You asked me for a world map
I showed you my bloodied knee
It is no less than a map
Of the world; not just my world
Those purple specks show you islands
The pink flesh shows the continents
The brown crusting skin, the decay of humanity
And blood. And blood. And blood.
What more do you need
For a map of the modern world.
He looks up at the crying sky and
Touches his heart
He feels the tears inside and
Comforts the sky by joining it.
Train tracks, poetry, his old guitar
Free wind in his hair, free thought in his mind
He conjures up anything from
Psychotic men to mute Anettes
Look into his eyes and you will see
Secrets of the lava burning inside this earth
He knows the sky’s dreams and
He can paint them in his words
Today he might cry with the sky
But tomorrow the sky shall smile with him
That small subtle smile will play hide and seek
On the slightly upturned lips too shy of joy
Magical snowmen and transatlantic songs
Might have been your mantra
Poet’s anxiety and exhausted lines
Might be your bland present
The future might come late
It might ask some sailing, some flying
But it shall be all blazing colours and
The musk deer shall find happiness in itself.
Bricks upon bricks upon bricks upon bricks upon bricks upon my heart. Not even rocks which I love, but man-made bricks, and again they remind me of humans. Highest and basest of beings.
I hear distant thumps and blasts but it is only I who notice them. Everyone around me seems unaware and oblivious. Perhaps the noise comes from within me but I am so sure the state is at war and those are bombs just minutes away from smashing the house to nothing.
Gullibility must not be spoken of. There is nothing as humiliating. Society must never be cursed, there is nothing as hindering and as coveted.
To the souls who lie awake at night, what will happen shall happen. It isn’t as if your open eyes can affect the wanted resolution. Perhaps I understand why you stay awake for I am one of you. Believe me, tomorrow, you shall find sleep more appealing.
Black upon black upon black upon black upon grey. Will the grey even be acknowledged? It gives way to white. To clarity. But will it be acknowledged?
you spin with the rings of Saturn
and twirl around the stars when they combust
you catch wisps of their memories
as they die having witnessed centuries
and use them greedily as you
scribble your poems, unconscious of yourself.
There’s this gullak in my brother’s room. It’s made of rough brown clay, unvarnished, pink and blue flowers painted on it. The slit in it is hardly wide enough to slide a coin in. I wonder who made it. Who was the potter? Was it an old, withered man with permanently muddy fingernails and a family to support? Or was it a young amateur boy looking to earn some roti for his orphaned siblings? It could be an old potter’s little boy, continuing the family profession and carrying on the legacy. The gullak has an imperfectly embossed bottom half. Whoever made it, is he still alive? Or maybe it was a she. Maybe it was a woman with soft, unaccustomed hands trying to shape the gullak, her first gullak, because she needed the money to buy rice she could boil for her baby who needed to start on chewy food. I wish we had the power to touch an object and be able to see who sweated to create it. It would make us so much more grateful.
There’s almost always an empty mug on my side table. I drink tea twice or thrice a day and then forget to pick up the mug. And it’s always a mug. I can’t drink in cups. They’re too small. And the tea can never have too much sugar. It makes my head spin. The mug is usually blue. Blue happens to be my favourite colour- along with dark green, bright yellow, and orange. I don’t really believe in favourites. I like all colours in different shades and contexts. When I was young, I hated pink and everything girly. I scorned at every girlish activity which people expected me to take part in. I rebelled against almost everything my elder sister liked. Now, pink fills up at least quarter of my wardrobe. I find I’m interested in jewellery, pretty clothes, bangles, knitting, cosmetics, and even cooking to an extent. But I’m most interested in writing and reading and the question of identity. A friend asked me a few days back, why are you so obsessed with identity? (The question of identity in Pakistani novels happens to be my research topic this semester, and I have a related topic in mind for my dissertation too, hence the question) So I found myself telling her about my imagination games in my childhood. My cousin and I used to talk for hours on the phone, sharing our “imaginations”. We had whole imaginary worlds made up in which such interesting things used to happen. They were more exciting and more fulfilling and perhaps more distressing than our real lives. I suppose everyone has these imaginary worlds with imaginary friends and even foes. Mine had a huge all-encompassing organization which used to authorize and facilitate numerous identities for one person. The bathroom mirrors were the operational screens for this organization. It was a whole complicated world. I had many different identities. And then in that imaginary world, it eventually got too difficult to manage all identities. So I killed off one, gave retirement to another, imprisoned another eternally, and had one married off and away. A few just vanished on their own as my interest in them dissipated. Perhaps that is the root of my obsession. Perhaps it goes deeper.
