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2.0k · Dec 2016
On life by the River
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
To the shy hamlet vivid are the hardships of last year,

how the brazen river had surged in—ravishing, moulding,

branding beyond repair. And yet, when the summer air hums

in the hush before rain, once again, on the crumbling fields

rancid memories give way to emerald reveries.
1.5k · Dec 2016
Gymnastics
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
Goliath intention
Glitters within reach on
Grecian hallowed ground; the
Girl forged by sweat and chalk
Greets the beam with pristine
Gainer flip, ready to
Grasp the world with her feat.
Form: Pleiades G
1.2k · Dec 2016
Sundarbans
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
“Sundar means beautiful,” the natives write—
The mangroves of south dance beneath daylight
With the flair of a gypsy drunk and bold
Swirling her skirt of salt. And callous gold
Prowls the swamp after trotting prey in flight.

The sentinels of south guard through the night
And push and pull against the windy might;
Behind their sieving shields, beliefs still hold—
Sundar means beautiful.

The men of south venture without invite
For honey, wood and fish into the plight;
The wives, like fortune, wait at the threshold
Praying and cursing gods foreign or old
As sleepless children scramble to recite—
Sundar means beautiful.
Form: Rondeau
Sundarbans ( Literal Translation: Beautiful Forest) is a mangrove forest on the delta formed by the super confluence of the Ganges, Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers across southern Bangladesh and Bengal. It's a swamp land that belongs to tigers, crocodiles and well, millions of people who live there and earn their livelihood from the forest. The environmental importance of Sundarbans is colossal as the mangroves protect the coastal areas from erosion, surge storms and tsunamis. In my opinion, without the forest, the human history of this region would have been a completely different one.
1.1k · Jan 2017
An Affair
Tamal Kundu Jan 2017
Distilled sun invades
to project on whitewashed screen their
chintzy-hotel love,
melding the serenading shades.
Form: Verse
873 · Dec 2016
Siachen
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
Siachen

At the savage, indigo sky,
draped in snow, claw the mountains high.
By the cirque, a base, sheltered 'neath,
his gun sings the ballad of death.

A field of kash, in autumn swirl,
the dark braid of that village girl.
Mother's white, unwavering faith,
his gun sings the ballad of death.

Skin burns through the synthetic girth,
frozen blood inseminates earth.
Echo of loss shudders his breath,
his gun sings the ballad of death.

At the savage, indigo sky,
his gun sings the ballad of death.
Form: Kyrielle Sonnet
Siachen is a glacier located in the eastern Karakoram range of Himalayas mountains just northeast of the LoC between India and Pakistan. It's also the highest battleground on Earth.
770 · Dec 2016
Towards a New Home
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
Once there was an end of the war in sight,
they built their John Steinbeck ship,
hoisted the Ayn Rand flag
and sailed to the promised land.

Upon the dulcet shore, there she was,
their old enemy, cinnamon arms wide open in welcome.

Blood and spit foaming at the corners of her mouth,
she said,
kindness isn't a two-way street.
Form: Free Verse
757 · Feb 2017
Fantasy
Tamal Kundu Feb 2017
Imagine, for this night, you are the queen of Fairy Tale land.
I, too, am a prince, from Make-Believe kingdom.

From beyond our cocooned proximity,
the night shimmers in, and thickens to a silken thread of moonlight
that the crone will soon spindle into her never-ending story
of billion constellations, both seen and unseen
by naked, desperate novas.

We, entwined, like the roots under a rabid rainforest,
pale as innocence, battering feverishly against the stones for ever afters,
seize Avalon, and reject Camelot.
The canopy of fireflies  synchronises in raw euphoria,
a rebel Excalibur.

The wind matures around us.
Tomorrow may be an inevitable notion,
but my queen of Fairy Tale land,
my sword, shield, bow, toothbrush, unicorn,
worn-out copy of The Arabian Nights,
all lay bare before your lion throne.

