1983

Art by Kim Dorland

We were at a juncture where two roads met and one fell out of land,
I thought it best to stick to the line but a boy I liked had too many wild bones:
“hold my hand and walk”.

He said,
And I looked at the river stretched in front of me – and I looked back at him;
He was too sure and I held my breath more than I could focus on his hand encircled around mine.

We closed our eyes instinctively,
His wings flashed and I watched the wild bones plop into ripples one after the other,
His breath caught the surface once, twice-
I stood on the bank, shivering like a leaf, my insides twisted as a twig.

Everyone else was already at the wooden cabin,
I arrived in the line shrouded in a towel, the prying eyes nibbling at my flesh felt like razor-sharp teeth:
I held on to my breath and everything disappeared.

“She tried to drown herself on the first day of summer camp! Get down here, it’s serious”.
The twisted mint green telephone cord reminded me of mother’s hair and mine,
I tried to see her as kind as I was: It was only a matter of time when my eye would be a purple orb, a redolent swell,
Like that one time I lied about saving a dead bird

after
killing it.

where is our son?
I save things,
“We’ve looked everywhere. They were told to stay together but he wandered off”.
I saved you;
“It’s exactly like that Richard girl back in ’83”.
The wild bones and the winged breath,
No more broken orbs and purple wounds:
“Don’t give me that bullshit and go find my son!”;
I saved you.

‘Summer Camp 1983: First Ever’
the diary entry ends.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.

After-sighs

Image Source

I was a heavy sigh,
A comma between an inundated silence & the weeping feet;
I tried to warn the silk shadows of patience into a lie
But mellow sunshines rise to derail my poems.

Judgement Day is walking,
With a head in a creeper, out-growing the dogs barking in my head (or outside the window?)
I am a word I cannot praise hard enough,
My parents talk about the dreamy afterlife:
I’m burning holes at everything I stare –
the black paper, the walls & the sofa.

I was a dark cloud,
Consumed by my opaque palms
I deviate into a realm that throbs against my chest,
you & a hair falling into strands of malnourishment;
you & a part of me –
a sigh relived.

‘Tis the span of an afterlife,
the tomorrow whose revelations won’t settle until midnight.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.


SPINE

Image Source
I slide down your throat, breaking the clock into a frozen minute;
Kiss the whisper tangled in my skin

When my hands are wrapped into flowers
You blossom your way into me,
There's blood in my nails and in your mouth
Lick the shiver laughing on my belly

Our bodies are webs,
Heaving, Rising and unfolding;
The sex in my poetry is inked all over you-
Feed me, I want to taste your hunger

Carry me in your spine,
I live where you begin and where I begin-
Where we forget to cease;
Sweat and blood
Sweat and blood.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

Suffocate

Traditions suffocate,
When I grow old I will bury my family tree
In a land so deep that it never out-grows another Dreamer,
That it never stirs another riot inside a heart

Sometimes you understand too much,
The flower of which blooms into expectations-
Tonight I'll celebrate my Dreams
And bathe in the blood rushing through my temples;
I'll mouth the words that make me a sinner
I'll shake these graves with my ribs

There is a poem that spits on my last name
But I'm a spider knitting my own web,
So my spit is just another beginning to a Dream-
Condemned by this godforsaken family.

__________________________________________

A big, classic ‘FUCK YOU’ to obligations and traditions just because the people around you are FAMILY.

I’ve never really let the concept of family seep into my head. However, my parents keep nagging me to acknowledge these people. I mean, I don’t mind it BUT when it comes to my comfort level, anxiety issues and social skills, I’m a big disappointment according to them, who is always busy on her phone. I KNOW for a fact that I’ve changed and honestly speaking, I’ve my own days and some times, I’m not in the right set of mind to strike up conversations or participate in them. I don’t even want to be left alone for a whole day but I would appreciate a couple peaceful hours to myself.

Why are half the concepts about families forced on a person for petty reasons like: you share the same blood or for something as silly as, they’re your family?

Why do I’ve to fucking put my anxiety problems aside just for people who barely remember the day I was born? Or have issues with how I colour my hair?

My family is toxic and there’s selective toxicity hurled at me because of various reasons. One of them being, that I dream with the intent of making them my reality. I believe in actions more than words, religion or holy anecdotes. I believe in life and what I make of it, more than what came before me.

My family is only my parents and I really wish they’d respect my choices too. Or at least give me the required time to be myself rather than having me fake shit instead of enjoying the moment like they want me to but, here’s the catch: you can’t expect your children to enjoy the moment according to your rules, let them breathe first.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

Barricades


The bricks of my structure gape at the touch,
A sigh from my lips crawls toward your collarbones

I want to blend in the yellows
Look at you,
The sunshine dancing in your eyes;
Burning to consume me

I evaporate into your arms
Like a meaningless song finally writing its poetry-
You say some words,
You speak in all the world's hidden in my mouth

Come, live with me
(Kiss me)

Shake the barricades before the wolves tear them apart.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

Pain (#15)

Image: Unsplash

Before I lose any more time

Here is a sight that would not lose you amidst a crowded loneliness

Because it sees you, beyond the clouds covering your haunted visage

It’s the beating of a heart going berserk

Each minute is a dreadful wailing of an infant dragging its frail body as fast as it can

Each second is a woman screaming at her face in the mirror, she doesn’t recognise the other one – why is she disappearing?

