Manhood-Necked Naked Tattered Boy

Asad Ali

I hope my nation is freed someday.

I am very tired and

my neck is manhood.


Let me lay my head back in a garden at midnight.


Right outside of here,

where in desolate apartments, we

realized that there are no mechanics to my voice.


Another strange call:

“There is something you need God to do. Press 1 now, press 1 now!


But even pimps and their whores

understand the physics of paper airplanes.


So do the Jinn, supposedly made of smokeless fire.


The Jinn want to fix the blisters in our feet

from when we wore these dust-colored shoes

like we were again or still departing from home.


Sometimes I can be farsighted.


I hope your nation is someday. To exist is a triumph of our best estimates and unknowing sighs.


You — human of nation — are.

Your rose shine, your verbose apologies to God

your marveling at the Well of Death.

Even your recognition of the scent of my mother’s winter embrace.


There are parts for everything these days:

Mowing lawns, kissing foreheads in resignation

Institutes of Design and even paper airplanes.


Paper airplanes, now that tattered and free boys can jump in the sun,

run into small huts, and envy me.

Asad Ali is a Pakistani-American writer and current undergraduate at the University of Virginia. His style of writing revolves around the deconstruction and abstraction of the ghazal, a sonnet-like form of poetry originating in 7th century Arabia, as it has been used in the South Asian context (e.g., Urdu poetry).


Ali's work has previously been published in Flux Magazine at the University of Virginia and the A3 Review.