Naveen Kishore

From A Series about Calcutta: Naveen Kishore


like an oil tanker weighing anchor
the wind broods bleeding


the autumn wind wheezes

it’s wound

you lick the letter with your tongue and promise to post it first thing in the morning


drunken gutters loiter past midnight
in rage
as bikers race on flyovers
barricaded at both ends

the city hums
like an engine
on heat
it’s armpits stinking of beer

across from Alipur Jail
a line of women wait
with wide hips
and bloodied lips


grief unraveled the
threads in spate rush to fill the breach
tearing into half my cloak of mourning
I linger hesitating
far too long the raven-night
disguised as a cold wind let loose
by a bunch of drunken louts
their gutter-vomit singing smashing
empty beer bottles barefoot shadows
sliding over loose stones
and smoking guns all this and
a daybreak around here-there somewhere
unable to find its way home

how the drain-water eyes brim over
no reason to wipe them dry is there?

Born in Calcutta in 1953, Naveen Kishore received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature in 1973 and began working as a theatre lighting designer. He then established Seagull Books in 1982, a publishing program in the arts and media focusing on drama, film, art and culture studies. Today, it also publishes literature, including poetry, serious fiction and non-fiction. In 1987 Kishore set-up The Seagull Foundation for the Arts as a non-profit Charitable Trust. The Seagull School of Publishing was set up under the auspices of the Trust in 2012. Kishore is a photographer who has extensively documented female impersonators from Manipuri, Bengali and Punjabi theatre practices. In particular he photographed Chapal Bhaduri, a female impersonator of the Bengali folk theatre, Jatra, in a project entitled Performing the Goddess. He is also the recipient of the Goethe Medal and the Chevalier Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Kishore lives and works in Calcutta.