Poetry | ‘Reverse Triage’ & ‘A Benevolent Lion’ | By Adil Hasan

Adil Hasan’s prose poems are a surprising interlacing of abstract and fablery taking over the trail-edges of mist-filled suspense

Reverse Triage

Billowing smoke through the broken shape of a leaf filled with grief. Colour spreads like blood through the veins of a sinewy arm. The spot where a man’s head should be is turning a liquid blue. From inside, a gurney is turning the corner, the pink blanket propped heavy, the body motionless. Of the five red beds monitored, two do not make it into the night. The nurse skates to the door and screams, “Transport, transport!” Freeing hands from large pockets, two sleepy men come running. One turns and nods to the head of a family come to identify a missing relative. Helter-skelter her children run for the exits. A shrill whistle is heard. Outside, I’m jumping into a rickshaw, negotiating with the driver showing me his bruises. A paramedical facility fighting in court to become a hospital. Up high, crows on railings stare belligerently into the one room reserved for critical care. Blue light from the TV cascades down the steel and glass hostel opposite. No parking. An unnamed side street in the city of Bangalore. A camouflaged helicopter paces the sky, thrice in two minutes. White clouds spread, cotton-wool tossed. Precipitation was expected. It pours.

A Benevolent Lion

In the open cage, amidst a large contingent of small animals – a benevolent lion. Instantly shy, I shield my eyes from the gilded sanctuary beyond the barbed wire. With leaden legs I emerge from sleep to a crisis in the far country. My companions lie motionless on the bank, like dispersed boulders in mud on the moon. From across the moat to the other side, reaching high into deep blue space is the jaipur castle. Through sandy windows come choral notes and the sound of a noisy stereo. There is soon to be a show of pomp and fantasy we’ve been waiting for. Androgynes. Androgynes will walk those aisles…

Now on the ascendant, the lion lowers his mighty jaw, making to speak. I flap my ears open and begin to weep. Spears and wooden tongues lash out at him. My companions belch and stutter, coiled tails sweeping arcs at his feet. In the escaping light of those distant days, this beast must come padding in. His throne the muddy mound, the androgynes will court, dancing in their old graceful ways, singing of the stars above. In the far country when you leave me to die, leave me to dream another crisis. But ordain just this: first, kingly flight through a jaipur castle, then the bitter descent to my sandy cage – as you fashion for me, amidst a large contingent of small animals – a continent of benevolent, gilded lions.

Adil Hasan was born in 1971 in Shillong, North-East India and lived in Bangalore for nineteen years before he moved to Pune last year. Having previously worked in the banking industry, he is now a visual artist and a freelance writer. His poems and short tales have appeared in Kitaab, Half and One, and The Thumb Print magazines. An exhibition of his art titled Escape The Dark – A Digital Fantasy was held in 2014. 

Poetry | ‘Dauntless Dreams’ by Subhanjali Saraswati (18) | Student Writing

Paranoia glared through the windows,
She started melting under the heat
Inch by inch,
She lost pounds, sterlings, dollars.
The counties were long gone,
It was now time for the countries.
Gone were the days the ice melted.
It was frozen still today,
The roads, the ravages, the restless pace.
Crossed by a bullet would have been easier
Simpler even.
Wrath ran through the veins,
Just as throats stopped croaking,
The stomachs synced to a stop.
Pouring thoughts dried up,
Even the moments demanded to be unfelt.
Grains had at last churned death.

The drains were pouring,
Flesh, bones, blood seemed united.
Borne or Born,
Pinned onto a single thought.
Plagued minds ruled the worlds.
Twists, turns, all were straights.

Perfect lines. Dotted I’s.
Traces of laced life.
Dashed through the vigilance.
Worn nails varnished in the pages of history.
Bane? Liquor drove the healthy.
Myriad magic, the sane.
Trash cans lifted to tables,
Torn paper traced into perfect circles.
Lives un-longed for, deaths de-glorified.
Demands dressed in dreams,
Doused in amnesia,
Arousals arrested in anarchy.

Drought was scarce,
Sanguine floods crashed humanity.
Fierce Fire forested in few farms.
Passive lives ran out of machines.
Mannerisms murdered,
Streaked past Survival.

Uncouth vehemence vandalised
Deep sweet darkness.

No light, no right,
Not a penchant of twilight.
Midnight hues were well past.
Paranoia ruled Paris tonight.
Her dust opened doors.
Damsels had departed distress,
Doom was thus ‘daughter-ed’.
Dimensionless depth swept clean,
Directions diverged into allegiance,
All to the beats of her breath.

Subhanjali Saraswati is an 18-year-old first year undergraduate student at University of Hyderabad. She is studying Political Science. Her favourite poet is John Donne.