Pomegranate River

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Maybe it was a river of pomegranates and not tears
Maybe the earth did crack up–like the black broken wings
Swallowing her inside
And maybe the seeds tasted like love
Or perhaps, there was something to long for under the rubble
So does Persephone wait to return,
Or does she wait to come back
And does Hades wait for her to come back
SO he can have her, and then can recoil back once again–
Into the suffering he has been cursed with
Do they break away once they break down
And did She break him like He broke her heart
Maybe it is all a false memory of deceit
Of an affliction which neither knew of
And maybe Spring longs for Winter
As Winter yearns for Spring
But there is nothing in return
And nothing is lost, but everything is lost
And that is what the fall is–an evil act
Of prayers which mean nothing

The river was of pomegranates which tasted like love

Faqeer, Beggar

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Beneath the statue of the Old Beggar with a hundred lines sculpted on his face
I sat like art–waiting to be created,
I–who had written all the stories
Of the fires which had burned the town hall
Where the dancers would do the silent Waltz
And of the blind man–who saw everything and heard nothing
Of the women–who sang in chorus, of love which was not meant for them
Of children, who stopped playing because of the scars
Of the sculpted swan, with its ugly broken wing
I sat there like art, waiting to be drawn
I–who had heard the choir boys singing
While the Woman in the green dress had repressed a smile
And left the room–for she was torn
Because she had come from nowhere and had nowhere to go
And she slept in the dingy streets with torment under her sleeves
But I sat there like art–waiting to be designed
For once, long ago–I had lost my way in the ruined valleys-
With empty houses and unbothered streets
So beneath the statue on the Old Beggar with a hundred lines-
And an expression of solitude frozen on his face
I sat like art–waiting to be composed
For I knew all the stories, because I had written them all
Of you and me, and me and you
And I sat there like art–because
I knew of all the endings, right from the very start

Adha Afsana

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On the Silk Canvas–were stories painted in gold
Of purple clouds and pink dots in the sky
And cherry colored fountains where people came to–
Throw the yellow coins, and make wishes about forlorn times
And the Painter would stand by the window and glance
Over the shifting blue rocks–from beneath the arid ground
While the silver bird–would often swing by
And stare at its shadow–which looked like that of a broken man
And now and then a hundred unknown faces
Would stare inside the glass door, and find a pungent silence
Hovering over their heads
On the Silk Canvas–were stories rotting away
Of orange doves hanging by strands of black threads
And orchids of grey fatigue tied with white ribbons of defeat-
They arrive at the doorsteps of a brown house made of clay sheets
And the Painter would stand by the glass door and glance
And shut himself away, recoiling once again like a frigid tapestry

 

Kaala Saanp, Black Snake

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Who are these people? Do we know them at all? All the strangers who we do not know and all of those who we do! What are the conversations we have–with all those meaningless words and empty emotions? And what is this weight–that pulls us all down, into a bottomless ocean–yet we cannot even sink? What are these questions and where are the answers? Are there any answers at all?

You cannot put all your life into words, all our experiences into pictures, all your feelings into songs. And you should not. Things move upward–and then they stay there and they fall into place. That place does not exist–but in thought.

We are all prisoners of our own shells, our walls are weak–to others and we think they can hold up. We think we want people to break them but we just want to run away from everything. People do not understand that. Because they have their own walls–and they are prisoners there. And some run around in circles–they stop for a while, linger about and then they disappear–to be completely forgotten.

Memories are the worst—they are fickle. People are the second worst–they are weak until they are strong. Moments are the third worst–they happen all the time.

A gentle wind is always brewing and simmering somewhere in our minds where a sole Willow Tree stands alone in the golden fields and under a silver sky which keeps changing its shape. And far away from the Willow Tree, a tall jaded Mirror is placed–overlooking the nothingness. It has a long and deep crack–or maybe that is the reflection of the broken vacuum.

The Willow Tree has many places to go, yet it cannot. The Mirror has much to see, yet it cannot. The sky wants to be golden while the fields want to be silver–and neither can change their color. There is a stillness there, the kind which makes you breathe in for a while, taking in the silence but when you breathe out–all you have is a suffocation within the whole body.

