the lives of an anchor


The lives of an anchor,
    five lives that are tethered

To dawn, four that sink
    at half past noon as masks of

Another dawn, appari
    tions, calculated to remember


Read the script of
  Callous scrolls - Brood

Of a languid horror, slim
  Recollection, resonance

Of a collage that flits a
  Bare hark, a bare heart


Augur the 
      Saint; she grows by
      Each measured

Cupful of 
      Taint; the brows of
      Shun hearings


I have taken the steeple full
  Of bees and

Shown it my way of receding 
  Heaven, and

You respond by flipping this 
  Myth; this 

Reason and variance; towards
  A season

Where hurt meets the creature
  of hurt


The plume of a hair 
The frump of a star

    Give it now an ample
    Push - the plush art


The tiny mourn
   is an

Outward inner
   seeking - a joy dis -

the poetry of everyone

and I laugh with eyes / that have known the brink of tears.

and I know the bells of those eyes / that mix your tears
my rest, your lift of sun with my turn of praise, my knot of worn

And that my veins don’t end in me / but in the unanimous blood

And that the reign of doubt mixes / the bells of those eyes
my nest, your veins that drip in all the pools, a verity of red

Like you I
love love, life, the sweet smell
of things, the sky-
blue landscape of January days.

And my blood boils up
and I laugh with eyes
that have known the brink of tears.

I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

And that my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life,
landscape and bread,
the poetry of everyone.
Roque Dalton

Fear de-stills the silence

Fear de-stills the silence
Carved from a necessity that
Remains undisturbed; the
Tilt that is needed, the
Hair that will break the

Camel’s back is late for work. It will attempt resuscitation tomorrow, if there is time.

The cant of resuscitation, the can
not of its vocal refurbished
dusty self – one that is torn from the past, one that
wills to
sieve past its shadow.


How much further do you have to go?

"How much further do you have to go?"
"All the way"
"Is all the way far enough for the traveller to arrive?"
"No. But I see a fabulous eagle
circling above us, flying low!" - Mahmoud Darwish

How much further do you have to go?
Take the riven road, the salted
peak, the molten snow as your
guide; take the eagle’s tangled
vision and the child’s eye – now


the not poem and the axed vocal

the not poem is stuck
somewhere between asphalt

and shock, between hidden
and remember; yes, the

height of its navel is wrong,
and no, we are not worried.


I crucify the axed
  vocal, the
  lesser I, in

Deference to the
  whole, and

The whole revisits
  as an


Are you an algorithm?

Are you an algorithm? An
Anticipated piece of code

That worries about the ifs
And elses? And is it just

To be invariant, sitting at
The top of the loop circum-

Ambulating kafkaesque proc-
Edures, functions of state?


Slavery according to Aristotle

“One who is a human being belonging by nature not to himself but to another is by nature a slave; and being a man he is an article of property, and an article of property is an instrument . . . The slave is a living tool, just as a tool is an inanimate slave.

Hence there are by nature various classes of rulers and ruled. For the freeman rules the slave, the male the female, and the man the child.

The art of war includes hunting, an art which we ought to practice against wild beasts and against men who, though intended by nature to be governed, refuse to submit; for war of such a kind is naturally just.

Bodily service for the necessities of life is forthcoming from both, from slaves and from domestic animals alike. The intention of nature therefore is to make the bodies of freemen and of slaves different.”

“Slavery according to Aristotle”, from the book, Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone by Eduardo Galeano.

Bodily service – the axe to grind
An historical allegory; would you
Refer to the nightwatchman to
Guard you against the sinning saint?

Or would you rather breathe content,
Despising the reined, despite the
Rain off course, of coarse fabric,
Taint, hubris, hued with haw & pun?


to commit to a version of truth

to experiment is to commit to
   a version of truth that

is yet to be saved from a 
   toxic reinterpretation; to

commit to heaven's plaint; to
   lock fire in a wordchamber

struggling to know the color
   of gas, wire and triangles.

The eyes of each figleaf

The eyes of each figleaf see
   different, see the opacity

Ripe with mention, rite, rose,
   ribald; the eyes of each

Tentacle of time tell triptychs
   tuned to hell, how, humming

Red, pipes of a scorched screech
   rust, remembered, river.

Zoomkawala Sahab

mohammed zoomkawala-4
A couplet by Ahmad Faraz, one of the poets that occupied a prominent place on his bookshelf.
A dream that took all of life’s dreams
A flood of sleep takes that dream away

mohammed zoomkawala-1
His most oft-cited Persian verse from Saadi. It speaks of the humility of the raindrop when it meets the expanse of the ocean.

mohammed zoomkawala-2

One of his poems from 2002. The only thing that could outweigh his wit was the exhortation to hear out his poetry. And everyone complied.

mohammed zoomkawala-5

I took this picture of him, from the mid-70’s, with my very first camera.

Mohammad Zoomkawala
Educator, Poet, Dad.
June 19, 1932 – March 24, 2016