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For the Love of Exaggeration and Other Poems – Rizwan Akhtar

Feb 20, 2022 | Poetry | 2 comments

The World is Not Spiritual

(an elegy to Pandemic)

First you did not include me
in the picture I was a dot

now out of perspective
homeless with smudges

even silence fingers at us
language carries that old feud

so time to go in hibernation
the curse of living too close

things slipped out of hands
the sand of our past memory

pours dramatically on walls
and tongues held by vistas

a chorus of scandal holds me
a holy shred of a lost scripture.

Death of Privacy

–for Rebecca

night long and vigilant like an insect
over and over hands chafed the chin

there was a creepy tick-tock of clock
a fat lizard on the wall watched still

why reptiles are stones of meditation
green oceans calm in a parietal eye

but abrupt gales can rock any shrine of
privacy make the old patient trees yell

even bodies to scamper for hide-outs—
I orbit my cheeks with trembling palms

you left the relic of your lips on my face
afterwards I became a museum of loss

the secrets were no more sacred a mute
exchange continued while demons waited

at my door where we hugged to stay alive
the world continues to judge abstractions.

Winter’s First Rain

many of us believe that August’s rain in Lahore
will be a preamble to a long winter with trees
bequeathing what they horded in branches now
lean sentences unable to fix a story that lashed
in dusty summers utterly notching and regular
horizontal needles of rain sew ponderously
made those eyes puddles and wet walls
turned half-puffed cheeks eking out anecdotes
tongues resurfaced like quilts stowed long
in ghostly cupboards (who sneaked there!)
an embrace inside the kitchen a noisy kiss
covered by raindrops a voice held out there
in a dark verandah water finally laid its bed.


Confessions of a Deferred Muse

The silence this time is of different tone
wedged between a feather and a bird

an unwincing wind scatters its body
but you are simply intact and whole

though my interventions cluttered
housed by words you survived well

a vocabulary of trespassing shocked
breasts compressed behind the dress

a rushing image all in red uprooted
my peace now a wood eaten by termite

a smile buried in apple-cheeks
puffed by late night sleep scraping me

from the memory of rapid conversations
in mind’s archive where a worm of desire

crawls over hands and wrists chafing us
there is a chance of getting together only

if you bring me a new sentence to fix
the story we may continue without break.

For the Love of Exaggeration

There happened to be a time I took rains
for words falling from skies loaded over
created that resonant patter on me what
was so dear then the silence now rattled
by windows balustrading the long hours
even trees spooked wanted to hold on
like sentences wobble on weak verbs
before becoming saner passages like
abandoned white pages become damp
called it a pretext for a hiatus same as
dry spells made us look at dull horizons
serrations inside a cleavage and midriff
an excuse to wet and yes the rain that
never stops is the love trapped behind
logging a complaint every moment cheeks
confronted a globule an arrow pierced face.




Rizwan Akhtar’s debut collection of Poems Lahore, I Am Coming (2017) is published by Punjab University Press.He has published poems in well-established poetry magazines of the UK, US, India, Canada, and New Zealand. He was a part of the workshop on poetry with Derek Walcott at the University of Essex in 2010


  1. Aniqa

    The images created – fascinating yet feels at home, bound to stay with you forever. The kind of poetry that’s thematically rich, engages you, makes you experience it’s language over and over.

  2. Numan

    Loved and enjoyed the ways, Dr. Rizwan Akhtar aestheticized and cherished nature! Simply loved it.


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