Her glimpse from the car.

He’s burning under the sun.

How to break the ice?


To hear nothing but your own voice


I try to realize


I am the realization

A deep breath (plays within)

I wonder if it is that simple?

Dance of feelings (inside)






Perhaps, I wish to mourn.

I wonder if it is that simple?

Dance of needs (interior)





Perhaps, I wish to feel connected.

I wonder if it is that simple?


in this fire.


will burn .


will stay.

Or maybe,

the ashes

will become seeds

and grow up again.

Perhaps, I am forever searching.

And I wonder if it is that simple?

A deep breath. (to hear nothing but my own voice)

I become words.

Conviction by Colleen McLaughlin

From whence comes a man’s conviction

that no stone-crusher could ever destroy?

And from whence comes a man’s conviction

in the court of hypocrisy and greed?

One self-imposing,

the other imposed-

One from heaven,

the other hell-

In this life





and it shall make all the difference.

About the poet:
Colleen McLaughlin is an artist, musician, and a Master Gardener. A native Vermonter, she is the proprietor of Elemental Artworks at Studio 266 in Burlington.

Being-in-the-World with Anxieties

I just finished reading about ISIL’s atrocities in Iraq and I cannot get over the photo of a crying girl displaced due to this conflict; that has made me unutterably melancholic. I am thinking about my grief and that little girl’s grief. But somehow I am only able to write about MY anxiety.

This month of June with its hot, humid weather and other mundane difficulties of joblessness- and reading all day- has contributed to a kind of unrest in my body. Mostly I waste time by pondering about being in the world, all of its pain and pleasures and how it has always been complex and complicated, and will always remain like this.

The frequency of the questions about my career interest and advice from concerned friends has increased. My interest in philosophical and poetic forms of expression has definitely made friends close to me to have an opinion about my inclination. Although, I believe that it could be just a phase. And not only about me; I have felt this about many people- that there is always something in their inner self that wants to rise to some expression.

It is still remains unresolved for me as to, what is the better way of expression? And how can one write without self-doubt or fear of being judged; and why should I even ‘shamelessly’ express my experiences, my dreams or my concerns? Things are never easy to understand as one would like to believe, as there is always something that is out of reach of everyone’s awareness, about themselves, about others, and the world around them.

Most of the time out of my laziness and ignorance, I helplessly engage myself with the surface of things rather than allowing my mind to go into a deeper level. Like a breeze constantly blowing the ripples in the pool of water and preventing me from seeing the clear reflection of myself. I do not know if it is possible to watch our thoughts or control them. Neither do I believe in judging them like a criminal. But I do believe in power of vigilance because when we really go deeper into our thoughts the deepest concerns of our life emerge. It is like trying to extract the most possible truth out of everything or contemplating the infiniteness of the sky rather than engaging self only with the beauty of clouds.

Being-in-the-world: If I investigate the question ‘who am I?’ I might not have immediately a philosophical answer to this question. On surface that might simply put down to the fact that I am a complicated person, or psychologically unstable, or unsure of what career I would like to follow. But is not the nature of “being” much more mysterious than this? An individual who is born and dies within the confinement of a palace cannot behold its tomb. I do not know the reality of my being before the birth and after the death. The existentialist writings I have read so far encourages me to be brave and live life with freedom and fullness. At the same time my heart finds comfort in idea of a selfless Sufi.

The chronic persistent uneasiness points out the possibility that most things happening inside us are beyond expression. I call them inexplicable anxieties. The relationship between one human being and another has been hampered by the unshared or unperceived anxieties. The difficulty of love and empathy arise as our awareness about ‘human condition’ has been shaped by absurd materialism, self-interest and dogmatic religious, cultural beliefs. Art has become for art sake especially when artists become synonymous with a luxurious life. As Rilke once said, “nobody likes to explore the limitless possibilities of river but comfort himself at the fallow stretch of the shore where nothing happens.”

Being-with-the-others: These days I am just adapting myself to live with the questions and share them with other beautiful and brave souls. They are brave because possibly having their own inexplicable anxieties they still manage to be calm, composed and concerned about others. They are beautiful because they have managed to do something about others in their own way. My experiences with the others in their multiplicity make no ‘similar’ replies to my opinion how should I live with the others. That means these matters of self and others could not be settled once and for all, like our perceptions about our relationship with God. I ought to take responsibility of the self and live in this potentially unrealized state, rather than taking readymade ideas as it is. So these failures and uneasiness may continue at surface but this anxiety might not be my real anxiety- It must not be-

My real anxiety should be my lack of understanding of others pain and their condition.

Perhaps, some of these anxieties are not meant to be expressed but to acknowledge and make our relationship better with the self and the others. Sometimes we have nothing to say or my mind goes blank and I find that rather than converse with human being, it is better to talk to a piece of paper.

Nonetheless, most of our anxieties demand constant vigilance and action (as great philosophers suggested). Right now I might not be able to do anything for a victim in Iraq, a rape victim in India or Pakistan, or jobless and homeless people anywhere. But my anxieties challenge me to create meaning out of my strange existence. And do something about my knowledge of the self in order to understand and improve my relationship with the others. I might like to engage myself with the resistance for justice and equality like a Sufi or any ancient or post-modernist thinker would suggest. But I must create a meaning out of nothingness. I must discover/create myself in order to make myself something useful for humanity. And I consider this moment a beginning.

Poet or Philosopher

Rashid:… I actually want to understand if according to you the personality of a poet and a philosopher is complementary or has potential to merge with each other? For example, a poet shamelessly write about his personal experience but philosopher does not. Philosopher is much more careful about his action and try to control himself while poets are carefree. 

