Category: Poetry

of dotted lines

my bedsheet has a pattern
of dotted lines–
lines going zigzag,
making diamonds,
making arrows,
making beauty.

my mind seeks asylum in these dotted lines–
lines going zigzag (but going haywire)
making diamonds (but closer to coal)
making arrows (but never reaching their target)
making beauty (out of chaos).

to the poet

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.

-Moniba.

Picture on the mantel

 

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.

~Moniba Mehboob

Applauding Neruda for expressing me(and everyone) so aptly

We Are Many

Of the many men whom I am, whom we are,
I cannot settle on a single one.
They are lost to me under the cover of clothing
They have departed for another city.

When everything seems to be set
to show me off as a man of intelligence,
the fool I keep concealed on my person
takes over my talk and occupies my mouth.

On other occasions, I am dozing in the midst
of people of some distinction,
and when I summon my courageous self,
a coward completely unknown to me
swaddles my poor skeleton
in a thousand tiny reservations.

When a stately home bursts into flames,
instead of the fireman I summon,
an arsonist bursts on the scene,
and he is I. There is nothing I can do.
What must I do to distinguish myself?
How can I put myself together?

All the books I read
lionize dazzling hero figures,
brimming with self-assurance.
I die with envy of them;
and, in films where bullets fly on the wind,
I am left in envy of the cowboys,
left admiring even the horses.

But when I call upon my DASHING BEING,
out comes the same OLD LAZY SELF,
and so I never know just WHO I AM,
nor how many I am, nor WHO WE WILL BE BEING.
I would like to be able to touch a bell
and call up my real self, the truly me,
because if I really need my proper self,
I must not allow myself to disappear.

While I am writing, I am far away;
and when I come back, I have already left.
I should like to see if the same thing happens
to other people as it does to me,
to see if as many people are as I am,
and if they seem the same way to themselves.
When this problem has been thoroughly explored,
I am going to school myself so well in things
that, when I try to explain my problems,
I shall speak, not of self, but of geography.

By Pablo Neruda

Sparrow and Canary

Look up in the sky; the Sparrow and the Canary

The Sparrow and the Canary met over a pond
They stared at their reflections and wondered upon
How the Sparrow saw yellow and the Canary saw brown
Here I write there story as the fly across town

It needs not flowery words nor delicate strokes
It needs not lengthy books nor layered cloaks
It is pure and true, and flies like the birds
It is earth, fire, wind and water in thirds

The mackerel sky tells their tale
The seven seas, the waves, the sand, the hale
All wildfires of the world burn in their passion
There resides the story, free of one nation

And here flies the Canary, in wing the Sparrow

Grandma with her crooked fingers

Grandma with her crooked fingers
Told me all her secrets
She could not speak, she could not hear
Her fingers spoke, her eyes heard all

Grandma with her crooked fingers
Told me to always walk straight
Crooked things she said are bad
Unless they’re crooked body parts

Grandma with her crooked fingers
Told me to always speak straight
Crooked words she said plant doubts
Unless they’re crooked with natural fault

Grandma with her crooked fingers
Told me to always work straight
Crooked ways she said dig graves
Unless they’re crooked by form

Grandma with her crooked fingers
Told me how to live a life-
With her crooked ways and crooked words;
In a not-so-crooked manner

~Moniba.

It will

You can talk about it

You can mutter, you can grumble

You can complain, whine and curse

But you cannot change reality

It will remain stamped on your forehead

It will pollute your blood, your air

It will drill holes into your dreams

It will puncture your lungs

And take you to Oblivion.

~Moniba.