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A Song Of Utter Longing

By Zishan Shah

In your eyes I’ve watched me grow up,

As you grew up with me.

I’ve seen them glow, and I’ve seen them dark,

And I’ve seen them see me.

I know I have done you wrong-

I was bound back then; as I am now.

But let us walk side by side

And let me remind you-

Let me remind you the cold

You remind me your warmth

Let’s relive us.

The hands of the wall clock rolled my time away,

The light was so bright, I couldn’t tell night from day.

I don’t want much ‘cept remembrance

I don’t want to be the only one to remember:

How the weather turned;

how the air was funny

how the sun was quiet…

And it was all so for us.

And then came the tide…

Come gather ‘round boys

And I’ll tell you a story,

Of a broken foot-soldier

And a king without glory

And there I was lost again…

In every minute of your glory

In every day in your kingdom

I’ve only tried to be free.

Its cold outside here-

Through the holes in my jacket its creeping in my skin

It’s touching my bones.

My tea is almost finished

It’s cold, yes,

It’s hard to think here

So, I stopped thinking!

I stopped thinking and started writing

Now hold the broken cup you filthy beggar

Hold it still!

Hold it ‘neath the stream


Let it spill what spills…

Let it stay what stays…

Now drink from that cup

Drain it empty

Go piss now

And come back tomorrow.

The poetess speaks of her golden rug

Shining ‘neath the sky of azure,

While her mother sits naked

With the priest of the poor.

My mind was mangled for a long time

I had it all backwards and untrue;

I thought the difference was obvious, yet

There was no difference at all!

You belong to all that is here and all belongs to you.

A lonesome poet tries

To write down a sacrifice

Of which he shall brag on later

When he presents to a pair of deep blue eyes.

Dirt ‘neath the blue toenail

Foggy mist in black eye

Green moss in the stone jail

White spots in yellow sky

One legged singing sparrow

Toothless painted barking tramp

Day at end with dull tomorrow

Flickering light of the midnight lamp

Deafened blinding yellow servings

Of thought to primitive to free

Incited derived limited and marked

By language most easeful to thee

I got your photograph yesterday,

It reminded me of the cold autumn

When I first told you-

of my love for you,

And you walked away

In your frozen footsteps I’ve found

The joy of knowing I can love too

I was unfortunate then; just as the time then,

That I couldn’t but tell you something I know was true

It is getting late now, my eyes are weary,

The candle’s almost gone

I’ll bid farewell to you once again

And wish the same thing again…

For you to come.

It was whispered a long time ago

It seems to me you really don’t want to know.

It all started when it got to my head

Not the rainbow pickled song, but the rain instead.

Speak slowly now

Let me take it all in

Walk slowly too

Take me by my hand

Talk of tomorrow now

Talk of beauty

Talk of disappearing art

Talk of certainty

Lay down with me now

Lay down softly

Let me hear your heartbeat

Put it to me plainly

Close your eyes now

Open your soul

It’s only you and it’s only me

We’re here all alone

And so the story goes…

In a forest far far away

Under a dark secluded cave

Lies something long foretold

In a green dusty haze

There is a faded trail that leads to it

And a dusty one to the trail

Covered with red dust in the beginning

Mingles with leaves and flowers frail.

I would say it is atop a mountain

Or a deep way below a valley

But I know not, for I haven’t glanced

‘cept at the rocks that covers it fully.

Leave for it at once!

And so I went…

Let me come to you now,

It seems to be the only way

I am tired now, half asleep

Wake me up now, wake me up

I’ve felt a warmth in you

When you grabbed my finger

When you pushed me aside

When you looked at me for a second longer

When you looked away

Now let me come and smile my heart out

And you smile with me…

I’ll tell you of the girls I met:

Lily is perky and dances

Swearing for a cold hard beer

Her sister’s blouse is too loose for her

And there ain’t no one to hear

Daisy got it all figured out

When she climbed up the golden staircase

The first words to her as she walked in:

“Ma’am, please get out my face.”

Now little girl Marie is crying

For her mama to stay with her

But mama’s got a tough new boyfriend

Round the town called medicine-man peter

I’ve been to the other side of the river

Where witches were stoned to death

Where the dogs bark at you after six

Where pudding was always for all

So lonesome was I, and so scared

When I left my home and away I fared

Far away to know life as it is

And its songs were all I cared…

You have held back a secret from your lips

Which your eyes give away

I’ll pretend to not have known it

And come back another day

I don’t have pretty words for you

All I have is blasphemy

I don’t have a love song for you

At least not one I can sing

I have written my tale in places all around the town

I have sown my memories in the thick leaves of the trees

I have hidden a song in the smell of early winter

And a tear in the light of the baby moon

Old is the time here and old is the town

So is the sand: all dark and brown

Old is the sea and the song it sings

Of deep blue love and forgotten things…

The flowers stood hard through the late-night rainfall

And as the morning mist lifted, gleamed the dews on the petals

Watching them the romantics wrote pretty poems

But the truth of the night was understood only by a bum

Let me go walk alone now

So is the time

The sun has set, the night come out

And with it, old memories

Let me be swallowed by the night

Somewhere way down the line

Where I met you, like I used to

In wholesome cold mysteries

Now show me who you are

To not, will be a bitter crime

For I have waited too long

Not fewer than a few centuries

Go on and come inside me

So that I can mime

My songs to you in wordless motions-

A song for songs of victories

Ring them loud, ring them

Wind chimes

For they too, now, destroys them

Baseless insecurities

Carry them forth

Your foolish rhymes

Come let’s build together

Out penultimate masterpiece

I have known and learned a lot now-

A few things I am yet to know:

The courage and strength of Achilles

And of love like Quasimodo’s

But despair not- for I have seen life

Seen Pol Pot; Ivan the Terrible

And many, many others

And there hits the irony

Their inhumanness makes me human

Their cruelty makes me know my own love

So don’t let go of your suffering

For it’s the only way

Hold on to it tight, understand it

And open hearted in the darkness must you lay

What can you tell me in this regard

For I am drawn incessantly to the beauty

What can you show me now ‘cept a timid meadowlark

Now that I have caught a glimpse of infinity

Hold me tight now, before the throbbing starts

Don’t let go when it starts

This melting ice, this glowing sun

The blowing wind, the moving star

Are they a sign? For only now they showed


Before the final pangs of hurt

Go cut your hair out of your eyes

Put your heart out of grief

We couldn’t go, you and I

But know,

Only with you I found relief

Now take heed of the soft wind

Reminding us of the times gone by

You and I and our bicycles

The cold night beneath the oak tree

The same wind put us to sleep back then

It has come back to make me sleep now…

By Zishan Shah

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