Friday, November 6, 2009

Dishonourable Discharge: Malik Nadal Hasan

fucking arabs
man / are they crazy
yeah / okay we know hasan
wz born in virginia
& american bred
bt the real truth
wz there in his blood:

& before you say racist
lemme just say
september eleven
before you jump on that
lemme throw at you
seven seven
mean anything to you
how long before we learn
to lock the fucking gates
& save our children
close the fucking borders
send the brown skins back
freeloading boaters or even
if they're fucking born here
who cares
twelve real americans died
at last count
& he injured thirty one

they were sending him to counsel soldiers
to shoot his mother / the army

wz shipping malik to afghanistan
probably / when he couldn/t deal with this
an american born soldier became un-american

they were sending him to ease the guilt
of those who killed his sisters / the army
wz shipping him to afghanistan
& probably his objections just
didn’t go down too well

today / malik nadal hasan
dishonourably discharged himself
the army spilled american blood
bt somehow the news on cnn is
a desperate brown man
army trained / born & bred
who no longer is the slightest bit



  1. This is some heavy stuff, swooshing before your eyes, weaving into the mind as you read, definitely inspires a reaction! Like it's unconventionality, the truth stripped bare is usually bitter to the taste, I'd say.

  2. But then i suppose truth is relative, the view of a landscape shifts with differing perspectives. Som what inspired this particular poem, the voice and point of view used?

  3. fear is an ugly thing, all those borders erected...may all who fear difference be reincarnated within that difference see how there's really no fear to be had...This is heavy duty, and do honour in a very passionate way to hurt souls, I find your cries from the soul disturbing, hurtful and thoroughly beautiful

  4. Thankyou Lorraine,I guess in some ways I do aim to disturb, but I'm glad you also see some positivity in writing such political pieces. Many people don't.

    Novuyo: thanks for visiting and welcome. I guess the first voice in the poem is what I imagine would be the common knee-jerk reaction or train of thought from anti-immigration, and perhaps Islamaphobic commentators (commentary online seems to suggest the voice is fairly accurate).

    The second voice then looks at what facts we know of the matter, and attempts to criticise,and I guess even ridicule the first reaction by looking at the circumstances which surrounded the tragedy. (ie that Malik appeared to be depressed, angry and anxious about being posted to afghanistan, that to all appearances this was ignored by the army, and that the moment the incident occurred, the suspect was distanced from the army, in ethnicity and otherwise, despite being born and raised in america and serving for some years). Sorry to get so heavy on you :( I look forward to visiting your place again soon :)

  5. Too political and aggressive Maxine, but then you know my views on this...

  6. See all the racists coming out of the woodwork like hit the nail on the head.

  7. OOoh Timoteo, your cockroach analogy gives me the creeps big time. I want to put on a hulking big boot and start squashing.

    Kate: Yeah, yeah. I know you think it. Thanks for sticking will me anyway :)

  8. A whole 12 Americans! Holey Mackeral, break out the nuclear weapons. Call in the media! Feeding frenzy, yayayayaya. The question about a poem like this is what function is it trying to serve. It is too aggressive and political to change the views of people who would disagree with you. It may be permanently recording the facts or your reaction to them, which is honourable. It may be a call to action for people who do agree with you. I would be interested in your thoughts on that Maxine. Trying to learn a bit more about what the poets are up to.

  9. Cool, I should have read the other comments before I mouthed off, sorry, bad habits. I'll go back to sleep now.

  10. I don't really understand this whole 'What function is this poem trying to serve' comment, which I've now had both here and on the Overland blog. It seems to me there's a total misconception about poetry's supposed 'function'. Did Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream speech' appeal to redneck racists? Did it tell likeminded people anything they didn't already know? Of course not. Most Australian poets seem to me to be not only apolitical, but anti-political. It continues to baffle me why anyone would think I want to read a poem which is completely introverted, self indulgent and detached from any kind of reality I can recognise. Still, each to their own I guess.

  11. Function? Maxine, you have taken a very complex incident and shone two floodlights straight into its core, you've given pause for thought, who is Malik inside his skin, what possesses someone to act in this way. You have smudged the lines between fact and emotion, evoking empathy. I like how you've constructed this very sensitive subject. The first part reminds me of the Leonard Cohen line 'wild as any freedom loving racist.' Thanks Maxine for another brilliant piece.

  12. Thanks Mark - and for that Cohen line. I'm not a dedicated Cohen fan and haven't heard it before. It's brilliant!

  13. You should try asking the anti-political poets what the function of their poetry is, Maxine. Then you can listen to them say "advertising my self" and "showing how clever I am with my word" in all sorts of different ways.