if you meet the buddha on the road..

I met him on that untrod road &
      he eyed the menace in my eye, said “look!
      behind you, there’s the buddha you were 

looking for.” I looked back, nothing, 
      and the buddha went a-scamper   cursing 
      that oft-quoted license to kill, yearning

for that time under the tree, when
      hunger & fire sat side by side with love
      in them howl eyes    and menace -

Everyday foibles

Look into the mouth of horror 
     & you’ll find everyday foibles
     wanting to sleep by the kerb
     side, if only 
     for a few more minutes 
     of untarnished dream -

Is my mouth political or just its
    corners, when it turns not mind
    ful of euphs and misms? Is the

Twitch of my nose mere biology or
    is the canvas larger, mindful of 
    the oophs, the eeks & the isms?

iii surmises

On silence
– there are no silences, only doors that refuse to open to let the mute sun in
– if silence was certain, doors would be humorless

Each story runs late
the verbs are hassled, thunderous        grammar is a tasseled adjunct to power that refuses to give       tao runs dry but no sooner than the parch soars, new words begin to form as grammar vows blood – the story as parchment & love

A resonant lamp
resounds       distance is three harks away 1. come no further than the eye’s hover 2. seek no earth that claims sky as father 3. while away this distance as you while away your grandmother’s patience

the knife of the slow word

In the murk the Way advances
    as the knife of the slow word -
    in the murk there is a mark that 
    breathes   which poem gets lost 
    in that breath? the knife of the slow word 
    cuts only when the river flows -
    I collect quills and count moons - where 
    the worries are taken to pitch and the quills 
    remain, there I anchor my poem -

I do not know its name
I style it “Tao”

– Lao Tsu

Until her knife had pared
The moon to a rind of little light.

– Sylvia Plath

Khadija in her own words

I did everything in every field, I just didn’t like cleaning jobs like sweeping and dusting. My mind was always towards creating different things. If in a day I wasn’t able to make something, or complete something, I would feel my day is wasted.


I had so many questions about religion. I go for logic, you know, unless something convinces me with logical reasoning, I wouldn’t accept anything.


Being a mother… I don’t know… I passed the formative years of my children very busy in my work. I would stitch clothes for children and supply to shops. Most of my time was busy in stitching away…


…and I don’t remember how much attention I paid to them… though my children are always saying ‘Mummy you did so many things for us, you made such lovely clothes for us, you cooked such lovely meals, you did everything for us,’ so I don’t know.


In a way it’s a good thing to get yourself ready for your final exit from this world. I created so many things, so many things, I’m proud that I did so much work…I’m not materialistic, I like to collect art, that’s it, I like beauty…I made something, for everybody, I took interest in so many things and it was worthwhile living life like that.

Quotations are from an interview Khadija gave to Sakina Marvi (her cousin’s daughter) a few years ago.


Khadija Mamuwala
Mother-in-law, Creator of all things beautiful
January 23, 1940 – February 10, 2021

In my daughter’s name
I bless your child with the mother she has
with a future of warriors and growing fire.

Audre Lorde

machine unlearning

Buying a plot of land, I saved the deed on my hard drive, and it began to run out of space. Not knowing what to do – imagination limited by happy endings and twist plots from too many movies – I attempted to de-fragment the drive only to find it had already been optimally atomized. How do you come to terms with a drive that has opted out of alternative spaces? Overnight, the plot thickened into a miasma filling up dropbox which then complained of fatigue, oversubscribed by technophiles dreaming of escaping to Mars and buying a plot of land.


I am silence of the boat
carved of necessary wood –

Will I sink with the voice of
the heaviness of name or

Will the fight in me fly home as
song, as the otherhood of song?

the Wounds of Capital & its Undoing

It is pointless to resist power – the brea(d)th of powerlessness is precisely the point

The only truth is non-truth & the whole of it is untrue, therefore full of holes

The macro is but the sum of individual micros – even plus odd is forever odd

The foremost poet wrote perhaps the greatest poem ever written, but it was untrue

There is no alternative, no such thing as society, except when you forget, except when you don’t

Poet as resistance

  
How does a poem resist?
          When you say thrush
          It removes the palpable green from your
          Hooved beginnings 

Why does a poem resist?
          If the chances taken
          Are multiplied by its hoofsteps, you get
          Nothing as quotient

Who does a poem resist?
          Ice, palindromes, hoovicles
          And clarified ribosomes, mainly because
          Structure is a myth

Poet as insight

– it is transformed as it is birthed: as it becomes it is no more
– master’s tool no more, but the inch that peels off the foot
– it reverses the voyeuring oppressor’s gaze; it has survived by looking back, unrepentant, unfazed
– build your ivory tower upon it, and it spits it out, whole
– it is the silence that gnaws, knows