Sept. Eve in Khi

(yoke of the sun
broke over the city,
a careless angel weeps)
the jaundiced sky has slept,
cool sweat shines its brow,
the mourners have left,
the vacant tents blow.
(today there is no air in the city,
only some uncountable sighs)
workers won’t untie these bamboos
this is an eternal vigil




My Lover is An Activist

my lover is an activist in many time-zones
weapons are her words, sometimes even stones
carries slogans in her pockets of a very wide range
she walks and she talks, they chink like loose change
the day I was supposed to meet her in the street
talk about the world devoid of any honest creed
as I waited and waited at the chosen spot
practiced my phrases on all the gloom and rot
she turned around the corner like a solemn judge of law
the devil did vanish cowardly at Omar’s sight in awe
then she smiled & suddenly it was breezy all around
more color in every sight, less noise in every sound
‘were your rights infringed? your peace dispossessed?
why looks my man so brooding so utterly unblessed?’
‘do kissless welcomes, cold embraces count?
all logs are not pulpits, all pebbles not mounts!’
‘must we guard closely our own little garden?
when one flower can bless hundred little children?
every street is a stage, every man a director
this play will go on unless every man is an actor
every tick of a clock is a call to arms
love must wait and so must all the charms!
even the song of birds in lands of injustice
weighs heavy with caution against armistice!’
with passion this preacher of modern faith
shook my conscience from a wispy wraith,
but gravely a thought did take a roam
my lover will be an activist even at home




Dream Song

do you remember hearing me say?
last night on shores of a dreamy bay?
I will not let our love become a habit
or be a whore to fate’s drab writ
that the two candles in your eyes
forever melt the dreary skies
as your dreams into mine forever spill
with frozen time stiller than still
I hear only the soft flow of this stream
as distant stars on your palms gleam
miracle by miracle nature persists
every moment an agent of God spits
evil and suffering on a trembling rock
angels laugh and sheepishly mock
the whole plan of creation and birth
redeem!, redeem!, redemption on earth!
is the slogan they chant between prayers
secretly wishing Master to peel the layers
from the stinking onion of His making
redeem!, redeem!, they whisper, shaking
the Master resides in a palace of mirrors
on His questions, every corner shivers
‘mirrors, mirrors Who is the strongest of all?
did not the fairest of My creation fall?’
my love I can read your thought
I speak more in sleep than I ought
but beyond that frail border of sleep
sweetest of all fruits I reap
where your oceans and my seas
merge to become cosmic melodies





what you noticed of the ugliness
of our individual bodies,
your pale bloodless skin
hills, ravines, valleys
jolted by quakes in your mother’s womb
my flesh etched too close to bones
shapeless face, more a caricature,
was noticed too by God & co
who when kneading our dough,
consoled each other
by the union of our fates
‘the whole will be beautiful’
they said, ‘spring shall come
to these two never alone
but when the waves of one
become the waves of another’
‘ship them out’, they said
‘mark them as Fragile Alone,
put the user manuals deep
in their consciousness,
type them in the language of love
they will understand
sooner or later’




Lyrics for a Rock Song

Tujhay nahin pataa
Tujhay nahin pataa
Tujhay nahin pataa
Nahin pataa
Nahin pataa

Tujhay Nahin pataa

Surkh tou sirf ek aks hai
Teri dharkan sirf ek raqs hai

Teri jhuki hui gardan narkh hai
Aazaadi boht hee talkh hai

Sach tou sirf ek harf hai
Jhoot tou aala-zarf hai

Tera seena bhi tou barf hai
Aur Sard lahu tera sharf hai

Khoon rangay haath har tarf hain
Aur Uth’tay Haath bar tarf hain

Tujhay nahin pataa
Tujhay nahin pataa
Tujhay nahin pataa
Nahin pataa
Nahin pataa

Tujhay nahin pataa





The following poem is written in Roman Sindhi. Among my ever-increasing list of inadequacies is my failure to write Sindhi in Arabic script. May be I will ask someone to write it for me.

may deehnh pehnjay goongay dosta saan milyum
safaa eeniye dyarn kehn imtihaana saan milyum

jadhein sadyo ho the maastar ho
roohun je ranga jo daactar ho

nandhan wadan kaan sawaal puchay
warran pakhin kaan jawaab puchay

ko waando farishto lafza phurray wyas
suhnron mithro saaz phurray wyas

haaren bhi eehyo ohro hee aaa
wazan mein ohro goro hee aaa

bus umir ka pehryun porho aaa
dyarn vecharo mando ghoro aaa

haaren ghareen zibaan hathan mein tas
mirayee thori ghareen akhin mein tas

anyaan wethum ta bus sawaal puchayen
na maani paarin, na ka chahn puchayeen

lockdown mein toun cha tho parhein?
band bhittin mein cha tho karein?

