Afshan Shafi: Billion dollar boy

Billion dollar boy

I’ve always been alone on the mother-heath
and she didn’t perform soliloquies
and she didn’t perform that nesting symbology either
it’s so much lovelier to droop,
lovelier to droop deeper-
there’s a mysticism
down there revealed to me in iambs,
a spurious adhesive frivolity
(always a professional introvert at my elbow,
the chinchilla-ed eye)
New affronts were never alluded to in halves
everything, the dimensions of concerned women,
the vacant men who created dolls.
everything a peculiar stroke of hail
accompanying the cubic soul
I’ve always had a complex about reincarnation;
I want to initiate that temporal blout.
I feel guilty writing even one word on the silk
of the world.
Who will deny me the haunted grin
and spillage of this lacquered earth,
they all have drawn someone to the covert and pushed the
loveless back, back where no coroner melts their hearts
over corrugated flame
The world is a square of white hessian,
pontificated between thumb and forefinger,
I reiterate those dour energies; asters in a fish tank
I reiterate those sour orchids at evening; intrinsic aliens
The only unconquered thing on earth
is a boy’s heart, the only inexplicable motive
the reason he loves at all.
Let us not admonish those carriers, their Parisian glossolalia
I want to steal something; a horologist’s naive
leather strap, no
I want to get the rim of my face,
rendered in plutonium by a Milanese confabulist
I want to feel the melodious hinges, the puffed bone,
the mega-powder empath behind the pectoral star
I want the riddle-atom of the ghost stars,
I want all the godly shapes, though bridled in speed
I want the confessed article, on cloud paper
confessing the drowned buildings
I want the confession of the river, alone,
its shining lash
I want to speak the blurred grain of water,
to speak not of omnipotence
crocodiles on shore
but guilt;
the hazard of seeing it all.


Afshan Shafi lives in Lahore and has studied English Literature and International Relations at the University of Buckingham and Webster Graduate School London. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Poetry Wales, Blackbox Manifold, Flag + Void, Luna Luna, Clinic, and 3am magazine,. Her poems have also appeared in the anthologies, Smear (edited by Greta Bellamacina), The New River Press Yearbook, and When They Start To Love You As A Machine You Should Run (edited by Heathcote Ruthven). Her debut chapbook of poems, Odd Circles was published by Readings (Pakistan) in 2014. As part of the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan she has appeared on BBC World, The Times (UK), The Economist’s Culture magazine (1843) and The Christian Science Monitor. For her work as a poet she was interviewed by Arte Tv (France) and Words Without Borders. She has also served as a poetry editor for The Missing Slate and as an assistant editor for GoodTimes magazine.

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