Poet in Delhi by Manash Bhattacharjee

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Poet in Delhi

Can you rinse away this city that lasts

like blood on the bitten tongue?

~ Agha Shahid Ali

Delhi,

where parrots lift

the weight of tombs,

poets offer daggers

to deepen wounds,

history travels from

harem to brothel,

Delhi,

where slang is a coma

in the comma of speech,

sex with your sister

conveys a euphemism,

abuse is a birthright

denied only to beggars,

Delhi,

where strangers mix

facts with fables,

friends conceal the past

in smoky avowals,

lovers spell their names

on a stone’s forehead,

Delhi,

I pound your

nights

of toxic questions,

I escape your

streets

of towering morgues,

I loathe your

hauteur

of deaf ramparts,

I lose my heart

and

get into your

history,

Delhi,

I recover my mirrors

in

your ghazals,

Delhi,

I offer my childhood

to

your pigeons,

Delhi,

I rescue the sun

from

your debris,

Delhi,

accursed city,

I recall your

heartbreaks

of barking moons,

Delhi,

grotesque city,

I read your

mutilations

of petrified blood,

Delhi,

desecrated city,

I see your

vanished maps

in the eyes of

gypsies,

Delhi,

surrogate city,

I hear your future

on the dreamer’s

lips,

Delhi,

each time a

victim

writes your death,

your crusaders

bring you

to life,

but how long

will you play

this game with

yourself,

how long?

Every year you

parade

the republic’s

ritual,

where the amount

of

remembering

equals

the amount of

forgetting.

Manash Bhattacharjee

New Delhi.