Presented by KAURAB

Aryanil Mukherjee

Aryanil Mukherjee writes in both Bengali and English. He has authored twelve books of poetry, poetic prose and essays in two languages. His English work/Spanish Translations include notable appearances in Jacket2, AUFGABE (Litmus Press), Lantern Review, Asian Cha, The Best American Poetry, RainTaxi, Open Spaces, Jacket, Big Bridge , El Invisible Anillo (Spain), Drunken Boat and The Literary Review and Drunken Boat and Asian American Literary Review. His poetry has been translated into Hindi and Spanish. Anthology appearances include the HarperCollins book of Indian Poetry in English (2011), the Indian poetry issue of TLR (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2009), Indivisible, an anthology of South Asian American poetry (University of Arkansas Press, 2010), and Pared de Agua, an anthology of contemporary Bengali poetry (Olifante Press, Madrid, Spain, 2011).

Aryanil is a prolific, bi-directional translator of poetry between English and Bengali. He initiated the Kaurab Translation Archive in 2005. Aryanil's B->E translations feature in The Oxford India Anthology of Bengali Literature Volume II: 1941-1991 (ed.Kalpana Bardhan, Oxford University Press, 2010), Poems for the Millennium, Volume 5: Barbaric Vast & Wild, (Ed. Jerome Rothenberg and John Bloomberg-Rissman, Black Widow Press 2015) etc. while his E->B translations figure in numerous books, collections and printmags. Aryanil edits the Kaurab print magazine and is the founder-editor of the webzine Kaurab Online. With Pat Clifford, Aryanil also edits The MUD Proposal, a journal archive of experimental, genre-defying and polycultural poetry.

Robustly invested in discourses and exchanges between cinema and poetry, he also writes screenplays for films ranging from poetic documentaries like Dead Fish Buoy to mainstream blockbusters like Cafe Kinara (forthcoming). Aryanil emigrated to the United States in 1995. An engineering mathematician by profession he lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.



no one in the theatre. white screen. bengali word for screen. white barren. leaf-n-page.
absconding she. towards the left. laid scroll. letters. title theme. black arrangement.
linearized. in forest.
                bare leaves.
                white. green.
                   smoking copperleaf.
                      picked & pickled. mixed. gathered. selected. mashed.
                      chewable. suckled.
                      licking text. smelling lines. sweat of trees.

                               and pomegranate.

                               consequently pomegranate. on a white napkin.
                               sittingly pomegranate. gradually wet. unawaringly.
                               got up and fleeing. like Ushree. eigth-grade. red napkin.
                               pomegranate on top. like granade me, po. I mean poetry.
                               unsmart pomegranate. unintelligible baby. weighed too
                               much without expression and with matter filling diaper.
                      in the jungle. all this. why jungle ? why inside the crumbling shell ?
                unknown gender. arms length. choking grasp. squeezing circles on the trunk. on
             cross section. gasping. between kisses. words gyrating but s l o w a
n d c o n v o l u t e d...
molten in mouth. and vaguely flying. UFO.

         after all circles. tree trunks. their circles. on record.
         long longevity. closely following lines. too close. circle. circular. semi-circle.
         epicircle. old records. like song. all those. times. trams. crowded. sweat of late
         spring. walking on chest.
                 grapes at the center. at nipple. desirous squeeze. wet lump
                 of shirt. soiled water. those words. sewered sounds. towards nirvana.

in the sun. on the sun. atop the plate. on the napkin. pomegranate.
menstruating. blooded region. from civil war. a wet map. el mapa mojado.
crushed geometry on. word about it. that classroom. memorabilia. littleness. little days.
all circle. carrom-men. their spaces. wodden discs. small town. decorated, before the
blast. red capital. center of it. all. vermillion dot. iris of third eye.
like this.

e n c i r c l i n g......

         to another voice. of the ventriloquist. projected poem. on white screen and
         squeaky clean. whip of the white. detergent. shineburster & lackluster. both.
         from the left. title card. of letters. laid scroll. from. to. to & fro. blood.
                 stream. flood. impalpable menstrual. of just not ladies but mens of the
                 rural. pain. unreturn. somewhere. in mind. squeezed. chewed. emptied.
                 hives. no buzz. honey soaked in rainflowers. lukewarm mildew.
                     compressed. heartlines pressed near lifelines. frictionhappy.
                     stung memory. timeís beck. recycled pain. unedited.

               all in the bag. shaken out. unfurled. sand. water drained. now dry. just wind.
               breeze. grains. rains. yellow pollens. miniscule and elementary. not ours. hand-held face.
eye-sketched face. tears on black mascara. torn viola. he didnít. she didnít. why didnít ?

donít ask.

flying flowers to replace birds.

       noise for honey.

          quiet spadework.

                dead hive.

             crossword puzzle.

