Poem

Merry Christmas, America When you’re not with the love of your life in America Love the woman who once was your wife in America Then America was a terror for tyrants and a triumph for liberty Now babies are caged in Texas by President forty-five of Amerika He’s undignified, is unqualified, talks nonsense, zealous Gunrunners…

Poem

Whirling Hebrew Home The Bronx Mother sobs in short bursts I lean over brush my cheek against hers on the pillow “What’s wrong?” “Look at Tarek” she wails “he’s drowning For the love of Allah save my son. Look, my bayta he’s whirling” I’m curious how she knows Tarek’s been swept away by a rip…

Poem

SCOFFLAW There’s a lighthouse chasing us just as I forewarned when she jumped the queue veered the red Renault onto a prohibited bus lane on New Kent Road. We idle on the verge. A world tilts. Bobby, rotund in blue, knocks boldly on the pane. She lowers the window. “Well, then?” he asks, “When I…

Poem

My Dinner with Agha Ashraf Ali You light a candle then curse the darkness with your usual flourish debone a carp add pinch of salt in your carpeted kitchen discourse on the next course to scrape or not the fish head gaadkalley honorific you offer a scrap of history bestowed once by Kashmiris on the…

Poem

WITHERED ROSE by Mohammad Iqbal With what words shall I call you Desire of the nightingale’s heart? In a Country of Roses You were named Laughing Rose Morning breeze your cradle Garden a tray of perfumes My tears rain like dew And in my barren heart your ruin An emblem of mine My life a…

Poem

Blowing Her Lungs Out into a Clay Oven Mother leans against the island in the nanosecond kitchen at Farouk’s home in New Rochelle, marveling at a Miracle Icemaker as half-moons tumble into a glass bowl. She spins a Lazy Susan with glee, clicks the fire fountains on & off. “Atomic food makes stomachs ache,” she…

Poem

Karl Marx Ignites the Millennials after Mohammad Iqbal Ah! Come! How can you not be roused! You are nothing but you are everything. Recharge your IPhones. From each according to his feed to each according to his need. In times of global deceit tweeting the truth puts you in the driver seat. Road to hell…

Poetry in Translation

LENIN IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD a trans creation after Iqbal, by Rafiq Kathwari God Aha! Comrade Ulyanov— Welcome! Or I should say, Dobro Pozhalovat! Lenin You’re alive? But “God is dead,” they said. God I inhabit men’s heart, passion’s home, and for a brief moment the gods themselves swayed to your tune. Lenin So,…

Poem

For My Nephew Omar On His Engagement to Nadia This small box hides a porcelain elephant rigged up in howdah and trimmings, a Kashmir-style sapphire on the forehead­­ — an inner eye; conch shell ears fan out, supple raised trunk cradles a bird’s nest without breaking the eggs. “A matriarch of her herd,” said the…

Poem

OLD FLAME So, I took off her blouse as she raised her arms A trumpeter blared outside my window She ran her fingers through my hair I unclasped her bra Trumpeter boomed a tune I’d heard before “My husband will be angry if I stay” Tip of my tongue touched her nipple She unzipped my…

Poem

“THE PRESIDENT IS HUMAN. HE GETS SICK” — White House Press Secretary Responding to Reporters’ Questions in The New York Times, January 9, 1992 A thousand tiny dots of light: I diminish the noise. Duped smirk on aging face, eyes eclipsed by spectacles, The President, previously recorded, vomits, moving his lips slowly. Watching me watching…

Poem

Kismet “This can’t be me,” Mother says, leaning forward in a wheelchair, “Must be some shriveled woman,” “with parched skin, frayed hair,” she adds, “Not me. I’m only 30.” Mother gives me my Smartphone with which I clicked her photo during a commercial break, watching “Kismet,” Hollywood film made in 1955 when Mother was in…