Rakesh Bhadang


Every day evil climbs down from a perch, and resumes the onslaught of images
To chip away my soul

Every day they bring the smell of burning tires, and taste of squirting blood
And circle me, sensing an easy prey to subjugate

To deepen my paralysis, they summon ghosts of Tiananmen tanks, Stalin’s boots, and trail of tears
They fan the dust away from coffins of Emmett Till, Floyd, and Garner

They conjure memories of Apartheid and Imperialism
Horrors of Auschwitz, Uighur, and Japanese camps aren’t far behind

Sometimes, they also bring a flotilla of forms where I am forced to check a box
To declare pigment of my skin, an imaginary caste, choice of my ‘good book,’ or numbers of holes in my shirt

Reeling, I look for optimism that’s barely breathing
I grab for trampled courage that’s barely stirring

But to lend a hand, often sneak in other images too, of Tiananmen tank man, of Turkish woman in red
Of MLK proclaiming silence is complicity, or Gandhi urging me to be the change in the world

The battle rages every day, and which side wins it is often decided
If I had watered the plant of empathy that day


Rakesh Bhadang is originally from India and now based in California. He is a published author and poet. His thriller book ‘Bloody Ink’ and a poetry collection are available on Amazon. Currently, he is writing a thriller portraying animals rebelling against hegemony of humans. In response to Covid-19, he is creating a peacefulness mobile app to help over-stressed workers. He blogs at www.rakeshbhadang.com and tweets at @rakeshbhadang.


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