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‘Dharna’ and ‘Order’

May 15, 2015 | By

Two symbolic poems by Sheikha A. that reflect subtly on the turmoil and the helplessness of humanity in the face of volatile turbulence in Pakistan.

Two Poems by Sheikha A.

Dharna

There isn’t a sound in the air
this cloud-dulled morning
but eagerness broils

birds

“their eyes beacon, their feathers tucked neatly; erroneous”

around the birds that have converged,
their eyes beacon, their feathers
tucked neatly; erroneous

is the air, in certainty,
but determination sheens with clarity.

The day won’t set on its light
too soon today, despite the gradual
shortness

of dichotomies – the distance
between black and white patriotism.
Fraternity amiss,

this land has worn on changes
of weather too often,

like opinions, and the inherent
insecurity for loyalties

and I am worn (on the unaware)

lack of generic empathy
above (become personal) agendas.

 

Order

(in Karachi)

blast

“the familiar noise of explosion that had now become a carnival activity.” Image source: Taazinews.com

It was a sticky, mundane afternoon,
ordinary at its best, I sought refuge
by my room’s window, thankful for a breeze, even if broody,
grazing temperamentally
at the unwavering humidity;

vendors hawked, workers plonked
at broken pavements in attempt
to fix, or perhaps design, for I
quite often noticed how crevices
and crannies were starved of
its supplicant sealant – looking
thirsty, more like laid to rest.

The sun sheened on me
its blinding lethargy, a late
midday of poached eggs like stupor…

just then the sound went off
two blocks away, loud enough
causing panes in the aging
architraves to jitter in its stiff
bones;

in swift action, I jumped-
threw my arms around
the window, grabbed the ajar
side in an engineering embrace
to stop it from coming off
the hinge;

in routine reflex (to such sounds),
I heard the TV come on
in the adjacent room, my mother
repeating the fast gabbing news
about a targeted attack…the alarm
and horror of which had worn away
with our growing tenure in this city.

I lingered at the window, watching
a woman bargaining spiritedly
with a rickshaw driver;

her shoulders flinched
at the earthbound thunder
cutting short her hysterical
quibbling. She rolled her eyes
at the familiar noise of explosion
that had now become a carnival
activity.

The driver, too, darted his head
to inspect reactions from passers-by
to determine if need be for cause
of worry, lest roads were shut
blocked, inconveniencing
his day’s earning.

Seeing the fuss didn’t deserve
much ado, both woman and driver
continued haggling the fairness
of the fare, the woman finally
getting into the ride, rocking to
the jumps the wheels took as it
roared down the uneven street
of the abnormally hot day.

My mind wandered to the heat,
possibility for rain, least mitigation,
when the air pierced with sounds
of sirens, reminding me of death
and ensuing sorrow – my need to care,
as polices’, ambulances’, reporters’
vehicles screeched on untamed
asphalt, still under construction,
breaking deeper ridges, (almost
like) preparing graves for deaths new.

I watched people resume to their tasks,
their daily bread and butter, forging
assumptions about the atrocity,
some narrating with exaggeration,
some with staged commiserate,
others listening on with listless
composure, each while callously
pointing in the presumed direction
of the blast.

In tandem with the woman’s depart
and indifference on the street,
I closed my window, keeping the heat
of the scalding air out and away
from the business of my room;

the night rolled in within a few hours
of the sun yawning to the day’s
apathetic end.

Following day’s news displayed
a picture of a man at a window,
a bird curiously watching at the sill,
as he pulled from craggy nooks,
stubborn half indented shards
lodged in the crevices of a yester,
a building be-gone, now broken
of any tomorrow.

His face seemed clenched
in expectation, estimating
profit from the task at hand,
wages-by-hour he could glean,
or perhaps mulling over
a kin’s  casualty by the same
shards he now extricated

…meanwhile, somewhere
in the ozone, unperturbed
from earthly systemic battles
the day scorched on,
without pit(h)y,
forging its own wars
with its counterparts –
wind, clouds and ongoing
negotiations with rain;
beseeching onslaught.

Read more poems in our Poems Section and Poetry Month Special Edition

 

Sheikha A. hails from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. She has authored a short poetry e-book titled Spaced (Hammer and Anvil Books, 2013). With work published in over 40 literary magazines such as Red Fez, A New Ulster, Mad Swirl, Pyrokinection, Ygdrasil, Carcinogenic Poetry, Sunlit, The Bactrian Room, Danse Macabre du Jour to name a few, and several anthologies, she continues to seek a wider audience in order to be read and discussed with viable frequency. She edits poetry for eFiction India.
All Posts of Sheikha A

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