Sorry and other poems

Ruhan Madni Naqash


Sorry for not being your “lovely
handsome Kashmiri boy;
beautiful Kashmiri babe”-
I’ve been very busy dying
on the roads with these polka
dots you make on my body
with your guns-
I’ve been very busy crying
Freedom. Freedom. Freedom for
the walls for not being adorned
with your concertina wires-
Sorry for not being your dream
of a silent Dal Lake with
all it’s strangely named boats
and it’s children picking Lotus
roots for mother’s cauldrons;
Sorry for not being your ideal,
wise, prudent, modern man
I’d be very busy thinking
but there is a curfew on
every single thing that is!
Roses have been sucking blood
back at home, they come out red
and you call it Paradise :
The bulbul’s wail for the dead
you mistook for love songs;
Sorry for not mesmerizing
you with my fair fair skin
or my wistful dreamy eyes!
I cannot see. I cannot see
with your teargas shells and their
pungent smoke in my path
I’ve been very busy coughing
in this homely garrison!
Sorry for not truly being
sorry for what I truly want.

The Mother of Miss G. Soraya

She spoke like poetry from
Persia; Smiled like a view of
the old Dal, Walked with freedom:
“The Lither can never cough”.

Mother sleepwalked back to
youth, as she grew older-
They wouldn’t let her rescue
her head from her shoulders –

Mother had a mid-life crisis
She would rip her dress
and try to put the pieces
Together: “Maybe? Lucky Guess?”

Wrinkled, old, grey and curled
she’d smile, and in the mirror
mock herself. What the world
had managed to do with her!

She died alone- Her smile gone,
her lips were an old story book
But mother’s eyes still not done-
The same old lull. The same old look.


“At length, when they came to a (lowly) valley of ants, one of the ants said: “O ye ants, get into your habitations, lest Solomon and his hosts crush you (under foot) without knowing it”” ~Quran.

Watch the ants negotiate
All the filth we left
on the creamy floor,
“Solomon, his men
are coming, take cover”,
But Solomon is no more :
Drop your ash, slowly,
dead bodies of children
Carcasses of souls; pour
the dark matter of
liquid greed and
all the molten gold
And make your borders,
your foreign policies,
close every darned door;
Take your boats in the marsh
of power. Burn all the
heart shaped oars.
The Sea men are coming
to take your towers, so
shoot them at the shore.
“We’ll use whatever
the earth bears”. We’ve used
whatever the Earth bore,

Then watch the ants negotiate
all the filth we left
on the creamy floor.

Oh, how they all shall cry
and there’s no Solomon
to listen anymore.


I saw Eid crescents
from the prison window:
your broken fingernails.
the darkening night
was the deep purple,
like when your lips,
wet, were parted,
out of words.
These grey walls
are strange, they make
you dream and rave
of endless color/
one dark night
when the fogs lifted
I saw your fingers
(and all the crescents
hanging from
your fingertips)
calling me,
“Naughty night”.
(Iron shackles,
stupid jailer,
rust with time
and all my tears
fall, they don’t
just fly away),
half asleep,
somewhat dazed,
I reached out to
that midnight hand :
my fingers touched
all five crescents,
it was Eid.

We will bask under the sky
on the banks of a river,
as if from the heavens,
table cloth of jesus,
but this isnt last supper/
the touch of whose cool,
clear waters would always
remind us of Mother,
her icy fingers : eve’s breeze
on the contours of our wet cheeks;
We’d have walked through the desert
for too long, our lips:
white parchments; our feet:
used sandpaper/
We would’ve wanted to cry,
impatient, the straws
of the burning Sun on us,
“But not just yet, dear/
Dear, not just yet”,
We shall go through a crack
enough for me and you
through the Great Wall in China,
the snow in our eyes,
our pupils, cups of tea,
and our fingers, made of dreams,
reaching out for meaning.
Tibet awaits, my dear,
and walking on crystal ice
after seasons of such sands
wasn’t meant for the strong;
Who else, if not us!
“Who else, if not us?”
Tibet awaits my dear,
We’ll find a safe haven,
our pupils cups of tea/
our fingers made of dreams,
And we’ll cry together in Tibet,
“We will cry together in Tibet.”


Ruhan Madni Naqash can be found on twitter @naqkash and instagram:  alnaqkash


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