Where is the art? Where the fuck is the art? Who the blah is the art?
It is time for real talk. Not ‘I better than you’ talk. Not a preach talk.
Not a history/science/life — lesson talk. Talk that you and I talk. Not a poeeeeeeeeem- talk. Not caricature talk. Talk.
So I am a person talk. You are a person talk
One of my book characters — Doctor — he would say
‘Do not tell my story — you prick. What in hell do you know about me. Do not pretend to read my mind. …
The morphing enchantress.
From between her teeth, floating blood wipes her hair — her ribs — her self
— like she were only kohl — not eyes. She doesn’t exist.
The blood-smog is —
clustered-reformed-hibiscuses that were rotting on trees — attached.
From the silence of a closed throat to the eruption of mad sirocco
. She doesn’t exist. She erases herself as she writes on mutating billows
She has a song as vapour as herself
— it speaks of three dots and their elaborate deskew —
to the river in the hyaline to cracking coals of the belly
from the ravenous mouth of a howling cow to hands making milk
through fenestrations comes the smoking kohl — an air to be eaten —…
Fading mushroom clouds shine on the sinking son of a refugeeThe curled bird
forced in the silhouette of its motherA treed, impatient for love
loses itself in watery paint strands— hung on paperThe father plants aluminium dolls in his backyard
speaks to kept souls of fallen fugitivesNationalist songs erupt in schools
coriander is being harvested for unplanned recipes— homes.
Inhabitants. Rightful owners. Eaters of land-food, land-animals. The sea is where the illiterate go to sink. Swimming to starve— for what fish eats man and what man eats fish.
The land-man does. The human-fish does.In the unspoken world.
Drums become angry commands for anthem-fed…
I stare into the damaged pulp of absentee language
I masticate words — before they gain volume
Now I am noise — white debris woken up by tinnitus
Iron hail falling on my maw
Defense: massaged with garlic, brushed with turmeric-pepper-salt
Yet an eye breaks out in the gut of my being
A world forms even though I belong to the whir
Saliva attacks my bones as though a river bursting through stagnant ice
The soreness of lonely castanets embedded in my mouth — rattle
I am here — where it nags — I am the eye sunk in those gums
I am the garden of pus-flowers — the yellow daisies of this…
“Naache hoke firki lattu, khoje apni dhuri re”
— Mann Kasturi Re, Masaan
Sand whirls twist in air — where will the birds fly?
A theory escapes midst dialogue — I look for my smell
How far do my feet span. I walk on the sky — and it becomes sand
— it becomes warm sand
A spinning top in the space of a collapsing song
Where is my footstep — where is my dust?
I count days and it is all a line. …
Over the years, I had culminated some confidence as a writer. I started thinking that I have something to offer — maybe flow or honesty. Something. Lately, the purpose was also becoming reacheable — to meditate, to discover and to express. To fully dive into writing with no care of perception. Looking at Nasreen Mohamedi’s work gave me a lot of strength in the purpose of art. However, today I have lost all of it — the confidence, the purpose. In fact I am becoming surer by the minute that I have absolutely no understanding of the craft of poetry. If I do not know the craft, how can I even fathom to be able to express through art. A painter needs to know something about holding a brush and mixing colours. A singer needs to know something about rhythm and notes and so on. …
Writing — living and how they can be two different things altogether. It is like the moment you first write with devotion, you divide the music of living with a thin hair into two esoteric tunes. Life becomes a lackey of the writer — serving — observing — collecting. The writer becomes an archivist — an explorer of what is being lived by oneself and through oneself. In tandem these two work towards each other while hoping to find their independent space — or — a space of (mirage-like magical) co-existence.
At times writing takes everything (even living) and leaves just the shell of the writer. This shell fills up again — to be sucked — yet again. As a writer and as a person I have been in a constant state of drift or lets say limbo. Lately the geometry of life has shed sharp angular shadows on the writer — bringing attention to what is it to be a writer and how to strip living to make the writer find ease in these shadows. Draw light internally and glow in the depths of this geometry — such that life’s shadow is a cave — where such a light becomes the only low hanging lamp in a stark room of worship. Much like your studio Nasreen, where you drew meditative lines on translucent waves. …
I have balanced petals on the thought of your death
A spell of permanence cast on our romance
You couldn’t blink away the emerald in your eye
It’s a season where all of it sheds —
even the eternal petal wilts — even the sky shrivels
I am a moving image in your photograph
Framed in bones we peeled from shadow animals
We are our nights — spent in parks at the ends of cities
We are the moving bus, the one that crashes
— flames — yet two passengers live —
two of us smell of iridescent smoke
Two of us are ending — just by your…