algorithmically impune

Which fragment of geometry is
        soil and which is property?
        Do you have enough plastic
        to wrap it all up?  Do you

Have enough rubber to bounce off
       your impunities, enough metal to
       drill them further into the abysses
       you have dug through millennia?

Whose fire do you use to burn
         down houses? “we don’t really
         have to go down there anymore, 
         we have a button for that..” 

Does your shrapnel seek little 
         Zaynab’s permission before
         entering her heartchamber? “we
         now have algorithms for that..”

the million yous

there are a million yous maybe
         two give or take a half mil
         and there are as many loves

furious selves as many others &
         then a billion or six more
         give or take a half bil & then

there is capital the ladder of poems
         one at the top calling others
         non what about the billion

yous loves selves poems give or
         take a half bil no you say 
         that won’t do thkuverymch-

the moss of beginnings

i.
at the edge of some 
            beginning lies the humanoid lacking requi-
            site evolutionary cogs
            & bits to fully process daytime
            (it’s blinding but so is karma)
            it blushes & 
                 retires -

ii.
where water goes to quench its thirst, there
            it is that the
            bumblebees bumble, where herons and 
            heroines speak sky & 
            the courage of humans falters, mixes with
            the rust of 
            trees, the moss of beginnings & the roots
            of poems past & 
                    here -

iii.
it would have been a new poem
            had it not been for the oldness
            of knives, the oddity of
            pale, the sunken brevity of the
            odd word, the fondness of 
            being strange &
                      still - 

livid ash

This summer, the nights are woven
        as livid ash – sunken
        tombs are once again
        called to make their faces known

This summer, nothing is moist save
         this livid ash – heathen
         tombs are allowed
         to mingle in open secrecies 

This summer, demythified doors
         wear livid ash – leaven
         tombs are broken in &
         doctored as a single machine -

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