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)

Dearest reader! Our newsletter!

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest content, freebies, news and competition updates, right to your inbox. From the oldest literary periodical in the UK.

You can unsubscribe any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or directly on Find our privacy policies and terms of use at the bottom of our website.