The Language of Words (#2)

Descent to the Mediterranean by Vladimir Kush

My hands were tied to a pole and I couldn’t speak

You see, the only way I could speak was through a language I hadn’t yet deciphered

My days went on, in a shell of thoughts

When out there, was an ocean waiting to devour me

People often stood long enough by the pole – long enough to let the streetlight lick their sins away

Until one of them untied me accidentally

And I traversed within after he ran away, so deep within that I didn’t even know that there was a path underneath my feet

People often talk about the ground slipping from under their feet, but have you ever felt it slipping right back?

I did

And so did the words itching the insides of my body

And the poems begging to crawl into the ocean

And so, I wrote – never stopping once, never looking back at the pole and those delicate strings of a self-made prison;

I took the path not meant for me, but the one I had been meaning to take anyway.

-Nameera Anjum Khan


Day 2 prompt was inspired by the famous and much loved compose by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken. It took me back to a time when I was still a novice at writing and didn’t exactly measure its importance in my life. Years later, I can proudly say that the person I am today is because of the choices I made, despite the paths that lay ahead of me.

I’ve been confused and lonely at times, but I always made sure that whatever it is that I do, my heart and my soul is in agreement at the end of the day.

Following your heart is easier said than done, especially in a world that’s always out there to complicate things.

Night Creatures

All the night Creatures crawled up to my desk ~ & I wondered…

What Creature am I in their language? The one with the touch of Death or the God with untimely sunlight ~ as bright as a snowfall in the raging summers?

They keep coming back, I don’t think they’ve a name for me.

Sometimes, a shadow looks like my Father hiding behind the door,

At other times, it metamorphoses into an old hag that laughs at me while I read the ‘Articles’ of the ‘Constitution’ aloud…

& Even the night Creatures laugh – at a nameless horror; but I only defined ‘Democracy’, I only swallowed a slice of cake and brushed aside this noisy mosquito.

It was the only one pricking at my skin instead of laughing – when I (defi)n(ed)

D – E – M – O – C – R – A – C – Y.

– Nameera Anjum Khan

Of Women & Moonlight

A land that pushes women to the stature of a Goddess

Is also adept at pulling them down when necessary

This reminds me of necessities that arise out of despai

A colony of ants climb the hills that reek of sweet sanity

Between my knees are bruises that never healed

Between my palms are lines of sweat that never left any empty space

‘Push, push, push’ – “It’s a moonlight wailing in birth and blood!”

How do I tell them,

That it’s the moonlight wailing at the prospect of illuminating silently, humming songs of anger that sound like sweet sanity?

It’s another bitter Goddess biting her fate, watching the poison take nefarious shapes in her throat

Until the day she takes back her throne,

Until then there’s only a sip of hope.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.

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D I V I D E

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The gap between my teeth widens
I’m six years of carelessness and a body clothed in flesh
My flesh is skin and a human anatomy I’m yet to understand
My flesh is carrot juice and French fries
My flesh is a subtraction of the numerical, perhaps the only confusion in my life
My flesh is unafraid and knows how to breathe in and out without having to give it a second thought
My flesh sees other flesh like mine and that’s where the story simply ends
Years later my headscarf has another story to tell
The bindi upon my forehead tells yet another story
And just like that, so many stories gather themselves at the periphery of my existence
My best friend dabs my cheek in pinks and greens
My best friend waits more eagerly for sewiyan than I do for Eid
Do you like horror stories? I do too
I think we all enjoy a little thrill in this mundane existence
We’re all looking for something out of the ordinary to provide forethought to
What if that horror isn’t fiction anymore?
It is as real as the red bindi across your forehead and as dark as my black Hijab
It has its horrors that transform streets into a war zone
Cities into hell
Cold winter mornings smell of gunfire that echoes through these lanes
But do you know what sounds worse than that? The silence
That is the scariest story of this divide
It isn’t secluded to bloodshed and cries for help and hunger and poverty and dirty politics and differences and awkward means of reaching out to each other and change in perspective and the birth of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ and ‘He’ and ‘She’ and a myriad other pronouns that have been put to shame
It is the silence that has followed this divide
The lack of a proper noun to voice concern
The lack of a proper noun to replace the wrong
Because black will always remain black no
Matter what shade is forced upon it.

Image Credits: Photo by Alex on Unsplash

The Doomed Hero

Harmachis
The name that spells doom
Men bowing their heads low
To a woman’s whims
Forgetting the everlasting fruit
Mother Isis promises
Upon the cursed tongues
Her name appears in times of
Despair

Harmachis
The name that speaks of hell
And a deathless punishment

From the curves of she, who
Neither grieves nor loves,
Harmachis
Becomes the lore of
Utter agony and revenge

Love is nothing more than an irony
And the biggest of them all
Comes from between a
Woman’s thighs where
Men find temporary
Worship

Forever leaving the
Permanent shrine of truth
Shutting off all spaces for the
Light to come through until the
Mystery engulfs life and settles
Between your rotten bones, masking
Itself as an eternity of blackness, of death.

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This poem was inspired from a character from one of my recent reads ‘Cleopatra’ by H. Rider Haggard who has a brilliant and unique way of story-telling. It’s an amazing tale of Harmachis, the lost prince & a priest, who is on a quest to get back his rightful ownership of the land of Egypt but first, he’ll have to overthrow the current monarch, Cleopatra and to do that, he has to make sure to not fall victim to her charms and beauty.

All in all, It’s an impeccable story, an absorbing read for someone like me.

The tale unfolds through the papyrus rolls that have been recently discovered by an archeologist. It goes on as a translation of three of those ancient rolls written by the doomed prince himself, Harmachis.