He would know–for that is where he would often go when he wanted to learn how to fly. They all laughed when they heard he wanted to learn how to fly–for he had no wings and more importantly he had nowhere to go. But he kept failing. And after every try, he would have to go back to the dismal and tragic town where they all jeered and sneered at him, where he did not belong, where he was the stranger–for he was an outsider but he was the blind King of that town as well. And in the hollow walls of his dusty room–he would sit in a corner wearing his scepter, looking at the door because he figured that is where he can escape. He looked at the windows, because they brought in orange light every day inside. And he would hear only two voices; one of that mongrel dog and the other would be his own–laughing. And he would sway back and forth because he did not want to hear it.

But when he was by the willow tree–he would feel alive forever, even though he wanted to take his pain brushes and color the sky green or maybe blue–because in his hazy memory, he often recalled the sky being blue. But little did he know–he was never going to fly, for he was just not meant to, for he was blind–in his eyes and his heart was blind and he had no soul. Because he was a wooden tapestry draped in black scales which made him look like a black snake. And he was frozen in various moments which he did not even know existed.

So he was doomed–to his dusty room, with a door and a window and a scepter which he wore and he could hear all the faces laugh, scoff, jeer and sneer at him. And in this doom, he waited to turn into a shadow of an outsider–who belonged nowhere and to no one. And in his memory, the sky was blue and in his memory, he was a swan. In his memory, he would often glide–and laugh and dance. But he was a frozen tapestry–and he knew nothing more. SO he would sit under the Willow Tree, which had nothing to say to him and go stand in front of the broken Mirror which overlooked nothingness and try to see what he looked like. Because in his memory, he looked like you.

Sang e Marmar Kai Pahaar, Mountains of Marble

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Here we are again, at the crossroads of fire.

And the mountains of marble seem so close and yet they are so far away. Each time, we stand with brazen memories which are nothing more than hazy blurs. Or pungent dreams which suffocate us and haunt us because we held on for too long. And silhouettes—frozen in the shackles of time, desire and thoughts. We know too well that if we touch them–they will break away. Each time–we think it is not the end. It is not anything, it is nothing. So we become forlorn and hide in shadows of our own selves. And that’s why we are who we are.

That is why, we are just lingering trains, going from station to station, going through murky tunnels into the abyss which we call the end. Because this train goes from station to station, never stopping for longer than intended and never late but never on time either.

And we are all submerged in circles are time, rushing towards the City Fair, thinking we will have one final go on the Ferris Wheel, one final go before they take it down. But we reach there just before they run out of tickets. So we just watch from down below, the mesmerized faces with languid bodies clinging on to the sky, laughing. And we leave knowing we will never come back to it again, because it will be gone and there will be no more tickets to buy.

Little do we know that there is a young red head boy on that Ferris wheel–who wants to stay up there because he knows too well–when he comes down–the hole in the floor will eat him up. And he is scared because that hole will swallow him up and take him nowhere.

Or that girl–who has that recurring dream–right out of the cataclysm, where she sees that forsaken stairway. It goes somewhere, but she does not know. But she knows too well for she never took it. She never intended to. And now it haunts her. Because everything is jaded and everything is cold.

And how often do we stand and stare at the possibilities and feel and say things we were never meant to. And how often do we want to run away, because we had to. Because it is in our blood, our genes. And we cannot stay because we are not meant to. Because we are broken pieces of what we are, and will be and were.

There were two hundred plain red canopies in that stranded ground which no one goes to anymore. Who were they for and why? Were they a vivid dream or were they not? They were empty and they had no purpose. And She would often break free from her melancholy and visit them. And sit and stare at how the sky looked from the red canopies and try to form a question towards the sky–which only asked her more questions in return.

Far off somewhere, music was heard but it meant nothing. It never did. And She just stared, dancing as a lifeless form, knowing quite well how it will burn the canopies. For She was fire–meant to burn out and fizzle away. And She would stop to sit in random trains–which went nowhere and try to figure out where the stairs went. Every time She would be the one to get tired and get off in a rush. Because deep inside her–there was a simmering hole which could never be filled.

