SA (January19,1981 / Bangladesh)

In A Coaltar-Black Jungle

1.

You come with a camera slung on your back:
the whole caboodle of it's never been so urbane;
it's our muted past lacerated by a far-off light

but gleams of it glare at our every blinking
and sagas of that conquest do clamour -
we stumble before the mocking eye and the flints,

once so innocent, now rumbling at our heels.
Do not ever walk alone in this tar-black night;
nothing's so coaltar-black out there in your place,

for all of you always drizzle lights around.

2.

But here in this jungle where our ancestors,
long-dead, fought all the robbers of light,
this darkness you too robbed of its inner light.

Yes, seething hot with revenge, it hangs around
with all its jaws wide open - famished for long:
never can you slip out of its stomach like no planet,

whether be it big or small, ever out of a black-hole.
Boxed in as we often are by its intimate rage,
we still love it like its dear next of kin

despite all your enlightened hardliners' hate.

3.

You hang History inside out like underpants.
Oh, you city-slickers do know next to nothing
about this jungle - your haunting afterthought.

You go away with so photogenic our wretchedness -
squirting abuses onto us the primordial gang,
your tendency to spread, as of a contagion:

its hardness like genetics of making us dwarfs
in the laboratory where tall tales breed. That's
the sum of your stays - a sad fiasco for us.

Do not ever walk alone in this tar-black jungle.


from IN LOVE WITH A GORGON (2010)

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