The International Poetry Journal in Bengali and English

Issue 39
Jan-Mar '08

Shaheed Quaderi

The Shining Prostitutes

In some secret corner of the city, the unhealthy roses of love—
Cool, black, amid the aroma of dirt.
The sleepless, distracted nymphs of a virgin garden.
You, my dearest night-sun,
Are the sudden stimulation of ruthless men.
When every street is blocked,
Doors of relatives and restaurants are closed,
Lighting the horizon you wave flags—your only blouse.
The unusual attraction vibrates like a summons.

In the gloomy, dank house of prayer, you unfold your jainamaj,
The dry quilt, the bed, and the happiness of woolen warmth.
Bring back teenaged pleasure through hugs and kisses.
People, retarded, distorted, less-fortunate
And the ones who have lost parental love—
Fighting with their sickening existence in muddy waters and storm,
Are gently nursed by you and your dying breasts.

For moments, I am the tacky king of this false paradise.
Nothing is worthy as what you offer for a little change.
You are the shining bride of unhealthy time,
Spread the scent of life to vagabonds.
To me, ethics has no worth
But to praise you from the bottom of my heart.

Jainamaj: The mat on which a Muslim pray.

Shaheed Quaderi (1942 - ) is the author of only 3 collections of poetry. But his tone, alliteration, images and the use of simile made him a unique contributor of Bengali verse. He has been living in the United States for more than 20 years. Samayer Shampanna Swar (The Perfect Voice of Time) was a book written by Hassanal Abdullah on his life in US and his poetic understanding.

Translated from the Bengali by Hassanal Abdullah

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    Shabdaguchha, A Journal of Poetry, Published in New York, Edited by Hassanal Abdullah.