So here we are again–at a crossroads which can take us to the marble mountains where nothing exists. Because the soil has been love famished for the rain but the rain, it ceased to fall because it was tired of falling again and again. So both lost–and there was a storm. On the other end is a stairways which never existed. So She takes the path leading to the mountain and atop the marble mountain–She would go and dance–a lifeless form, because that is the only thing She knows. And that is where no dreams haunt her and no trains leave her. And She wants to sit on Ferris Wheels–which are about to be taken down. There, She will laugh one last time and disappear.

 

 

Pareshan Sa Pyar, Anxious Love

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We often wake up, clenching our fists and yearning for an unfathomable feeling which for some odd reason, always eluded us. The sinister yet pleasing feeling of something the Gods claimed is Love. And stories, philosophies have been prompted about it, bards written, homes destroyed, poems sung, songs played, wars took place–and there was always bloodshed. In all of this, God was in and out–and tears were prominent and longing was there. And people spoke of tales–of conquering mountains and digging fountains. And it seemed that all of the ones who could feel, were stuck in it, oppressed by love–becoming prisoners of a poisonous feeling which all but turned them sick. They wanted to escape and they just could not. And those who wanted to stay–were kept being expelled.

And over the sky–Cherubs frolicked in gaiety and drunkenness. And all the demigods and deities danced around a fire which burned the whole sky and turned it into tar. Then it rained–a murky yellow rain–and look at us, we all kept on living in exile and isolation in a rotten, broken shell–trying to find solace and escape in the rain, as if it was meant for us. But who was it meant for then? It was meant for no one. And we all laughed, pretending to live but soon–the acid would take us too–the acrid rain and the suffocating air it brought on with it–we will long to breathe. But we always longed to breathe–out, but we never could. For we were love famished, love starved and seldom satiated.

We all thought at the end of it–we will have love to fall back to–and love would never fail us. And love rarely does. But we know nothing of it–for we make our own definitions and attach our own feelings to it, we scavenger for hope and come across everything else but hope. We entwine our hands with another–perhaps someone we love and a momentary sickness takes over us. After it passes–we remain, everything remains–and we miss that nausea. And in every solitude, we try to somehow induce it again.

So every time we see kites in the sky–we have a yearning. Until we realize we are those kites–attached to a string which has all the control over us. And we become frail. So we try to escape ourselves–out of our empty shells–into that of another, and then we long to escape from there too. And in each escape we leave small tokens of commemoration.

And in the end, we know–that we know nothing about it, about this love. Because it is a ghost–it is seen until it is not, heard until it is not, felt until it is not. And it is cold. So we let our thick desires run over it and we make them subservient to all. It is the most terrible affliction to have–and it too, is a pandemic–for it spread like plague and it took us all out.

There was a big garden–lush green with fruits and flowers of all sorts. Yellow apples, brown cherries, purple mangoes, red bananas and white dewy strawberries. There were large trees–all with pink trunks and blue leaves. And flowers which looked like birds and smelt like rain. There was a big lake–it ran wild and ferocious and it was filled with red wine. And silk clad fairies danced about. It was something and it was nothing because the sky was painted in six different hues of violet and there was music.

This was the place where the first sin would be committed. Not of betrayal, or of lust, or of deceit but of love. The two naked figures were running amuck–hiding from each other perhaps for they had seen each other and saw each other. And they were shook. For they felt something in their insides and outsides for the first time. Perhaps it was the very first feeling that humans felt. And they knew–they were destroyed. Both of them stopped for a while and turned to each other–their eyes met and they intertwined their fingers and laughed. And they were destroyed. Because as soon as it happened, sparks flew and fireworks took place. And as soon as they did–they both wanted to get as far away they could from each other yet stay where they were, forever in an embrace.

They both wanted to turn the other in a statue–clay bound. Yet they both wanted to take a hammer and break away that figure of clay. And they both wanted to cry and bleed because they were not okay, for they could feel everything. And when you feel everything, your face becomes a mirage–it has empty blank stares–and they both looked at the sky, but they were the sky. They were happy and they were sad, but mostly they were stifling for freedom from the other. They wanted to fall back into their own empty shells again–for they had seen they empty shell of the other and left their marks–and were afraid.

