Rosheena Zehra

Look what you have done. Welcome oblivion.


Many days ago
During a sombre twilight
A boy sat next to me
Struggling with a gadget
Or a song
Or an emotion.
You and I might never know,
He tried a tune
Then another
Then one more.
I sat there
Mulling, pondering
How many twilights
Had I spent
Over and over again
Sitting next to someone
Struggling with a gadget
Or a song
Or an emotion.
I could tell you what I felt
If I could put it in either a box
Of pain or pleasure
But it was neither and both
Like love
The Schrodinger’s cat of the equation;
Like moving in a circle over a circle over a circle.
How many twilights I’d left behind
And how many twilights were ahead of me
It didn’t matter what paths I chose
What decisions I made
I knew I would still be here
Sitting next to a boy
As he played the right song
Opened a closed door
And closed another.




Artwork @ohgigue. Also, a special mention of the people in my life. My poetry wouldn’t exist if they didn’t. 🙂


I’m Gonna be an Optimist About This

When I look away,
From the lights and cameras,
And stars and stardust,
Who are you and who am I?

If I forget about the wrinkles
And tired eyes,
Of hours of practice,
And talent and skill;

Once there was a purity untouched
Now tarnished by Twitter hearts
And Facebook likes;
They as guilty as me

Beyond massive crowds,
Singing along,
To songs, once illegally downloaded,

All my flaws are exhumed,
One by one,
Along with pirated merchandise
The stash now on the ground.

Take your art away,
And the beauty it wove with words
And strings and keys,
And percussion,

And there it lies,
On the floor,
Next to your merchandise
(Or is it mine?)
Not reduced in its greatness,
No, just violated.

I liked a band once.
On a dark night,
When it sang about,
Finishing what I started,
In matching black tees,
And of volcano eruptions and lost cities

Was that a favourite TV show they just mentioned?
Or maybe a surreal, trippy director?
Or both, who knows?
It was not the art, it was never the art,
But what the world made of it.

(The title is part of a line from a favourite song by a favourite band. Featured image not owned by me.)

Sonnet on You

I dreamt of a spectre last night,
He had the laugh of an elf,
Complete with his walnut eyes.
He was gentle and rough in turns,
Switching places,
Between the floor and the bed
Smoothening and crushing the sheets,
Entering and leaving,
Covering and uncovering me.
There was mockery on his skin,
(And in the scent he left behind)
But oh, he disappeared,
As he had appeared,
And receded in the morning light.

While You Slept

While you slept, 
I found in my heart a secret,
To share,
But you stirred and stayed
Calm and peaceful as death,
Away from a wailing heart
And the dread
Of stories lost
And too far gone.
I willingly stayed 
Beside you instead
Watched as you slept
Safe, and sure
Of my secrets and dawn

I Love You. Scream

I love you. Scream.
Or call it difference in principles.
Or shall we blame past lovers,
For the mistakes we make with current ones?

You should have held the door.
You should have stayed up late.
We lost the day when we looked away
In opposite directions
From the same window
Letting the mess rot away
Filling and over flowing
The putrid water on the floor now
Spreading, black and cankerous.

My hair clips on your bedside
Your ashtray on mine
The lock on the door
Same as before

But for how long
Before we let go
Of the pretty place in your heart
Where I nuzzle and cuddle
And repent and be saved
From a future scary and unknown.

I will isolate you
Like you me
And find in my heart
A similar pretty place
But not for you

Only me
And finally drive the nail
Through the coffin
Now ridden with garlic
And metal

Scream. A last time, I promise.
Yes, that’s how it’s done.
Beautiful and glorious.

(Photo: Kyss by Edvard Munch)

Of Books and Launches


Book launches over the years: Candy Stripes (2009), Moon (2014), Dreamcatcher (2016) ^_^


Find here the teaser to my latest publication, Dreamcatcher, a novel on clinical depression, madness and schizophrenia.



My Last Weekend

This poem was written one August night in 2014. I thought it’s on my blog until tonight when I chose to revisit it and found it missing. So here it goes, one more time after two years.

The beauty is in the imperfections, the flaws,
The fears, doubts and vulnerability,
Just like the poetry in a jigsaw puzzle.
It’s in having a few secrets,
And in learning how to keep them.

In the uncertainties and the exhaustion,
In the realisation of the absolute lack of control,
And awfully misfired plans.
In wrongly interpreted intentions,
And in making far worse choices.

It’s in the folds of the sheets after a long night’s sleep,
Or in the Sandman’s burden in sleepy eyes.
It’s in the warmth of a hot bath,
And in the chill of artificially cooled air.
It’s in the daily threat of skin cancer,
And in the life and comfort we still manage to derive out of a burning orb.

And in the nights -I haven’t forgotten them,
Oh, no, not at all!
And in the highly underestimated city lights we ignored while looking at the stars.
The beauty is in the tears of pain,
In the ability to be able to create these tears;

The beauty is in the terrible,
It’s in the fear,
Of the darkness of the unknown,
Working along with the vindictive scales of time,
As it goes about fulfilling its daily duties of transitory joys and illusions.

Yet, let me repeat, the beauty is in weakness and fragility,
In having deep, dark secrets;
In having crossed a certain threshold of sanity,
And still have come back,
In having been on the dark side,
But have found light again.

Beauty is in the swift night wind,
The shimmering concrete bathed in the golden of the street light.
Beauty is in the glowworm,
It is in making mistakes and the lessons they leave behind.
Beauty is in never forgetting those lessons;
In never making the same mistakes twice.

Yet,  beauty is in the imperfections, the flaws,
The fears, doubts and vulnerability,
Just like the poetry in a jigsaw puzzle.
It’s in having a few secrets,
And in learning how to keep them.

It’s all about the poetry in a jigsaw puzzle.

When You Embark on the Journey of Getting Published

I wrote this almost a year ago. On most days, I don’t agree with the views expressed here. Also, I was going somewhere with it when I began, but there was an interruption in the process of writing it. By the time I got back, the momentum had been lost. Here’s whatever was left of the piece.


Once you’ve decided to put yourself through excruciating self torture of getting published, take a leaf from my little glittery book of experience.

Firstly, brace yourself for more torture, shameless publicity and a dalliance with the Devil that includes your soul. At no point think of aunties of the realm of Extended Family who had questioned an idealistic you a couple of years ago about the practicality of writing. Do not, at ANY point, I repeat, do not at any point remind yourself the truth of their words all those years ago.

You know the quiet but strong voice of conscience we all have, that tells us from right wrong, always takes us on the right path? Kill it. The time to listen to it was years ago, you’re too far gone now. I mean seriously, who even does art anymore? Unless of course you’re Ben Whishaw from Bright Star (whose character in the movie was also convinced of his loserishness. just putting it out there that’s all. But if you’ve lasted this long, this isn’t likely to daunt you.)

By this time you may have probably realised that your written word is not sparking off a revolution anytime soon. Good-bye to subversion of conformity of any degree for now. Thoughts like ‘I should have just become an engineer like they said’ are fairly common at this point…


To be continued.

Twilight and Tomcats

If I only knew,
How to not be happy around you,
I would find myself,
A new addiction, of sorts.

But addiction they say,
Is not a nice thing,
I should instead find myself a kitten,
Or two, or four!

I could tell them,
How twilights are peaceful now,
Though they wouldn’t know,
What’s a twilight’s woe.

Instead I sway,
Back and forth, this and that way,
And let twilight only be a time of the day,
Nothing more.

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