Poetry from Saad Ali

Edward Munsch's Rain. 1902, Abstract Expressionism. Two women, one in a black dress with a red hat, and another with a straw hat and a tan blouse and a black skirt, stand with their backs to us on a deck overlooking a yard with trees and clouds. A red building is to the right.

The Regntiden1

for Lloyd A. Jacobs, Ejaz Rahim & Leonidas Efthmiou

after Rain (Regn) by Edvard Munch (Norway), 1902 C.E.

 I

 The Bookshelf // 
I assemble the newly procured bookshelf 
and place the wooden statues of The Zulu Warriors—
my father had brought back with him from Kenya 
in the Summer of ’96 C.E.—
on either side of the five-shelved rack, 
as if The Valkyries at the Valgrind to Valhalla. 
I place the books horizontally on the wooden planks, 
not vertically—since, the weight of the words 
can also force the spine of the book to bend.

*

The weight of the words of some books 
is also (in)famous for forcing the minds-of-wo/men 
to bend & mend! And I ponder: if the weight of the words 
of my books will also succeed in serving such a purpose?

 II

 East & West // 
I literally use the compass to figure out 
the exact eastern-end and the western-end of my room, 
and place the 4’ tall wooden lamp—
a present I had received from my ex-girlfriend 
in the Summer of ’14 C.E.—
in the Eastern Corner. 

[Perhaps,] it’s the effect of the sweet intoxication 
from the aroma of the freshly rain-bathed soil 
that forces me to take the proverb, 
the sun rises in the East 
and sets in the West, 
 literally! 

And I place the stone incense burner 
(with an uncovered opening to the compartment 
inside for hosting a miniature candle)—
procured from The Body Shop—
atop the lid of the lamp to symbolise the Stella/Sol.2

 III

 The Vahana //3
 I think of pulling my vahana – 
Toyota Aqua (Hybrid) 1500 cc 
(procured via a local car dealer 
in the Summer of ’17 C.E.) –
out of the porch and 
letting her also bathe and breathe 
in the mint-fresh rain. 

*

This early, early ante meridiem 
cata-doxa4 is a call for Celebration ‘n Change: 
the (in)famous Indian Monsoon is early 
in the Summer of ’22 C.E. 

Both the man & the beast will be observing 
the Thanksgiving early, too—
since the sunrays, like the uninvited guests,
had the dramas-of-life rather shackled, lately.

______________

1. Regntiden (Norwegian): The Rains.
2. Sol (Roman Mythology): The Sun God.
3. Vahana (Hindu Mythology): The Ride of a God/Goddess.
4. Cata-Doxa (Greek idiom): (Raining) Cats and Dogs.
Mary Cassatt's Children Playing on the Beach. 1884. Two small light-skinned toddlers, one with a straw hat with a red ribbon, in little white dresses with black underclothes playing with little pails in the sand on the beach. Water and a ship with white sails in the distance.
On the Beaches in Bulgaria: 2016 C.E.

for Cameron, Monika & Aleksandra

after Children Playing On The Beach by Mary S. Cassatt (USA), 1884 C.E.



 I

Today —
 Solis-roasted Sand2;
 	Solis-burnt Sea2.

It makes you appreciate e=mc2
in a rather strange, strange way.
Or maybe it’s the beer (?)
Under the gaze of the Thirsty Solis,
a pint of Heineken barely manages
to stay cool for > 300 seconds.
 
 II

“… And pile it up more around the chest, belly & limbs.
… But spare the face!
You know I’m rather proud of my Persian Face!”
He asks me to help him
cover his body with the sunbaked sandy beach.
“Don’t turn this into a burial rehearsal now!”
I mock his idea of the sand-therapy.

~

The Scene / Act reminds me of the street hawkers
from back home—
roasting the corn-on-the-cobs & chickpeas
in the salty-sea shore-sand on their mobile-stalls.

 III

“We won’t let you drown.
Trust Us!”
Monika & Aleksandra make a support
with their arms and teach me
how to make my body float on the water.
“When I was 9, I had drowned
in The Indus River on a picnic day-out,”
I stutter as I raise my legs &
let the buoyancy take charge.

 IV

Today —
I’ve been rather unfaithful to myself:
I violated the vow of Literary-Celibacy
i.e. I broke the promise-to-self
to not to indulge in any poetry & poems.


 
Henri Rousseau, The Muse Inspiring the Poet, 1909. Woman in a long blue dress with flowers in her hair standing outdoors among leafy trees and red flowers next to a man in a suit with buttons and a bowtie holding a scroll of paper and a quill pen.
Cigarette-Smoke Halos

for Family & Friends

after The Muse Inspiring The Poet (La Muse Inspirant le Poete) by Henri Rousseau (France), 1909 C.E.

 I

Mercury/Steel Cigarette-Smoke Halos for all my dreams.
Why 		shalt I 			feel
intimidated by an Israfel?*

 II

Of late – poems are frequenting me
like 	an Ottoman Emperor 		frequents
his favourite mistresses in the harems.

 III

Sometimes – I feel like/as if I’m a Socrates,
a Constantine, 		a Rumi, 		a Ghalib,
but without any fast acolytes.

Sometimes – I feel like/as if I’m a line
without 		any 		alphabet
and commas and apostrophes and periods.

Sometimes – I feel like/as if I’m an epic
that 		can’t be		bound
by any spiral or saddle-stitched spines.

Sometimes – I feel like/as if I’m a thumb,
a forefinger,	a middle finger		on a hand
that can’t seem to be able to strangle the wind.

Sometimes – I feel like/as if I’m a medallion,
an 		untied		knot
on an Eshfahan, a Kashan, a Farahan kilim.

Sometimes – I feel like/as if I’m a verse,
a couplet,	a ghazal, 	a sonnet,
but without any regards in her chest.

Sometimes – I feel like/as if I’m a curse,
a prayer		on a broken		mother’s lips,
who lost a youngling to some war.

Sometimes – I feel like/as if I’m a Man
—with 		a		Free Will—
but only as free as his idioms and narratives.



______________

*Israfel: One of the Four Archangels in the Islamic Theology. The named Angel is assigned with the duty of making the announcement for the arrival of Youm al Qiyama (The Judgement Day).Saad Ali (b. 1980 CE in Okara, Pakistan) has been brought up and educated in the United Kingdom and Pakistan. He holds a BSc and an MSc in Management from the University of Leicester, UK. He is a bilingual poet-philosopher and literary translator. His new collection of poems is titled Owl Of Pines: Sunyata (AuthorHouse, 2021). He has translated Lorette C. Luzajic’s ekphrastic poetry and micro/flash fictions into Urdu: Lorette C. Luzajic: Selected Ekphrases: Translated into Urdu (2023). He is a regular contributor to The Ekphrastic Review. He has had poems published in The Mackinaw and Synchronized Chaos. His work has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology. He has had ekphrases showcased at an Art Exhibition, Bleeding Borders, curated at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie in Alberta, Canada. He has had poems featured in two anthologies of poetry—Poetry is a Mountain (2019) and This Uncommon Place (2019)—by Kevin Watt (ed.). Some of his influences include: Vyasa, Homer, Attar, Rumi, Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, Kafka, Tagore, Lispector, et alia. He enjoys learning different languages, travelling by train, and exploring cities/towns on foot. To learn further about his work, please visit: www.saadalipoetry.com; www.facebook.com/owlofpines.

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