Handmaiden Magic

Handmaiden Magic, Erasure Poem #81, gel pen & acrylic on paper, 2022, © N Nazir 2023, Sketchbooks 2023
(Text source: One Thousand Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, p.284)

ceremonies of love,

Me with blue hair,

and needle and thread,

sewing a shroud of dusk.

Shared for Poets and Storytellers United where Magaly invites us to respond to the theme of Unfinished Projects.

*As you can see, whilst the poem is finished, the painting is not. I have many erasure poems in a similar state and sometimes I leave them that way. It’s like I’ve caught them in a state of undress.

*My hair is actually purple at the moment. Ultra Violet, it said on the bottle. More like aubergine.


periodically, it would seem
the clockwork of body
goes haywire occasionally

then elemental
likes to remind me
it is made of earth after all

and immeasurable droplets
iron-rich.  I am vessel
I slither, I am 
coating of rain

still, it’s a painful illusion
this separation
too solid, too good

in my dreams, I have
coursed through the roar
of spiral consciousness 

on the other side of green

on a leaf, serene 
a tiny piece of the chaos
a tiny fragment of the cosmic dream

periodically, it would seem
the body
likes to revert back to order

© N Nazir 2023

Written for Sammi Scribbles Weekend Writing Prompt: Clockwork, 99 words

Time Suspended- #Publication

Time Suspended-, gel pen & biro on paper, 2022, © N Nazir 2023, Sketchbooks 2022
(Text source: A Primer for Poets & Readers of Poetry by Gregory Orr, p.104)

I, sleepless,
feel the ripening swell
of unrest.

Is it loneliness?
or am I shifting again


I meant to share this earlier. I had an unexpected publication with Ink Sweat and Tears last month with my word + image poem Time Suspended-. I’d submitted it months ago so to get an acceptance quite out of the blue, and on Eid too, was a pleasant surprise. Especially when it’s an erasure piece as not many journals publish those. Hope you like it.

I started doodling this during an overly long zoom meeting last year, the host of which probably thought I was earnestly making notes. Not so. I was poeming the whole time. It’s the little things in life, isn’t it?


*Unrelated but what sad news about the powerhouse that was the inimitable Tina Turner. I know this isn’t one of her songs but I had trouble picking one to share, and I love her performance here with Robert Palmer. RIP Tina ❤

Cos Truth Be Stranger than Fiction

Photo by Ronu00ea Ferreira on Pexels.com

The elephants have been walking in the cookie dough again. With their old-world charm and their circus-popping moves.  I wear a wig to fool you and it works.  We go trapeze-flying in the afternoon, me in my new guise just to hang out with the guys, and they, not knowing I kind of have a crush on one or two of them. Of course, I keep schtum. Don’t want them ego-tripping.

Pretty sure Misery found her true love in the end.  Or rather, he found her, came galloping on his horse in the night to save her from the evil clutches of Baron Heidzig.  After France, when she had a brainchild then returned.  (As a pig in the back yard, didn’t she, Paul?  You there, Paul?)

These papier-mache dreams would abscond into the night with their breath hanging in the air, but there was an incident once so now I keep it under wraps.  You see, some clowns got arrested on their way to the party and got strip-searched for bad jokes and role-play.

These days they go guerrilla gardening instead, and throw hand grenades of seed bombs over barbed wires onto protected land, manicured by law, so when the rain hits them, they spread open onto their backs and yield forth an explosion of wildflowers.

Really, guerrilla gardening’s the thing, let’s go do it.  It’s the new afternoon tea party.  Afterwards, we can even dress up as clowns and play leapfrog in the shed.

© N Nazir 2023

Written for Shay’s Word Garden where we are given inspiration with The Circus in Winter by Cathy Day. Words used: elephant(s), cookie(s), charm, circus, popping, wig, trapeze, misery, papier-mache, incident, clowns.


*Sadly, this is Shay’s last word garden prompt list, so of course, I had to write something for it. It was my favourite writing challenge on WP, I always learned about some new writer or other, and got to read some quality responses to it too, so I shall miss it. Thanks Shay, for the inspiration 🙂

Unmoored #Publication

Unmoored, watercolour & gel pen on paper, © N Nazir 2023, Sketchbooks 2023
(Text source: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, p.80-81)

He smiled
then asked me
where do you belong?

Who knows,
I replied
I am not lost
and yet
it seems that I am.


My greatest thanks to Free Verse Revolution for publishing my erasure poem Unmoored for their latest issue Anchor IX (page 38). You can download a free digital copy here, or purchase a print copy via the Lulu store.

They also published a painting of mine, Two Ships Passing on a Lonesome Night, which you can view on page 41. It’s a lovely issue and it’s so pleasing to have the clean white pages punctuated with my artwork. I hope you like them! 🙂


(*For enquiring minds: I just want to confirm that all my work is hand-drawn and painted down to every last detail (usually onto photocopy paper which has been pasted down onto watercolour or craft paper) and I never use digital tools to enhance my work in any way. I don’t believe the artwork should need it. When I photograph my work, I try and ensure it looks as close to the original as possible).