the red bird’s plea

چ
Long is the terrain of
    forgetting – it can’t be otherwise; if it were so
    rain would stain

Each corpuscle of longing
    & cries of mud would stare infinity cuspless –
    the rain prays & forgets

ح
is it true that magnificence is at heart a red bird?
if so, I can fly with minimal contortion of limb

خ
Is history a mumble,
  Or a tear   is it the

Broom or the hand? I have visitors from history: they are well-trodden, huge in
      Angst but low-fat
      I have townsfolk claiming to be history-ridden, but their angst
      Is fatty & sticks to mud –

inaction of rhyme

Buddha thought
    the action of time is wiser than the vat of knowing
    that saddened him
And that is ok

Lao Tsu thought
    the inaction of rhyme is timelier than what-not
    he was not sad
And that too is ok

I think
    the Lordessess gave us time to sort it out
    but there is little time
And that is not ok

what takes the place of fire now

What takes the place of fire now: it’s
  not heart not snow not the
  color that blots (as snow?) not

art not the feel of thick (as rabbits or
  guns) not some not home not the
  color that blots but blue but

ink & dream & sun & sun & the art
  of belief in the heart of sun
  what takes the place of fire now –

v wordsoots

i.
the preliminary nocturnalities are
  an externalization – its prongs are
  delimited by fancy but they multiply if they so desire –

ii.
whichever way the soot rolls, that is
  my way – howsoever it chooses to decipher
  its prongs… that is probably best left misunderstood –

iii.
high noon is the elder brother of chance
  otherwise it has very few relatives
  that might be construed as negative, if there is enough blood –

iv.
the risen have spoken in loose tongues
  yet there is little evidence of wrong-tonguery
  could it be the loose-tongued torch a treacherous cantankery?

v.
nine lives follow eight follow the exponential
  distribution of pie – there aren’t enough skies
  to fit it all in: infinity is the younger sister of wordmongery –

nursery rhyme

left copped out coopted by right1
let our children play out the folly of our plight
mindful eyes shut to keep out the light
shall we just play peekaboo with night?

The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
yourself
instead of your children.

Audre Lorde, Power

1. “Right coopted Left copped out” – Coined by my friend Faraz Hussain while discussing how adept the mainstream is in appropriating all progressive talk and defanging it of radical potential.

iv ifs & one but

  1. If you can smell death, how shall the vulture speak your say?
  2. If you taste the rule of law, will the bile repeal what you know?
  3. If matter was round, would it not balloon into a missive?
  4. If rain splashes your vanity, can it foretell the sound of pain?
  5. But death is law & matter is forever rain.

Parallels between us

“I know the answer lies somewhere around wherever love resides”. By Amina, our daughter.

amina's anti-pigeonhole

Over the past few weeks of our lives in lockdown, we’ve had the pleasure of interacting with a small family of cats in our building. A mommy cat, who we saw through her pregnancy and her extreme neediness and shrill meow, and her three identical ginger kittens. We spent one fun evening with them in the entrance corridor of our house, feeding their hungry stomachs constantly for about 45 minutes, playing with them, and creepily watching them sleep (the last bit was just me). Despite the kittens being identical, I learned to differentiate them quickly based on their personalities. The biggest of the lot was the most playful, always chasing after the string I’d entice his little self with. The second one was the most timid yet curious; he’d always seem to want to play with his brother but greater fear of this human made him run back off to…

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urchin ways

when the urchin boy
  girl go out to sea   I
ask them of that old song the one
  their parents’parents’parents’ knew by heart the one about
  water   & salt –

when the urchin boy
  girl go out to sea   I
ask them of that old song the
  one about fire & salt & fire & naught and how loud
  how loud it was –

People ask about the Cold Mountain way:
plain roads don’t get through to Cold Mountain.
Middle of the summer, and the ice still hasn’t melted.
Sunrise, and the mist would blind a hidden dragon.
So, how could a man like me get here?
My heart is not the same as yours, dear sir . . .
If your heart were like mine,
you’d be here already.

– Han Shan, “Cold Mountain Poems” (translated by Jerome Seaton)