Mushtaq Hussain's Darbari
New Delhi, 2018
"Before your cheek turns red beneath my slaps, a soft kiss for you. Before the whipping takes the skin off your back, two spoonfuls of pollen off the feet. Before the hired bulldozer grinds your ancestors to powder, a sacred pot. Before letting loose a salivating pack of wolves starving for three days, a courteous farewell. Before plucking your brazen eyelids out with forceps, a warm handshake, comrade. Before upending a sack of salt on your open wound, a tin of talcum. Before inserting a heated iron rod slowly up your rectum, a fragrant rose of Basrah my friend. Just like the countdown before the explosion. Welcome to the world."
Srijato’s verses shock one out of any sort of complacency with their visceral, cinema verite potency. This is poetry that makes you shift uncomfortably in your chair, but which you cannot put down. And before you know it, you are picking it up again for a second read.