Three Poems

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Picture: Uzma Falak
  When You’re Here The night was an enclosure wrapping in its folds poverty, abundance—both, when you’re here, the morning a wringing forth of fitful cravings, evenings meandered through grey alleyways unmindful of the bends ahead like little children groping for their aunts’ breasts taking them for their absent mothers’, night sky lamented loss of daylight bleeding stars through its wounds, it was as if everything under the sky wanted to belong somewhere, homeless on pavements disappeared aimlessly into inner streets fearing rain and thunder, many a Muslim was murdered behind the street corner & his blood haggled for a word or two of patriotism, the exiles were seen returning to nooks around which they are wont to talking how it all could have been avoided, it was then that furious afternoon sun perished in the din of hodmen’s unfailing footsteps leaving trails of conspicuous sweat on parts of their women’s blouse, those women selling corn blowing pipes at charcoal embers, smelling of smoke and sweat and penury, fat boys eating at burger joints laughed through their teeth revealing nothing of the order by which their rich fathers came to be. You’ve returned to the seashores now things are as they could always have been sunsets, one after another, reek of corpses lying long unattended people go about their routines as if future glories of world belong to them, the laborer doesn’t know his job is wrecking his lungs, food rots away in sealed canes for want of an opportune hunger, nights stall, days fester, water is a disease, air is smoke, smoke fills poor man’s lungs, the face of the city is exile, the nooks are ravaged, exiles have made peace with what they (now) think could not have been avoided, emaciated children die of hunger, each word is spoken twice before meanings could be agreed upon, lovers submit to the dictates of custom, girls are burnt alive, mothers cry, fathers frown, many a Muslim man is a patriot—now that you’re not here.
This Summer (Written in September 2016} The smell of air begrudges taste cherries couldn’t deliver this summer we celebrate coming together of fists words spitted like no days forthcoming could be waited upon these might as well count as dangerous trends, for shackles are broken promises to be flung apart though the same may not be said of pelleted eyes when offered reluctantly to the gaping mouth of azure skies distant sound of teargas shells gallops over the dim-lit path hewn by rashid hafiz’s falsetto through the underbrush of night’s immense forest yesterday, we ran to beds on bleeding feet our battered skin ached for its old self children shrunk to two feet of darkness their tiny hands hemmed in a boy pulled out from the blue of a rugged pair of jeans is delivered like a shriek from the underbelly of night waiting to have the day unburden its entrails two streets behind the police station many a stray dog howls its way to the nearest dumpsite under the streetlamp the food smells almost like when served women singing in chorus drown bones crunching between dogs’ teeth dawn creaks the light gingerly reveals curtains one must wake up perform an ablution face the murders left by the night in its wake kindle the hearth and partake in the gravedigger’s toil in the morning air breaks free of night’s swollen embrace Jehlum slithers down the nape of a neonate hope the green of woods hisses life through its pine-lungs sunlight scurries along as we watch the feet march forthwith.
Exile I spend no night away from you; in ad hoc corners of seasonal darkness fragments of last summer fly towards me — green foliage ripened cherry sodden earth raw walnuts unmorbific mosquitoes temperate breeze nights’ starred skies — consuming the ashen muscles I sleep upon. My feet burn in revulsion. The cavalcade of smoke retires into my bosom, ash settles like neonate snow over my dugout shoulders; Home is an away place. Places relentlessly adhere to their ground. Dreams crawl over naked skin not in the imitation of serpents in awe of withering flower buds rather. Nothing changes between us. Almonds harvest in autumn. My fingers are dirty sweated in summer. You shrivel about burying your boys beside snowy playgrounds; I scuffle with the guard at my office gates, staring into his clumsy eye. Snow in my eyes melts away from rooftops farther away from Yamuna bridges no more music laden in tip, tap, tip…….tap; eyes are reflected back against blurry breaks on cheval glass I see seas drowning into men’s solitude water splashed across their sere foreheads; I see life in pause about a furor at dawn — dewy grass smudged by downpour of summer-harsh sunbeams. We burst into tears and fatigue lampoons us in bed Sunrise announces new nights old days die a stray dog’s death: unattended like under military trucks on roads winding about yellow-green of mustard fields; winding about a paste of silent eyes winding about an unfurling of apple orchards on roads clad in vivid brevity of longish poplars in precise longevity of insistent poplars. New nights arrive in haste; not in haste, not in haste…..in vile boredom…..vile. So we plead for winters; I plead for winters though winter is no garment and snow does not reveal your face bent over my absence and hidden behind clouds and white clouds and black clouds; some men eat clad in shrouds and speak being fed in overflowing spoons who knows not of delirious afternoons? In whose city shall we meet again, who’ll open the gates to let our exile pass. If I ask them to fill my wounds with salt, who’ll go and beseech the little child in the corner not to scream, not to scream? Who’ll eat with us and remain hungry till another meal?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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