Three poems by Ammar Aziz

 
 

    My father believes in Triclavianism

 

Inner parts of a grinder,
Dead batteries, bulbs,
Steel tub of a washer,
A few metal strings,
A toaster without the bread rack,
And several little springs
Lie in the backyard,
While he tries to find
What we never thought existed
In our daily things.

Back in the day,
We would fry daal
In this pan;
In that oven,
Father would occasionally bake.
My mother used this dryer
On her wet hair,
With the familiar fragrance
Of the shampoo,
That they no longer make.

He dismantles the abandoned vacuum cleaner:
Puts aside its brush roller,
Power-head and wand;
Brings out the internal fan,
And the little dust bag,
Which might still have the dust
From that day.

The ragman is only interested in metal:
He rips apart the colorful bodies
Of the appliances
To dig the inner mysteries.

How much iron
Does the human body have?
My father once wrote a story
About that:
‘We have enough
To make three iron nails’
He said.

 
 

    Her Science Teacher Tells Her The Properties Of Matter

 

Soaked by a light drizzle,
Running on a mud path
Amidst the sugarcane fields,
While ripe crops sway
In the breeze,
And men casually drink tea,
Squatting under the old banyan tree,

She reaches her school
Where all the children have similar bags
And the teachers use gadgets
With the stickers of the American flags.

When her science teacher tells her
That wood is a structural tissue,
Made of different cells,
Sharing common chemical composition
Which is 50 percent carbon
And 42 percent oxygen,

She silently nods her head;
Though deep in her heart,
She knows it’s lame:

Her grandmother’s wooden prayer beads
And the broken piece
Of her slain father’s Sitar
Are different things;

They can never be the same.

 
 

    Growing up in this neighborhood

 

You have daily battles to fight:
When it rains, you find ways
To cover things in the rooms
Of your oddly built house,
Which has shamelessly outlived
All your ancestors.

Holding a twenty rupee note
In your palm,
Like a cat carries a kitten in her mouth
Fearing to lose it –

Walking on the bricks,
Thrown in the muddy rainwater
To make a path –

The familiarity of rats
Coming out from the gutter,
Which has always been uncovered –

Crossing the house of the single mother
Everyone wants to kick out from this street –

Passing by the little mosque, built on a paan shop,
Whose imam coughs on a loudspeaker
Five times a day –

Buying yogurt for 10 rupees, tea sachet for six,
And keeping aside the remaining coins
To get something from the tiny stall
Of the Urdu speaking old man, with a thin mustache,
You wonder: even if someone buys everything
From this man, what difference would it make?

Growing up in this neighborhood
Does not mean that you will not experience
The sheer meaninglessness of this all
And whatever exists,
Beyond these suburbs
Where light never fades.

The dim yellow bulb
Hanging in your narrow alleyway
Is no different from the sun
Which dies a little every day.

 
 

Ammar Aziz

About Ammar Aziz

Ammar Aziz is a poet and filmmaker from Pakistan. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Wild Court, Muse India, Femasia Magazine and elsewhere, and films have been shown at various prestigious festivals around the world. As a poet, he is often interested in using personal memories as sites to investigate objects, spaces and bodies. He lives in Lahore and can be reached at: ammar.aziz@me.com