The Cities


This poem appears in the August issue of Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts (page 83-84). Click here to read the entire issue, chock-a-block with quality fiction, non-fiction and visual art.

Two cities live in the City.

One survives on frozen habits
thawed every night–
cell phone alarms, recycled intercourse,
snores, chanted mantra-like.

It’s the city that keeps
offices, banks, coffee shops
and hospitals running
with tired precision.

This city chews on cold, stringy
for the deep-fried Friday
that follows.

The city’s twin blends with the usual city
smoother than cocktail mixes.
It walks with, holds hands of,
gives an ear to
the normal city.

The twin claims
park corners in stealth,
to exhale late-evening

This city doesn’t stiffen at night,
but flows over it–
river-like, turning nocturnal conventions
on their heads, revving up
bars, street corners.
Swinging to music, floating on lights,
jazzing up drinks
with heady alternatives.

It is the city that makes headlines,
with 3AM shootings, gang-war or not,
reminding the City Normal
to better watch out.
Or else.


9 thoughts on “The Cities

  1. “It is the city that makes headlines,
    with 3AM shootings, gang-war or not,
    reminding the City Normal
    to better watch out.
    Or else.”
    Bhaswati: It sounds as if I am reading about Karachi. But then cities all over the world have many similarities.
    My city has broad-daylight shootings leave alone the 3am ones. It has turf wars between political parties and gang-wars between their henchmen for controlling drugs. And once upon a time the metropolis was popularly known as “the city of lights”.

  2. Mohsin, you are so right about how this could be about Karachi or any other metropolis for that matter. They have a certain homogeneity despite all the apparent differences. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. This is terrific and you are quite right. Your ‘twin’ city is just about every city. And congrats for the publication. 🙂

  4. Very nice and congratulations on publication. reminded me of Eliot’s Prufrock. there is certainly more life in the other city but sadly it is suppressed by the glitter of the normal city and only surfaces through crime. let us hope that one day it will surface through revolution!!!

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