On the Return to a Foreign Land by Ashwani Sharma
Now I become death, the destroyers of worlds.
The ashes rattled in the boot, the dust scattering
the receding dawn light, back in the mother
country lost in its mythos. A journey
to the source, a return to nothingness. The road
cutting a cold industrial landscape, arid horizon
populated by waking souls, indifference to the
vehicle hurtling to the sacred waters of the Ganga, air
reeking of the waste of human existence.
Death in the atmosphere orange shirts stealing a march,
hate everywhere. Mortal gods on screens selling the
future, dancing flesh whiter than white, goondas
rampaging, thugs searching for purity raping
as tradition reigns. Bharat rising speculating
on fear, Modi empire reloaded, emergency nation-time
open for business, follow the Brahmins to the
camps, holy men in Triumph of the Will.
Sounds of her last breaths reverberating in my head
my eyes red through the morning haze. Mum smiling,
speaking of another country. Brum back in the
day airmail to the Delhi folks. Bygone pasts
India left shining to another beat of utopia
lost. From the impossible life, burning
coal in the grey skies of the engine of imperial
decline. Dreams of escape to the black country.
Red sky at night people struggling. Mao in the
jungle class war Lal Salaam another Naxalbari
imagined. Let the poets run riot, words can
kill the twilight of hope. Dust storms gathering
across time haunted by the failures of history.
England’s dreaming again. Time to go, forget the gods
No sacred cows, only polluted rivers, temples to the rich.
Wretched of the earth losing their mind, daughters
of the dust speaking for (an)other world, sounding
out rupturing the flows of empire at the end
of our world, the world mum.
Ashwani Sharma is Course Leader for the BA Film and Screen Studies at LCC. He is the founding co-editor of darkmatter journal (darkmatter101.org) and is completing a book of essays on race, time and visual culture. He is working on a poetry collection - tabula rasa.