feed

    You?—
    I did try

    Reaching you,
    Says your lover

                       —Turquoise
                            Sugar wet
                       & Of once.

    A surgeon’s hands:
    Stoic
    Never small

    No, always small.

                       Night, try me.
                            Haven’t we
                       always Come
                       together?—

    Joy, leave me
    Hanging Limpid
    & noose
    All trees Yak.
    Joy Joy Joy,
                            Pimp me Like
    meat
    Starch rims you &
    you gape
    Your holes

    Into that
    Merit of tongues.
    Bonk me
                            Bugger Blaze
    me
    How one spendthrift
    Of Dante once
    Did
    Say halo
    & let the glass shatter.

                            Mirror, you worry me

    Memory & yet that septum
    Mouth cutting as
    Cheese—

    Author’s Bio:

    Recipient of the Deepankar Khiwani Memorial Prize 2022, Tuhin Bhowal’s poems and translations appear or are forthcoming in Bad Lilies, Poetry at Sangam, Oxford Anthology of Translation 2022, adda, Poetry City USA, Ovenbird Poetry, Parentheses Journal, South Florida Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Tuhin lives alone in Bangalore, India and tweets @tuhintranslates.

    Subscribe to our newsletter To Recieve Updates

      The Latest
      • The Usawa Newsletter April ‘24

        Kabir Deb: Hey Rochelle!

      • The Usawa Newsletter March ‘24

        Much like the title itself, Smitha Sehgal’s maiden poetry collection How Women

      • An interview with the Editors of Poetry at Sangam

        Taking down Poetry at Sangam must have generated a plethora of flashbacks of

      • The Usawa Newsletter February ‘24

        How JLF helped me with my undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD In the bustling city of

      You May Also Like
      • Three Poems By Sonnet Mondal

        Birth of a Hill Shining through the cracks of life the warmth of wisdom

      • Hillarious Translation of Rani Menon’s Kinasseri Times by Suneetha Balakrishnan

        Extract from Kinasseri Chronicles, a to-be-published work in Malayalam

      • In Lieu of a Manifesto by Ranjit Hoskote

        We have known, at least since the late 1960s, of the hazardous effects

      • Queen of the Jungle: Mataram

        Every tiger is special and precious but there are only handfuls of them