This world was once a crevice between fire and ice.
Fire and ice run in our veins,
from me to you and back into the realm of drunken faeries,
where the bumblebee heart of the day
is yet to ignite the pomegranate sky.
Form: Free Verse
716 · Dec 2016
Carpe Diem
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
Crossing those boundaries of yesterday, step into unknown.
As today is your birthright, burn with fervour; consume and rise.
Repetition is forbidden, etch out your story; time flies.
Past is shrivelling rose, let go, so it may nourish its own.
Enraptured, relish each moment like a French delicacy.

Desire is destiny, fickle as change is constant. There's just
Indecency of death, after which comes the stygian dearth.
Embrace that permanence, and drain every day of all its worth.
M**an wasn't meant to be a slave of tomorrow, break free; you must!
Form: Acrostic
685 · Dec 2016
Aspiration
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
And here
we are
again,
my love,
under
one more
bullock
cart night,
devoid 
of care,
ageless
in joy.

Clingy
as sand
are the
actions
of past.
Forgive,
my love,
forget
as well,
devoid
of care,
ageless
in joy.

For long
had I
raged and
hated
the tide
that took
you far
adrift.
But now,
my love,
I know
by heart
it was
leading
you to
me swift.

The man
you called,
“My love,”
my love,
was not
better
a man
than me.
He crushed
your soul
beneath
his thumb,
and noosed
the husk
with glee.

So here
I stand,
a gun
in hand,
tall at
your grave,
my love.
Crows caw
in nest
when owls
destroy,
devoid
of care,
ageless
in joy.
Form: Verse
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
The last time I had seen this particular cousin of mine, I was still in college and he had a head full of hair. In between, there had been three funerals, two weddings and four births in our Trojan royalty of a family. I had been a university graduate for a year, and the prospect for a job, a decent one at that, had started to grow dimmer by the day. He asked, “Will you tutor my daughter?” “Yes!” I said. And we set out immediately. He, on his bike and I, on my motorcycle following him. We took a right turn at the famous landmark of the statue of demoness Putana, sitting on the grass with her ***** out and legs spread forward. He introduced me to his wife and daughter. Telling them to stand side by side, he told me, “She's only eleven, but look at her! Already equal in length and width to her mother, who is no delicate petal herself. Do you think you can teach her GK?”

The universe wasn't made with dissent. Plus, the chicken samosas were really delicious. I tried on a grin while the overachieving pre-teen bustled around the room showing me her accolades for painting, singing, studying. As I left he pointed at a tree, “Do you know what tree is that?”

“Bael?” I answered thoughtfully.

“Apple. That's an apple tree.”

“Oh! Does it bear fruits?”

“Not in this climate!” He laughed out loud.
Form: Prose Poetry
649 · Dec 2016
Envy
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
Her silent steps the night takes,
ink-stained fingers sculpt erotica:
She is the child of disillusionment.
Crooked smile hears the words outside her head-
within reach, but not quite.

The mirrors in her room reflect
the kohl of her achievements;
she is a stream long run dry
in desperation for agriculture.

The cigarettes blister her lips
in the careless moments of broken shards;
she is the firefly caught in the summer storm,
beckoning lights have shut the windows.

Her world towers and reproves the thought
of her on the charcoal street;
she is the flower that blooms by the roads,
feeds on the dust
and craves to be steel.
Form: Free Verse
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
Crackling mischief waxes every moon; Moon, the plaited devil
Three harvests blue, summits everest shelf to scrape out crunchy
Bliss, and scurries away, with exasperated steps in tow.
For my niece, Monoshree (Moon, for short)
Form: Light Poetry
519 · Dec 2016
The Revealed Myth
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
Lost in the desert at night, a maze of stairs reveals the myth.
Neon sign, beside a paan-red smile, pairs—revealing the myth.

