Tag Archive: conflict


a child of war and terror

art by banksy





a child of war and terror.



 


as she lies bleeding,


the girl who skipped, hopped to school,


all of nine and a half years old,


with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her father’s pride.


 



as she lies bleeding,


shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,


she stares at her skipping rope,


blood soaking it the colour of cherries her mother buys.


 



as she lies bleeding,


she sees human shapes all around, thick in the black smoke,


blurred visions of scattering feet, 


shoes left behind,

hearing nothing but the pinging in her smashed eardrums.


 



as she lies bleeding,


she slips away and then she is dead,


a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl,


whose laugh was her father’s pride.


 


 


as she lies bleeding,


even in death she bleeds some more,


shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,


stealing the light from her bright innocent eyes.




as she lies bleeding …



in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,

johannesburg in ’93,

leningrad in ‘42,

freetown in ‘98,

soweto in ‘76,

beirut in ‘85,

hanoi in ‘68,


st. bernadino,

manchester,

baghdad,

brussels,

london,

tripoli,

miami,

jenin,

paris,

kabul,

raqqa,

basra,

mosul,

gaza,



aleppo still.


 


as she lies bleeding,


a little nine and a half year old girl,


whose laugh was her parent’s pride,


we know she’ll bleed more,


tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn,


with shrapnel in her stomach,

ripped open and torn.


 

as she lies bleeding,


a child of war and terror.






art from google








I remember her beret,

on that rainy day at the bus-stop, 


she said that she had grown tired of the pretences this world demanded,


we spoke of Marx and she smiled, for I was much younger then, wearing it all on my sleeve,


she smiled, and we spoke till she had to leave.


we met at that bus-stop many times more,


sharing our laughter, our pain, of the knots that cut deep into our core,


she always wore her beret and she was fierce, brave and steadfastly traversing the murky waters of being a wage-slave,


we promised each other we wouldn’t be like the rest, not even in our grave,


ah but that was many moons back, when life was starkly coloured white and black,


I wonder where she could be now, and I hope she is as she was back then,


when everything wasn’t just about love and light and being zen,


I wonder too were we to perchance meet, would she pull me close out of the grime stained street,


or would she walk on by, leaving me to my own devices,


after decades of being whittled down, after making all the right choices … … …

​on your skin, scribbling odes to love,
angry, lost, empty,

raucous, pristine, encompassing love.
on my heart, scribbled odes embossed, etched, engraved,
yearning, pining, aching,
for you … … …


destiny

fate


somewhere

someplace


alfoat on honeydew petals


mere strands


filaments


years trickling through

fingertips


lost whispers

dreamed caresses


awake

alive …



smouldering

ablaze in the cauldron


of


destiny

fate


of convergent wisps

sprinkling kisses


on your

honeydew lips

breathless … …

​breathless, laboured

               tortured


each breath

                     swallowed


greedily gulping gasping


each breath

                    stolen

                               without you

​your fingers

mine


sketching dreams

scribbling hopes


my fingers

yours


holding back

resistant


knowing the path ahead

littered with thorns


oblivious

knowing


the path ahead must be walked


alone at times 

but never lonely 


not with you by my side

evoking a belonging felt true and deep


inside

these interwoven veins

dna

double-helixed


microscopically

binding


me

you


us

all


through

this common

shared

truth:


‘I am because you are’*


all of us

together

as one


me

you …


… uBuntu*




  


* – uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

imagine … … …

a beach of solace


the lapping waves

tickling our bare toes


softly powdered sand caressing our feet


a carpet of palms

waltzing in the breeze


imagine …


you

i


setting sail on distant seas


far

far

away


bidding adieu to the emptiness of yesterday


sharing each other

knowing that your

smile


stays with me

within me


through

tomorrows we have still to see


sharing

our slice of peace


through

laughter

tears


through

joy

fears


to

bloom in earthy hues


when thunderstorms pass


blossoming into fiery scarlet


kneading away

our hollow suburban blues …


for ’tis in your smile

that my mirth resides


imagine …


your head on my shoulder


ready to face all

oncoming tides



imagine … 

​misty tears fall on splintered parchment


history simmers


the shackles of centuries cast off


the chains of oppression shattered


embracing new horizons


dawning

and

trusting once again

in that unfinished dream


of less famished tomorrows

scribbling verses

on her bare back


my fingers

rhyming

each flourish a caress

etching odes to hope

across the canvas


of her warm skin …



her breath

inflamed


seeking


fingertips

lips

sashaying in the evening breeze

dancing free

abandoning trepidation


what do i know

as 

fingers flutter


over undulating peaks

valleys …


softly

gently


as soul meets soul

she who is

half of my whole

she who remains


my perennial

meditation






 …





straining to hear

the thud-thudding of your heart


amidst this cacophonous crowd.



so

i close my eyes


and

i see you


floating on clouds

unfettered

free to just be


your wings spread proud

unclipped


skipping

hopping

across sunbeams


sketching your open sky


bathed in

colours vivid

alive


fiery

earthy

warm

fierce

gentle


each 

brush stroke


infused with hues


from 

the palette of your dreams …












Parched lullabies seem jarring,

gentle persuasion an assault,
quiet understanding reeking of decay,
fatigued under this skin in which I must stay.

