HER SAFE HOUSEMother walking up a corridor with a stick, as frail as tissue paper, bunched on a stick. Moving up a corridor inch by inch, a hairball being pushed by a breeze, into her safe house, her sonless kitchen.

BOMB SITE SEEN FROM A RAILWAY BRIDGEAs if the broken stumps were a girl’s starved shoulders: as if the dusty rubble, were her hair starfished across a pillow, I would push my fingers through its grit. I would press my bones into the bony shoulder of these scarred homes, as I pass above their sardined tops, concealed: reach out and rasp and clean the greasy tin. But children throwing stones, trenched behind mounds, holler and kill and crumple like stale newssheets, unsatisfied with spotless skies of peace, and I begin to count my enemies. Violence is a culture found on playgrounds. Cities fall to let their children breathe.poetry.1.1

POKER FACEDI am deceiving you. But think it is merely at cards. Think love is excluded from hands we hold, apart, as fate deals us. Think they are only discards, throwaway rags, that bring them together, while art and skill (perversely) lie not in revealing my hand. But in bluffing it: in giving you what I label worthless, play an unguessed at game, perfecting my hand; unsuspected, keep what I hold most precious. Yes, love for each other is out of it. Since what we keep, to ourselves to grow to perfection we hold dearer, then what we give, what love grows so dearly deep, as self-love? We kissed, you were nearer my heart than its beat, but who did you see in my eyes? Fool! Your King of Hearts has a double-edged sword, and a double face: the Joker laughs out his lies, before my silent King of Death, my dark Lord. I hold the whole court. Think I could have packed, the game before this, stung your pauper’s cards, with my sovereign jacks of knowledge, stacked art against your ignorance. It wasn’t hard to deceive you. But, as the one consummation of self, love is Death, my one self perfecting. Self, commanding Mentor, he’ll force a conclusion. When he calls his card into play: the Black King, who governs my life and my art. I’ve told you now. We’re quits and we must part. Should you be waiting for me tomorrow, and I never come, pretend that I know, I’m in light; end of a game squarely packed in my heart, where all ends and kings and pretences start.

(Adill Jussawalla)*Version*=1&*entries*=0


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