Clotho has ringlets, Lachesis slanted eyes, Aisa laugh lines,
Weaving tapestry of rapturous affairs, reveal the myth.

Who plays the distant sārangī? Who pours the quenching nectar?
Falling into stride behind Inanna's heirs reveals the myth.

Those intimate moments trace the tangible warmth on her skin.
In proud destitution, a desire she wears: reveals the myth.

Sand trickles through his anxious fingers, the mirage disappears.
At dawn fugitive memories Tashir bears. The revealed myth.
Form: Ghazal
456 · Dec 2016
Microcosm
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
I walk among stars,
my vibrant soul resonates
their brilliant symphony.

It tells the story
of us, each reaching out for
the divine in the other.
Form: Sedoka
431 · Dec 2016
The City and The River
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
City
becomes joy,
gathers hope, together
concrete and man spiral, infusing life,
aspirations endless. Continuing journey unfolds
gradually; individuality lost and found and found and lost.
Roots pulsing, always expanding;
slums persisting by negated wealth—
poetry written.
Invoking rain,
civilisation assimilates
~River~
assimilates civilisation.
Rain invoking
written poetry.
Wealth negated by persisting slums
expanding always. Pulsing roots
lost and found and found and lost. Individuality gradually
unfolds journey continuing. Endless aspirations
— life infusing—spiral man and concrete
together; hope gathers.
joy becomes
City.
Form : Palindrome
428 · May 2017
Sloth
Tamal Kundu May 2017
It was the missing decade
of my life that came back,
late on one clammy night.

Wearing your visage
of a foraging girl
at the foot of a tranquil Vesuvius.

Spent though I was,
for those decades still with me,
I sat awake listening to the warmth of open windows.

The decade came for me,
in figments and memories
wheezing a few questions.

This room is known to me,
as is the night,
as is the flaying heat,

and the carved words
on the creaking charpoi
by some distant uncle.

I melded with the light squeezing through
into this dark, sulphurous room
like an exile away from my maker.

The decade came to me
and sang lullabies
of princes who never were.

I have kept my vigil
until the mirror ran dry
and returned to sand.

The decade wears me now
as I am, the hunting boy
by a shimmering Ganges.
Form: Free Verse
411 · Dec 2016
Sansar
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
I can't deny the allure of stability.

A red-brick house with a front porch and wooden pickets,
A mango tree with summer-drooping branches,
A spice garden in pitchers and pots.
The long corridor that runs to the living room,
The stairs lead up to the worldly roof.
Chiming winds curl the curtains on the windows,
Darkness recedes from south to north.
Where Your steps will echo in the rhythm of rain,
And where I'll be, drenched in your scent,
Reciting Tagore.

Ah!
What a life it'll be!
You, me and eternity.

I want it all and I want the road,
Sunsets, gasoline and upcoming bends.
My greed has never known bounds,
My hubris to get to you and get away.
Form: Free Verse
'Sansar' microcosmically means family, and in broader sense it denotes the physical world.
411 · Dec 2016
Infatuation
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
I

School bag, blue shirt, hair parted on the right,
Daal-rice, clock ticking away in delight;
Cycles stop, wagons with seasonal crop,
Get to her class before the gates shut tight.

II

The obsession froths beyond the eavesdrop,
Secrecy brews a moral of Aesop;
Friends don't yet know, the fear that the eyes show,
Grows the need to shout it from the rooftop.

III

Geography is boring, the maps tow
Useless details such as where's Kosovo;
It's all pretense, the absorption intense,
But her attention sets the world aglow.

IV

The wistful heart struggles to make some sense
And accept pain at misery's expense;
Then her comment, and the motives ferment,
The surging tide sweeps over the heart's fence.

