Voices Within: Ballari Sen

Ballari Sen, is a bilingual poet, critic, and a researcher working on various cultural and literary influences on Portuguese- Bangla interface since 2012. She has been the recipient of the prestigious KRITTIBAAS award in 2010, for her book ‘Bihaan Raater Bandish’. Her doctoral thesis is based on changes in perspective of masculinity in contemporary Bangla Poetry from 1970 to 2000. Her first published English anthology The Window Seller gave way to new avenues in 2013 to experiment more with forms and signs we voyage in recent cyber spaces. She has been a guest of honour in the Dhaka Literary Fest as a poet and panelist last year. Being a lecturer by profession, she teaches Bangla bhasha –sahitya in Gokhale Memorial Girls’ College, Kolkata.

On Her Blindness

It was hell already. The rubble clasped between my breasts
There was no land, no bit of word to decipher. My stubborn alley of
The last digits only spell numbers.22. I never knew he was so young as to be
My son, the chasing wrath of a male animal was a lavender scent below his collars.
I swiped across, my lips slowly on a deep nocturnal anchorage spreading our childhood
Into a magic foliage. It was like forgetting how we used to see each other without a single
Glance. It was like pushing my gold frankincense within an abyss called a vagina.
Not a word to disperse. Eyes crossing over noses, calendars gambling with past, no ancestors
No myth to conquer, it was me who pierced.
And it was him who shrouded me, naked in ecstasy as if
Stars shooting with light. We left us to make ourselves born.

 The Gift of The Magi

And then said Jocasta
Fears are nothing but sins, sins are lost worlds and we are whores
But you, the handsome and courageous, each grain of salt
On your forehead is divine, each little spasm of your wound is a destiny
the witches taste. I lie still as an embryo inside the womb of an ethereal
Mother as I see your frown caress a frolic in mine, aloof on the pillow my tears
Wrap a canopy of human warmth. I long for the night once more, no matter
How much the owls screech in disgrace.
The road closed in a mystic stupor of blood and nectar, Jocasta
Thy supper is venom, thy name is undone.

The Bridge of Sigh

Below the bridge of sigh, a tiny blind lane to Ashmolean, he rubbed his
Moustache with a darkness of soiled napkins, where tears were studded
Like crimson dots in a harvest moon. I watched his summer lips curve into
The queen’s lane, his fingers still clasped in mine. It was a setting sun late this
Evening as drops of red wine poured from a long-neck bottle; we walked brisk
Through a cobbled road downhill gamboling with the last impulses of radiance.
Leaves of a chestnut followed and red poppies nodded in mirth; yay! At last he
Closed my lids to the dark. At last, petals closing to a mystic halt, a pathos of
 sorrow lying in between, I sought your face, heavy like a Nazi gambler, in a
dish filled with avocado memories and a moonlight sonata.

Lost Memory Cloud

Gathering ink tools which were conservative and gender- biased
It was he who picked up silence as a sea-shell weaved with sclerenchyma
I had no doubt it was a misnomer. He handed over the thread of pearls in our maiden
Acquaintance, saying a cozy hello with fingers clasped in mine, as we stooped to a halt.
Lines punctuating to a blind-lane, neither of us touched to smell the frantic pulse
The sunlit playground, our colony club, kabaddi on a saraswati puja sneaked in.
No little full stop, his hair curled to a topography unknown, this was a blurred cell
You silenced me to a new nail polish, washed my feet with your hair, scented my bathwater
Put a vanilla drop, caressed my glasses, rubbed them as if my cheeks were red, blushing
It was you, a lost sea- shell coming back to me, sailing with wings like a blue green ladybird,
Evolving each moment to oblivion.

Starbucks, from 1971.

Not a word to decipher
But each movement of his eyes were a phenomenon
White half sleeves tucked in, his forehead was a shy chrysanthemum aloof and weird
He never tried a glance.
And now, each dot was a moving echo, we were yet to learn sounds winding
To unlived youth, the togetherness, coffee with cream.
Voices Within - Complete List of Poets :: Setu, January 2019

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