Will I Be Allowed to Speak Again? By Jayant Kashyap

Will I Be Allowed to Speak Again?

The days have now become longer; everyday
a newspaper reads out loud the deaths

of people – found deaths – sometimes
in the sewers, in the mosques and temples

at other times, and then in their own homes,
burnt to nothingness – as if to say that dust

you are, and to dust you shall return; – all
of these bodies are collected the way a child

collects pebbles from sand: everyone
remembers only the first one. Everyone

forgets about them in time, even the child.
Three days ago, someone in the crowd shot

at a person and recited their god’s name,
as if god would tell them what they did was

right. What god, though? Two days ago
the pages blared that the chaos wasn’t silent

anymore, just as everything else isn’t so.
Someone tells me they don’t stand with

“the said victims,” because they are wrong
too; but sometimes the victims are

nothing but victims. “Oh, you are but all
metaphorical. A country doesn’t survive

with metaphors.” Well, nor does it with
suppression and oppression, or does it? The

fests in colleges do not allow skits
surrounding politics, as if to say that only

silence is practical; but what of the water that
is mostly more politics now than water –

the newspaper cuttings lately tell me both
about how a government decides what amount

of water a person should drink every day
and only how much I should speak against my

government. It’s funny how in a democracy
every citizen can be named a militant

except the government itself, as if the regimes
don’t break within themselves anymore;

don’t the broken regimes also lead the nations
to dust? – say Eritrea, say Liberia, say Korea,

say nothing else; say no more.

(for india)

By Jayant Kashyap


Jayant Kashyap is a Pushcart Prize-nominee, and one of the founding editors of the e-magazine Bold + Italic. His poems have appeared in Barren, StepAway, Visual Verse, Perverse, Outcast and other magazines. His debut chapbook, Survival, was published in 2019 by Clare Songbirds, and Unaccomplished Cities is upcoming from Ghost City Press.


Leave a Reply