Sascha Akhtar

© Christa Holka

the poet

Sascha Aurora Akhtar is a poet of the liminal – someone for whom all is magic. She considers herself a 'Pakistani-British-American: something reflected in the linguistic registers in her work. Her six poetry collections have been published by Salt, Shearsman, Contraband, The Emma Press, Knives, Forks & Spoons Press and ZimZalla. Her first short story collection, Of Necessity And Wanting, is due out from The 87 Press in October 2020, while Oxford University Press (India) will publish her first book of translations in 2021. Sascha's Poems For Eliot, from the book #LoveLikeBlood, was named number one poem of the past five years by Poetry Wales in the summer of 2019.

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the poems

Space dies for it

00:00 / 01:43

I am pure possibility
drinking with both heads out of wishing wells
geegaws to dust off, Dionysius

That remind me
of me picking manes
are you catching water
I give you wands imagine
I need to get out there with a vengeance
where is it I sit on a doll's platform
                         you do not marvel at the wonder of things.
 
Semi-state
hands smell like chicken
more words to give the mouth
                        chosen worlds

Send messages sometimes I seek 
sometimes, not
beaded colors
remind of another turn 
some reality
                       if I don't write them down, will they disappear.
 
I might close you off
I am losing sunshine
there is plenty for you to get stars twisted
& still, blessed be 
you are edgewise, edgewise
I would like to wrap my head in the salt of you
                       who knows how many near misses you've had.
 
The sky is majestic
otherwise oven gloves
people worried about library fines
being on their record
nothing impending
            words spoken go off

I met someone
undeniable
how is one supposed to keep track of days
                                      I stepped on your pile of nails.

Aethyrs

Restoration of temperature

00:00 / 02:03

Magnets collide, poles pushing
each other apart, each half
of the brain doing the same, crashing
the front of a car, red, burning
into a wall rhythmic & repeated

Ramming into the bricks bleeding
at the joints, the car is redder now,
my medulla love oblongata tending
the sails aloft & blossoming outwards
in a kiss-filled driving wind; Will, shining 
phallus of a female reading portents
in the moonscape of a cloudy night

Rising like death in a gas chamber
ambles with six legs of an arachnid, the carver
of slumber into nightmarish waltzes with familials

Jaws yawning & you
reflected in the epi-glottis 
hanging in the cavern of the throat
where words ring pealing like awakenings.

Under this heat-maddened sky
of language & commerce, donkeys rot
next to pye-dogs that rule 
the streets of days & night 
howling into forms that manifest
suspended over above our beds like rain

frozen in a pause

a blink, each moment flows
in a circuitous emblem 
designed to signify this immersion of senses,
a vice grip keeping the head down, breath
is all you can take, the mercury falling,
your abdomen a lilting cadence

the beginning song rustling through imaginary leaves
on trees festooned with glowing cups
ripe swords, sun-kissed winds

& lush pentacles.

Chaos Totem

00:00 / 01:45

If it is,
         condors in the night sky
a gilded wooing eruption
in the empress way of stars,
I hear each bar of the xylophone
beaten by their wings 
battling the atmosphere.

A wish to pass
behind the firewall, you.
 
If it is, 
         fire-starters in the dim
in the cavernous, in the ruins of the day
a pacing, piercing undulation
rippling under the skin,
I feel each dig of the claws
of the panther puncturing my lungs
to a paler, slivered shadow of breath.

Your smile glowing 
in the tint of a nuclear sun; the dream of red letters
every night, new.

If it is, 
         angels of mercy
unfurling ragged wings on runny skies
I see Sophia’s paintings dripping
on my head & each prayer wheel
spins in the temples of Kathmandu
furiously, yellow-bellied pigeons
fall over from lack of oxygen,
eggs are fried on the bonnets of cars 
& I hear the Noctiluca
roaring of its hunger. 
 
If it is, 
         I draw the line.
I choke the hold on time 
& supply runs short.

Shoals of unborns playing tantras with wooden legs
on tankers carrying oil explode 
& melt the very tarsoul of the road & you
you must run for your very, very life.

Publishing credits

Space dies for it: Astra Inclinant (Contraband Books)

Aethyrs: The Whimsy Of Dank Ju-Ju (The Emma Press)

Chaos Totem: Poetry International

© original authors 2020

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