Five Bullets for Sabeen Mahmud by Manash Bhattacharjee

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Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?”

~ Jimi Hendrix, Purple Haze

Sabeen had a list of crimes to her name –
She ran a café with a bookstore
Where she talked politics
She invited her people to speak up
For the silenced neighbours
She trusted her city
Against lies of the government
She loved Jimi Hendrix
Death’s early bird
Jimi sang of the machine gun
Out to kill others
Tearing apart his body
Maybe Sabeen had a thing for
Wild Things
Maybe she lived in a Purple Haze
Confusing joy with misery
Things were going wrong around her
But Sabeen was no dove
She did not go white hearing them hiss
At her gambler’s nerves
Marking her portion of the sky –
So they vented their timidity
With five pieces of lead
Reclaiming the fear of territory
Among unbelieving hearts

by Manash Bhattacharjee

Manash Bhattacharjee’s poems have appeared in The London MagazineNew Welsh ReviewThe Fortnightly ReviewWarscapesGeorge Szirtes’ Blog,The Missing Slate and The Little Magazine. His first collection of poetry, Ghalib’s Tomb and Other Poems (2013), was published by The London Magazine here. He is currently Adjunct Professor in the School of Culture and Creative Expressions at Ambedkar University, New Delhi.