Seven is a lost number: Poems by Arif Ayaz Parrey

© Showkat Nanda / Boys on Run
A conversation with my mother on one of the last days of Ramazan Don’t think about the war, pleads my mother her quivering voice a willow twig in August and mid-summer drizzle hanging in her eyes Don’t think of the still-bleeding throat of the carpenter whose headless body left the first floor of our home without doors and windows for twenty years Don’t think of the CRPF men who had shone a torch and torn him apart from the night of his wife Don’t recall the time when your father was taken to the village stream along with other men dipped in the water, then dried with sticks and simmering words, the therapy repeated till the last traces of self-respect were rinsed out their skin tanned permanently to humiliation Don’t speak of the unspeakable turns of phrase which had undressed all the women of the village in front of all the men and the beasts Don’t think about the meaninglessness of dress After such knowledge and shame of nakedness Don’t compare it with democracy after genocide Thoughts are very expensive, my dear Kashmiris cannot afford them So don’t think, my child, don’t think Thus the twig kept shaking in the mid-summer drizzle Her voice choked by helplessness Then she asked if I remembered how the carpenter used to bring coconut candy for me and that my father wore a white kameezyazaar on the day his skin was robbed of its colour I’m her Cheshire cat, my smile the only thing which exists in her world, she fears when I go looking for the rest of me, The head of the carpenter’s body The doors and windows of my childhood The colour of my father’s skin Ignorance about the shape of the nipples of the women of my village lest they snatch even the smile from her.
The thirteenth colour of lock-up A blind moon melts in my hands like eyes that have embraced darkness as a habit, are scattered by light and turned to an infinite sand, barely visible, unseeing. The days are my brittle body, the night steel bars, they meet at a place full of pain. On the horizon hangs the grey of roosting and the crickets make a beret-green sound. They are my only voice, my own sobs and wails have long eloped with the torturers' laughter. The beautiful purple gardens of clots on my lips and penis are flowering, ripe I dream of women, of redness dancing in darkness, raising a maroon mayhem.
Ye shubbe Aeshiq chuh karsaaz Awwai cheh aalmas manz kein cheez yokvathai shubaan Mashoqun tassavur te aashiqan hend alfaaz Aftab te mael sund tanez karrun Maaji hund buthis peth atheh fearun te Kosher shaiyri Yemburzel te zooni pash Gatte pash te garm vuthan henz badnas peth likhavat Kong posh te khalaa Badem fly te nuskhai-wafaa Qolle manz gurrun te hamdardi Waazwaan te phalsafaey-sifar Thejqaad te Sheik-ul-Alamin shruk Wanduk sheen, harduk mash te soantech aash Tawwai cheh temsinz qabar temis tethi kein prarven Yethken Zoon cheh Yusufas intizaaras Yethken dehsaas maaji cheh pannen potran praraan Yethken hardu te wande kev imtihaanav menz Rattekoal chuh soantas naalmott karni safras naeran Yeth ken lacchhe boed lukh, zinde, mordu te zennai Che sadken peth thalle thalle azadi tsadaan Qabar haeke waqtukh maar khe khe weas peth Paan galle galle nabood gatshith Zooni haeke gatte pashech nazr lagith Moij te wassi wojood mushraveth bujrikis aagoshas manz Magar Aeshiq chuh karsaaz Su kar te ye shubaan chu Translation by Gowhar Fazili: Love creates history Some things resist separation— Thought of the beloved from the lover’s expression; Sunshine and father's reprimand; Mother's caress and the poetics of mother tongue; Narcissus and moonlight; Darkness and the caress of kisses; Saffron and space; Almond blooms and parchments of love; Fish in a rivulet and compassion; Wazwaan and aimless conversation; Sowing season and Shek-ul Aalam’s verse; Winter-snow, Autumn-honey and Spring-hope. His empty grave longs for him Zulaikha awaits Yusuf; Ten thousand mothers await return of their sons; Passing through tribulations of Autumn and Winter, Summer proceeds to embrace the Spring Millions—living, dead and yet to be born populate the streets in longing for azaadi Graves cave in under the stress of time Selves fade away and perish Darkness swallows the moon Mother too will eventually lose her-self in the embrace of old age. Meanwhile, lovers create history, They do what must be done.
