THREE EPISTLES

Ataturk Turkish Embassy, Karachi 16 August, 1957 Mrs. Mariam Jan, “Katrina” Pindi Point, Murree, West Pakistan Dear Madam, I have received your letter. Thank you very much for good wishes expressed therein. I have pleasure enclosing herewith a photograph of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as requested. Yours faithfully for Ambassador of Turkey Ercument Yavuzalp, First Secretary.

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OLD FORMS WILL NOT BE ENTERTAINED (a sign at the India Consulate, New York) For David Barsamian Old chants to the Ganges shall not be entertained Dead cows float in holy water unrestrained Family roots shall be ascertained Nationality of mother should reign Old friends shall not be entertained I pledge allegiance to the newly-famed…

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A RESURRECTION My mother tells this story about her childhood in Kashmir years before she married my father. “I remember our horse Burak, hoofs scuffing snow, nostrils fuming, hitched to an open cart. Relatives, showering rice and rose petals on Mohammed’s shrouded body— the son my father always wanted to whom I was betrothed— wailed…

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GOOD FORM for Keith Bayard, a demigod Winsome nymphs in thongs over gym tights, nebbishes nerds nudnicks aging stud-muffins, twitterbots, bloggers, gal jocks with polished fingers racing down the steps without touching the chrome banisters, I love it here. First day of work out I all but faint on the green broadloom as you cradle…

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FIRE TREE Tips of his mustache whip braided, a turbaned invader four centuries ago carried Persian saplings in a caravan across the Himalayas to Kashmir. “Our chinar will last a thousand years,” my grandfather said as rustling boughs reigned above the tin roof of the house where I was born a Scorpio at midnight. Every…

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RANT FOR GAZA Now is the summer of our discontent. Banned bombs, Made in America, once again rain down mercilessly on the world’s largest open-air prison. Photos of Raggedy Ann dolls pulled out from Gaza’s burning debris makes steeliest men sob. How do middle-class Muslim youth from Seattle to Srinagar manage, to the extent they…

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MOTHER WRITES TO INDIRA GANDHI Dear Madam Just wondering, what’s transpiring? Why does India despair of your Emergency? Media are saying: Our star is fading While you’re busy sexing a swami. A pilot wants to bucklemeup in his sexjet. He’s pompous. Frequency has amplified. Madam G, hear my plea. Empty the sky. Show your ire.…