A poem by Hassan Yassin.
Collage by the IotL Magazine
I am a curse,
I am a deliberate curse,
Sliding down my secret chord attached to the uterus of the sky,
I hear the howls of the wind and wailing all about,
I talk to the flowers around me and I admire the songs of the walls,
These walls of my infinite isolation and my friend Fear,
Nothing provides me with a feeling of safety.
You who pass me by: do not ask me for Mercy in God’s sight,
Like a sinner calling to him for help,
Avoid seeing me,
Do not pity me.
Just give me a black bag so that I can put into it my defeat and my
contempt, and then I will chew it up and swallow it,
Give me a flame so that I may burn my waste,
I am a carcass bringing you unpleasant odours and Hate to your bodies
perfumed with flowers from Paris,
I cause you to feel Hate towards this dirty human who has undergone
all the terrors of wars.
I am a carcass where worms have found refuge,
I will not be last of their dreams and I will not be part of their
I do not know the date of my death,
Let me breathe deeply, close my eyes to open them again in the next
Pray for my time to come soon,
The least glance at me only disgusts you,
Let me leave your world,
I have no existence here,
I am a stranger with no identity and no papers,
a heap of trash outside your doors.
I want to die and put my soul into God’s hands, I will finish as an angel
or a devil, what does it matter.
Let my death not be slow.
If only flowers grew on my heart, perfuming my lungs and painting
the worms that gnaw on me with multi-coloured designs, and the melancholy chimes
of the bells would cover the beating of my heart.
May your prayers envelop my fear.
Do not call this a body,
It is my rotting remains that observe you,
These remains that you despise.
Even those dogs look at me oddly, your well-dressed dogs who have
an identity and a name.
Oh most generous God, when will you look upon me with pity and
order my heart to stop, my heart filled with imprisoned flowers,
Its beating is killing me.
What can be worse than the word ‘refugee’ to name a man?
Filthy tatters cover my body and envelop it in warmth with a
Your pleasant smells disgust the lice who have taken refuge in my hair.
You, the passerby in front of me:
I am a migrant who has survived the fermentation of flesh in the Mediterranean
to come in the streets of Paris
These streets cleaned in the early morning, and I am here!!!
I am the lie of this world,
I am this share of publicised humanity,
They are looking for strategies to get rid of me, they spend colossal
amounts, they have created commissions to uproot me,
So I no longer know if I am piece of meat or a piece of asphalt.
This world shows me contempt,
As it does to my brothers sent back to be tortured,
Murdered in the name of international conventions,
Or those who have escaped from encampments, the cursed
fingerprints, and come from the African bloodbaths to find
themselves the lowest of the low,
Because I am a refugee, rotting through, lying down without even
being able to hope,
I am dying, anxious, in the silence of the fireflies, caressed by
Hassan Yassin is a Sudanese poet in exile.
This poem was originally published in French in the Magazine Littéraire in 2018 and in English in the catalogue of to be [defined], an artistic-anthropological exhibition, which forms part of RIMA project.