College Street – A Poem by Manash Bhattacherjee


    An open tunnel
    Swarming with books
    Slow pavement
    Walking with a pause
    Books stall you
    Eyes stalked by titles
    The feet fettered
    You miss the women
    An old book-fool
    Lost in the dead poet
    As life passes by
    Ah bulletproof poems
    By that Nabarun
    He shot at his poems
    They did not die
    Survived the tobacco
    Fire and smoke
    Living like a cigarette
    Guts bellowing
    The poet dies bravely
    His books sold
    By streets of oblivion
    “O’ he is dead?”
    The owner is stunned
    By his ignorance
    But no time to ponder
    Time is in flames
    Dead poets sell better
    Like elephants
    Poets are automobiles
    Puffing the dirt
    They die like factories
    Poem is labour
    Sold in College Street

    Woman buying Tagore
    A tower of Pisa
    In the same bookstore
    Looks unmoved
    As I ask for my poets
    A zero curiosity
    Tagore is monogamy
    But she can flirt
    Like an aunt in agony
    With the owner
    Only for a lower price
    Price is too high
    Even for Tagore love
    The owner flirts
    With humble overture
    Concedes book’s
    Value but not the price
    “I tried my best”
    She threatens to leave
    Without the book
    And wins the gaming
    At fifty rupees less

    Where else are books
    Bargained over tea
    Poets bought and sold
    Like daily grocery
    A dog follows you out
    As it follows you in
    A solitary biscuit is all
    It asks for gratitude
    Owner who sells poets
    Complains how few
    Ask for poets these days
    “Students are busy
    Competing not reading”
    Hits the nail’s head!

    Dusk falls quicker than
    You can imagine
    The Coffee House gets
    Somewhat louder
    ’60s are a cigarette away
    Caffeine of love
    Sinking on sour throats
    Love is difficult
    The rates of life go high
    Sun is no longer
    Red but has turned blue
    May turn saffron
    Sooner than you blink
    Curtains to hope

    The chatty taxi driver
    Has no such worry
    He has planned a drink
    After he drops me
    I leave behind shadows
    Folding up the day
    I see from the window
    A brooding ghost
    Below the smoggy lamp
    Wearing a nostalgia
    Heavier than the books

    By Rishi Bandopadhay

    Manash Bhattacharjee  

    November 21, 2014, Delhi

    (Manash Bhattacharjee is a poet from New Delhi. His first collection of poetry, Ghalib’s Tomb and Other Poems, was published by The London Magazine here)