Volume 4 Issue 2, June 2020
Special Issue for Indian Poetry
The People of Night
their feet are shielded with days of dust,
they walk and walk and walk
the cold nights have filled
the cracks of their souls.
fear sends its roots deep
into the lungs of nights
and they eat their hearts out.
on the edge of the known pages.
the morning birds still whisper
a part of the song
in the chilled air
in the green garden where
to make them sleep
to fill in a dream
into the frosty nights
every wrinkle in the night shapes
spider webs in their dreams.
so much death awaits you
i wonder how do they even manage
to resurrect fire, storm, and
to laugh and melt each syllable
read from the book of
and hopeful in kashmir.
Mother, They Write Poems*
from the ancient past—
came a memory of an old tale
on the pages of music
covered in the blanket of frost
under the sight of a flock of vultures:
After a bloody war,
wolves turned into scattered rocks
in the crossfire
unborn are killed in the
wombs by the stray bullets
pregnant stomachs are burst by police kicks
why am I living to see this?
How can I see these mutilated bodies?
These are not poems, please believe me
this is how I cry
this is a mask of cowardice
should be I with a gun
or a gorilla with a pen?
i choose to fool myself in ink
this is the safest way to grieve the dead in Kashmir―
the paradise on earth
with apple orchids and fallen dead―
Kashmir's boots are soaked
in the blood of her sons and daughters
buried in eternal darkness
lost in the history of death
Let the Caged Birds Fly
my bones and my skin will rise with the dust
my memory and my soul will turn into stones
my defeat will hide from ignorant armies
my dreams away from meaningless interpretations
will let my lips be sealed, and hear no truth
for a moment, I will be the air
free and invisible
no prison songs
no counting of starts
no sores to heal
let the birds fly
and sing old songs
a flicker of shyness
still in his eyes—
no one is
alive who remembers.
is just my own
fear of death
blowing sand around.
past moonlit ruins,
“the antelopes sprinted right and left”—
"Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live."
they’ve finally located the graves
I saw corpses
the countless dead
and among all the dead
and broken limbs and torn flesh
was an infant ripped from the womb
disappeared fathers, and sons and brothers
daughters, mothers, sisters raped
their bodies were secretly buried
in the nameless graves
our History is
bloodsoaked, slaughtered in silence,
(madness, blindness, and pain)
a fantasy to feed all the dark fantasies
we fight back but not enough
we protest but not enough
we are still here
bowed down with chains
in the dust and slick mud
About the poet
Muhammad Nadeem is a reader and writes book reviews, poetry and short stories. He currently edits Mountain Ink Magazine (www.mountain-ink.com). He also works with translation and criticism and has previously been published in Prachya Review Journal, Cafe Dissensus Magazine, KashmirLit Journal, Oracle Opinions, Greater Kashmir, Free Press Kashmir, Kashmir Reader, Kashmir Life, Muse India, Kindle Magazine, Inverse Journal among other reputed literary newspapers, magazines and journals.