Sept. Eve in Khi

(yolk 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




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




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?




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




Jadeed Aadmi

Barron nay samjhaya

Kay jo cheez samajh mein na aanay waali ho

Uss kay baaray mein bayaan mat do

Tumhari aankh woh nahin dekh sakti

Jis kay liyey woh na bani ho

Chhoonay kay maamlay mein tumhari pohnch

Kuch mawaad tak mahdood hai

Aur kitna suno gay kaanon say

Choon chaan say zyaada qaabliat nahin tumhari

Mareekh ki gehraiyon mein phat’tay huay

Aatish-fishaaon ki badboo nahin soongh saktay tum

Aao dekho yeh phool kitnay khoobsurat hain

In daryaaon ko taqseem hota dekho

Dekho kaisay na-honay say honay mein

Tabdeel hojaati hai cheezain

Yeh jaadoo nahin, qudrat hai qudrat

Dekho zara tumhari aankh ka taaraa

Kaisi shandaar barfeeli shaakein hain iss mein

Titliyon kay rang dekho

Apnay dil mein  jaagi umang dekho

Aadhi khuli khirki say hawaa ko guzartay suno

Suno tou sahi, in parindo kay raag,

Apni zibaan pay ghuroor kernay waalay

Issi zibaan ko sun lo

Yeh kehtay kehtay Barron nay dohraya

Kay jo cheez samajh mein na aanay wali ho

Uss kay baaray mein sochna chor do

Issi liyey main nay

Khuda kay baaray mein sochna chor diya




Churail Ka Khwaab

Kal raat apnay khwaab mein

Jab tum nay aaeenay mein aankhein kholeen,

Tou inhain khaali paaya

Guzar ker uss aaeenay kay so darwaazon say

Jab tum nay murr ker dekha,

Tou apnay saaye ko pathar paaya

Ussi lamhay do siyaah parinday

Jin kay pankhon say tapakta hua kaala khoon

Tumhara mujasmay-numa saaye ko

Bhigota hua tumharay dil mein dorta aaya,

Tumhary jism kee shaakhon pay aa bethay

Aur woh nohay parhnay lagay jo uss waqt

Khuda kay kaanon mein bajtay thay

Jab uss nay tumhain pehli dafa banaya

Pehli dafa tumhain darr kee boo aayee

Tum, jis ka wujood khof say bana tha, nay

Ye jaana kay darr kee boo sha’oor kay jaltay

Huay jism kee see hai yaa phir uss diyay

Kay bujhnay ki jo khuda nay aakhri lamhay

Kay liyay rakha hai, abhi jalaa, abhi bujhaya




Work from home

it was said the world has stopped

in fear and awe of the microbe

but capital’s engine’s roars

were muffled, not silenced

silenced enough though to hear

the wind blow and

observe the flower grow

in the working hours

as we worked from home

polishing capital’s shoes

but this time with less blues

for we saw the sky reflected

in capital’s shining shoes

one such day as I spoke

to humans from distant places,

as far away as kohkaaf

through the magic window

on my desk

I read their faces

against the blurred backgrounds

(capital respects our right

to remain private

in our homes)

I saw faded photographs

of their families in frames,

I saw hazy boat in a bottle

Which seemed to me exactly

Like those boats which I see

(or imagine)

Far away in the water

At seaview in Karachi;

I saw the European sun

reflected in their skin

all this while we talked

about important and urgent things,

 an expert of important things

wanted to show us

a great tool she had designed

we waited for her,

humans from three continents

all silent, brooding, and expectant,

when the moment came,

 a moment certainly not of those

which Marx spoke of

when he said

moments are the elements of profit:

the sparrows on my windowsill

muttered things of secret beauty

to which a European robin

replied with exquisite grace

as if they were long lost friends

finally meeting in a virtual fair

the moment was lost in cyber air

the expert went on and on

and we sang lullabies to


from home