A Collection by Abhijato Sensarma


You are a habit
which has overstayed in my head
like a nicotine rush that no longer arrives
when I puff on a solitary cigarette
at a chai stall
installed in an anonymous corner of a busy street
where the city never sleeps

But amid the cacophony
of cars rushing home
on the street beside my window
as they escape past another midnight
the thoughts of you keep me awake
like an insomnia
induced by a desire
I don’t understand enough to write about yet

The dreams I have about the city
are now infiltrated by your presence
like the crevices and cracks on pavements
that lend them the character
clever concrete never could on its own
even as you seek to leave them behind

Is there enough space for me
in a heart you have let overrun
by your grief for a home
that will never exist or house any memories
beyond the sign carrying your surname
which hangs outside the door
you have spent your years hiding inside
yet could never be farther distance away from?

the best way to discover ourselves in this city
infected by the indifference of living
is to rediscover the joy
of losing ourselves in each other
and of you making me another habit
which will overstay its welcome soon enough

On Seeking Out The City

The city has violated me
Like the cars that drive past red lights
With no consideration
Of whom they leave behind in their trail

I have violated the city
And its desire for order
By seeking love that does not require
Giving oneself up
As the first step to intimacy

The secrets that lurk
In the hidden streets of all neighbourhoods
Have been discovered by lovers
Harbouring secrets of their own kind –
Enjoined within their palms
Which blend the borders between its creases
Like the spaces they inhabit
For satiating their own desire

I have sought the city out
In the hopes of finding desire around its corners
Filmed on the cameras
And of finding lovers
Lost before I have found them
With both of us staring out
The wrong end of lenses
As we capture all about the city
We could never capture in each other

The city has violated me
Like its poetry
Which writes rhymes into my heart
Without me knowing enough about them
To discover their schemes myself –
Or all the times it breaks them
Like cars driving past red lights
Situated in in the city’s heart
Down the roads never built for us
To reveal to each other

Not within the confines of this city anyway.

A Language I Could Only Speak With You

I learnt a language I could only speak with you
never to be found on the signs
that help us navigate our way through the streets
built like tunnels out in the open
yet trapping our hearts within its weary maps
for the sanity of our weary minds

I learnt a language I could only speak with you
away from the diction of desire the city’s taught me
found on the movie posters that adore old walls
weathered into their crevices by time
leaving behind a signature of all they have to say
even as its heroes never gaze back into my eyes

I learnt a language I could only speak with you
hidden from the tongues of those who have inquired
whether I love the city or anyone in it:
I have always sought words they will understand
without ever letting go of the ones just the two of us share
revealed in glances that speak a thousand words

I learnt a language I could only speak with you
and a humour just the two of us can comprehend
for a love not foresaken in favour of a desire
that grips the hearts of fellow wanderers around me
infused within the same streetlamps we glance at
which protest the night when we walk underneath them

I learnt a language I could only speak with you
but we lost it the day I chose to love the city over us

We now only speak with the same phrases as everyone else
still, we remember how we swore at each other in jest
with the same glances that wrote unspoken words of love

Maybe someday, somewhere, we will weave poetry together again
within the confines of a city that never understood us
and with a tongue of our own
we can never fully comprehend either.

Abhijato Sensarma

Abhijato Sensarma is an undergraduate student at Ashoka University, Sonipat. His words have been published in Scroll.in, The Wire, The Quint, ESPNcricinfo, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Film Companion among other publications.