Surely Not Everyone Was Kung Fu Fighting?

© N Nazir 2021

“I don’t know what happens after death but I’ll have to chance it.” – Desert Snow, Jim Harrison

Some days I feel everything and need chocolate.
A song cuts through the air and pierces my heart
and makes it ache for I don’t know what
like, I feel the loss of beautiful things ending
or I miss everything while I’m experiencing it
because it’s already leaving or dying or something.
(Still, I shazam the song and add it to my library).

It’s plentiful here and desolate there,
here there’s chatter and clamour and clinking
elsewhere a morgue silence where someone left
because they didn’t have a chance and no one heard
and then it was too late, and perhaps they just needed
a roof or clothes, a hot drink, or just to know
what a warm bed is, and it’s a ceaseless haunting
and when will it end, it shouldn’t end with death
when life is granted, when there’s such desire to live
what then, what then, what then, what then?

Sometimes, opportunity comes like a tiny little bird
and you don’t spot it at first but sometimes you do
and you think that’s an interesting idea and wonder
if it’s time, are you ready for a change and can you bear it
because all good changes hurt at first, don’t they?

And you continue walking down the street
and someone walks by wearing a t-shirt that says
surely not everyone was kung fu fighting?
and you think that’s a bloody good question
why do we assume they all were, there’s bound
to be the ones like me who hid under the table
or darted out the back door for a quick getaway.

And I think, later, when I’m a proper writer
with a study like all the old guys always have
I’ll sit at my escritoire and spew thoughts onto paper
I’ll never share because they’re too honest, then
do erasure poems instead with borrowed words
that jump out like a pleasant surprise, relatable
and removed, some answer I was seeking.

Or maybe I’ll be an artist like I always wanted
but had to defer my dream because of life and rent
because the good light is always gone too soon
and the art world is cruel and makes you lose your way
yet you miss your old studio even though it was haunted
and perpetually cold because the windows were old
and the wind whistled through, and all the other artists
would sometimes sneak into your space
to see what you were working on and you
would sneak into theirs too, and some days
you’d work in silence for hours together
so peaceful and industrious
and that kind of companionship was always
so much more preferable than any other.

© N Nazir 2022

Written for dVerse Poetics: Songs of Unreason, where Linda is hosting and gives us the challenge of writing a poem using one of eight given prompt lines from various poems by Jim Harrison.

51 thoughts on “Surely Not Everyone Was Kung Fu Fighting?

  1. Your best. Simply. Or at the very least you at your very best. I have a tendency to go on and on when I comment on an extraordinary poem, expressing me sincere admiration — though often by words/verse of such calibre I am merely stunned, completely. So here I will try to tone it down: I am simply stunned by such raw poetry. Just so good. Will stop…but what a phrase that is, about Kung Fu fighting…really made the title..and into the poetry. Still stunned.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The title suggests a graffiti — a randomly posted and observed message which might make some particular sense in a passing moment, just like the Harrison epigraph. Life is fleeting and filled with islands of loss and recognition, between which we fare en route to a common end. One’s life has possibilities (studios) and communions and they are worth cherishing especially since we all go alone. Lovely meditation here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Peter 💕 I’m sorry but I’d rather it wasn’t shared that way. Hope you don’t mind. Sorry. I will allow the reblog function if you wanted to share it as it it’s written. But that’s up to you. Thank you for your encouragement.


  3. Excellently rolled out. I followed your train of thoughts as if it were mine, heard that song (in my case it was Joan Baez and her “Sweeter for Me”, just yesterday), saw that t-shirt pass, went to your future studio. I wish you plenty of just that kind of companionships.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The conversational tone here is both delightful and deceptive, because these aren’t just the ramblings of someone blurting out random thoughts, however apt or beautiful. It’s spontaneous in its immediacy, yes, but everything works together so smoothly to put the reader in the place the narrator describes, and that takes thought and skill as well as feeling. One hell of a good poem, Sunra, and I especially love the last stanza.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sanaarizvi

    “because all good changes hurt at first, don’t they?” Yes!! Sigh .. this is such an exquisite poem, Sunra! The imagery, the flow and the poet’s musings resonate on a deeper level. I think this quote was meant for you to ponder upon 💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

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