COVID 19 BY NOVID 77

Dear COVID,

I’m NOVID

And I’m older by 42

I’ve seen the SARS

Mad Cow disease

And AIDS and Avian flu

Bird flu, Man-flu, Ebola

I’ve seen them on the news

And now you’re here, Corona crown

Pandemic so epically 

Epidemic of our media age

Behaving untypically

Scourge of men and stock markets

Endemic to the earth

A pulsing strain of pathogens

You’re spreading round your worth!

Soon you may encounter me

Coughing through NOVID then

Coasting through my veins and blood

We’d meet and start to blend

COVID could imbue NOVID

Then I would be your host

Conflated with an acronym

Not such a thing to boast!

Now name-calls in registers

Could make me squirm in shame

People may remember you

When they gaze at my name

I guess if I spread ill like you

They’ll see COVID in NOVID then

I guess if I harass the weak

COVID in NOVID then

Your name could blight me, permanently

No cheer would my name give

Thoughts of dire suffering

By saying just: NOVID

But if I learn the art of love

Like Tiresias transcend

If I spread verse and elegies

OVID in NOVID then!

But If I learn to weather storms

Like Ulysses and his men

If I ride waves of discontent

OVID in NOVID then!

So COVID 19 here you are

With NOVID 77

Perhaps there’s poetic justice

Perhaps there is a blessing

Perhaps through you I’ll know myself

And wash hands for 20 seconds!

By Novid Shaid

Intermandias

For Shelley

I met a traveller from a digital land

Who said: “Two vast and wireless screens and phones,

Stand in some memories. Near them, on discarded toilet rolls,

Spread out, a printed message lies, with fonts

So micro soft, and typefaces for command prompts,

Tell that its printer well that software read  

Which yet survive, stamped on these paper sheets,

The ink that stained them and lines that smudged

And on the strips of rolls, it can be read:

‘My name is Intermandias,

Look on my works, ye ancients, and despair!’

Nothing online remains. Round the decay

Of this obsolete tech, boundless and rich  

The lone and loving souls stretch far away.”

The Walls- Short Story

Adam and Hira had just turned twenty, when they realised, they were in prison. Now they could see four monumental walls topped with barbed wire to the north, south, east and west. Now they could make out the prison officer uniforms on men and women they had not noticed before. Now they could see other prisoners around them, looking and behaving much like themselves. Fear and anguish grew chains around their hands and ankles; the couple struggled to move as the realisation took hold of them; their breaths quickened and sweat trickled on their heads. How on earth did they not realise this before? Why were they prisoners? What had they done wrong? As far as they knew, they had lived an average life in an average town, following the law of the land, most of the time, and keeping out of trouble. Yet now they found themselves languishing behind towering walls and barbed wire.

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True Stories: The Rise and Fall Of Aylesbury Asians (1991/1992) Part 2

Before I begin this second, extended memoir of the Aylesbury Asians saga, I must give an apology. All that is written here is but fragments from my flawed memory and perception, so I ask those whom I have missed out to forgive me, and to those who disagree with my version of things, you are more than entitled to pull me up. May Allah give us the wisdom to say what is beneficial and leave out the nonsense! Ameen! My intention in sharing these stories is to shine a light on the past, with the hope that it brings cheer and nostalgia, which enriches our present moments and futures. I would also like to thank all the people I have mentioned in these accounts for making our collective lives richer, funnier and greater, both then and now. Alhamdulillah, in Aylesbury, us Paks have grown up together, inhaled the same air, walked the same streets and chilled in the same parks. Long may it continue! Ameen!

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The Two Strange Men Of Kashgar

One day, two men were arrested at the Id Gah mosque in Kashgar and sent away for cultural citizenship education. Onlookers, rather stunned, watched as the men were ushered into the police van, while the accompanying officers scanned around for potential trouble. No one stirred as the officers jumped in the back of the van, next to the men, who were also seated silently. The authorities were expecting a massive uproar from the locals, especially as intelligence had uncovered that these two men were revered as holy men or healers, who lived on the streets and could heal supernaturally. But there was no resistance; no struggles. The locals seemed pacified and the two men just sat there calmly. Just as the van pulled away, a local grocer woman called out: “see you again, insha Allah.”

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