Paitu bharyal aaa ta baita tou parhaan
Bukha kaanhein ta geeta tou parhan

Khaali paita tay marx parhaan haan
Ya wari Allah jo ko kitaab parhaan haan

Sindhi achay haan ta shah sahb parhaan haan
Ya wari shaikh ayaaz parhaan haan

Bukha kaanhein ta intizar tou kayaan
Hujay haan ta beqaraar hujaan haan

Wetho sadyo deehnh saah tou kharaan
Bukha hujay tay aasmaan kharaan haan

Soohnra po bhi daadhi masti aaa
Wisraan tou hiya mudandar basti aaa

Virus tou khaayay gothan jaa gotha
Po chahin ma tray maaiyun ayen ghota

Jais tayeen aahay glaas bharyal
Matho aa maahrun jo sitaaran mein milyal

Ayen jo haiday chulho thyo band
Po dis jo saeen maarhun ja dand

Hik may jay goshta mein hoonda
Maarhun ghat, sirf goshtu hee hoonda

Chad inha kay mee ka gaal kayaon
Poyen deehan ji kaa gaal kayaon

Aado eendarn sijja saffa pooryala inn
Poyan sijjan ji kaa gaal kayaon

Aado ta huwayeen kay nabi na eenda
Poyan nabin jyun gaalhyun kayaon

Pehnjay hathan ssan oohay hee gaalhyun mudhaye
Samndra ayen khudaun jyun gaalhyun mudhaye





did you hear?
suddenly the earth is flat
come along now, let us not wait
neither I nor you are God enough
to do it alone, it is rough
there is a short window of time
the watchmaker has lost his dime
borrow my vision, mingle it with yours
let us go towards the edge and claim what is ours
come along now, this is not a dream
let us wade through this fleshy stream
for once there are discreet corners
to this existence, let us choose our harbours
over there beyond the last river
where the consciousness does not shiver
our hearts will not tremble
our fates will not gamble
we will etch our destiny however we want
there are no skills for any God to flaunt
no histories will weigh us down
no mysteries will make us frown
doubts we will never have
belief is buried in a mass grave
come along now, my sinless Eve
it’s a sin to think this eve
suddenly the earth is not a sphere
did you not hear?




Death of a Tree

there are seasons of remembrance
there are spells of forgetting
mostly the city of my existence
remains a host to your summer,
the geological position of my city
can invite other minor seasons
like forgetting or obliviousness
like unawareness or callousness
only for a while, while my city adjusts
itself with its geological needs
i have to forget you therefore
against my geological position
yesterday I stepped out of my abode
to refill the supply of cigarettes
(after all the smoke draws a
portrait of yours in my stale air)
they were cutting the big tree
under which the cobbler sits,
my friend the cobbler
who schools me in metaphysics
while shining my shoes
they were hacking at the trunk
besides which the cobbler sits,
the mender of the souls
I looked at the axes and saws
and suddenly thought I,
I must use the killing of the tree
To forget you. What better
way to associate the forgetting
of a vast life than to sew it up
with the ebbing of the old life
there they were sawing the trunk
sawing through the warm-blooded
idols that I had made with your breaths
there goes the axe at the meat
of my concepts of you
there the cobbler stares
at the sprawling branches of
your existence in my existence
there goes the vacant nest of the birds
each member of this family of birds
was an aspect of your consciousness
they won’t find another nest
this was the last tree in the city
there go the young shiny leaves
leaves so green as the shade came
from God’s original color palette
still held in his hand while he paints
the world loveless
in this murderous act of men against nature
I must find refuge to let you go finally.
Like all lovers and gods
I laid claim to only possible love
and only possible truth
I told you my love is the platonic form
and all other loves are its instances
therefore, cling to me,
cling to the love first created in heaven
let us be gods of our fleshy universe,
now I must see that claim shatter
as that branch with no nests falls over it,
with it must fall the original lover and the virgin god.
I can hear the tree writhing
I can see the cobbler weeping.
Last drops of life spatter the earth
There is a sigh from every leaf
men are happy
the cobbler is sad
I am hopeful
That the smoke from my cigarettes
will make godless shapes in the air
and not your big dark eyes

Karachi Complains

Though edna st Vincent millay

proudly declares

That beauty is not enough,

Pity, not a thought she spares

For my poor dwellers

(save the fat rich in their lairs)

For a child born in my urban womb

Sight of true daughters of spring is rare

I have borne my husbands ugly sons

Sons named Dust Smoke and Heat

My children gape at the name of spring

In lovely english poems

They cannot name any flower

All they know of floral beauty

Comes from announcements of spring

In advertisements for lawn clothes

Which alas are my only gardens

these big billboards of spring collections,

Sad harbingers of a missing season

What must I expect from their imagination then?

Will my children write odes to me

Inspired by the papery prints of lawn suits?

Alas, Alas

The world is not fair




*Poet’s note: I fucking hate the lawn ads

Beyrozgar Aadmi Kay Aakhri Alfaaz

Ab kay tum say ishq ho chuka

Tou mein yeh samjha hun

Kay Mein nay jiyya hai

Waisay tou kuch nahin kiya hai

Lekin agar aakhri lamhon

Ki larazti hui fursat mein sochoon

Tou mein boht khush hun

Tumhaaray chehray ko apnay qareeb paakar

Iss chehray pay pari jhuriyon

Ka zimmedar main sahi

Magar meri jaan uss waqt ki kasam

Jab tumhein yaqeen tha

Kay mein tumhein chahta hun

Meri zindagi ka maqsad


Kaam aur kamaai,

Kabhi na thay,

Sirf tum thee.

Iss waqt

Meray lafzon ki munafiqat

Mujh pay Ayaan nahin

Meray Shaoor mein iss waqt

Sirf tum ho, mein bhi nahin.

Ab kay jab hamaray ishq ka

Aakhri zeena aa pohncha hai

Tumhain aakhri baar maayoos kerta hun

Tum say pehlay wisaal kerta hun