A new book on poetry titled, “Green is the Colour of Memory” by Huzaifa Pandit is out. Kashmir Lit is happy to share an excerpt from the foreword by Nabina Das. She mentions: “This poet is from the mountains, valleys, springs, and rivers that have seen prolonged dark nights and not the dazzle of Bollywood silver screen as one from outside Kashmir would be made to believe. In the vein of the Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o who says “language is a war zone,” Huzaifa brings to his language a similar strident urgency. At times his expressions are heightened and the metaphors bristling. Never for a moment though has the diction relapsed into sloganeering or abjectness.”
Sharing two poems from the “Green is the Colour of Memory.” Please scroll to the bottom for links to buying the book.
At the cafes of your memory
Faiz, what befell the fellow travelers of late last night?
Where did the morning breeze halt?
Where did morning alight?
-Faiz Ahmed Faiz
At an avant-garde café in uptown Pune
the reserved tables celebrate
a teenager’s birthday in cosmopolitan English.
My nearly dead phone flares up with a call from home:
My mother laments in frayed kashmiri:
I am happy you aren’t home, two boys
were shot dead today.
The waiter sprinkles stale fury over my posh coffee
and computes the rushed sum of gunned death
on pale margins of an old novel
once read by my dead father:
Not a Penny Less, Not a Penny more.
The ghost of the balloon
that blew itself up like an old bomb blast
yesterday in the market
of my cowering poems incites me:
Stab the cricket babble,
set fire to the uncaring bids of cricketers,
bend the expensive cutlery of showy fashion
and split the pleased table of long-lived puberty.
My mother is so grateful I am safe and alive.
I am her world and her afterworld.
I must not argue about Kashmir; I must
keep safe. She suspects my poems are unsafe
and wants them shipped to her without delay.
The door of our house is blocked
By the tent set up by a timeworn hartal to celebrate
the death anniversary of Republic of Tricolored-Death.
The stiff tent will be led to the mazaar tomorrow-
Brown bamboo bones packed neatly in coffin-white canvas.
The courier will then reach me.
She drops the dead phone. I rise and pay my overdue bill,
shake the birthday boy’s surprised hand,
smile politely, and wish him a long life ahead.
Autobiography [ was published in Kashmir Lit]
I could never taste
The purple fire that decayed
On the thorn less roses
That lay strangely inert to the loud sneeze
Of the maghrib azaan
Peeled off from the cold sun
Itching from the damp blanket
Of the pale clouds
Emptied of all steel colored rain.
I could never hear
Fully the lisping breeze
When it injects the garden weeds
With drowsy epilepsy
And they scream off the phantasmagoria
Bred in bedded drugged asylums
That dot the summer plagued city.
I have often tried to touch
The overgrown pine trees
And their bare brown bones
That protrude beneath bottle green flesh.
But I could never store
Their black silhouettes in my skin memory
All my poor sketches were burnt
And surreal photos confiscated
for authentic forgery.
I have rarely tried to examine
The minutiae of the navy blue sky.
When I tried yesterday evening
And the evening last cold September
And the blue snowing December
I found the sole pinkish magenta bird
Circling, wailing, hungry
Pecking at the barren ashen clouds
For that date buried by history
When the wise old crows
Cursed it a curse
The length of a crawling century.
I sit in the steaming kitchen
And listen to snippets of conversation
Between simmering oil
and the cold refrigerator
they talk about the blue thin wires
that transmit misled emotions
to the circuit of cognitive penury.
Here I am an old man
Waiting for the warm day to sink
At the rusted gates of the old cemetery
crafted in my memory.
Where to buy the book:
In Kashmir and India place your order here: http://www.hawakal.com/books/english-books/green-is-the-colour-of-memory/