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cw: descriptions of colonial violence

dawn is like an unattended page

squeaky birds tear complacency

gained overnight in a warm quilt

“what was the dream that jolted”

you have asked me taking a note

images permutated scribbled

prophetic is so apocalyptic, the

silent is so noisy, in-between

I feared you declare me insane

or some other term unheard,

regime of psychic disorders bigger

than a continent, wars say in

Africa plagued souls, Fanon lived

diagnosed the colonial madness

of establishing a collective dream

but a white dream with a white core

but my individual dreams are black

Lacanian, I cannot figure out like

Conrad’s Marlow whether it is

a nightmare or not, ‘You are my

shrink’ ‘you know history burns

jungles of community and when

we give vote we only think about

taxes’, bloodshed is a parliament

we endorse- women in Kashmir,

Uyghurs in consternation facilities

Kurds in Armenia are not so distant

cousins of Bosnians and survivors

of Dresden and Palestine- all dreamt

freedom but then came Guantanamo

again we surrendered to the dreams

Of Blairs and Obamas, chucked out

Mandela installed Generals, democracy

is so subtle to the effect of a dream I am

narrating in which I saw a Syrian child

embraced by a Turkish solider and here

you are digging up its nitty gritty.

RIZWAN AKHTAR is a writer from Lahore, Pakistan. His debut collection of Poems Lahore, I Am Coming (2017) is published by Punjab University Press. He has published poems in well-established poetry magazines in the UK, the US, India, Canada, and New Zealand. He was a part of the workshop on poetry with Derek Walcott at the University of Essex in 2010.

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