No, I Don’t Believe We’ve Met Before

We are bound by ribbon, gently so, but I feel the tug when I wander too far and would be rid of it and your Kerouac nonsense. Hedonism blows great smoke rings but doesn’t pay bills. Everyone’s a forgotten genius, why are you special? We all had a dream crushed under cowskin boots at one time or other, so what? Dreams are plenty, all great things are borne of dreams. So chase a new one. Some heady mix of possible and improbable and metaphysical and unthinkable. Gritted teeth and too much realness disguised as theatre. Society laps up the illusion cause it’s so pretty. Don’t we love the psyche unravelling when it looks pretty? What about the bad, what about the ugly?

And then there are smells, oh, so many smells. Not always peachy girl-sweet Pear’s soap smells, but metallic blood smells, earthy animal smells, rotten fruit smells. What are you going to do about the smells, damn it? The traces left in history’s streets and Victorian by-gonism. The drunken louts, men’s territorial markings. Viennese streets wear it all. Sometimes everything looks the same backwards and forwards. The sumptuous and macabre residing as neighbours in the annals of time and spiral staircases. The photo-negatives of what was, what still is.

And now I’ve wandered too far again and the ribbon has pulled me back. I came from this place, went to that one, found myself other than sought to scrabble out again. Out into the light. The bleaching blinding light.

Give me a shard of glass to cut the cord, so delicate but so finely wrought. Give me a midday sun, a phoenix wing beating thing, burning clean my tea-coloured skin. Give me a newness of moon and long-forgotten ashes, crumbling in the wilding wind.

© N Nazir 2023

Written for Shay’s Word Garden, where Shay brings us inspiration with a word list from the works of poet and musician, Janis Ian. Words used: ribbon, Kerouac, smoke, genius, boots, mix, society, soap. The word list is still up for anyone who wishes to take part.

Written also for Poets and Storytellers United, where Magaly inspires us to write a piece based on a book we’re reading, or have read, or love. I always have my nose in any number of books at any one time, so am currently reading a combination of poetry, supernatural horror, mystical and arthouse, by the likes of Margaret Atwood, Ben Okri, Stephen King and Mohsin Hamid, all of whom I recommend.

Written also for The Sunday Muse, image as shown.

I Wish I Was a Morning Person

When all seemed well, I stepped out.  The sunrise a bleach streak of exalted non-yellow.  ‘Twas not a normal Sunday.  I, gauche femme, frostbitten, fingerless mitten.  When the mind is loquacious.  Then pauses to drench.  Quiet jives.  Time is a slipstream.  Rendered lucid in the giddy light.  Karma’s overgrown hair blowing into spring.  A familial scattering.  And here I land – pop! – in a gasp of winter sun.  Homeland.  In motion.  But. Waiting for a bus.  Clashing colours.  Empty stomach.  Sleep-deprived.  And always, always just a little bit late.  

© N Nazir 2023

Written for Shay’s Word Garden where Shay brings us inspiration with William Wordsworth (words used: yellow, lucid, overgrown).

Written also for Sammi Scribbles Weekend Writing Prompt: loquacious, 88 words.

Nomad

Nomad, Erasure Poem #79, watercolour & gel pen on paper, (Sketchbooks 2022), © N Nazir 2022
Text source: Indigo, Marina Warner, p.221

the night whispered in excitement

she was a rose-pink starwoman

far from home

her eyes buttonbrown

her palms, like delicate fish

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Published in Issue VIII: Guinevere of Free Verse Revolution Lit Journal, along with erasure poem Revelation and painting Scrying at Dawn. You can download a free digital issue here.

Shared for dVerse Open Link Night, hosted by Lillian.

When Your Chakras Become Planets

I had a fit of the clevers the other day
ripped the arms off 
an oversized overcoat
turned it into a hibernacle
then crawled in to sleep away 
this ghostly winter that descended 
unwelcome
like an out-of-place glitter ball
(beautiful but wholly unhelpful)

I imagined us all around the fire 
like so many summers ago 
toasting our bones night after night
in the liminal autumn slimness
fending off the blade of chill
each of us telling a tale in turn
how we navigated this mortal maze
some gallant time or other

and I had to crush that sweet bitch
nostalgia, who tried to court me
in the wolf moon hours.  
What’s with you? I said.
Can’t you see I’m immune?
She slunk away to haunt someone else
and left me hunting dreams
in stealth fox mode
as I slipped between the worlds
beyond skin 
beyond heart’s language.

© N Nazir 2023

Written for Shay’s Word Garden where Shay brings us inspiration with lyricist Keith Reid (words used: overcoat, ghostly, descended, blade, tale, mortal, maze). The Word list is still up until next Wed 11th Jan if you want to take part.

The Streets Were Deserted

but for a lone hobo and his dog.  
I went to say hello, it was on my way
after all. He didn’t look well

nor did the hound, who I petted anyway.  
Come to the shelter, I said
you’ll get a hot meal and a warm bed.

The hobo shook his head
they don’t let you in with a dog.

Oh, I didn’t know that. Sorry. So trite 
to wish him merry christmas after that.

I’m sorry, I said again and gave him some change
little good it did, everything closed on the eve.

Then I walked to the shelter, huddled against the wind
late for my shift at the kitchen.

© N Nazir 2022

*Thankfully, this rule has now changed and dogs are allowed to stay with their owners if they check in at the homeless shelters over the Christmas / New Year period (in the UK).

Shared for W3, hosted by David, where Murisopsis, the poet of the week, invites us to write a poem of exactly fourteen lines on the topic of poverty (moral, romantic, financial, etc).

Shared also for dVerse Open Link Night, hosted by Linda.

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And here’s my Throwback Thursday for you. I love this band. Couldn’t Care More by the Fine Young Cannibals from their album with the same name, first released in 1985. What have you been listening to lately? 🙂