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Volume 6

Spring 2010


Written by
Eshal Saleem

On Eshal, a review: Clarissa Dalloway meets the twitchy witchy girl in the often confused, often endearing narrative following the misadventures of one Eshal Saleem. Freedom songs, flights of fancy and foolhardy notions preoccupy the minds of this (self-proclaimed) ‘prodigal’ pastel prima donna, as she attempts to versify the mundane into the extraordinary. Her illicit tryst with a pen and paper lead to her (more often than not) falling flat on her face, though. Recommended for pure guilty pleasure and a sometimes absorbing read. Three stars out of five. Rated PG-13 for inappropriate material.


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Let Them Eat Cake


She is sepia’s lovechild
Photoshopped and airbrushed;
Antiqued in the fair-haired flame
Of a solitary candle that trembles
Beneath the Fahrenheit of her
tempestuous husband.

Beneath this quarreling couple rests a
Gingerbread cake with candied cranberries,
A hint of crystallized ginger, and for that
Satiny smooth finish, lemon icing and
Mother’s most loved: Sauteed apple.
There is, of course, the solitary gingerbread man
Complete with raisin shirt-buttons and a
smile I know all too well.

The effect of this could be captured well,
I believe,
In a child artist’s
Acrylic impression.
Smudged perhaps with grease from yesterday’s
Leftovers and the residue
Of his personal sandcastle.

As this five foot seven India ink
Notices the candle fulfill its final rite
In a nutmeg and flour funeral pyre; her fate an effigy
To a life unlived, and the stories that might remain
She closes her eyes and whispers her secret wish
Perhaps to the cookie with the unwavering smile
Perhaps as a sermon to the one with wavering resolve.
Run. Run. As fast as you can. Be wary of the river wide
And the sly fox of fairytale who might offer you a ride.
Only she is several heartbeats too late, and the Venetian red
Has reduced itself to the familiar shades of mundane.

But from her waxen ashes emerges
An inferno of infinite idealism

Today they clap their hands in celebration
For their daughter’s twenty-third,
Toasting daddy’s favorite machinegirl
and mommy’s as well.
Tomorrow they will find her gone.
With such swiftness she shall disappear
That the scent of lemon from behind their kitchen door
will not even have
spread itself to nonbeing.

No more gingerbread men lying on a tray,
They all jumped up and ran away.
Oh, how you wish
they had stayed with you to play.*
* from the popular children’s rhyme.



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