Thinking Tank

“Imagine there’s no heaven”
John Lennon

Imagine a world where battle
tanks are sabzi mandi.
Think of the hard body making room
for carrots to clamber.
Around the caterpillar both sides
we can thrash sugarcane for juice.
The cannon firer will sprinkle water
to keep the spinach fresh
the cucumbers cool, and think
how it’d occasionally lob a melon
into the buyer’s shopping bag.
Imagine a world where tanks
can be libraries. The hatch a perfect
bookaholic’s hole. Think how
there’s enough perch to hang
legs on the sides, read a Pamuk
or a Kamala Das, chat up a Chomsky
and make love to Lorca.
Think of books smelling
like gunpowder of the mortar
of a poet’s imagination.
Imagine a world where tanks
become a baby’s cradle, softly
rocking on to move all anguish
away. Rocking the boat in rough
waters, swinging and singing. Think
how all tanks would only cradle
smiling faces. Think of no battles.
Imagine a world of only thinking tanks.


no war, no cry

yes woman, yes we cry
do we cry because we give up?
we give up because someone takes hold
taking hold also means they tie a woman’s hands
tying is an act of violence, tying hurts
hands can hurt as can our hearts
hearts are nothing but a bouquet of muscles
muscles also make up the hands that paint and write
we write elegies and songs because women will sing
elegies are for the dead whether heroes or harlots
harlot is a name they give us when we speak up
your audacity will cost us nations and men, they say
nations are not made up of women who cry
nations are made up of men who sound a war cry
men are not going to cry over women and their songs
but men are crying over the dead, they think it’s dreadful
dreadful is when we have soldiers lining the graves
grave is when we sing for each life as though they were ours
life is when we stop crying and stand up holding hands
hands are those that write love letters
hands that snap the cuffs and ropes to fly
love flies when all of us raise our voices and then we hear –
someone is playing in the building next door
no woman no cry!