25 Points: Light and Heavy Things

ImageLight and Heavy Things
by Zeeshan Sahil
BOA Editions, 2013
56 pages / $16.00 buy from BOA Editions








1.  this is such a nice song oh my god

2. Zeeshan Sahil was born in Hyderabad, Sindh in the ‘60s. He wrote within a fairly small and well known circle of Pakistani poets who to my mind are the Urdu answer to Bolano’s Infrarealismo movement. -A lot of prose poetry going on, a lot of experimenting with if not ignoring meter and rhyme entirely. A lot of art.

3. He published eight collections of poetry in Urdu (mostly free verse though) and also wrote for broadcast radio which is no small thing for someone in Pakistan in the time period.

4. Experimental poets writing for radio in a war torn area, kinda a thing.

5. This book is 56 pages and it took a team of three translators to bring it into English.

6. Sometimes he writes from the perspective of a woman, I think.

7. I sometimes wear lipstick to make a point.

8. He makes his point in such a quiet way, in such a vulnerable, elegant, this thin glass lightbulb could shatter in your hands at any minute way, that it’s disarming, astounding. Like eerily demure. Entirely manipulative and totally works for him.

9. “I’m not saying, I’m just saying” all over these pages. All day long with the vulnerability in his manipulativeness.

10. We forgive him.

11. I think he was really doing was expressing the way an elderly lady in Pakistan would feel genuinely, and also with really good intentions. What has happened here? Why does this happen? Etc.

12. A lot of these poems are like, “It was a sunny day and now here is gore.”

13. Which, probably what it’s like to be living in a war. One minute you’re in your living room and there’s tension but you’re still breathing then one minute you have no living room and it’s like okay guess I’ll find my ear in this rubble now.

14. “This heart is a bomb.”

15. He uses these inane metaphors but it’s like obvious he knew they were inane I think he was like, “Oh you think this example is lame? Know what’s lame? Genocide. You’re bored? Try being me.”

16. The translators agree with me, this is not a far fetched point, I’m right about this. It totally rules.

17. It’s like he’s using a throw back to say what’s going on is a throw back and it’s like god that is so boring and he’s like, isn’t it all, though, war? Isn’t war just so, oh I don’t know, archaic?

18. “Not looking in any direction, you moved away from me.” The you, the political powers that be, people.

19. From the poem, “Jail” (page 32):

You sing.
You dream
But your dreams
Have forgotten the way to your house.
Maybe you are even forgotten
By the ant for whose sake
You sprinkled
Your ration of sugar
Onto the floor.

20. I feel like he reminds me of Adrienne Rich sometimes, of all poets:

when the mail is delivered again
every day a postcard
with news that we’re alive
will reach our friends.
maybe they will come here
to search for us
where people who are always searching
are lost.

21. “will design canvas shoes
and gowns for poor women
on her computer.”

22. That last one was like okay woah with the whole suburban girl being like, “I want to help the world. I want to feel like I am doing good. I have a date for brunch in twenty minutes.” And he’s all: Man I just hate dumb people. Do I even want “help” from people at this point?

23. “You could call where we live a house//you can live never lifting your head.”

24. “That girl I love who doesn’t want//to read a poem begins a story.”

25. “Despite the eternal anger of God toward poets//my prayer begins with you.”

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  1. Faisal Siddiqui

      Lovely list, Nicolle. Just a little typo, Zeeshan was born in Hyderabad, Sindh.

  2. Nicolle Elizabeth

      OH MY GOD. we’re on it. mea culpa, my bad!

  3. M. Kitchell

      yr reviews always make me want to immediately buy the book at hand, which is awesome

  4. Nicolle Elizabeth

      hey! aweee thnxthnx

  5. Ty

      thanks fer this review; i ordered it.