Late Night Correspondence

The sycamore is hyper
I can make out from this correspondence
Nothing has gone out in print yet, nothingís under cover
The rain rarely writes, lacks a capital
keeps flexing and fixing the visuals
blackened tears       draining out the abscess
as they exit
The man limps towards the bathroom
Now we know he is hanging in there

Swallows always sing to the swallowed

so you can step out of measuring cups
and all the dwarf notes follow the piper

Could a nursery rhyme without a plant ?

Cones footprinting the sycamore
I get a sense
the sky holds its threads, hasn't lost their ends yet
didnít notice your dried pimples now slowly filling
urchins ruminating dark waters for the sunken deityís head

Lamps in their dying oils

Upcoming winter shrinks tight in a childís grip
It's time for you to leave
Those bridges canít be seen from here
The metronome ticking much milder today
just as we hear the dove
outside the radio station

Meaning Berries

     red ball leaving green fields singing blues for which sky from where
     Berry Sarbadhikary, the veteran cricket commentator
     jumped and took his life      why
     who knows     why your face surfaced
     while we crushed the blueberries in the yard,
     mistakenly, stepping on them
     and high temperature tonight     visions moistening around eyes
     - "typical symptoms of wet beriberi"

     a little short of breath right now, ran 3 miles at a stretch
     calories burning in all annals and crevices
     smoke above the chimney in Evening Whisper Lane

     quality letters     black ink anointed all over
     a bunch of ashberries arrives between the covers
     in search of death
     much like evening calling from within a rolling cylinder
     like a callpoet from across the river
     from across the mind a cooing Kaveri

Kaveri is a river, and a bird.

Meaning Eyes

I have seen step-mother dressing up her twins
A like B
let one eye be close to its pair
let one's desire flutter inside yours
her dance provokes his
one floating when the other waters
and when it doesn't I am in the doctor's office

this doctor graduated in electrical engineering
finally succumbed to optometry
he says his office is like a temple a mosque a church
none comes before the other
most importantly, the third eye must sprout

a hanging drop, endlessly
a hundred mending eyes looking up to it
when red turns white returning health
the vision improves
we look better than we can see

Meaning Dusk

lift your swamped face, hey you
for the afternoon, gold-plaited hour
that has a cage, feathers in odorland
warm breasts - mini red
cut open and pulled out of snow heart

if the shepherdís quick, so are his cattle
dust rises
birthday came up at a railroad crossing
bogies so slow
cold murderer of time
yet serialized beauty
in the jungle I saw smallprints next to roman numerals
calendars chatting with maps
waste papers flying, chasing a rainsick boy
a catís cry fades out with the light
we went that far to sing to the birds

Meaning Marks

your needleís working and the blue jay, on her nest
I, on the brillo, scrubbing away the crockery,
working,working     on the marks
the dinner left on our taste
all of its spills, spots and lines
unfed, unattained

the fact that these cars crowd in front of morning synagogue
inside the hindu temple, private space prohibited
keeps only the sense of the matter alive
we marked them on the cave walls as we learned to count
like cavemen marked their women on the forehead -
an I-sign
took us back to the ancient text
underlined in red, those lines somehow helped
like condemned cells help isolation.

"sky" is an unscientific word      for poetic use only
yet, who's surveying the night's territorry
between silver milestones ?
who's attempting to weave a white hose
under orangeskin ?


its the glass that differentiates mirror from window
a poet from the reader

shabby lanes twist the smoke
that hangs above where the haze was expected
high fidelity begins to leak
everyone's road isn't every road
these Chinese kimonos were made in Myanmar

did we comprehend the validity of a disagreement ?
like Joy is a boy's name on that side of the planet
opposite is another pose
although the other is always another

they scraped out the dirt from the sky today
yet Basudha has a life somethere on the globe


You are always behind a fence
You are always aimless, while walking
While suddenly snaking my arms
And I sense fences even then
Like the Magnolia has its fence
The fencing at the end of Hyde Road
Like the rummaged green unclaimed shirt on the fence
Did the Eucalyptus threw it at us ?

