Wednesday, March 28, 2007

We Steal Your Senses: The Initiation

With words we construct
a sarai ten feet by eight,
a river of magic,
fire, blood with
a bridge of smoke,
a building of three tiers
stacked over it
with fairies in it
throwing pearls
at the piranha
in the river of magic –
With words we create
all this and more
on the proscenium
of an auditorium.

But beware!
These are not tales
of horses and mare,
of fairies and angels,
of Lord-smudged gospels.
Here desires heathen
would deepen with
every twist of the tale
that you choose to veil
your senses with –
Your senses Ha!
Like some former lover
are no more
a part of your tale.
Like a bedouin’s loot
in this bazaar of lies and truth
they’re up for sale.

So we wait at the gates
of the kingdom of Afrasiyaab,
the sorcerer supreme,
the king of devils and djinns
before whom sixty-thousand
each with an army
of a hundred thousand
or more
genuflect, kiss his girth,
wash it with their blood.
He, The Arrogant One
whose kingdom
runs from The Upper West Quarter
to The Lower East Trough
even he,
even he bows
to Zammurad Shah Bakhtari,
also Laqa, the ultimate in sorcery
but only a wily old bastard
with fungus in his teeth
and beads in his beard
who sits on a throne
smelling of his own faeces.

Together they fight
Amir Hamzah
The Lord of Conjunction,
before whom the moon
and the sun both bow,
whose valour instills fear
in many who’d kill, tear
with their swords and their spears
and not once show remorse
even they, when they’d hear
his name their pride would run
like a disease from a medicine.

But the point where
we choose to enter –
our senses surrendered –
the point where we
let ourselves be
in this magical world,
this magical world
where the difference
between the real
and the imagined
is perhaps a trick
between the awake you
and your sleeping self,
the point where we enter
is the one where Amar Ayyar,
confidant, friend, chief trickster
Amir’s lieutenant, masquerader
has murdered Mahtaab Jadoo
and has in a jungle taken refuge…

© Dan Husain
March 27, 2007

PS: Mahmood and I came together for the first time as a team on March 27, 2006 at the India Habitat Centre to perform Dastangoi. This is the first of the series of poems on Dastan-e-Amir Hamza that I intend to write to commemorate this partnership. :-)