Ayaz Pirani‘s books include Happy You Are Here and Kabir’s Jacket Has a Thousand Pockets. His work recently appeared in ARC Poetry Magazine, The Antigonish Review, Guest 16, and The Malahat Review. Ayaz’s new book is How Beautiful People Are, available from Gordon Hill Press.
As a kid I’d hate to lose my way
to the drawers of Ornithology or African masks.
I didn’t fancy the Mesa blankets
and said no to all the Walks of Tears, of Fears, of Hunger.
Best was to find myself in the Ice Cream Shop
or Gift Shop,
the white people’s diorama
in which they do not disappear from the Earth.
I still don’t like pinned butterflies
and pieces of petrified forest you take home in your pockets.
I don’t need to see the sunken treasure
brought to dry land.
If there’s a gem
on the Queen of England’s crown
that I know belongs to my bride,
you won’t see me just reach out and take it.
—from Kabir’s Jacket Has a Thousand Pockets
At the party I’d like to be a person of interest
but will end up a person of color.
Instead of agency I’ll get stuck with adjacency.
I worship in gutters, dust ignores me.
Imagine the roar of a lion’s mouth
or a perch on the rim of Ngorongoro.
I’m not coming to greet your waves.
I won’t dance broom to broom.
Don’t ask me to breathe fire or starve a child.
I’m not shaking hands with wilted roses
or standing two-headed like scissors.
I’d rather retreat at the first balloon’s pop.
—from How Beautiful People Are
I didn’t measure up
to his over-joy.
Rarely did I meet him halfway
in the hallway.
I wasn’t that faithful.
spoke only one syllable
but I ignored
the very itch
he was interested in.
With Freud’s head-tilt
kept his thoughts and bones
was with the doorbell.
— manuscript in progress