The All-Knowing Made Us Know Pain — Four Poems in Four Acts by Sadam Hussain

Oct 14, 2021

Set upon a dark stage that Kashmir has invariably become, Sadam Hussain presents four poems that read like four acts of a macabre tragedy—except there is no curtain call and the curtains are never drawn, there where hell has no end and paradise no beginning.

(for Nazir Malik)

Act I

Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn…
A terrible beauty is born.

— W. B. Yeats

I didn’t want to be born here.
I remember it now,
I remember it all.
I remember Azrael picking me up from the feet of God,
me struggling,
hoping he had a heart.
The Angel of Death delivered me to my mother’s womb.
The warmth made me forget
and I was born

Day 1: death; Day 2: death…
All of us here were delivered by Azrael.
All of us soul-bonded to death,
all of us recollecting bits and pieces of the heavenly ordeal.
Leaving God for He was unfair,
leaving God for He—the all-knowing made us know pain.

Act II

"Underground, boxed and glum
left you there for rot."

I wake up dead in the cold,
in a body too stiff to hold.
(Z***d is killed)

'Nothing's gonna change my world'

I brush my teeth with a paste of gloom,
rhyme is cliché but the world is happy
and I can see the flowers bloom.
(T****l is killed)

‘Nothing's gonna change my world.’

It is the time for a pity bath,
in times where any happy soul feels like a psychopath.
(N******r is killed)

‘Nothing's gonna change my world.’

Days pass by like a fleeting march,
just dead bodies, no one there to hold the torch.
(A***a is killed)

‘Nothing's gonna change my world.’

Black sky is soon up, it is time to sleep,
horrors creep as the sirens weep.
(R***z is killed)

‘Nothing's gonna change my world.’

And now,
just "count your bones, one by one.
Lie awake at night."

Act III

"Don't drink the water, there's blood in the water”

There is blood in every street
every sidewalk, every corner.

Pavements so red
that almost black they seem.

In dark, narrow spaces,
you still find reminiscent echoes of a scream.

"You can howl and scream, I can't hear anything"

I refuse to see anything.

Act IV

Is this what they felt like right before the Holocaust?
I feel like burning charcoal in my heart,
rusted copper rod for a windpipe,
crushed bubble wrap for liver,
popped balloons for lungs
and a broken flute for a spine.

I feel like barbed wires wrapped around my neck,
hands tied in vulnerability,
legs amputated by deception,
naked body dead on an ice slab,
head soaked in electrolytes of deceit,
a nail dug deep in my forehead,
face dunked in a bucket of brine.
The positive wire attached to my right ear lobe,
the negative to my left,
molten lead falling on my shoulders.
And people?
People watching.
You?
You watching,
motionless,
reactionless.
Your inhumanity deserved this sight.

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About the Contributor

Sadam Hussain is a researcher from Indian administered Kashmir. He has finished his undergraduate degree with an Advanced Major in Political Science from Ashoka University. His research interests include ‘state repression’ and ‘subaltern politics’. Even though Sadam is primarily trained in the discipline of Political Science, he has a deep-seated interest in poetry, audio-visual anthropology and photography.