I. December, 1990.
Remember how, it was in the alleys of College Street that we met?
I was a wanderer in your areas of regular monotony.
“Excuse me, can you tell me where I would find a second hand copy of the Kalbela and Shesher Kobita?”
“Right over there,” you had directed me.
And then crossed the road behind me, deciding in a fleet second.
You must have realised from my accent.
“New here, are you?”
“I am just visiting, I don’t know this place at all,” I had confessed.
Your lips had curved into a smile.
“Come have a cup of coffee with me, I will make you a travel plan.”
I had followed you up the steps of the bustling late afternoon coffeehouse.
You had paused in the middle of climbing and suddenly turned to look at me.
You had asked, “What’s your name?”
“Names are superficial.”
“But then you just asked mine.”
When I heard the syllables of my name rolling off your tongue, it made me smile like Nero, playing his harp while Rome perished in the fire.
We sipped, we spoke, we smoked
Under the melting sun, in the darkening city,
I listened to your hopes, your desires
Shared your taste in movie and music.
The hours called us for another coffee
We talked, we laughed, remained silent
Sometimes with reason, sometimes without one
Over coffee…deep and dark, my coffee.
You listened to my French, my broken Spanish
I wondered, as I wandered.
About how it would be to explore you.
Will it be like walking through ruins of old cities, whose walls echo of battles fought and lost?
Or like the alleys of old palaces, that echo the laughter of the queens and the mistresses?
Or perhaps, that of a graveyard, that tell the tales of the days gone by?
A musty smell pleasing all sensations?
Or will you be like the freshness of a flower that grows in the hinges of old buildings?
“Give me your address,” you said.
“21/3 Russel Street, Brooklyn, 11201.”
“I will write to you. You must tell me, how you liked Calcutta.”
about how it would be to make love with you, like no one has.
In cheap bars of your city’s drinking scene.
In broken cars, behind window screens.
In the open fields where they killed, in the dirty malls, left unbuilt.
In those red lanes, stares from grisly windowpanes, on pages ripped from the poet’s book.
In rushed whispers, behind doors unhooked.
I was sure you wouldn’t write.
Calcutta, it was time to say goodbye.
Hours flew, seasons flew, years flew, making the way
For a song of the next December.