I think of you, and those two
human shadows at dawn
One face submerged in another, uniting mouths
One face sculpts, the other, its art
I came to the edge of your easy stream
But fences, sharp fences
Your flower, still unplucked.

In dark channels you dont see blood turmoils
Bends, folds, excrutiates itself out
Jumps over the neighbor's fence
into unreadable swirls of rose.

Niagara River

Perhaps winter has it's contrasting odors
Perhaps a simmering blue cup held up high
Entire New York growing red poppies below patio-stairs
Mist pulls at the milk-maid's brown skirt
Scorched hydrangeas immerse oranges in our tea-cups
All stores closed, morning nine
I don't hear a single human voice in these homes
Not a single kid in the play-yard
Strange city called waterfalls

Morning turns blue over steel bridges
A river wrapped in zinc-papers from cigarette boxes
Never saw a boat there, never a desire to flow
Allegheny mountains, don't know why, wear foot-bells of purple grass
In the artpark, why did they paint a rainbow on donkey-skin ?

Sense of reflection

Shoulders brush the walls around dark stairs
A gentle rear-ending on the avenue
Collision begins the music

Look at the conscious stream of new generation cars
Digressions in ethnic folklore
Note the calligraphic alterations
Headless bodies in more paintings -
A face is not your only ID

In my dreams, women change their walking patterns
their haircuts, pseudonyms , hip-plastic
Stars do the rounds while each circle bounces,
touches the bounds of dream
and gradually, like an ellipse
conjectural space. I look at the lake.
I turn around, think about a star's life lost in it
A sense of reflection outgrows the water.


The sky takes off its blue three-piece
Homecoming bullets could finally kill a day of work.
Put down the fog next to warm wild flowers
Chirpgirls already in watersongs -
A variety of monocolored tapefrocks hang from
barbed wires.

Neem and Sirish trees , at this hour
Share a mild mockery of the man
Who, estranging himself from the reserve forests
Grows mannered multi-national roses in his balcony.

One stems from last week's tree-plantation ceremony
Hears the whisper, conspires
Pet forests burst open their wombs

Coming fall
Hair-doers on the third-floor
Won't see the sky.

Didnít quite become an Orange

Rain recurs and hence holds - sound and meaning
Who's the recurring addressee ?
Donít think. Choose a first-thought
Donít show me a daily sun
A deer walks in, burns, in and around the mind
A strange tastelessness controls us.

Amidst death, in the afternoon, he sat up to drink some soup
Noodles with lives woven as one
remove him from all the sweet excess
Once upon a time, women would sing of abundunt flowers
a curseword
would split a village

A lot of thought makes a mindverse
What was put down here in afternoon light
didn't quite become an orange

After Promise

Probably nothing follows promise
White flowers of crab-apple in the left hand of spring
some spill, lay below
to grant us the much needed scent
that makes us eat well, ask well,
mend our minds so we look up to the cracker flames
hanging above the city's skull
lanterns rekindling the violets

These plateaus didn't occur like a soulful country
On the contrary, we borrowed from them
light breeze
fields, forests and figs that abscond from time to time
Lincoln park - too crowded this afternoon
The leaves are dead, instead flags of a million countries flutter

Transcreated by the poet from his original Bengali poems


Aryanil Mukherjee



The Memorandum/ MOU (2011)
(with Pat Clifford)


Ei Ghar (2010)
(This Room : The Poetry of John Ashbery / Translation, Interview & Essays)


Tsunamir ek bachhar par(2008)
(One Year After The Tsunami)


(A collaboration with Pat Clifford)


Late Night Correspondence(2008)


Kinarar Rupkathaa(2006)
(Marginal Fables)


Hawamorager Man(2004)
(Weathercock Mind)


Khelar Naam Sabujayan (2000)
(The Greening Game)


Shankar Lahiri

Aryanil Mukherjee


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