MonthOctober 2011

yesterday.

i remember yesterday
as if it were yesterday.
and the day before that
as if it were the day before yesterday.

but the moment i remember any day
before the day before yesterday
as if it were yesterday,
i forget the day
that was yesterday.

Why is it so loud? I can’t hear myself yell.

after life, part four

“Mariam is in heaven,” said the imam.

“In heaven?” asked Nabeeha.

“Yes, all children go to heaven. Well, most children go to heaven.”

“Why are we in hell? Shouldn’t there be judgement before hell? Aren’t we supposed to be in our graves?”

“Should? I don’t know what should happen. I can only tell you about what has happened, and about what is happening. There’s a lot you have to let go after death. You can’t depend on the things you’ve read, or the things you’ve been taught for that matter.”

“So, what is happening?” asked Saleem.

“You died and you came to hell. Your daughter went to heaven. As to why you are in hell? I don’t know. It’s always seemed arbitrary to me. Maybe you did something that didn’t please the Lord. Or maybe you were just ignored.”

The group heard a roaring thunder. Rain drops fell from above, never reaching the ground. They meshed into the fog, and it thickened. It became harder to breathe.

“Have we angered the Lord?” Nabeeha asked.

“We may have,” said the imam, “but this is normal fare.”

“What is it?”

“The rain you see above the fog, every drop of that is a prayer. A prayer God’s ignored or unanswered, which is most of them. Those prayers fuel this fog.”

“How can we see Mariam?” Nabeeha asked, coughing from the fog.

“How do we get to heaven?” asked Saleem.

The imam laughed, “Heaven? No, we aren’t going to heaven. But we are going to have to get to work.”

after life, part three

“I’m sorry this is all so sudden and jarring,” said the paramedic, “it’s a lot to take in. We’re going to take you out to meet Nabeeha now. I have to prep the room for the next person.”

The imam took Saleem by the hand and helped him off the bed. They kept walking and Saleem could not see an exit to the room. A few steps later a wall with a door appeared before them, as if the imam had willed the wall into being. The world outside seemed familiar, a lot like earth itself. Paved roads, but no cars. The trees and grass were present, too. But there was something different. It was hard to see and breathe. A constant warm fog lay over everything.

In the distance Nabeeha was examining a leaf on the ground. It lay there amongst the others, lifeless and void of colour. All the leaves on all the trees were the same, and so too the grass, lifeless.

“It’s true what they say,” the imam pointed out, “the grass is greener on the other side.” If anything hell was not void of humour.

Saleem started to rush toward Nabeeha.

“Don’t,” said the imam as the couple went into an embrace, “don’t do that.”

Nabeeha and Saleem felt a warmth between them, as one would would in an embrace like this. Body heats meshing in a hug. Skin touches skin enhancing emotions. But this embrace was unlike any other. Their warmth turned to a sharp pain, and they let go of each other. The punishment for embrace is pain, it’s the price you have to pay to be with a loved one in hell.

The imam caught up to the couple, “I’m sure the two of you have many questions.”

“Where’s Mariam?” they two said together.

after life, part two

Saleem woke up to a blurred daze. One not much different from before he had passed out. He felt strong glowing lights in a room that seemed like it would never end. He was on a bed, connected to a drip that you would see in any typical hospital along with a machine showing his heart beats. Two men sat in two chairs. One of them seemed familiar, like the paramedic in the ambulance. The other man was too hard to see, some things were still blurry.

“Are you okay, brother?” said the paramedic.

“What happened?” asked Saleem.

“You were in an accident.”

“An accident?” Saleem had almost forgotten, “An accident! Where’s Nabeeha, is she okay? Can I see her?”

“Yes, you can see her soon. She’s already awake.”

“Oh, thank God!”

“How are you feeling?”

“I feel warm, like I’m heating up. I think I’m feeling sick. Where are we?”

“In the entry room.”

“The entry room? What’s an entry room?”

“It’s where people from accidents like yours first come.”

“I don’t understand. Where’s Mariam?”

“Saleem, I need to know if you’re in the right state of mind before we can have this conversation,” the medic said, with a stern look on his face.

The second man in the room came closer to the bed. He wore a black kufi that sat upon his greying hair, but matched his thawb. He held a tasbeeh in his right hand, the full 99 beads. Saleem immediately thought that he was some imam, here to recite some blessings for his daughter in some attempt to console him.

“Oh God, this can’t be happening. Tell me she’s alive. Tell me that Mariam isn’t dead,” Saleem said in a manic panic while he rose to sit in his bed.

The paramedic held Saleem’s hand, an odd form of reassurance.

“Saleem, you’re all dead.”

“What? That doesn’t make any sense,” Saleem could feel his heart rate slowing.

“The warmth you’re feeling isn’t sickness, Saleem. You are in hell.”

“Wait, what?”

vibes

i have been waiting
for quite a while, but
those positive vibes
you said you’d send
never arrived.

those vibes aren’t alive,
and even if they did arrive,
they’d be dead on arrival.
far beyond repair,
far beyond revival.

i think sending vibes is
a feel good thing –
for the sender.
do me a favour then,
put them on some shelf.
keep your vibes to yourself.

maybe next time you
can send me something
useful, like a set
of disposable pens.

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