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The void is leeched

The void is leeched onto my platter of to-dos and not-to-dos
The list of haplessness grazes against the pitter-patter of evening rain
Where crows will raze their voices silent and bluster of noon
Mingles with the earthworm sighing its daily bread: dirt doing its rounds.

Have grits of hope for breakfast, make a sign of crucifixion for peace when
The neighbor fails to greet you with heavy heart and tin smile. Break bread
Again like the earthworm does. And have grits of hope for breakfast, heave
The elements together into a whole pitter-pattered onto a pastiche (pastiche?!!)

Look ahead then as gray clouds part to reveal a tempestuous sun now
Tired of bringing light, tired of being the beacon for eons. Someone else take
Up the lantern, it moans, the earthworm perhaps? Doing its earthly rounds
Sighing its daily bread away in grits of hope, giving the tired sun a break for now.

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gush

Just as there is a federation of power bases loosely coupled there is
too a loose affiliation of underlying water springs that tend to the lowest
positions and aspire only to come together and mingle; perhaps one day
they will gush upstream.

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Justice and Joy

Man’s history is waiting in patience for the triumph of the insulted man – Rabindranath Tagore
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice – Martin Luther King

I
Arc bends towards, bends away from, and then
towards: there is – should be – a trend as it tends
to and fro, as it reaches your innards and pulls
your poor and lustful soul out, lets it breathe in one
more gaspful of joy – incipient, unmindful – as it tends
one more time. This is play? This is play. Just as it
does, it does and is.

II
Nuance is to get it right, just so, in the
Small small. In the stream of wakeful

Error, the nit picking of the shore, the
Tiny nudge, the eastward drift. In the

House of joy there is just the just so
and just not-so. All else is un-just.

III
Justice is either embedded in the act of joy
Or it is the shadow lining the breach that

Decides what must be overcome in order
For the two to be one. At times, the emphasis

Is explicit, needs to be thus, and at times, needs
To be less extroverted, a silent friend, a voice

That grazes the small small, a meekness that
Aims not to overcome but comes over often.

 

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Alpha-bet-ization

Some D’s
Declanation: The soaking feeling of being distanced at noon when it’s still up in the air whether the decision to reap is morose or untidy.

Decimatotalling: The rapid onslaught of meaningless words enumerated with an equally rapid intention to instil meaning in a bowl of cowering prejudice.

Dubawocha: Ancient cry of hope intermingled with an impending sense of despair so palpable that hope is all but drowned in anxious premonition.

And E’s
Effermetive: Bubbly aftereffects of a jubilant yes
Enterpretive: Spirit of free market translation
Equilabel: Parsimony of titular justice
Estabfizment: Fountain-head of bubbly temperament (see Effermetive)

R’s, S’s and Y.
Y, the song of Y, the telling of the song of
Y, and Y. Rhythm, the culling of R, the

Naught and cunning of R, and the why.
Ess, the breach of S, the tail of the breach

Of Song, and then. Here’s then a retelling
Of the Y’s, R’s and Esses that dot my yard.

2

semblance

There is semblance of the tired in a
           line drawn
                  b e t w i x t
                  there is harmony in 
           diabolica yes there is there is
But you have to c
                          a
                          re enough to listen and when you are done listening
when you are done listening when you are done listening.
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the participants can wait

the participants can wait
                         but waiting is lost in time
the participants can chant
                         but chanting is good only for so long
the participants can gauge
                         the fall of rectitude, the measure of
song, the revealing fabric
                         of a tiresome nuance goaded on by
three centuries, no, make
                         that three and a half.
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Karachi – Snatches

I. Afternoon
Just afternoon,  just when collages of retrograde commerce
mishmash, coalesce with a train of thought conditioned

by imperial diktat – of the gorasaab says kind -
by identity wars – of the god says kind -

ooh the electric eclecticity
aah the wounds

when dust settles – dust will never settle in Karachi for dust is its abode its essential throwback to primordia
when dust settles – attempting to outflank the sewerage shining brazen baking in the hearth of sun.

II. Winter
There is no need for winter; the crust has been cold
for long and the discontent has chilled song for

long enough.

If you rejoice the odd winter breeze from the hills
up above, recall too the their chilled song gone for

long enough.

III. Dawn
No not the chirpy chirpy, not the
oil for breakfast, not the lingering
stench of last night’s blood. Grain

of morning wakes up to smell the
doodh-patti, the attentive bird
is reluctant to sound out for fear

of falling into the redundant abyss
of chic billboards inviting you plainly
to observe the absence of song.

2

power, justice, man, god

Power is the justification of power, the daily slights
adding up to a gaping wound staring you in the face,
a grand puss-filled showcase of historical inequity
ordained by god, for the glory of man, his middling meddling

middleman.

Justice is the undoing of power. It is the stream correcting its
flow, talking to the wind, gushing past the mountain, seeping
the lowly fields. It is the wrath of the wind, touching the stream,
laughing with the mountain, weeping when it reaches the seed.

Prelude to Jon Elia’s “Do AwaazaiN” (Shayad, pg. 243)

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Strangers

We walk into, beside each other, breathing
the space around us, but not each other, you
and I, forgetting daily the remembrance of
what could once again be you and I.

Interpretation of Jon Elia’s “Maa’mool” from Shayad (pg 88). Transliteration and translation below:

Maa’mool Routine
jaanay kub se For how long
mujhe yaad bhi naheeN jaanay kub se can’t even recall how long it has been
hum ik saath ghar se nikaltay haiN since we have been leaving our home together
aur shaam ko and in the evening
aik hee saath ghar lauTte haiN coming back home together
magar hum ne ik doosray se But neither of us
kabhi haal pursi naheeN ki ever asked how the other was
na ik doosray ko and neither of us
kabhi naam lay kar mukhaatib kiya ever called out the other by name
jaanay hum kaun haiN! Who knows who we are!