RIZWAN AKHTAR’s debut collection of poems Lahore, I Am Coming (2017) is published by Punjab University Press. He works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan.
Just for the sake of clarity it came to my mind about a moment when you chose to differ with my version of an incident involving a man whose carcass on my way to work I saw swayed by a muddy pool of fresh rain a tree trunk slept on his chest like a mate (was it Caravaggio’s Sleeping Cupid ) you were of the view that it was not a human but a mental wedge caused by proximity to blood-streaming faces and detritus so by way of your objection I dwell on a threshold and a vague exit of some sort my invocation is ridiculous, moreover a rapacious attachment to words makes me a suspect who uses language as an alibi therefore I often cannot assume real how important it is to live a life vividly may it be a smoky cup of tea or a towel slightly damp after bath or a crinkled bed sheet depictions have to be straightened, and tagged but those eyes spluttered with slime keeps lulling me into a dark embrace of long arms.
A Dyslexic Poet
a ghostly city long spectral walks in woods peering at a bill-board murmuring sounds a woman chuckling over a glossy cellphone shrugs past he stares at a dug-out pit the jawed snout of a machine carpeting road gradually he is included in the noise and faces increase a consensus on muteness continues could even love a woman and is not asked about her body so he shoves monologues my soul is spending a holiday on her cleavage and I can egress into her spirit at will and no one either demands an apology or carries a protest for choosing to accomplish a land without an anthem and a banner his stanzas die on a sequestered bench bees hover over his unrinsed cup of tea watching sky.
on dark tops crows pose menacingly an unguarded cluster of ducks hog the road while cars honk ludicrously waiting for flapping fowls to clear until a child throws a stone at them they squawk refusing to vacate a mid-way congregation enhancing fears of an old man seat-belted watching on ground a white army taking control.
Birds & Us
measuring their flight some of them suspend arrogantly in air over trees what makes them anxious for landing on earth where we live with languages bodies and postures watch them preening feathers flecking bills heaving chests flouting tails our ways of making love-- caress hairs, inhale cleavage an awkward kiss. Embrace.
Rain amidst Lockdown
We watch big drops hanging along window panes deferred by shape they allure occasional birds
mesmerized a small girl rubs her cheeks against glass an obscure shadow creeps vigilantly like a watchman
her mother mopes the wooden floor listening music outside all languages are shelved till further order
gradually the rain unravels a sonorous vocabulary the tin roof tip-toe sounds muddle with strong wind
unpegged washings scatter frantically on balcony hands rush to rescue the soiled laundry of life
whatever remained unstained looks so odd now inside dry bodies miss those sharp needles of water.