So there was confusion and chaos. And one of the figures–turned into a snake and went over to the other and told them–“I know your suffering, it is love. I know your plight–for you want to escape but you want to stay. And you want to save yourself because this might be the first and last chance of it. And I know what you need to do–you need take a bite from the forbidden fruit. And it will give you all the answers.”

Then the snake disappeared.

And both of them knew–that the Gardner had told them specifically to never go near the tree which bears the forbidden fruit and if they did they will be punished and thrown down in a desolate desert. Yet they were desperate to be lit by fire and destroy each other. So this was an enticing offer.

So they meekly went over to the tree bearing the forbidden fruit. Carefully picked up the fruit–the color of red. And looked around, fearful of the gardener. And as they were about to bite–they stopped. Thought about everything. But then in a mad rush — they ate it.

Everything began to disintegrate because the Gardner was disappointed and angry. But he was also anticipating it, for he knew.

And at that time, they both knew they had made a mistake. SO they tried to run towards each other–because they longed for one last touch. And they never got it. Thus they were banished. Into their skins. Into misery. Into love.

From that day on wards–the desolate desert has been afflicted with a brazen sickness–it is of love. And it is not sacred.

And we all fall prey to it. And we seldom escape but we long to–every moment of it. It is a servitude, it is a lesson. It is a punishment. And we all face the evening—with longing and our child like eyes and we get lost because we cannot feel what we were meant to feel.

Gol Si Dunya

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Of all the stories–this one makes the most sense. It is the story of coming and going, of circles and commotion, of pictures and pastels and moving trains. Like all stories–no one feels anything and everything happens all at the same time. Like most stories–no one leaves and no one stays. Like no other story–you wait and you fail.

In that dusty room with the dull walls entrenched in gloom–pictures of happy ghosts stared at him. There was smoke but he was not smoking. There were fire flies–thousands of them and they suffocated him. There was a door–which was closed and from the other side he could hear voices of people and laughter and he could not go see what they were and listen to their stories for he did not know what they meant. But the door was not locked–it was just closed. And he did not know the faces of the people even though he saw them everyday–every night–every moment. He did not recognize them. He did not understand the language they spoke because he was not who he was.

There was a storm which brewed somewhere outside the window which was halfway shut–because there was light but not enough light. Outside was just an empty sky–which told him nothing. Outside were children playing on the grass and riding the swings–and he could not tell if they are happy or sad, red or blue, living or dead!

And there was a sparrow which always came to sit on the big willow tree outside his window. It would just look at him with dark melancholic eyes–and he would smile. Because it reminded him of things which were never to happen. Was he happy or was he sad? Was he living or was he dead? Was he a sparrow or was he a firefly? Was he the sky or was he the sea? Could he feel or could he fly?

Those who were outside the room would keep knocking, trying to get in–to peer and to color him purple. They did not realize that time was an abstraction–and there was no time and if there was, they were out of time. His room had no clocks. Just walls which seemed perturbed. And still–there was knocking on the door–they could enter, for the door was not locked and they would stop momentarily and start knocking again.

He did not know anymore–whether it was day or night? Summer or winter? Whether he was or he wasn’t–for he had no mirrors or music or color. He was a vivid figure, a shapeless form who was stuck in a room–that was not even a room but a block.

The storm had taken over him. There was lightening and thunder. And anger and wrath. All, everyone spoke to him in were languages unknown and foreign to him. And he never knew what it all meant. Because he was a paroxysm of empty unhinged feelings.

And every day, before waking up–he would see choirs and songs and bards–and roses on tall trees. There were paintings of naked Greek women and Roman men–and orgies of filthy rabid dogs. Angels sang hymns about the absence…the great Absence. Regret lamented and Glory prayed. And on a rusty bench–a red haired girl sat and kept staring dead at the horizon. And she would always wait for him to come and she would wait for him to leave. So he sits in the yellow train and passes the hazy shadows and pastel colored buildings but the train always goes in circles…

He would wake up in sweats–in the room which is not even a room but a block of clay. And there is smoke around him–and a thousand fireflies dancing above him suffocating him. And from outside the door are noises–unfiltered laughter and conversation. And he does not understand what it all means.

It is a story like all stories. No one enters it and no one ever leaves.