Living in a country that’s lost its soul and gone rabid takes its toll. The dreams are distorted, bulldozed and buried under a pile. Still, most days you want to live, forget the reality and feign ignorance. Live in the hope that the songs will come back, the flowers bloom and you will be able to outrun the mob. This volume flits between darkness and hope as a succinct commentary of our times.
Oppression – Langston Hughes
Are not available
To the dreamers,
To the singers.
In some lands
And cold steel
But the dream
Will come back,
And the song
Malbe ka dher! – Aamir Aziz
Hazar aansu Hazar aahein
Do jodi sapne do muthi khushiyan ek khilona
do teen sikke aur chaar bartan.
ek langdi si kursi ek takhti ki table ek Quran
Majeed ek choti si rehal
Marhoom dada ki tasbeeh, naani ki ainak
kuchh Qisse kahaniyan kuchh Zinda roohein
Abba aami ke umr bhar ki mehnat
umr bhar ki hasrat
Ye ghar jo malbe ke dher mein badal chuka hai
Ye sabkuch hai iske neeche
Aur iss malbe ke dher ke bahot neeche hai ek
desh. Mera desh! Tumhara desh!
Water Memory – Jackie Gorman
The bottom untouched by sunlight,
heart shrinking down
as though the future isn’t real.
Nothing to hold on to.
Musty smell of the lake,
fish and forgotten hooks.
Boats on the horizon.
Just the water before thought.
My hook snagged in the want of this world.
A silent urge to be like water,
flowing yet strong enough to hold a ship.
I draw a fish in my notebook.
The Rider – Naomi Shihab Nye
A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn’t catch up to him,
the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.
What I wonder tonight
pedaling hard down King William Street
is if it translates to bicycles.
A victory! To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell.
Most Days I Want to Live – Gabrielle Calvocoressi
Not all days. But most days
I do. Most days the garden’s
almost enough: little pink flowers
on the sage, even though
the man said we couldn’t eat
it. Not this kind. And I said,
Then, gosh. What’s the point?
The flowers themselves,
I suppose. The rain came
and then the hail came and my love
brought them in. Even tipped
over they look optimistic.
I know it’s too late to envy
the flowers. That century’s
over and done. And hope?
That’s a jinx. But I did set them
right. I patted them a little.
And prayed for myself, which
is embarrassing to admit
in this day and age. But I did it.
Because no one was looking
or listening anyway.