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2 poems by Taz Rahman


Yashica 635


I pine curves, guavas, sofedas, a wave arching

back falling flat on its face. I want to convince

 

you that the jackfruit in its afternoon spikes is

an inaudible layer, inedible like the past;

 

the tongue may crave its dorsal surface to levitate,

the lateral border to swell, but even if the tip

 

opens to the dollop of ripe, the lingual tonsil shall

rise up, rebel, repel the past. A light is trying to creak

 

through the floorboards, its somnambulant

gait is feral as the hills, sand dunes, days out

 

to Savar at the Martyr's Memorial under a katha*,

my father winding our faces, shapes, concrete

 

and miles far and near - not even the eyes could

see how the fingers folded spindles of flies

 

groaning inside the unbroken peel cage of Langra

aam*, my mother's expert fingers hesitant to scrape

 

off the whole afternoon. I observe catharsis

to heal the unhealable, let cellulose acetate puncture

 

chemical dips. Once my father walked a whole year

along a sea path filled in the Beirut dust, his feet

 

flattening the desert and its stylites, and back East,

clicks turned into clinks, brass spoons stirring clouds

 

of milk in Moulvibazar tea. I want to tell you

about the curtains, handstitched in forgotten shades

 

unfurling a decade: independence, the rise of a nation,

an assassination, a metallic blue Civic smelling

 

the same sky as sourdough Sobhanbagh, quieter than

beetles taking refuge in the exterior cornices

 

of verandas before a storm, and beyond those

curtains, crayon-stained, how my sister learnt

 

to crawl. But, I am not ready. Let ash stain

the Dhanmondi sky in evenings wearing red after

 

each storm, turn lilacs into violets - it is possible

to carve patterns, trap lipids,


fan unfettered the indelible to embalm the body

as a spillage of trapped light.

 

--- 

 * A hand-stitched light blanket, sometimes intricate embroidered, common in

Bangladesh and East Bengal, India.

 ** Langra Aam is a famous variety of mango very common along the eastern

regions of the Indian subcontinent.



Internal Reliquary

 

White lines at a crossing

tongue grit

whispering incantations

to a low-sprung bed in a room

for bodies refusing to stand

under the shower

wash off the night air.

 

I clutch bodies

let go to reveal

another layer

juice skin

coddling tendons.

 

I peel curtains

rent them

back to the walls

open a window

let the sunshine brood walnuts.

 

A space may contain

physical forms

the expanse between them

 

seconds

multiplied by divisions.

 

A space may contain

a winter

when nothing ripens

 

spring

summer

a ripening avocado.

 

I want to preserve the dust

from a dusk:

 

when the rose quartz

a membrane

off the pericardium


dangling from the neck

is not

pressed between skins


and the walls

rent back the walnuts

to regurgitate

Mehldau, McBride, Redman

blading, twisting, plucking

dampening a blow.

 

A dressing gown eases its folds

not far enough

 

a belt is pulled tight

to mow skin

 

the trance of fibres

scheming touches


for calibrated time

to cease

the pesky chords

winding distant roars

 

chords

burning Notre Dame

London rebelling extinction

a hundred arrested.

 

And, in Albany Road

above a chicken shop

in a room too safe


a voice on the radio

is pickling burdock

to make it taste

like lotus roots.


I want to hold

on to the space

salting stardust.


___________

Cardiff based Taz Rahman's first poetry collection is forthcoming in April 2024 from Seren Books. He was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Writing Prize 2022 and his poems have been published in Poetry Wales, Bad Lilies, Propel, Honest Ulsterman and South Bank Poetry. He is the founder of the Wales based Youtube poetry channel Just Another Poet.


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