Musab Iqbal: This subject has occupied me for a long but it doesn’t mean that I know the answer. I am far from the answer. I am far from answer for most of my question perhaps this is the answer of all my queries.

A philosopher can be defined in number of ways and so is the poet. The problem occurs that who is there to define. Usually the emergence of knowledge as discipline plays a critical role in defining or subjectivising the objects.

Having said that it is clear that there is an entity called philosophers and there is someone known as poet. Both dwell deep into thought. Both are thinkers. Both reflect. Both go through violent and incessant pain.

The difference emanates in observation and expression. Poet throws himself into situation and philosopher pulls himself out. ‘Miraji’ cannot live without ‘Miraji’ to produce poetry or thought, his love is a pure indulgence and an only source of production or poetic existence while for Plato this is nothing but ‘a serious mental disease’

This play of getting in and getting out is what defines a philosopher or a poet.

A poet experiences and tries to live it, he/she expresses this experience in a lyrical form and as a personal experience while a philosopher sees it as a problem (not mere experience) and he/she considers his/her existence in the experience as mere accident (as Derrida would argue) therefore a philosopher avoids autobiography (historically) and Derrida says that this politeness and impoliteness is philosophy. This may be one of the reasons why philosopher doesn’t commit suicide and poets do.

For a poet entire universe starts to converge in his being while for a philosopher everything starts to diverge and scatter from his being.

A poet is ‘always there’ while a philosopher is ‘never there’.

A philosopher always tries to make even his experience/observation a universal question. He tries to expand it, he tries to broaden the horizon of every single problem, experience and observation. The poet don’t try it, never articulate it – jo dil pe guzarti hai raqam karte rahenge(continue to write from whatever our heart has gone thorough). A poet tries to individualize the pain instead of universalizing it.  Therefore one finds his solace in a poet not in a philosopher.

Controlling one action is also linked to the above-mentioned point. I don’t completely agree with your statement because there were philosophers who lived carelessly, said what they wanted to say, and lived the way they wanted to live, indulged in things in which they wanted to indulge. Foucault is the best example. A poet appears to be more carefree because he doesn’t fear the value judgment; he is not giving lessons in ethics or morality. He can write shikwa (Complaint) and jawab e shikwa (answer of complaint) .

He can expose the incoherence and contradictions of life in the most contradictory fashion while a philosopher tries to find coherence in the incoherence and incoherence in the coherence.  There are poets who are philosophers and there are philosophers who are poet. This is perhaps the most interesting category and most complex one – The epitome of rational – emotional fusion. Jon elia, Iqbal, Ibn e Hazm, Derrida, Nietzsche and many other belong to this category.

To read more of Musab Iqbal-

24th March 2014

  • Rashid Abbasi: Why do people write poems? I mean don’t you ever feel discouraged?

    Musab Iqbal: discouraged with/discouraged for?

    Rashid Abbasi:We belong to a different era. The method to express yourself creatively has changed. Technology has made it easy at the same time everyone is too busy in dealing with information overflow. When people are too busy in other modes of entertainment or communication. who has the time to contemplate or find out hidden meaning of a poem? or is it important for me to think about that? Because at the same time I feel I should keep on writing and my love for poetry doesn’t mean that I am a good poet.

    Musab Iqbal: I think for me writing is the only way not to get discouraged, through writing I get the light, I feel the light. Writing is not only about expressing but it has deeper project the project of archiving the time – the emotion of the time – the tension of the time. My poem is the translation of my time. The question may arise that why am I writing a poem – was it intended?

    In age of absurd material/industrial production or hyper capitalism what poetry has to do may be asked as a question. I think Walter Benjamin in two of his brilliant work raised similar question. One, while writing on poet Baudelaire and one on question of art in age of mechanical production. His both writing might help.

    I can guarantee you one thing even everything is on table, everything is on google – the thinking, the thought has a future. Poetry is a form of thought. It may take new forms of expression but since thinking has a future, poetry has too

    It was indeed a beautiful conversation.
    Now, a Poem* by N.M. Rashid which describes beautifully the preoccupation with creative effort and state of absorption.

    Phir bhii andeshah vuh aaindah hai jis mae goyaa
    miir ho , miirzaa ho , miiraajii ho
    kuchh nahiin dekhte hain

    Nevertheless thought is that future in which, so to speak,
    Mir would be, Mirza [Ghalib] would be, Miraji would be
    we see nothing

    mahvar-e ishq kii khvuud-mast haqiiqat ke sivaa
    apne hii biim-o-rajaa apnii hii suurat ke sivaa

    except for the self-intoxicated reality of the absorption in passion,
    except for our own terror and hope, our own face,

    apne rang , apne badan , apnii hi qaamat ke sivaa
    apnii tanhaaii-e jaan-kaah kii vahshat ke sivaa

    except for our complexion, our body, our stature,
    except for the wildness of our life-exhausting solitude,

    dil-kharaashii-o- jigar-chaakii-o- khuun-afshaanii
    huun to naa-kaam par hote hain mujhe kaam bahut

    heart-lacerating and liver-tearing and blood-scattering
    I’m useless, but there remain for me many tasks.


OF RASHID(a ghazal for your birthday)

We rise to the ether, for the I Ching of Rashid

Star-soaked words from the mouth of Rashid

Turbulent current, “As above, so below”

We sail on the broken wing of Rashid

Will your book be penned in complete absentia?

Dear friends, what news do you bring of Rashid?

Terrestrial bard, an unknowing Prince

Because only Ghalib is King of Rashid

Word-seeker pierces your heart with arrow

As my muse informs me, to sing of Rashid

-Poetsings Muse

January 14, 2014