Dreams of moulting,
shedding the hubris of crafty words,
flushing away all famished rhymes,
ripping the fibres of an ink-stained past.

Knowing.

Always knowing,

that honey-soaked kisses, seem destined,
breathlessly,
never to last

Embers fade,

disappearing into the hushed night …

Petals wither,
falling on the soft grass …

Words pale,
obscured by the anguish within …

Faces blur,
dimmed by the galloping years …

Kisses lose,
the urgency of those bygone depths …

Feelings recede,
lying dormant in shielded vaults …

Love loses,
fatigued after numberless skirmishes …

Pain flees,
seeking new wounds to inflict …

Scars remain,
sentinels against,

the dilution of memory … … …

Why him, they ask her …

​why, they ask her,

why him?

she always says the

day we met

and spoke

and laughed

she felt

all she needed to be was herself



William Dalrymple’s Inscription

William Dalrymple, author of ‘City of Djinns’ inscribed my copy.

Inscription reads “from an adopted Dilliwaala to Afzal, a real one”


😊

👍

Love, Mania, and Verse


The pendulum swings,
while the mania in my head,
strips me bare and yanks me,
into the cauldron of love.

Once again,
never divining the tea leaves,
knowing, always knowing,
the gnawing knots of unease,
that curl into a fist.

My isolation is a shield,
a suit of armour,
tightly clad around my self,
once worn,
then discarded,
taking its place,
on my barren shelf.

Love, mania and verse,
coalesce, beseeching me,
with timeous forewarning,
not to tread into the quicksand,
that slippery bog of promise.

Yet,
in times past,
in moments present,
tis’ that very promise,
that I cling to.

At times I lose,
myself in the crowd,
revelling in the solitude found there,

at times I claw,
my way back to the now,
aching for the pain that stings,

the buried voice that sings,
dirges to forgotten emotions,

scribbled verse that flings,
the toys out of my cot,

while I wait,
for the mania to stop,

knowing,
always knowing,
that it shall be,

merely a matter of time,
before the other shoe,
must, as always, 
drop


my starved eyes, aching for a glimpse of your smile, ready to beguile, their thirst quenched, seeking simple joys, not million dollar toys, finally, coaxed the ocean of your eyes, to reveal the kernel of truth beneath the veneer of lies, so love me now, today, where fractured dreams are made whole by the sea spray, plunging deeper into the ocean shimmering in your eyes, hoping we may breathe, like the terror of time, high on up into blue skies, where love roams unshackled, in that ocean so deep,


in your beautiful eyes … … …

tattoo … … …

An imprint of you remains,

mingled in the blood racing through my veins,

hewn into my flesh you stay,

a chiselled tattoo from our long-lost yesterday,

deeply branded by your entire being,

rooted to a memory incapable of fleeing,

torn, and twisting inside my skin,

the pain screeches like jangling cans of tin,

a desolate nightmare this agony feels,

with a phantom whiff of your sweet breath my soul reels,

now that you are gone, lost within a labyrinth of illusions,

your voice swarms inside my desperate delusions,

scratching, clawing layers of past moments spent with you,

you are a part of me, an unfaded, vivid tattoo,

and as my dreams of you frantically race,

I am unable to erase,

the blazing picture of your exquisite face,

so let me be, and leave me to burn in this furnace of my hell,

I should have known better,

but all that matters little,

because it was for you, that I fell

A Child of War

 
as she lies bleeding,

the girl who skipped, hopped to school,

all of nine and a half years old,

with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her father’s pride.
 

as she lies bleeding,

shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,

she stares at her skipping rope,

as her blood soaks it the colour of cherries her mummy buys.
 

as she lies bleeding,

she sees people all around thick black smoke,

blurred visions of scattering feet, shoes left behind,

hearing nothing but the pinging in her smashed eardrums.
 

as she lies bleeding,

she slips away and then she is dead,

a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl,

whose laugh was her father’s pride.
 
 

as she lies bleeding,

for even in death she bleeds some more,

shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,

stealing the light from her bright little eyes.

as she lies bleeding …
in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,

leningrad in ‘42,

freetown in ‘98,

soweto in ‘76,

jenin in ‘02,

hanoi in ‘68,

beirut in ‘85,
raqqa now,

aleppo still,

gaza too.
 

as she lies bleeding,

a little nine and a half year old girl,

whose laugh was her parent’s pride,

we know she’ll bleed more,
tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn,
with shrapnel in her stomach,

ripped open and torn.
as she lies bleeding … …

war …

war …

long after the guns fall silent,

when all the debris is swept away,

and blood-stained streets get hosed down,

will we once more say,

‘never again’ …

again,

&

again

&

again …

Kobane has Not Fallen …

Kobane has Not Fallen …

Kobane stands,
the resistance firm,
the resolve resolute.

Kobane stands,
repulsing the marauding ISIS horde,

No Pasaran!

They Shall Not Pass!

The Infidel …

The Infidel …

The infidel writes,
blasphemes,

rejecting cellophane sermons.

The infidel whispers,
cursing,

the benevolence of the higher power.