I want to see, I thought I did but it was only wishful thinking

I only sought your pain to dab my ink in something different, thinking that it would help me make a difference –

And now my pages have become tales of darkness that had nothing to do with me

My vision has become the periphery to a loneliness I thought I could erase,

Because pain comes with a filthy shell that only morphs into an addiction upon peeling through the layers;

Thus, I erase my words to make space for your yours – I ignite my dark nights to revel in yours.

Pain makes for the most beautiful conversations, and even more meaningful connections – like a poem that writes itself without even needing your consent, your voice or your ink. It simply breathes in its way, in its own space.

-Nameera Anjum Khan


Demise (#15)

Image: Unsplash

I am a flower pot
Tumbling down the table,
I still shatter in your palms
As you try to catch me;
Now we’re both bleeding world’s sucking our tongues while the galaxies around us burst open into nothingness

My mouth is a sex fluttering like the butterfly in your belly
It crawls down your abdomen and leaves a word on your thigh
You discover it once the moon dies away
As the sun ties a knot with Alzheimer’s

There is no light to burn the tips of our desires
But did I ever tell you of the flames hidden in my heart, tucked away in between the day and night?

You come closer
I am the flower out-growing the pot,
I am the pot filling the flower – the singing that eats the lyrics and churns on dead instruments

You come closer
And I’m the shattering and a bloodshed
I’m the demise, in tangent sighs and maroon walls.

-Nameera Anjum Khan


Lovers (#12)

By Pixography

We share the sins that bind us. The tip of my tongue is the sun melting in your eyes. You see it clearly, you let it burn your throat while coughing lava on the plain white walls.

The water flows upward, the rains have been blossoming in the Heavens this season. My hands remember your touch, my ink retraces your sighs. Each letter encompasses the soul of your essence.

My tears recite your name. Over and over again, it’s like a rhythm that sounds anew each time it licks my ears. I want this song to remember us, to remember the way these sins bind us.

The way lover’s love, and never stop. I want my existence to reverberate yours, I want my heart to kiss your palms – and stay within, enclosed in the flesh that beats like home.

We share the sins that bind us, only to taste the glory of vulnerability, truth and discomfort – only to love a little longer than forever, a little faster than time.

Only to love a little larger than the space; only to love like a Prayer made in piety – to love like a poem that lives in our eyes, lips and hands.

It lives in the letters of our bodies, it grows in the shadow of our heat.

It’s insanity – to be so full of life/ blueberry sighs/ burning glass frames/ my image is complete/ your lullaby in my lap/ our home – a breathing cloud of ashes that outshine rainbows, a giggle of an orange peel/ bittersweet pages/ all written in consonance with hope/ heaven/ relief.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.


The Gardner

Art by Leah Gardner

He sows, He reaps – He brushes past the instances of rolling buds and autumn heaps.

The misaligned creepers are set in line with the constellations and somehow, the ephemeral space makes it hard for them to breathe.

The Judgement day arrives in a pocketful of systematic hate until the garden becomes a miserable palace of weed.

He still sows – but there is no one to reap.

There are poets, here and there but He has built a wall of thorns that renders the seekers blind. Once their eyes start to bleed, the taste of their blood halts their spirit – it engulfs the hope of reaping the garden of faith.

I’ve been standing on the edge of this palace, they say yellow makes them happy but this palace of weed suffocates me – it also clings to my lungs, and calls itself my ‘Home’.

I lunge forward to blind myself, I really do but every single time I miss by a fraction of a sentence, a yawning poem stretching between my toes.

He sows – that awakened poem, that distracting sentence, that hopeful lunge / The Gardner has a season for every name, I wonder what mine is.

Rains/ a blackened sigh/ the ephemeral space/ the broken stars/ the melting clouds/ a stutter between the sunrise and the sunset – I’m an anomaly without a name.

I see, the uprooted garden and the enormous space. I breathe for the first time because I believe what I see. I believe what I seek.

The Gardner – that made me, you and the bellowing universe amidst a poetry of Creation, a scream of magnificence.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.


This poem takes inspiration from religion, particularly the depiction of God in the movie ‘The Shack’ which provides a brilliant and an optimistic insight into what kind of entity God really is. It also sheds light on how humans sometimes become the judge of events that they truly don’t understand. We become hopeless at the immediate sight of a bad circumstance, never once trying to grasp the meaning of divinity behind things.