Poets’ Basement

April Sprinkles

On human rights violations in Kashmir

Rain — cold small beads
come slanting down
on Zero Bridge,
upon old waters that flow beneath

Wet almond blossom
in night-long showers
scattered in bolshie gardens by the Dal
stamped upon by everyday ghosts

Bloodshot glower in black skies
Men in sand-bags with sad, cold eyes
Spring showers upon ugly bayonets
early rain on parched souls

Moist, hidden graves in deep, distant woods
under damp raspberry trees
Dead sleep in rain-swept dark
the undead roll in stone homes

Rain spatter on familiar roofs
Rainy sounds like idle words
Rain-color puddles on the boulevard
No rain songs to live it up


To My Old Bed

I smell wild wood trees
possessed by buccaneers and bulbuls
criss-crossing each other
along heaving paths
I see bee-eaters, their iridescent wings
like violin bows upon the track
fringed with tall pines
like sharp arcs into blue Eden
I hear sounds being chargrilled
in the timberland, so green
surrounded with dug-outs
as deep as war sorrows
I walk into my vale
self-same over the years
cacophonous and comforting
if only to fall happily
into my old bed 

One More

One more smokestack is smokeless tonight
one more child put six feet under
One more mother is wringing her hands
one more son is inhumed tonight
One more joy is trampled upon
one more lad is overhung tonight
One more bullet to the heart
one more woeful home tonight
One more sombre evening
one more starless sky tonight

Sameer Bhat is a journalist and lives in Dubai.  One of Kashmir’s most widely read bloggers, his short stories and satirical writings have appeared in leading English dailies.  Sameer’s recent contributions include an anthology Until My Freedom Has Come – The New Intifada in Kashmir(published by Penguin Books India).  An avid blogger, Sameer has been keeping a popular blog ‘Kashur Kot’ [Kashmiri lad] for the last 10 years and regularly comments on the Kashmir conflict from a satirist’s perspective.  www.sameerbhat.blogspot.com is mostly liberal and laidback with a dash of sarcasm.


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To submit to Poets’ Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at counterpunchpoetry@gmail.com with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work).  Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where.  For translations, include poem in original language and documentation of granted reprint/translation rights.  Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document (.doc or .rtf attachments only; no .docx).  Expect a response within one month (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).

Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology.

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