The infidel chokes,
gagging,

on the odour that emanates,
from self-righteous mouths.

The infidel waits,
patiently,

for the retribution that must arrive.

The infidel casts off,
the labels of faith,

of belonging,

of sanctimonious snobbery.

The infidel refuses,

To beseech the merciful god,

And to cower,
And to kneel.

The infidel stands,

At times alone …

“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”Jesus Christ

Kobane Stands …
( October 13th 2014 )

the marauders push on,

the fascist flag of hate,

limp,
flaccid,

yet conceited,
puffed – up,

its arrogance straining against the free wind,

and yet,

and still,

Kobane stands!

“I’d rather die on my feet, than live on my knees” –

Emiliano Zapata
( 1879 – 1919 )

The Battle for Kobane…

The Battle for Kobane…

The black flag of ISIS limply flutters on the eastern outskirts,

of Kobane.

The blood flows,
through narrow streets,

a ghost – town,

it’s people fleeing from the butchers’ knives,

refugees now,

in limbo,

while the parched desert sun sets on the battlefield.

If Kobane falls,

we shall all be on our knees,

naked and exposed,

to the void that is ISIS.

May the brave resistance soldier on,

under – equipped,

under – fed,

under constant siege,

yet they fight on,

against the backdrop of toothless air strikes,

as innocent blood flows,

and flows.

LONG LIVE THE RESISTANCE!

A Child of War …

a child of war…

 

as she lies bleeding

the girl who skipped and hopped to school

all of nine and a half years old

with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was

her father’s pride

 

as she lies bleeding

the warm bullet lodged in her torn stomach

she stares at her skipping rope

as her blood soaks it the colour of the cherries her mummy buys

 

as she lies bleeding

she sees the people through the thick black smoke

blurred visions of scattering feet and shoes left behind

hearing nothing but the pinging in her blown-out eardrums

 

as she lies bleeding

she slips away quickly and then she is dead

a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl

whose laugh was her father’s pride

 

 

as she lies bleeding

for even in death she bleeds some more

the warm bullet wedged in her torn stomach

steals the light from her bright little eyes

as she lies bleeding

in jallianwala bagh in ‘19

leningrad in ‘42

freetown in ‘98

soweto in ‘76

jenin in ‘02

hanoi in ‘68

beirut in ‘85

raqqa now

basra still

gaza too

 

as she lies bleeding

this little nine and a half year old girl

whose laugh was her father’s pride

we know she’ll bleed and bleed some more

tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn

with that warm bullet in her stomach

ripped open and torn

 

as she lies bleeding..

afzaljhb@gmail.com

https://mobile.twitter.com/hashtag/notinmyname

afzaljhb@gmail.com

Realpolitik in the Bullet Riddled-East

Trembling, the child weeps,
silently sobbing, tears rolling down,
moist cheeks speckled with dried blood.

Shivering, the child seeks warmth,
huddling close to the stiff corpses,
with faces blown off, limbs crushed,
not looking like mum and dad at all.

[ complicit, I sit back, hurling invective,
at the inaction, or the lack of reaction,
assigning blame, here, there, everywhere,
sipping my cappuccino safely in my cocoon ]

Famished, the child shivers in the night,
ear-drums blown out, senses heavy as lead,

as the dogs of war circle nearby, bellowing,
spewing diseased words from severed tongues,

waiting for the bleeding child to have fully bled.

The Crushed Skulls

the crushed skulls

and the

torn-off legs

and the

single shots piercing countless heads

women, men, children
young, old, everyone just a human being

when will we tire of the senseless killing which we keep on impotently seeing

the gaping wounds soaked in blood

dismembered corpses piled high in some humid make-shift shit-stenched mortuary

who will remain to someday write, war itself’s final obituary

for the killing goes on in the name of tribe
faith
race
religion
caste
sect

and the vested interests above all

but who really hears the whimpering sobs of a 4 year old’s call

for her mother, father, brother, sister

as she lies dying, bleeding out like a gutted animal, on the stinging gravel

while we deliberate and engage and while to geneva we always travel

to sign some scraps of papar that merely postpone the killing for a while

while the putrefying carcasses of human beings lie side by side, mile after bloody mile

war is ugly, they tell us

but necessary too

and we go to war for peace

while the generals and the money-men and the politicians drink and dance and screw

war is ugly

it is indeed

but so are we

if we fail to see the humanity stripped away

and peeled off the skin of that 4 year old girl

and if her cries for help we do not heed

war and guns and bombs and the very latest smart nuke

sickens me as it should us all
making us retch and puke

but who gives a fuck about the bomba falling far away

we’ve got chores to do, margarine to buy, and take the family out for the day

war is ugly

so they tell us

while loading the magazines without much of a fuss

war is ugly

and cold and brutal and evil as the hounds of some distant hell

but who gives a fuck for we have sneakers to buy and stocks to sell

war is ugly

but so are you and I

for we remain silent

as the bombs fall incessantly on

out of the open sky

shame on me and shame on us all, that much I believe is true

for our silence in the face of misery is tacit acceptance

and try as we might to innure ourselves

I am as complicit in it all

as are you…

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