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Updated: Jul 26, 2020

Mehvash Amin

The photographer, Jaffer Hasan, based in Karachi, sent me a cornucopia of photographs a while ago. While all of them were stunning, his mesmeric photos of the rides at an amusement park prompted my own poem below, as well as my choice from the archives of The Aleph Review: a humorous story called 'Joyless in Joyland', written anonymously by C.Crowe about a woman who takes her young grandchild to the rides in Lahore.

On the photo below: One of the photos in Jaffer's series titled 'This Used to Be my Playground'. The rest will follow before end-July.


The circuitry of magic

of bones knowing thrill

and light flying drunk

in spirals



Men hustling tickets

and cold cokes

then skin rising in riptides

skinny-dipping in jellying

screaming neon bat-following


snipping off earlier

today, later tonight,

Amusement Park; Neon Lights
From the series 'This Used to Be my Playground' by Jaffer Hasan

tomorrow. No thought

to woman waiting, child

no thought to job or dust

of graves, to hobbits that

are masters, to dirt-speckled

dal and onions

eaten with blackened roti

All that is good


light, motion, wind

scream the same that

escaped baby lungs

so long ago

primal mother-longing

forgotten, sad father

flung in gutter

Just this synergic


Riding horse dragon


being in whale-belly

and stars

at the same time.

Till the ride slows

the skin darkens

the hair slicks

the hand clutches

not nebulae

but this rod, gluey

with this-world sweat

Getting off on feet

wings gone


next time

next time

next time


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