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In Farsi,
Birds are called ‘parindey’
And inhabitants are called ‘baashindey’
And even though I know what they are called in Hindi,
I pretend that I don’t,
And still,
I am oblivious to what they are called
In the tongue of the French or the Japanese or the Dead.
I wonder how a tongue can roll to gestate shame
And spew it forth as the words are born.
So when I am questioned what music I like the most,
My answer is always the same–instrumental.

White, pink, black,
Die, live, ransack,
And when I see your silhouette,
I restructure my yawn and purse my lips into an ‘O’,
That’s the only shape I require
To attempt to sing an instrumental.
And if there rests some credibility in me,
Know that through that little circle of my lips
I can swallow you whole;
And when I would have absorbed you into my conscience
Like an ocean devours a civilisation
Nearing its violent extinction,
I’d have learnt one more language,
And yet,
My most beloved music would remain the same.

I once revealed I have pyrophobia
With my speaking tongue and quivering hands,
Sat with the enemies of the state
And unveiled my treasure
Like a tactic overriding war manifestos
To have myself conquered.
But it doesn’t manifest itself so much
At the sight of embers contracting upon
Skins of maladies worn upon illusioned hearts
Than it does at the taste of the fire
You torch within my mouth,
And the colour of my teeth transcends
From white to ashes,
And solid remnants of my tongue slither
To taste its own melt,
And languid bodies of fireflies
Drip down from my palate and fly out.
Tell me, do you breathe fire
While my throat scalds wordlessly?

My mouth is an immortal enigma,
Buried in sepulchres in lands of concentration camps,
And when it tries to imitate mandarin,
The sound echoes through the
Synagogues built over the land,
Encircling, thumping the altars.
It’s where I was baptized
When I had just been reborn
In your unholy water of your own truth.
Behind the portraits hanging upon the walls
There exists a lattice that interlaces
Victims and perpetrators of centuries.
Tell me, aren’t some of the victims tied
To their perpetrators through wordless love?

I have decided to write my biography
With instruments alone.
The ones who want to taste it would taste
The tinge of turmeric draped in pistachio shells,
The ones who want to see would see
How fear of fire can co-exist with its desire,
And for the ones who wish to listen,
All of them would listen to the same story,
For the melody of an instrument is a polyglot,
Different languages, same tongue, same words,
And yet, only those who wish to understand
Would succeed at deciphering,
For the rest, it would cease to exist
After it dies a diaphanous death.

What is music called in Farsi?

By Swapnil 

About Swapnil:
Swapnil, 21, appreciates the beauty of words just as much as he appreciates the beauty of numbers and rhythms. He believes there is an order underneath all chaos that needs to be discovered. His works have previously appeared in Inklette and Textploit, and he is presently pursuing the cliché (albeit lovely!) field of engineering in computer science.

Artwork by Charles Avery.

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