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Quiet Tangos by Siddharth Dasgupta

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Art by Henri Matisse


Coffee is your vipassana

Eleven minutes of silence

Your nose twitching

At a favourite childhood dream

At the philanthropy of words

In a favourite childhood book

Smuggled into the tidal froth

Of an Italian caffé latte

In this café where Fitzgerald

Lamented the spoils of youth


I steal a glance or two

From within the roils of the sea

A mariner’s mapping of the heart

In 13th–Century faithfulness

The dementia of your hair

Also half-latted

The whimsies of your gypsy top

Your skin, its currencies


I study maps and ghostly bayous

… The way a continent drifts apart

I pore over nautical triumphs

And ships now lost forever

I run my finger through cut lines

Along brine and tormented gulfs

Simply trying to find

My way back home to you.

Well-guarded Recipes

You add nolen gur to anything,

you make the anything magic.

That’s the golden rule.

Some things are passed down

as hearsay, some as piecemeal

legacies. The trick, I suppose,

lies in knowing, before

you’ve even tasted the date

palm jaggery infuse its heaven

juice monologue into the deepest

secrets of the aforementioned

anything. I’m speaking to you

about the delirium of siesta.

I’m speaking to you about

believable enough fiction.

I’m speaking to you of atheist

rain that falls not as salvation

but as the interims in a prose

poem. I’m speaking to you

of addendums filled not with

elucidation or augmentation,

but a prayer for forgiveness.

I’m speaking to you of

the electric air before a deep

kiss. I’m speaking to you

of the letter that arrives sans

postage. Don’t you get it

already; in this sweetened lull

of eventide, I’m speaking to you.

About the poet:

Siddharth Dasgupta writes poetry and fiction from lost hometowns and cafés dappled in early morning light. His books lie scattered across verse, fiction, and that special somewhere in between. Siddharth’s fourth book, and second collection of poetry—A Moveable East (Red River)—has emerged in 2021. His words have appeared in Epiphany, Lunch Ticket, The Bosphorus Review, The Aleph Review, The Tiger Moth Review, Kyoto Journal, nether Quarterly, and elsewhere. He lives in the city of Poona, embraced by the warmth of Irani chai. You may follow the author on Instagram @citizen.bliss and


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