Realizations with Gabor, Rizwan, Tan, Pérez-Lozano: aaduna's NPM: Day 28

Love Poem No. 92:
Navigating Being

Am I
   crazy for you or just
  writing these quixotic fantasies about a life together—

or is it just my life in general that I’ve finally grown
into the deep or out of it, sinking up or flying down,
   do the semantics matter

when we’re just pieces of matter flying trillions of miles
through empty space grasping
       breathing spinning
loving b
 cause none of the rest of it matters

we’re so scared of powerful things: death, taxes,
  finding new space rings on Mars, Venus, where have you
really gone, what have you really done
       with all this information
are we learning or just growing up?

growing out of your skin sinking into new
Can there be a difference made in these lives,
   the shivering wretch at the end of a graffitied subway tunnel,
            the Middle Eastern man drumming his heart out, drumming to breathe,
      drumming and praying and crying out for—

the hushed sound a mother makes to her baby boy
the whispers of sheets around closed lovers

and you hear it in the wind come autumn or the
    ripening spring,
earth sighing
closing and opening, a delicate mimosa with one foul touch
moving back in on itself

© 2016 Diana Andreea Gabor                       
Genova, GE, Italy     

Diana Andreea Gabor (photo provided)

* * *

Father Tongue

My father in Karachi; his Urdu
expands like the widest sea;
Words roll from his tongue--- like chuna, like katha ---
words that we have not heard in years,
he stretches himself like the seagulls circling Hawk’s Bay,
he is constantly on the go: at Netty Jetty, Nursery or Nazimabad,
He polishes old jokes in Clifton, eats golgappay
outside Dayaram Jethmal College,
He sucks bits of ice at Agha Juice; cool slices of mango,
sooth his gums, his mouth moves differently in Karachi,
Urdu, chaste Urdu, his mother’s Urdu
rolls from his Punjabi tongue,
He smokes the city like a cigar,
with the verve of a man half his age,
my father in Karachi;

My father in Lahore sometimes takes refuge
in his starched white shirts and his Zeitgeist suits,
His mother’s Urdu does a quick somersault
in his mouth and crouches, instead he speaks,
textbook Urdu using out of turn
phrases and rare figures of speech,
he makes Punjabis feel really Punjabi and really coarse,
But when retired bureaucrats exchange jokes
in chuckling Punjabi at Gymkhana Club,
he often misses the punchline,
He is deep like the Ravi but lost in translation;

Something about the city, the smell of gasoline
mingled with the smell of sweet peas,
makes him speak his mother’s Urdu again,
the womanish lilt returns to his lips;
My father in Lahore sheds his Zeitgeist suits,
in the evening; He eats chikkar cholay and
tells us its keecher not chikkar,
My father in Lahore slices contaminants
of Punjabi from his children’s tongues;

My father in Kuala Lumpur speaks,
a variety of English which tries to become Urdu,
Urdu words dance on the tip of his tongue;
They grow from the arc of his jawbone,
from the space between his teeth;
He constantly gets lost in the city;
He finds Pakistani tea-shops where the tea
is never as warm, or as fragrant as in Lahore;
He counsels tea boys on life, on marriage;
He talks to strangers with a degree
of intimacy they find uncomfortable;  
He befriends Malay men on the metro;
He converses with South Indian taxi drivers;
He spends more time with the Nepalese security guard
than with me, my mother complains;

So he draws himself within himself;
His mother’s Urdu dries on his tongue,
He watches snakes circling in the grass,
He watches cats climbing the hot walls at noon,
He sees men with sun-tanned, sea-exposed
skins, men with bleached hair;
Men who know the sharpness of the sea;
Another city murmurs beneath his skin, momentarily;
Another city grows from the smell of sea-salt;
An old taste moves on his tongue;
An exiled language tumbles into his mouth,
but he pushes it back,
back into the fluorescent sea, its melancholic black
waves, back into its jagged cliffs
and wide rocks.

© 2016 Rakhshan Rizwan                 
Eindhoven, Netherlands     

Rakhshan Rizwan (photo provided)


* * *

The Seeker

Am I the artist I so idealised
It seems I’m way too banal, gee, for that
Am I the pacifist I glorified
My mind’s as calm as ever-ready cats
I’m no reformer, just a patronage
Am I the lover sensationalised
No, not the lights that lead the centre stage
O, Know-it-all, O, who the hell am I

Am I the loyalist I so believed
Too free to settle, too old to be sad
Am I the entertainer well-received
I’m too reserved, way too withdrawn for that
I’m no reformer, just a patronage
Am I the lover sensationalised
No, not the lights that lead the centre stage…
O, Know-it-all, O, who the hell am I

I ain’t the bright old spark immortalised
Not cutthroat Kim, no competitive Jim
Am I the thinker I personified
I’m way too filled with feelings to the brim
Am I the lover sensationalised
O, Know-it-all, O, who the hell am I

© 2016 Sze-Leng Tan                        
Selangor, Malaysia   

Sze-Leng Tan (photo provided)


* * *

Spanish Signals

Every time I hear someone speaking in Spanish,
my ears perk up
like a dog that hears a frequency
no one else can.
I’m drawn to their words,
my instincts homing in on what’s familiar.

If I can, I’ll make a trivial comment,
so they can see I’m here,
so they know, “Aquí estoy, amigos.
Soy como ustedes.1

I’ve gotten used to the reaction -
the sudden widening of eyes,
the hesitant, polite smile as they
try to figure me out:

Am I a fellow mexicana?
Or an americana who speaks
their native language
surprisingly well?

My fair skin and ambiguous features
don’t give them any clues
so I’m always left wondering
which label they’ve chosen for me
long after we’ve parted ways.

1.      “Here I am, friends. I am like you.”

© 2016 Eloísa Pérez-Lozano             
Houston, Texas  

Eloísa Pérez-Lozano (photo provided)

 *   *   *
aaduna - a timeless exploration into words and images - is a globally read, multi-cultural, and diverse online literary and visual arts journal established in 2010.  Visit us at where we put measurable actions to our words.

Help us build community!  Share with your friends,  "like" our Aaduna-Inc facebook page and follow us on twitter @ aadunaspeaks !  

aaduna-Inc aaduna-Inc  Visit regularly for updates !