Hassanal Abdullah (Bangladesh – USA)

Hassanal Abdullah (Bangladesh – USA)
Hassanal Abdullah, author of 46 books including 16 col¬lections of poetry, is a Bangladeshi-American poet and the editor of Shabdaguchha, an International Bilingual Poetry Magazine. His poetry has been translated into ten languages and published in many countries throughout the world. Mr. Abdullah has introduced a new sonnet form, “Swatantra Sonnets,” for which he received the Labu Bhai Foundation Award (2013). He has also written a 304-page epic, Nakhatra O Manusar Prochhad (Anyana, 2007), where, based on several scientific theories, he illus¬trated relations between human beings and the universe. In 2016, at the International Silk Route Poetry Festival in the Szechuan Province, China, he was awarded the Homer European Medal of Poetry & Art. He also attended international poetry festivals in Greece and Poland. His recent book is the Chinese version of his book, Under the Thin Layers of Light, published in Taiwan. Mr. Abdullah is a NYC high school math teacher.
I write my poem today modeling you.
The breath of earthen letters ascend your veins
create your torso and bust.
I write my poem today modeling you—
the way Renoir stroked his brushes
on the canvas to create the perfect nude.
I tie my eyes to the bells at your feet.
Ascend up the hips to the fountain
cleavage, moistened by its nectar.
I write my poem today modeling you.
The lake at the end of the estuary of your hips
will never go dry, nor ever love,
my eyes thirsting for you, incredible happiness,
nor feeling, the serpent’s enjoyment—
I write on my poem modeling you.
I taste light in the pools left by the receding
water of the briny sea—
not ending in any dying last wave,
but ceaseless rotation of night, day, glory of movement.
Soon, I am among the sand dunes,
my lips puckered as swimmers.
Modeling on you,
I paint my tenderness on the contour
of your body—
days pass in flowers and fruit,
news from all the poles top to toe.
Translated from the Bengali by Jyotirmoy Datta
Whichever way I walk, I walk alone
and every view is of millenniums
of despair, I am just a rattling
skeleton; dry sticks that the worms had
fried, and what once were living veins
are now for insects to tunnel.
My breath now is smoking pollution!
What I write on is parchment torn;
and my own shadow has left my company—
which is why I am no friend of remorse.
My two eyes hanker for sleep, but
sleep has fled those nest. The wild
open wholes no dread for me, nor
has my own house any charm,
its rafters anyway are shaking,
creaky the walls.
What or where then is my home?
Why do I blunder so in the dark?
Maybe the kicks I receive rattling
along the road, are each a flower
in the wreath around my neck.
I was once the owner of my own grave
but was dispossessed by a new comer.
Now that I lack any house or land
where will my seeking bones go
to spread the odor thousand
and thousand years old.
Translated from the Bengali by Jyotirmoy Datta
I shrink a little every day.
I feel as if with a sharp knife, someone shaves off
the uppermost particles of my hand, nose, and ear.
I gradually deflate like a ball kept in the corner of a storeroom.
I am not in need of anything.
My children are growing up with excited wings.
Day by day I am also getting suited at my workplace,
and enough food is being placed on my table.
Yet I, like a shooting star, gradually lose light.
I shrink a little every day.
My days get shortened.
My nightly sleeping time gets shortened.
The depths of my friendship become shallower.
The fabulous phase of my circular orbit reduces its radius.
My traveling horizon contracts—
I incessantly shrink a little at the turn of each day.
Translated from the Bengali by Ekok Soubir with the poet

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