V

Evening is drunk with sunlight, the day's spent,
Menthol erases the cigarette scent;
She fades from sight, the mundanities write,
A long ride back under the clouds' intent.
Form: Rubaiyat
404 · Dec 2016
Pride
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
The old house stands still.
Rot has set in.
A flying termite caught in the webs of a dead spider, sway to the shrill of a ceiling fan.
All things sway.
Dreams rise and suffocate in the mouldering  mortars
Falling on the adjacent tiled roof. 
They scream, laugh, make love, declare the infiniteness 
Of their finite existence through diatribes of reality and unreality.

They are passionate bunch, 
Bound by their common desire to be. And blood. 
And the house just is. It still is. 
Once there were sparrows in the ventilators. 
And envious bayas on the palm trees. 
The ripples in the pond sing their dark, merry tunes
Licking away its edges, 
And they shove and trample for the whiff of north wind.

Life persists in slow, lonely decadence. 
The cactus on the roof thrives in monsoon and in summer. 
Basil live and die, live and die trenched in the never ending circle 
Of micro-civilisation. 
The house harvests its own sustenance in the whispers among its bricks
That become a collective 
And a roar is heard. 
They pray to Earth.

The old house is defiant, 
The old house is tired. 
Its melting skin sizzles and stinks of industry of old, 
A glorious past always in the distant like the horizon, 
The promise of bright future exposed to the misery
That is naturalness of time. 
The hammer rusted, **** has grown over, 
They clinch onto the sickle like oxygen.
Form: Free Verse

Growing up in a state of the country where all the magnificence is limited to either history books or fictional literature, one hopes for something more. This is definitely a political reflection than anything else, but 'the house' is not just a metaphor, it does exist, and so do the people living in it.
395 · Jan 2017
Gluttony
Tamal Kundu Jan 2017
The seed of my fall
was sowed when in small,
certain twist of fate,
both were working late.

Papers flew to frame you wings
while a hunger pulled my strings,
and in the blues of your gaze,
did my heaven and hell blaze.
Form: Jueju
There are two types of Jueju poems. The first stanza is in Wujue  (5 syllables each lines); the second stanza is in Qijue (7 syllables each line).
380 · Jan 2017
Haiku 1
Tamal Kundu Jan 2017
tropic afternoons
spent under her arctic glares
my dent on cosmos
379 · Dec 2016
Coffee Date
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
Morning.
Brewing coffee
Brings you out in my shirt
To serve us both heavy spoons of
Jam and
Perch on the counter top. Pancakes
On mute sizzle, I taste
The last batch on
Your lips.
Form: Butterfly Cinquain
370 · Feb 2017
Identity
Tamal Kundu Feb 2017
At the silted banks of river Nile,
I'd sung to the glory of Lucy;
I'd soared high over the echoing Savanna
and fought and bled for Shaka Zulu.
I was first to push back abyss,
the last to be ripped away. I'll
return one day, I'll bring the rest.
Form: Kwansaba
334 · Dec 2016
Bhatiali
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
Afloat I am,
The blind horizon spreads to no end.
O river of rivers,
The queen river,
Flow as you wish,
Gather silt forever
That on your shores
Men may harrow, then sow
The seeds of happiness
And sorrow to grow.


Afloat I am,
The blind horizon spreads to no end,
Hilsa leaps at the moon,
How wondrously they blend!

Hilsa leaps at the moon,
How wondrously they blend!
O river of rivers,
The starry river,
Your blinking waves drum
Of Behula's shiver.
I too am lost,
The tattered merchant fool,
My peacock barge rides
Fate's whirlpool.

Hilsa leaps at the moon,
How wondrously they blend!
When the whistling wind wakes
All courage is pretend.

When the whistling wind wakes
All courage is pretend,
O river of rivers,
The wise river.
Who would speak for us?
If not you, may be never.
Yet the mountains rise
From the hearths' ash,
You are silent, while
The history is brash.

When the whistling wind wakes
All courage is pretend.
Heaven's horn blares slender silver
For whom to comprehend?

