Laments of a Reed-flute..

Steal me from the reed field!
Pierce me
and leave me to die in your soul..
.. until I breathe again.
Breathe again,
between the cups of your hands
.. like a prayer.
Breathe again,
beneath the sole of your feet
.. like a whirl.
Put me to your lips O’ Beloved!
Put me to your lips,
and give me life again!
Play me into songs,
caged within your mute heart.
Sing me into chants,
born amidst your loud tears.
Let me show you..
what a simple reed flute can do.
And let me tell you..
what a piece of dry wood can be.
Sit with me in this barren field,
where you had me plucked
from my silent dance once.
Raise me in your eyes!
O’ raise me in your eyes now,
and let me bring both worlds to you.
So I may shed
the garb of The Lover
and whirl..
.. whirl like a Sufi dervish
in this “mad mad trance”.
O’ come!
Before the splendor
of my songs are lost, come!
Come blow a breath
of your soundless soul into mine
.. and let this ‘Ney’ be the one for you.
Yes! Yes!
The one to raise you
in your final ‘Sema’.
The one to raise you
to your final ‘Fana’.
O’ Beloved, come!
Come put me to your lips now,
and give me my Life again.


~ IZ ~


*Sufi: a Muslim ascetic or mystic (Sufism) — *Ney: an end blown flute made of hollow reed or cane, commonly played in Sufi ceremonies (often in Turkey — *Sema: a special ceremony performed by Sufi dervishes “in remembrance of God”, comprised of music and, often through whirling. — *Fana: the ultimate state of self-annihilation (Sufism)


You are my Poem!

You are my poem!
The poem I have still to write.
If you’d let your perfumed body
be my paper for a day,
I’ll let my silent fingers
be your pen for a day.
Let me mix
my verbs and nouns..
.. and gently pour them
onto the curve of your back.
Let me weave my adverbs and adjectives,
and slowly spread them…
over your heaving chest.
Let me write all day long —
till sun yawns.. and moon wakes.
Let me write all night long —
till stars hide.. and dawn creeps.
Oh let me gently
fill the spaces between your fingers,
with the ink of my mute hands.
And let me softly scribble
forbidden poetry into your ears,
.. and make garlands from it
to decorate my wavy hair.
Let my words..
.. letters
.. and spaces
take forms of balmy simpers
on your honey nectar lips —
like verses never penned before
on your lazy waxing smile.
O’ let time write all the way..
till the paper is filled!
Let moments write in any way..
till my ink is dried!
Let my fingers bleed unknown languages..
into the voice
of your trembling heart.
Let my fingernails 
speak a thousand cosmic dialects,
upon the planes of your blank skin.
Let me break every norm of literature!
Let me reject,
every form of grammar!
And then..
and then let me simply forget,
where to put my commas
my colons
my full stops…
so our poem doesn’t pause,
.. doesn’t stop
.. doesn’t end
Tell me this much, my Gibbous Moon!
If I make you love every line,
every metaphor,
every synonym —
even the antonym of my Poetry —
will I get to keep the Poem
… and the Book too?
Yes, You!
You are my poem!
The poem I have still to write!


~ IZ ~


.. Of Paper Boats and ‘Salty Waters’


Now that you are here,
let’s make a journey together.
Do not speak, do not move,
.. and do not close your eyes.
Let’s pretend
this paper is a boat,
and this poem a sail.
Let’s pretend
these words are winds,
and their meaning a compass.
Let’s pretend that
this moment is an island —
and our “silence” its only route.
Must you ask
about the missing ocean,
come sit by me for a while —
have a look into my eyes.
So you may begin
your journey from there,
.. where “salty waters” roll
Now that you are here,
let’s make this journey for once.


~ IZ ~



.. Of Yards of Soul


Measuring yards of Life
coming apart,
at the seams of my creviced soul,
I sit every dawn with a needle and thread it,
with the veins of my spinning heart. Stitching with knotted yarn.
Sewing on fragile fabric;
I raise my eyes in-between every stitch; 
and spy on the night
to count each conspiring star.


