for late Agha Shahid Ali
Now is the time to flow out of my own river into the sea,
to either assimilate myself with others or vanish like vapour.
The madness of art all night…I'm running out of time.
The sun of sanity will be up to beat down on me sooner.
Poetry is the air I'll be breathing to live on even after death.
The worst of the bargain but I've got only myself to blame.
Despair is a chopper loaded with bullets, to gun me down.
I'd better run slow and look at its dark beauty hovering overhead.
Genteel poverty - a burglar at home - gently requests me
to put things in his gunnysack. I'm mesmerized by his modesty.
I was given bits of my happiness on loan. I didn't know
I would have to pay off its interest all this life with my miseries.
Sometimes I imagine myself as a 'spunk-spewing dirtbag.'
Is it a shame if I hide my shameful face in a cougar's cleavage?
At last, I've come to know: salt is salt, not sugar or anything else.
The right amount's all right but too much of it brings bitterness.
I've got only a half of this world's hostility. I'm in sheer luck:
the other half's locked away in a safety vault, for me after death.
Sometimes like a fish that's lived long enough in freshwater,
I feel like getting myself marinated in death's merciless salt.
My patience doesn't get better with time. It's paying off.
I'm just helping myself out with my hoping for its health.
The pages of my Fate Book are already dog-eared and brittle.
My friends suggest I reprint it with a few changes as if misprints.
My work now reads like an interesting lecture on disinterest.
Sofiul, you'll get the Ignoble Prize for your temporal snafus.
from SAFE UNDER WATER (2014)
Topic(s) of this poem: poet
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.