They say decentralization is one of the key themes of the postmodern world. We have no centre anymore since denouncing God has become a popular trend. Everything else that tries to be the centre fails. There’s a problem in everything. I’d say having so many problems with every problem too is a key theme of postmodernism. It’s a strange thing, this postmodern era. Everything is fragmented and disconnected. The means to find connection too are disconnected to no end. We float, our ideas float, our problems and their solutions float, all looking to find a centre when the centre never vanished.
It blows its frosty breath
and holds its silver sceptre
the knob glows with its latest kill.
(Soft departure is only soft to the onlookers.)
its purple toes twitch
in line with frozen blood.
(Cold storage is cold to everyone.)
It uses full stops as its only punctuation
and knows no hyphens
definitely no semi-colons.
(It’s probably selfish of me to cry when she’s out of pain at least.)
The black guest was treated
with pained sighs and resigned murmurs
which no-one should write about.
(For we don’t know how to feel; grateful for her release from pain, or plain morose at losing a beloved.)
Is it selfish, tell me death,
to grieve a loss significant
or should we celebrate?
(I wonder if death knows bereavement.)
The angel of death was sad about his duties
and God told him He would create excuses
for people to blame, instead of the angel.
(I am not blaming either the angel or the excuse. I am merely mourning.)
Pray for my nano, everyone.
If you feel a void inside you, He can fill it. And only He can fill it. Some of us go through our entire lives trying to fill that void.
The world tried to replace God with nationalism back in the 17th century. It has been a void in itself since.
The dictionary defines a void in several ways. The most fitting being “a completely empty space”. How does a void feel? It feels like a million holes drilled into your being, your soul and heart and mind and organs (and for me, especially my eyes and feet). It feels like this filling heaviness which makes you drowsy and keeps jolting you awake too. It feels like those holes are overflowing with black substance ( I feel we’re unfair to poor black, it never did any harm but always has negative connotations). It feels like… depression, perhaps? But not the clinical depression. And it always leaves you wanting more of everything. Perhaps not in a materialistic way ( personally, I always want more food, more stationary, more time, more contact, more words, more books, more leaves and more stones).
This void… How is it so completely empty and full a the same time? It’s full of emptiness. But the moment you prostrate, the moment your forehead touches the ground, the moment your soul turns back, trust me, you’ll find the void gratified. For that moment, it ceases to exist. It’s like Mrs. Ramsay’s moment of clarity and certainty. But better. And it doesn’t have to be fleeting.
If you feel a void inside you, touch your forehead to the ground and talk to Him. He’ll respond no matter how long it’s been.
Wo dhun pata nahi kb milegi. Wo jurm pata nahi kb maaf hoga. Wo jurm jiski maafi na maangi jaaye kabhi maaf hoga bhi k nahi hoga? Maafi bhi kia cheez hae. Maangny waaly ka dil halka krdeti hae. Baaqi maannay waaly ko agar maanna hota hae wo wese bhi maan he jaata hae. Haan agar anaa ka masla ho tou nahi maanta. Lekin dil k maamlat mein anaa ka kia dakhal. Wo dhun najaanay kab milegi. Wo jurm najaany maaf hoga k nahi.
Mere zehn mein uska ehsaas esa hae jese ye baahar ki aawazein. Raat k 2 bj rahy hon ya dupehr k. Ehsaas nahi jaata. Najaany achha hae k bura. Najaany jurm maaf hoga k nahi. Qaidi dekhay haen na? Wo jo haathon mein hathkarriyan nahi pehntay balkay apni zaat pe taalay rakhtay haen. Wo hotay haen darasal qaidi. Apni zaat k qaidi. Insaan ko qaid he hona hae tou apni zat mei kyun ho bhala. Kisi aur zaat mein hojaaye. Najaany jurm maaf hoga k nahi. Najaany maafi maangy bagher kabhi milti hae k nahi.
There’s a picture on the mantel
A picture that I love
Of you and me together
Twenty years afore.
It was taken in our hometown
Afront that crazy, little barn
The one we painted red
To make our world glow warm.
It reminds me now of moments
The ones that we have lived
It compels me to compare them
With those that we are living
The world that we knew then
The people that we met
The things that made us crazy
And youth’s alacrity
We sat before the barn
The red making us blush
Surrounded by bliss
And no reason to rush
I saw that picture today
The story ran in my head
Of the time it was taken
And of the barn painted red
The barn is no more, the red is gone
The world is cold, and we are old
But the picture on the mantel
Is a worthy story told.