top of page

In My Room’s Solitude, a Poem by Sofiul Azam

What one writer can make in the solitude of one room

is something no power can easily destroy. – Salman Rushdie

I don’t need your praise /to survive. – Louise Glück

I’m not happy about having to inhabit someone else’s skin

except when I feel uneasy about my inadequate approach

or when I need to practice elocution with style

or when I simply try to understand someone else fully.

But it’s not that I never feel like a ship

stranded a hundred nautical miles off the port.

I find other people’s sentences fitting and quite usable.

But I wouldn’t bother to use one of them without its context

because I need to give it a new context.

It surely isn’t too much of a bother

because anyone’s uncreative bickerings don’t interest me.

I believe it’ll never turn heads from around the world.

In my room’s solitude, dogged by rather unsafe contentment,

I do necessary scribbles on my laptop screen,

using words worked over or relentlessly rubbed to a shine,

only to disrobe my soul which is clad in what I learned in school.

And to do that fully, I don’t need to climb

into anyone’s skin and walk around in it.

Lies and disinformation as part of this world’s statecraft

are useless because I’m on my own,

never having to choose between a monster and a monstrous clown.

The existing arrangement doesn’t work,

whether I rely on theory or my gut instinct.

Breezy or tongue-in-cheek, I didn’t find the missing links.

Civilization being a history of double standards,

I would rather love to watch

rhesus monkeys eating ripe jackfruit flakes on the branches

or Southern elephant seals hauling out in the hot sun,

and they don’t need anyone’s praise to survive.

And it truly gives me a good wild feel of ingenuity.


Sofiul Azam has four poetry collections Impasse (2003), In Love with a Gorgon (2010), Safe under Water (2014), Persecution (2021) and edited Short Stories of Selim Morshed (2009). His work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Pirene's Fountain, North Dakota Quarterly, The Ibis Head Review, The Ghazal Page, Cholla Needles, Poetry Salzburg Review, Orbis, The Cannon’s Mouth, Postcolonial Text, and elsewhere. Some poems are anthologized in Two Thirds North, fourW: New Writing 28, Journeys, Caught in the Net among others. He is working on This Time, Every Time and Days in the Forested Hills. He currently teaches English at World University of Bangladesh, having taught it before at other universities.


bottom of page