2 min read

Settler’s Rhetoric

We have come up with something novel.

Brace yourself, how should we put it -

It seems that your land will no longer be yours.

Unlike oral storytelling 

The land not recorded on paper 

leaves a vacuum in its wake.

And we rush in turbulence to claim the free

sites for Occupation, like wind rushes to the sea

we claim meadows of a no-­epic.

‘If I do not take it, someone else will take it.

’By expelling you out what we RETRIEVE 

is the plot you could not have utilized anyway.

That sounds pretty convincing! 

We need our own pockets in your map skin.

We draw asphalt roads so as to facilitate this story.

The dark messengers carry no DEMOLITION notice. 

I’m sure you want to make a few hospitals,

schools or maybe a few cop cities?

In the minds of grazing ranchers

My cattle and sheep—whose ancestors 

sold themselves—have far more rights on this piece of earth.

We spread our legs as we please 

and ENCROACH on our own land 

but whose land did you COLONIZE? 

I mark my territory with the droppings of my flock.

Once I’m out, would you go on an advertising rampage 

to provide housing to the people of plains? 

I wonder will you sanctify the land to attract pilgrim settlers?

But perhaps only perhaps they won’t dare.

And in this endeavour too you’ll fail miserably.

Like a priest once taught me to

prepare against nightmares—

I close my eyes and draw a line around

my house and whosoever trespasses:

A JCB or a Djinn, will be ashes.

Ars Poetica 

It feels I am merely reporting

     the peaceful events of everyday

         that I can’t make any peace with. 

The opening of poppy whorls bothers me

       as much the wounds of a man who

           is hurled naked into a chamber. 

Should then one start a poetic news journal?

       To catch up with merciless everyday

                   happenings via metaphor of flowers? 

Is it not a poet’s venture to record

        how many are killed during this

                     hour and in what manner or country. 

If no one listens to what you observe or

            foresee, should you write a poem?

                 Do you need to spice up a political

poem with artistry or an artful poem with

              flakes of politics? Why do we need

                      to soften the blood to red poppies?

Danyal Hassan is a Kashmiri poet and a Masters candidate of English Literature at University of Delhi. His work has appeared on Muse India, Inverse Journal, Kashmir Lit, Mountain Ink etc. He is working on his debut poetry collection.

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