The following is a stream of consciousness exercise by Jonathan Hand and Tabish Ashfaq.


The cobblestone, the air, ripe with hashish,

14, brown-haired, dark-skinned, Tabish.

Running from himself, what a relief,

He was faster than his legs, his head, and his feet.

But time and again, he needed to eat,

Something different than vegetables and meat.

Something sour, or bitter, an unusual treat.

He was longing and scared for something more,

Some tired gym sock for him to explore.

He couldn't be sure whether this was the ocean's shore,

But this where he'd docked, saying nothing more.

No loss. No more. Nothing in-between. No certainty.

Just bitter and coffee and bliss as far as can be.

There were no more machines to program his needs.

Only grounds, and water, and old "cocoa beads."

Westerner’s, making necklaces from the fingers of farmers.

Selling leather made from exotic snake charmers,

Dripping its poison to lubricate lip balmers.

And publicly endorsing all the self-harmers,

They have always been society's greatest charmers.


ST.ART Magazine