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Volume 5

Fall 2009


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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The Heroine That Never Was


In an altar

Garlanded with

White delphinium, curly willows and

Asiatic lilies, a bride

Bathed in incense and swept in

The whimsical, began writing her own

Great Gatsby, her Shakespearean romance

With you her Romeo, her Rhett Butler

Her Mr. Darcy,

and in a shower of rice,

you both waltzed far from the madding crowd,

in a beat-up Sedan.

Today, we spoke the words aloud once more,

Your ballpoint never wavering from

Its graceful arc on today’s newspaper.

When you called me wife, I noticed no subtlety in expression;

A syllable turned several shades less than ugly.

And you could not decipher

My Morse-coded signal, the naked want all but hidden

In my two-syllabic response.

There is a waltz without music, and the ink has dried

At a cliffhanger of our story;

The heroine’s bags are packed, but she will

Not leave this bed,

Where a wall of clay mould

Will remain resilient to her tears, and to the fumes

Of alcohol that emanate from his breath.

We play our roles well, only

We switch genres in the comfort of these four walls

Turning a romance into requiem.

When I ask why the hazel of your iris never meets
The mundane brown of my own, even in the

fluid intimacy
of our midnight coupling, I

Chide myself and remember to look into a mirror

And rhetoric sweeps me off my feet;

a glass answer to your apathy.

I compared notes today,

when you thought I was asleep.

I am not blonde, nor am I that nimble with props.

I am not the women you see on TV.

Won’t you use a little less tissue

To wipe off your indiscretions

I might need them

For my self-therapy sessions.

There is no master and slave in

This role play.

There is a ring that says we’re one.

And you are the shiny metal.

And I

The hollowness within.

Pass the Kleenex, darling.

If you’re listening.



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