Kaiser Haq
ASIAN ART
 
On The Blink

My wall clock has stopped
With hour hand at 8
And minute hand at 36
Or 37, depending
On where you’re looking from:
Parallax or something
I once learnt in high school science.
The second hand jerks
Between 40 and 41,
Like a discharging dick.

The batteries need changing
But I don’t change them.
My wristwatch isn’t on my wrist
But I don’t open the drawer
To look at it
Or take it out and strap it on.
I’ve no idea what time it is
And I donít give a damn.

I don’t turn on the radio or TV—
Keeps reminding you of the time.
The newspaper, slid under the door,
Takes a catnap — I glance at it
But don’t pick it up
Or try to read the big headlines—
Feels good not to bother.
My head’s light as a feather,
Without a care in the world—
A balloon filled with well-being.

The leaves on the trees
Play soft tambourine music— So soft, it’s only in my fancy I hear it.
The sun yawns and swallows
A procession of candyfloss clouds.
The day vanishes behind a veil of azure.
Feels like I could stay like this forever.
Don’t know if I should put a word to it
But if you could ask Gautama
Heíd perhaps tell you itís a kind of nirvana.

Ah, nirvana, I sigh,
Settling into the peace that passeth understanding,
And catch the prick hand bobbing
And then stop.
Just like that.
At once time rushes in
Through every crack and opening
With all the hideous clamour of voices and things,
Tales of time-serving technocrats,
Anxieties over time running out,
Promises revised and deferred,
The globe spinning out of control,
The “Hidden Hunger” of the headlines
And hosts of half-hidden desires—
The usual, nothing extraordinary—
For money, sex, power.
I take out my watch,
Start rummaging in the drawer
For a couple of double-A batteries.

(Note: “Hidden Hunger”: Recently, when it was alleged that rapid price rises had brought on famine in parts of Bangladesh, the government declared that that wasn’t the case, there was only some “hidden hunger.”)


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