kaaGhazi hai pairahan har paikar-e tasveer ka
Robed in paper are all pictures manifest:
this world is nothing but
by Huma Dar for my N, Z, many Shahids, and the One
The moon did not become the sun. It just fell on the desert in great sheets, reams of silver handmade by you. The night is your cottage industry now, the day is your brisk emporium. The world is full of paper.
Write to me. —Agha Shahid Ali, “Stationery”
The tilted goblet drips
liquid lunatic luminous.
And makes a slippery mess
of Highway 1
memory and desire —
relentless, ebon, a plumbless
dream of falling.
Like tresses distraught
entwining your imagined arm (make the bleeding black night all yours) your aching memories knotted in my gut
my exiled ghost lost, found
and willfully entangled
in the lines of your words
your stone-cold feet in my shaalfa —
an ablution performed in blood.
Kashmiris will murmur the blessed word, Shahid,when the Beloved no longer has to witness Shahid.The day Paradise was lost, who was at the gates?We only know boots of Hell marched in Shahid.Rizwan couldn’t return to console his father –he found refuge for days in your nightmares Shahid.The Beloved left behind growing nights of sand and stars never slept in your deserted eyes Shahid. Mother’s death flung you into longing’s hollow arms.Love’s ironic fate earned you her illness Shahid.Continue reading “Shahid: A Ghazal”
The genocide in Kashmir is not over yet, but the land fertilized by the blood of innumerable, amaranthine martyrs is blossoming bouquets of tulips and roses in quick succession. New possibilities of spring, of poetry, of Azadi, of freedom, of peace are here, and they are unstanchable. I wish you were here, Shahid: Beloved, Witness, and perhaps with the slip of tongue, even Shahd, or Honey.
by Huma Dar
I met Shahid between noon and one pm, in the Lipman Room of Barrows Hall, almost exactly thirteen years ago, on December 3, 1998. He’d come to recite from The Country Without A Post Office (1997) for the Lunch Poems Reading Series at UC Berkeley. His jokes, tinged with a very particular Kashmiri black humor — irreverent, risqué, ridiculous — mirrored my family’s wacky one. All that heartache about Kashmir, finding not many kindred souls around, found solace in Shahid’s scriptured lament, “After the August Wedding in Lahore, Pakistan.”
A brigadier says, The boys of Kashmirbreak so quickly, we make their bodies sing,on the rack, till no song is left to sing.