– (a patriot’s lament)

they are not singing our anthem any more
not any more
its words have lost their meaning
and only the fears which well up in our
hearts tell us that the winds of change are

 only yesterday we stood naked and watched the
trembling fists of despair crush the hope which
hung about our necks like half-conceived nightmares

 only yesterday
in the gray dawn, we watched them stroll the
breadth of our windows
again and again

how strange it seemed that three hundred years
of intense suffering have not erased the furrows
from our agonized brows, have not received the kin-
ship so long ripped from our unsuspecting hearts
when first we like brothers, now strangers, huddled
together to comfort each and shield ourselves
from the biting winds of solitude

 should we have known?
should we have sensed then that behind the songs,
the embraces, the uncopulated copulation and even
the tears that rolled dawn our cheeks pregnant
with laughter, should we have sensed then that
our innocence would live to haunt our freedom?

never, never in our lifetime will our crippled
hands be too numbed to hurl a rock!
never our voices too feeble to echo the protest
throbs and throbs in our pulsating bodies
for how else shall we exist?

 shall we exist whilst fools piss upon our sacred
scrolls and strangers grab the bread from our
children’s mouths? shall we exist under the pretext of love when all
our days and nights are stalked with venom?

never, never in our lifetime shall we be afraid to
bathe our faces in sunlight and unburden the truths
so fast locked in the crevices of our hearts,
so hard defended;
we won our freedom in ’65
we won it again in ’38 and would have won it at last
in ’62 had egomaniacs not spilt our substance on
granite, not rupture the womb-folds of the salvation
envisaged after three centuries of pitiless toil

 toil too acrid to stop the flowing rivers of sweat
that gush from the roots of our armpits

toil too erotic to hold back the semen that floods
our groins
in the gray dawn
in the steaming, festering clutches of sleep
in the darkened hallways of endless becoming

 would babylon have stood by and watched the flesh
grow soggy on our bones?
would babylon have stood inert as the whipcrack of
hard times fractures our eardrums and bolts of fire
scorch and scorch the sinews of our half-naked tissues?

 we do not know!
we know only that the rain falls piously on our tattered
frames and the waters flow indigo-red pass the tombstones we now defy
we are alive to walk tall above giants who pitter-
patter in their eggshell world across the breadth of
our windows

 we are alive
we are alive to plant love bombs at the doorsteps of
our neighbours
but we have chosen
we have chosen to beckon to our brothers, ushering
them to crush the cancer which stalks the breadth of
our windows
again and again
in the gray dawn.