Like the studded clear-crystals
on my black velvet Prayer-Mat —
every shuddering star
upon the ‘Fajr’ sky,
stare back at me and pity my eyes.
Only to deliver
to the listening ears of His firmament,
my mute sighs ..
Of how frayed
the garb of life has become.
Of how loose
the thread at its seams have grown..
So He may bestow upon my soul
His ‘Noor’ —
in the form of a white veil,
a cloak,
a wrap,
.. or even a shroud,
just thick enough..
to contain these oozing breaths —
whispering your name in silence —
from fleeing
through my old tattered being!

~ IZ ~

* Fajr – time of dawn. * Noor –  light.


Architecture of a Memory

red vault of heart.jpg
Each corridor of my mind
leads to the grand Foyer of the Heart,
where no entrances
nor exits are found.
In its magnificent high vault —
decorated in stained red glass;
is a mural etched on gold..
of a dust covered Paradise.
In which the Architect of my memories
had forgotten, 
to sketch and build
the only gateway to my salvation.
And I keep walking in circles;
between my Mind and my Heart —
trapped in this divine mansion —
without a map or an astrolabe,
to lead me ..
.. out of my memories’ dilapidated Hell.
~ IZ ~

.. Of ‘Bait bazi’ of Life

And we sat one last time.
Face to face,
in the ‘Mehfil’ of Life.
You, drunk;
from the red chalices
of your many lovers.
And I,
by the hemlock
of death’s black kiss.
In your presence
candles burned..
moths burned..
.. I burned too.
Verse after verse,
I read out to you.

in my delirium to learn about you,
I had byhearted
the alphabet of God,
.. and made dictionaries out of you!
Time moved slowly —
night passed..
dreams passed..
.. we passed too.
Verse after verse,
I won from you.
Until the final turn came unto you!
And I missed….
I missed out on the letter L,
which you plunged to grab
like an eagle;
nearly singing out your winning word —
” L I F E !”
..   s o k o o t   ..


And I?
I sat with my lips pursed tight.
Rolling beneath my tongue my words —
“Loneliness..    Longing..    Love..”
Brava, my love, my fine Poet!
You rhymed well.
You chose well.
After all, in the final Baithbazi of our Life,
You have finally won!
You have finally won!
~ IZ ~


* Bait Bazi – an Urdu verbal game of reciting poetry by two opponents, in which the last letter of the last verse is given to the opponent to begin his next verse with.

* Mehfil – evenings of courtly entertainment, especially where poetry or classical music is performed in an intimate setting for a small audience. 

* Sokoot – silence in Farsi / Persian 

.. Of wine and cemeteries

 in my grave
There’s a wine I had drunk without you;
lying between two tombstones in my cemetery.
This weight of soil,
pinning my body to the earth
like an anchor on a sea-bed
has now become my sojourning Tavern.
I sit with Ghalib and drink all night.
I lament with Rumi and whirl till dawn.
Each time I see your face;
shuddering and shivering
through the empty night sky,
I fly to you…
I fly to you, like a drunken kite —
swaying from side to side.
even with my clay tethered to the ground,
I am still drawn to you,
.. like an anvil to iron
.. like an ebb tide to moon.
~ IZ ~


* Ghalib: eighteenth century, popular Urdu poet. Rumi: thirteenth century famous poet and Sufi mystic.

.. Of us, two handwritten Love-letters

We were
two Handwritten-Love-Letters,
in a world
of cold toneless screens.
As soon as
our fingertips bled ‘lovable words’
on smooth shimmering glass;
our meanings shattered ..
.. and we fell —
stuck to the sharp edges
of cut letters —
back into our own creased envelopes.
Little by little,
the splinters slashed our paper.
Little by little,
their edges tore us into shards.
with stamps without seals
with addresses without roads;
‘Qismet’ knew not
where to deliver us.
a pair of
Love-Letters we remain
.. forever forgotten..
in the abandoned old mail-sack
of Life’s only Postman.
~ IZ ~

.. Of moons and moans

moons copy.jpg
Do not ask me to speak.
For if I do,
the moon would fall from my mouth,
and spill your name
across the vast silent sky.
Away from the Universe
I had kept secretly,
a hidden galaxy beneath my tongue —
a galaxy that tastes like
and crisp pomegranate.

Every evening
as I lay myself in bed,
I carefully run my fingers over my skin —
to hush its silent moans.
For if it speaks,
a starry night
would stretch across my entire body,
and shout out your name to the world —
in thousand burning breaths,
which you had left carefully..
.. on the width and breadth
of my ruby-red soul.


~ IZ ~