Heaven's horn blares slender silver
For whom to comprehend?
O river of rivers,
The hungry river,
The consort of Ruin.
An arrow in Falguni's quiver.
The infinite wasteland beckons
Hold onto heart's dream,
One more sun above
Anguish and scream.

Heaven's horn blares slender silver
For whom to comprehend?
Afloat I am,
The blind horizon spreads to no end.
Form: Bhatiali

Bhatiali is a form of folk music native to Bangladesh and Bengal. There is no place for Taal (a term used in Indian classical music for the rhythmic pattern) in pure bhatiali. Even rhyme is not that important. Generally, these songs are sung by the cattle herders on the fields or the fisherfolks living off a river. Among the several subjects of folk music in all of Bengal, that includes Deha-tatva (about the body) and Murshid-tatva (about the guru), Bhatiali deals with Prakriti-tatva (about nature). Probably the most renowned poet of this form is Jasimuddin. Some of Rabindranath Tagore's songs can also be categorised as typical bhatiali.
Tamal Kundu Oct 2017
Alone at last in the dead of night,

he reaches for her under their threadbare existence

with one clammy hand.

She dutifully obliges.



Alone at last in the dead of night,

the girl is sound asleep;

the tiara is still askew on her head

after the day’s rabid celebration.



Alone at the last at the dead of night,

the boy takes the unrelenting road

out of the town.

And towards new adventures.



Alone at last at the dead of night,

the dog sheds its skin

and howls at the moon.
295 · Jul 2017
The Departure
Tamal Kundu Jul 2017
Over the chatter of rain,
her vegetable shouts
are hardly heard by him.

The corner where the roof leaks
and corruption draws a perfect circle,
he finds his anorexic love
neatly packed in polyethene bags.

The window is missing a shattered pane
lost sometime last year,
he gathers the curtain into a ball to repel the storm
but rips the silk to shreds.

He’s gone in the stillness between the flash and the roar
that threaten to overwhelm her once more,
she closes her eyes and the door.
Form: Free Verse
291 · Mar 2018
Violent Love
Tamal Kundu Mar 2018
Late night rendezvous
the carcass of hope
pecked clean by fever dreams
and relief in pain.

Their macabre passion
infused with action
evolves and invades
the pale, sick ecosystem.

Still, the waning moon
tells no tales.
Their urgency of need
overshadows the pull of light.

The night stumbles forward
beyond their collective consciousness
in her dead eyes
and on his swollen lips.
Happy World Poetry Day!
288 · Dec 2016
Milk
Tamal Kundu Dec 2016
Framed by mankind her voice turned raw.
For toxins had tainted ambrosia
and festered in her child to gnaw
framed by mankind; her voice turned raw
in grief for deaths to come. She saw
in court why she must fight inertia.
Framed by mankind her voice turned raw
for toxins had tainted ambrosia.
Form: Triolet
Because adulteration of something as basic for human survival as milk is a problem in this part of the world.
245 · Sep 2017
Different Earth
Tamal Kundu Sep 2017
A slow twirl of hand

anti-clockwise

and Kronos does a moonwalk.

Earth 5111955

of revision and recreation

mistakes do not exist here.

And as mistakes do not exist

neither do courage, nor philosophy,

nor the humble desire that whispers in one’s ear,

“Be the best you can be.”
245 · Aug 2017
Before the End
Tamal Kundu Aug 2017
He is an earthy fool of morning—

makes the uphill trek of five leagues

and gathers anemones.



He is a fiery child of dusk—

arrives in the quietness beyond fatigue

and knocks at the door.



She is a flighty girl of night—

wears an anemone in her hair

and opens the door.



It is a deranged river of dawn

breaks the shackles that tamed it once

and rears its hood to strike.
223 · May 2017
Interlude
Tamal Kundu May 2017
Set in its prurient ways,
the sun strips the rōnin down
in the vicious pause after—
the peasant girl stares.
Form: Dodoitsu

— The End —