Almost is a bigger bridge than hope by Nameera Anjum Khan
there is a sun shining inside the pages of a
notebook that speaks of love letters to a stranger,
there is a sun pouring into a leaf trying to hold on,
there is a sun falling into amma ji's low tied bun as
she buys sabzi for dinner. there is a sun swallowing
the smile out of khala's lips while she bargains over
the nastily priced lemons to prepare shikanji for
iftaar. God slips down amma ji's brow, a bead of
swear. God grows as thorns inside khala's throat.
God laughs in the frail leaf breathing oxygen into
the world when the letter inhales it and flies away
into the lap of a stranger, loved and loved dearly.
God owns a perfect heaven, brimming with honest
Angels but here He is. Craving this earth, made of
dishonest worshippers. Craving the little faults.
Like the mad obsession of an artist with a painting
that is bound to be in ruins because of the language
that it has learnt to articulate in. the language of the
d i v i d e.
Dear God, I know you love poems on a summer's eve,
But do you also love the Politics of being human?
amma ji turns around the corner,
khala turns around the corner,
both bump into one another. lemons running amok
like khala's wild nieces. what a waste of fortune!
amma ji hesitates, whispers haye Ram. khala gives a
glance, Allah Khair. Gods' save, it is people who
honour the devils.
amma ji extends a hand, khala takes it,
two hands that spell a household waiting
for their touch. two hands wanting to work
their magic in the rasoi. two hands warming-up to
the same fate; to write poems in the form of
a tick against the to-do list hanging on the
fridge, to figure out what rhymes best with
raat ka khaana / iftaari / sehri / shaam ki pakodi /
pooja ki thaali.
amma ji and khala have soon collected the
lemons, the sabzi, the melon; a smile is also
exchanged. the act of a charity in ramzan has
a tick against it on the to-do list. God's to-do list.
the language of injustice may yet have an answer,
in some amma and khala out at the sabzi mandi,
the language of divide, of ghoonghat and niqab,
of surma and bindi and sindoor and burqa- of a
God-fearing violence that make Salaam and
Namaste sound like heavy words that weigh
our pride down: of violence that exceeds any
the only true worship there is, is that of the
God who comes down on one summer eve,
and everything almost goes wrong. but it doesn't.
because almost is a bigger bridge than hope and
much smaller than certainty. but uncertainty can be
a pretty ugly (oxymoron) or peaceful (figure of speech: manifestation + hope = absent in the language of literature, present in the language of the pen).
Fighting Fare by Nikitha Vincent
The god of big things stares out cloud tops
tears of pity swell in his cataract-clear eyes.
Hailstorms and holy rivers form in their wake,
the common metaphor freezes dry.
Sulphur in the sheets,
screeching in the streets,
under the skins of demons and wraiths
souls resurface - boiling and blistering.
The poor march in - jute sacks full of desperation,
the poor march in – yearning for air.
the god of middleman things stretches out his arms
- all helpless shrugs, and bellows to his assistant,
"I can't keep up with 7 billion dreams,
so I'll just sign off the first twenty-five."
Twenty-five miracles were born that day
and the god of middlemen resigned that evening.
he's a millennial man who craves responsibility
but believes rightly in workplace burnout.
Still, the world tumbles onward,
And the dead sip tea with tired almighties.
They discuss the world with benign pity,
leaden the hierarchy, of the good and the god.
In the false prophetic dream, every man is a God by N Sehar
The same dream re-occurs-
my mother's conditioning,
Its body; petit, fragile
like the last leaf
of her Tulsi-
to the stem,
against the wind-
Fine lines, wrinkles-
portrait of time.
And the mundane prayers;
her moral tenet,
passed onto by generation
with saunth and spices
to enhance a specific
Men, the sacred prowess,
in the kitchen table
and your holiness
in a seat,
The woman hangs
around the verandah
stairs, wooden bench
almost like air
absent but not quite.
Talks about names,
etymology, God, origin
stories of prophets
and makes a man
sits on my parched throat-
A false *Hafiz,
*Pharoah or Firaun.
In my tongue
the word dissolves it's
crumpled pieces of
But to my ears
A verse; satanic.
in a language, not Arabic
A language rooted in
A language self-build.
Hence, I present an
argument - valid,
of how God created
but craved the earth,
both man and woman
more than djinns,
created us from the
And no man dare
claim to be one-
a prophet in the crux,
genesis of this poem.
My stare- sharp, piercing
on the iris.
And the woman
steadily like always
melts into chunks,
unfolds its body
into lesser space.
into a tree-unearthed,
gulped by thirst,
shifts beneath the sea
In vapour, smoke.
At this point, I should
have known that
to step into this dream
was to plan a funeral
out of this alive.
I don't blink.
Wake up and
spit at *Iblees.
(*Filial piety : An attitude of respect for parents and ancestors in societies influenced by Confucian thought. *Hafiz: Guardian *Pharaoh: An Egyptian ruler who considered himself God. *Ahsan-e-taqweem: The mould from which humans were created (according to Islamic belief) *Ashraful-Makhlukaat: The best of most creations; humans. *Iblees: Satan)