Poem introduction

I live much of the time in Bombay/Mumbai, which is a city that looks like its held together with sticks and sellotape and string. It's an image of fragility and that's found its way into these poems.

Living Space / One Breath

Living Space

There are just not enough
straight lines. That
is the problem.
Nothing is flat
or parallel. Beams
balance crookedly on supports
thrust off the vertical.
Nails clutch at open seams.
The whole structure leans dangerously
towards the miraculous.

Into this rough frame,
someone has squeezed
a living space

and even dared to place
these eggs in a wire basket,
fragile curves of white
hung out over the dark edge
of a slanted universe,
gathering the light
into themselves,
as if they were
the bright, thin walls of faith.

One Breath

All it would take
is one slammed door
to make the whole thing
fall. One bottle hurled
against a wall,
to start the hammering
on the heart
and crack
the body’s shell.
One sneeze, one cough,
one doubt.

All it would take
is one breath,
no more.


from Postcards from God (Bloodaxe, 1997), © Imtiaz Dharker 1997, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Recordings

Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker Downloads

1Speech Balloon

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2Purdah

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3The Haunted House

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4The Child Sings

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5Postcards from god I

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6Postcards from god II

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7Scaffolding

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8Question 1 / Question 2

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9Eggplant

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10Living Space / One Breath

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11Blessing

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12This room

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13Honour killing

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14The right word

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15Kinna sona

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16A place called Battle

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17How to cut a pomegranate

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18Women bathing

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19Tow-Path

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20Spire

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21Leaving fingerprints

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22Contract

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23Hand of Fatima, Hand of Miriam

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24Eye

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25Whoever you are

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26Talisman / CCTV

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27The temporary face

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28Dabba's dialogue or Tiffin-box talks

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29What she said / what she said later

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30What the palm reader said then

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31What they think she said

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32They'll say, 'She must be from another country.'

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Books by Imtiaz Dharker