+THRIVE READING SERIES No: 001
CITY OF RIVERS
‘I’ve been walking for many nights now, heading south in Bangladesh where the sea churns into a hundred deltas.’
As the New Year rolled in and burnout threatened, I knew that I needed to take a break and delve into my first love, reading. I decided to start with the strange book of poems I’d purchased on a whim and had kept always within sight.
Zubair Ahmed writes with startling clarity. Each poem evokes time and place with a familiarity that makes one feel as if they are nearby, quietly observing an intricate inner world unfold.
‘I’ve spent half my life sitting here, drinking the monsoon rains.’
Almost immediately I was drawn into Ahmed’s world. The poems traverse multiple time periods across various different continents. The reader is taken on a journey alongside Ahmed, from Texas to Dhaka, to the Bangladeshi Pakistani war, always present while Ahmed treks across continents, and seas.
‘I believe Berlin is made of light’
Ahmed writes about many things. He writes about love, family, loss, and war. He writes with a determination and vision that ebbs and flows at the edge of the readers consciousness, subtle yet insistent. Words that seep into the quiet spaces of the day weeks after reading.
‘When I was young
My brother became a mountain,
Always closer to the sky than me,
Always large in the distance
Growing larger as I drew nearer.
I am wearing his shirt–
It hangs loose
Like the rings of Saturn.’
+ 4.5 Stars
While I had stylistic issues with the book (each line began with a capital letter, which threw me out of the poem in the early stages of reading), the content was beyond stellar. I found the book to be thoroughly enjoyable. Reading it was reading magic, quiet and loud in the same breath.
1. Measuring the Strength of a Sparrow’s Thigh
2. Most Pieces of a Broken Stone
3. Reaching Half-Line in my Backyard