Architecture Your memory has three storeys. On the ground floor I store the embers of your smell their faint lemony edges like January evenings in Delhi viewed through the prism of a tear. On the middle floor I store silence of skin diluted in sin which moves like a river once it has embraced the sea. There is also a tiny windowless room filled with your knives and spears. On the top floor I store keys of abandoned padlocks disheveled hair, impossible eyes. Words are engraved on the keys adjectives, nouns, but mostly verbs and the signs of darkness.
Autumn in Kashmir Genocide comes wearing a yellow mask She said, peeling a maroon laughter But your skin is gold, my love, look Pointing to the ripe paddy swaying in the field This? This too shall burn, like oil over water There is nowhere to hide, no masks to wear The devil stole eyes from innocence Now it can look God in the eye Find us behind the seven veils of hoors Let me wrap the evening sky around your breasts Camouflage gold with gold Did they fire pellets into your ears? What colour does genocide prefer? Then what do we do, cultivate oil off water? Buy time by selling our children? It is too late, my love, there is no time Kiss me before the night overflows with blood Let me cocoon you in my dress Deepen the colour of my laughter
Light Facebook Years Is anyone travelling to 2010 in the next few days? I want to send a correction to a kiss to a now defunct love. Is anyone going further, to 2006, before the week ends? I have packed courage in a discarded geometry box. Can you give it to my younger self to stop a marriage. Is anyone travelling to the land of regret this month? I have to send a few things, don’t worry I will not burden you carry only what fits in your luggage neatly the rest I will send through someone else. It is a popular destination, I’m sure someone else will be travelling soon. Is someone backpacking anytime soon to the first time I knew love? Outside those I had been told to love. Can you? Just a few things; light, but will occupy some space. Please. There is a memory of giggling poplar leaves and tittering willow twigs. Watching a blue and yellow frock sway in the breeze. I will be there too, but I can rather meet you at the airport. If you prefer. Look, I’m so thankful you are doing this. Yes, it is urgent, the series of powers of two escalates fast. And the silence after kisses quickly fills the universe.
Garr firdaus... Spring is when hope grows new leaves, but here they are crimson-red, the bloody stare of a half-widow the mountains begin to miss their snow like her daughter’s grin misses an incisor How she wishes it was just a metaphor for the Absent One, so that he could grow back to a place where her kisses could reach him The daughter only taps her thumb on the emptiness wishing she could roll her tongue over the teeth smoothly hope sails on the faint edges of her smile, afraid that if it went deeper it might drown when like a river suddenly remembering its history memories flood the empty questions of stolen life not very far from the daughter and the wife spring songs of birds drown in hollows of military drums Garr firdousba-roh-e-zameenast...if there is paradise on earth, they say, it is this, and then repeat it twice like Goebbels’ Truth, like Triple Talak, the device a wish of genocide for them, for us History’s price (An empty land for whoever comes on top of the dice) Why does this land not spit festoons of zool or hell? Why do the vanquished mountains over whose backs poison hops into the country not shake it off and stand tall? Why does not Shiva, whose third eye is the valley, open it up and reduce the world to ashes with its witness? Why does not the zombie justice wake up and turn the wheel? W’arsla alaihim toiran ababeel, tarmehim behijaratin min sijheel Spring is when the earth, swelling with pride, turns soft, vulnerable and therefore capable of great gluttony It puts on the blossoms of a new mutiny the derisive scent a decree for those who resist an invitation to invaders, murderer and tourist the loss is great, but not as great as the capacity The boy who lost a kidney and an eye in 2010 to the benevolence of a State’s non-lethal weapon hauls Naipaul’s pilgrims to Himalayan caves, they agree in a foreign tongue, he looks like a pirate of Caribbean But when his one good eye corners them in the mirror the situation has improved considerably, they say to diffuse the situation, blushing; well, you see, I am the situation, he remarks without irony.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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