Karma Bums – Jerome Ashmore Peacock


in memory of Asifa Bano


So it was that on an otherwise fine day in Kathua

a band of devotees summoned the gods to action

with a lust so fevered that in this very village

gravity piled up higher than the Himalaya

with a weight that buckled into a black hole

from which even the gods could not escape.

Why, you ask?

No one can yet make sense of it.

Here is what happened inside a local temple

where events paused the flow of time.

Firstly,  straight away the cowardly deity Brahma,

concussed, he claimed, from his own thoughts,

managed to slink safely away

to assume his favourite yoga position on a lotus

and secretly suck himself off.

So the cosmic dharma

—on this day a most important consideration—

was left to Vishnu the virtuous

who was nevertheless rendered impotent, again,

frustrated and kicking meekly at the locked temple door

pearly tears on his dusty cheeks.

For inside a girl lay on the floor

while Shiva the destroyer struggled halfheartedly

with an enslaved Hanuman riding his back

as the devotees smelling of daal and dung

jabbed the monkey with a cattle prod

they kept for these special occasions.

“Choke Shiva until his face is like Krishna

and I get an erection!” yelled the old priestly devotee

in a bid for intervention.

Another one, the youngest, attempted to summon

into his loins the spirit of Ganapati, the remover of obstacles,

for the strength to overcome the tiny hymen.

(Bless his soul the villagers would later chant.)

Which brings us to the dirty, catatonic eight-year-old

Asifa whose hymen it was, her skinny legs held wide

by the devotee of the Lutera Caste.

She had no gods available to her.

If she were Hindu she could of course

call out to the dharma queen Durga Devi for help.

But no. The Bakarwal girl was all on her own this day.

In any case, DD, a member of the BJP and into B&D

was conveniently tied to a bodhi tree

by Agni the fire god for some ritual spankings.

You’d think it’s a conspiracy! But for the irony.

The lawyers would be in the streets soon enough

Ganeshing their teeth, as it were.

But I digress from our epic.

Back at the red dirt stained temple

the devotees, angry that Asifa’s smooth sandalled feet

with henna flowers and little silver toe rings

had sullied their sacred Hindu lands,

brought the skinny Muslim scamp to the temple

to teach her a lesson

although they could only shriek a few slogans

while tearing her clothes off.

So they called for Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge,

to guide them in their teachings.

But she had long ago given up on men

and was a butch lesbian.

She had nothing to say to them

other than “Spit in your hand.”

They did, but their foreskins still pulled painfully

at the entrance of the stubborn vagina

no bigger than a prayer bead.

But finally! Finally! Proper blood!

A monsoon of slippery blood

that all in the temple had prayed for as a righteous sign

allowed the devotees to crash the gates

and steal full entry to their Nirvana

and they sang songs to Rama and their mothers

as they banged away as on a gong

at the membrane of the universe

assured as if by some fakir’s magic

that their karma was secured.

After each devotee, with high-pitched exaltations

had ejaculated his precious seed like a maharajah,

after an exhausted Hanuman ran back to his banyan tree

and Brahma reappeared outside eating a mango,

a weary Shiva finally said

with a sideways nod, Theek hai.

The devotee with the ascetically twirled

mustache and police uniform then

placed a thumb print

of that warm red virgin blood

into the cigarette burn

on Asifa’s forehead

and carefully encircled his hands

around the Muslim’s delicate throat

so narrow that he could join his fingers

at the back of her neck

and squeezed slowly



and ever so tightly

with such focus

that godhead felt

within his grasp.

But, alas, her soul slipped away

before enlightenment could be captured.

Suddenly, the strange gravity lifted

and the black hole closed

and within minutes the sun rose

city sounds returned

and the devotees went home disgruntled

to their purse-lipped wives.

Thus to the chagrin of the gods

the story of the cosmos was amended,

a new verse added,

perhaps a new veda

or sutra

or something.

Jerome Ashmore Peacock is a Canadian poet. A pantheist and humanist, Peacock writes about the connections between the spiritual and physical in human relationships and the natural world. Subjects in his poems often include current events, nature, love, sex, and spirituality.