by Haseeb Sultan
Full Text of the Poem
I HAVE BEEN STARING INTO THE PASSING CAR LIGHTS GO INTO THE ABYSS OF MAN MADE PATHWAYS FOR SO LONG, I HAVE SET ASIDE AND BUILT MY CUP OF TEA TO FAIL INTO GETTING COLD.
THE CITY IS HINTING AT MY GROWING OLD.
THE LIGHTS ARE CANNIBALS, I TELL YOU. THEY STREAK INTO EACH OTHER, IMMERSE INTO ONE-NESS AND THE LIGHT THAT WINS THE FIGHT GETS TO TAKE HOME THE RIDER, TIRED. CLINGING TO THE ASPHALT LIKE BLOOD TO OXYGEN.
I AM ALONE. PART ME SIMILARLY GONE.
OR SHOULD I SAY PARTS. THE TREES ONLY TAUGHT ME SYMBIOSIS. THEY DID NOT TEACH ME THAT THE ROCKS THAT THEY ROOT INTO ARE THE BROTHERS OF GREY STRUCTURES I AVOIDED MY WHOLE LIFE. RUNNING TOWARDS A XYLEM AND PHLOEM LIKE EXISTENCE.
GIVING, GIVING, GIVING AND GIVING IN.
THE AIR KNOWS OF ITS AGE. IT HAS LIVED TOO LONG, TOO UNCHANGED. AND I HAVE LEARNED NOTHING FROM IT. INDUSTRY YIELDS A LETHARGY THE SOUL CANNOT FATHOM, AND THE CONFUSION OF THIS ENTROPY HAS YIELDED A SYSTEM OF MINING WHAT I CANNOT GIVE ANYMORE.
MY LOVE, I HAVE FAILED YOU. MY LOVE, I HAVE LET YOU GO.
I WILL NOT BLAME THE TREES OR THE LEAVES OR THE OXYGEN FOR MAKING ME BELIEVE IN THEM. THEY HAD THE RIGHT TO EXIST. AND SO DID YOU, MY LOVE. I SHOULD NEVER HAVE GIVEN YOU AWAY LIKE I DID.
NEVER IN PIECES. ALWAYS A WHOLE.
SO HERE I AM WITH MY TEA COLD. ALONE. WATCHING THE CARS PUT ON A SHOW. HOLDING A PROMISE AND A KISS IN MY HAND, TELLING MYSELF TO LET GO.
LIKE I LET YOU GO.
Haseeb Sultan is an orthodontist, writer, and artist living in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Scheherezade Junejo was born in 1986 in Karachi. She graduated from National College of Arts, Lahore, in January 2010 with a BFA (Honours) degree. Scheherezade has produced seven solo exhibits and participated in over 70 group exhibits, both national and international since June 2010. You can read her interview with The Missing Slate for our Spotlight Series here.