All This Helplessness, Heaped Over Us Like a Blanket — Three Poems by Saadia Peerzada
January 27, 2022
Saadia Peerzada presents three poems that are woven together by solitude, transience and momentary reflection. Verses such as these elucidate how poetry can emanate from quotidian situations, from a visit to a grocery store to a moment of transit, to a moment of introspection before heading to class. In that mode, these verses serve as a testament to the poetic gaze that retrieves (otherwise) lost poetry from everyday life.

I   In a Grocery Store After Sunset

Lukewarm coconut water
huddled with coffee that runs too sweet,
the urban grief of having everything and nothing
manufactured energy lining the shelves,
to give wings but no will.

So much to live for, without the instinct,
readymade degrading words
spit cheap meaning on to cheap lives,
bodies hanging limp, drained of passion
so final, all this helplessness,
heaped over us like a blanket.

II  Yi Cha Koshur?

A boy moves his head to get his hair out of his face,
a moment of recognition hangs in the air
while trains rush past like happiness,
he goes back to his call “aa tze wann?”
the doors open to the left, no one meets the eye.
Someone called this people-watching,
you’re suspended as others pass by,
a warm drink in hand, the rain, a tattoo on your glasses.
No one meets the eye
apart from the lingering gaze that asks, “yi cha Koshur?”
but doesn’t ask, and peels away in the direction of the next train.
We are only conscious when seen,
We are only
when seen
we are seen.
We are each other’s witnesses.

1. “Yes, tell me”
2. “Is that person Kashmiri?”

III  The World Keeps Ending, We Head to the Next Lecture

You say the 21st century isn’t conducive to our roaring twenties.
I’m only half listening, trying to locate belonging
in the Egyptian myth we’re reading for lecture,
the self residing in the text, the text in the self. 

We feed on endless cups of coffee to get through that one reading,
you let the sunlight wash over you and wait.
You’re better at waiting.

We tease apart the same emotions over and over,
a post-liability, post-mirrorball state of mind,
ask “me and who” till one of us falls asleep,
we sleep with this sadness snug around us like a life jacket.

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About the Contributor

<a href="" target="_self">Saadia Peerzada</a>

Saadia Peerzada

Saadia Peerzada is a student of English and Creative Writing at Ashoka University.