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:

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
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
Lie. Clarify
Furniture of
Fat like

No plurality;
Braise me, mirror,
In a pool of butter
Slantly as light

Escapes into
                  Store carbs
                  Inside Stolid

When you fasten
Wrists across


                  Do you gather

of All my

A graph of
Cocks jelly,—

                  Then, mirror,
                  Me again

Until I
Mass by sting

Moaning like

                   I ring to

The           body
only            An
experiment Towards

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

I did try

Reaching you,
Says your lover

                        Sugar wet
                   & Of once.

A surgeon’s hands:
Never small

No, always small.

                   Night, try me.
                        Haven’t we
                   always Come

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

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

                        Mirror, you worry me

Memory & yet that septum
Mouth cutting as

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.

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