the world is a minefield

This man’s world is a minefield, and women, holding children in their arms are just tiptoeing across it

how long, Lord

Every time one breaks into a run, they shout:





Every time a woman steps tentatively over away from the mines, men scream: you dare, you dare ruin our sacred paths? you make paths of evil?


In love with an absent world

Listening to 1980s ghazals. I usually get into the mood when I spend some time by myself, and today I have spent time by myself, a bit resentful as well as sick with a cold.

Who am I quietly carrying in myself, as I cook leek soup and and casseroles and discuss American politics with students? Is this world within me decaying or merely hibernating?

گزر گیا وہ زمانہ کہوں تو کس سے کہوں
خیال دل کو مرے صبح و شام کس کا تھا
داغؔ دہلوی –

Those are days are gone. To whom can I speak,
whose thoughts enthralled me day and night?

– Dagh

Ghulam Ali’s total immersive delight in the ghazal, the melody, and the appreciative audience. I’m an aging immigrant in love with a world that I plug into alone.

I’m asked: ‘What does it mean? I wish I knew what it means.’ But meaning is not translation. It’s a whole world unto itself.

اب نزع کا عالم ہے مجھ پر تم اپنی محبت واپس لو
جب کشتی ڈوبنے لگتی ہے تو بوجھ اتارا کرتے ہیں

قمر جلالوی-

I’m in the throes of death now, take back your love
When a boat begins to sink, they unload its burdens


Happy birthday, Pakistan

See How Much You Know About Pakistan | Council on Foreign Relations
Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

Happy birthday, Pakistan.

Sometimes you’re like a parent to me, and I’d mess up anyone who badmouths you.

And sometimes you’re like my child, and I demand that you do better.

I hold you accountable. I grab your lapel and shake you, demanding that you be true to your promises, protect the vulnerable – children, women, minorities, underrepresented ethnic and language groups, – and the poor. I wrestle with the politicians who hold you hostage, my beloved. I rage at the generals, the ISI, the wealthy, the 1%.

My heart prays for the people, the poor, the working class, the paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make lives.

Yet I also struggle to persuade others that Pakistanis yearn for life, health, safety, prosperity, happiness, just like they do. That Pakistani people are not cartoon villains but loving, passionate people trying to make do, trying to make better.

I love you through it all, my homeland, my people, and pray that happiness, prosperity, honesty, equality, and freedom will be yours – a brighter, more beautiful, more peaceful, kinder future for these children.

Members of a Pakistani nomad family in Rawalpindi.  (Image: BK Bangash / AP (August 25, 2015))

Enjoy the Pakistani national anthem in sign language.


In service

My main good deed these days is letting the cat out to the patio, and in again. He demands a lot of door opening. In, out, in out, in out … non-stop.

It gets me off the couch. It irritates me sometimes. Sometimes I apologize to him: “sorry I delayed opening the door, because you have rights.”

But who can resist those paws? So I tweeted this cute pic, and someone replied with this:


non-material girl in a material world

Echinacea purpurea Purple Coneflower | Prairie Moon Nursery

As a family, we are not gardeners. We are not outdoorsy people. But 2/3 of us struggle towards the outdoors, and they must ditch me if they have any hope of making it past a gentle stroll.

Today, all three of us dug and planted just two coneflower plants. Well, I am officially dead of exhaustion. I have a new — something? – for serial k*llers who bury their own crimes. They always make it look so easy to bury a whole adult, and have a thrilling fight with the protagonist afterward.

How does the whole world go around doing their own gardening throughout the summer and create those perfect landscapes? I just planted two small plants, with the help of two able-bodied persons, and I am deceased.

Post gardening – now my arms hurt. I am slathered in voltaren and punctuated with Salonpas sticky notes. My hands hurt. I forgot, somehow, when digging a home for echinacea, that I have carpal tunnel/neuropathy when I hold anything for a period of time. It’s what ripped me away from crochet and knitting too. My hands. Typing does not cause it, but holding does.

Also, throwing my hands up in the air sometimes makes my hands numb too, so afterward I say Eehhhh ooooh but not in joyful abandonment.

Normal people are told to continue their physical activity for maximum and continuing benefit, but this rule does not apply to everyone, especially not to people with chronic conditions. Those have to make do with life and just handle with care.

I really was trying to be more active, but I pay a price for everything. I keep opening new doors, optimistically hoping to change how I live and how I relate to nature, my body, people – and they keep closing on me. Definitely not a material girl in the material world. Soon I shall be pure mind and spirit floating in the ether!

Clouds Sky Sun The Sun'S - Free photo on Pixabay