my art

this art does not come to me easy
it takes time and tears aplenty
and years, years of not calling it “art”
years fraught with crumpled paper
and scratched out words 

i did not call my art by its name
as if we were secret lovers who
meet in clandestine dreams
who fear the real world will stone us
and break us

silver linings saturate the sky
and yet my art sees only days of grey clouds
that promise rain but never burst
it sees mountains only i can climb
curses me, because i am afraid of heights

my art is mutinous
because it is forced inside a box
because it is at war with my mind
because it has a thousand voices telling it
it doesn’t wear its name quite right

but art is boundless
it is not confined by any convention
it is not bound to any definition
it is lawless
its sculptor is its scripture

this art does not come to me easy
but i coax it with promises of a distant horizon
where wars of words
are not played out invisibly in minds
where silver linings reign in the sky

i beckon my lover to follow me
we join hands and climb the mountain
the summit is still far
but i have learned
to call my art by its name

Che Satambar

A country newly born and raised

A people peaceful and unfazed

A blanket of darkness did prevail

The silent night a shroud, a veil

That day, on the sixth of September

a day of pride to remember

Hidden by twilight did they strike

With midnight came death, war and strife

A force like hail and relentless rain,

strength in numbers, cold and untamed

That time on the sixth of September

a day to mourn, to remember

A nation they thought was asleep

was ready to fight, to succeed

Eager to defend, live and bleed

to expel their malice and their greed

That night, on the sixth of September

a day of unity to remember

The scent of fire, blood and smoke

Their guns sounded, and our soldiers spoke

in a voice of courage and kindled flame

And thus the lamb and lion were renamed

That moment, the sixth of September,

a day of bravery to remember

Tea in Gymkhana their general craved

Did he know Aziz Bhatti stood in his way?

They were superior on land, in air, by sea,

but paled by our soldiers’ competency

In the wake of battle we bled and died

Our brothers fought, our sisters cried

That day, the sixth of September

a day of valor to remember

Our young and old, they gave their lives

and raised our colours to the skies,

took bullets to the chest to defend our land

Our blood spilt on the border sands

That day, the sixth of September

a day of sacrifice to remember

Our martyrs with immortal souls

They live in our people’s thoughts and hopes

We keep them alive, sing their praise

We’ll tell their stories, tell their names

Today, in the midst of September

Today, when we all remember

Never to die, never to fade,

their spirit of sacrifice will remain

We’ll keep it alive, keep it awake

Stay united, stay strong and never break

The spirit of Che Satambar lives in our hearts

It resonates: Pakistan Zindabad


~Penned in ’15 by a fervent young me~

Time Bomb

To you, the pinnacle of evolution,

I am trying to raise my voice over your incessant din but it is proving difficult. You are so engrossed in your spontaneously mundane lives that you have not a moment to spare for me. If, in your busy schedule of noise, procrastination and eutrophication of false intellect, you have time to listen to my words, I urge you to do so; your life depends on it.

Now that I have your ever-divided attention:
I am dying. Very close to the brink, actually. You know this. But you ignore my agony and continue to engage in your chaos, callously. It is not that you are blind to my declining health but that you choose to stubbornly look the opposite way while continuing to poison me with your own hand. This did not use to be personal between us; it was an established universal order of give and take, push and pull. A bearable balance. But the time has come when, carving knife in hand, you hew out my insides and burn my entrails to power your progress. You tip your vats of waste into my blood, so that they flow into my heart and embitter my soul. The heat, by product of your disbelief in physical reality, keeps increasing. On the surface I am wilting, cracking, shattering.

Harsh words? Perhaps. But not much else gets through to you. If you wish to proceed signing your own death warrant, by all means continue on your path of destruction and murder. I stand on the edge of oblivion and am yet still your servile gold mine. When however you can spare a few moments to care about the legacy you leave in the memories of your children, in the trails of the cosmos, think of my plight.

There is no end to the list of things you “should be doing” to save me, to your incredulity and disbelief that “things have come to this”. There is no end to your “reduce-carbon-footprint” fictitious bucket list of bicycles and solar panels and “paper-bags-over-plastic’’ self-consolation. There is no individual accountability when you blame the government, the corporations, other humans for something each of you should hold yourself accountable for.

I am aghast that I have to repeat here the oft echoed sentiment, “the change starts with you”. But as it stands, THE CHANGE DOES START WITH YOU!
Hasthtags cannot save the world (as revolutionary a technological advancement as they are in this day and age). The forests, the pandas, the bees, the Great Barrier Reef will not be saved by a viral image that circulates your collective 140-character attention spans for 24 hours.

I can hear your noise and chaos picking up, your attention is diverting. I’m sorry if I’ve turned you off with my pessimism. Consider it a deadman’s liberty. Now my voice will get lost in this diseased rabble again. You won’t hear from me until the next great inevitable ecological disaster, I know. I’ve known you for 200,000 years. Your extinction is tied inexorably to mine, and that is the only hope I cling to, at the end of my rope, desperately waiting for the well-worn human instinct for self-preservation to finally kick in.

I bid you auf wiedershehen from the edge of ruin, hoping the next time we meet, something abhorrent like #Beesofficiallyextinct won’t be trending. Perhaps this dire, depressing plea for help and simultaneous reprimand will needle you into decisive action. Until then,

I have the honour to be your obedient, dying, sincere, desperate master, slave: