Dreamers Outdreamed

by Aqeela Naqvi

People always told me of the beauty of dreaming

but no one ever mentioned this darkness breeding

what happens when the things inside your head

rise up like undead horrors and leave your bed

when the broken fingers that claw inside your brain

unlock doors and climb out of your window pane

they never told me listen you should be aware

a dream’s still a dream when it’s spelled nightmare

Our nightmares escape and mount mares of the night
cloaks billowing, hoods low, a malevolent flight
while we lay in our beds and murmur in sleep softly
they’re gathering together forming plans of tyranny
while our pillows comfort the curve of our neck
the curve of the knife in their hands becomes set
those who sold their souls to the creatures of the night
traded cheaply for money, fame, power, and might
“Oh, how kind, how noble, how generous these men!”
disregarded pedestals of bodies on which they stand
victims of the third world, which is only third in that sense
cause it’s number one on the list of where to ignore violence

hell, why not include the second world in that too
the first world’s the only place they care what happens to you!
wait I take that back, take a walk down the street
take off the blindfold and you’ll see what I mean
young faces, lives taken, ended futures so bright
trigger happy cops let loose in the dead of the night
an entire race of people enslaved by one nation
called ‘equal’ now, apologies, but no reparations

is inequality only there when we’re shackled in chains?
or does it creep up disguised, lurk in dark city lanes?
in every hood where a child has to pick up a gun
to sell drugs on the corner to get medicine for his mom
in crippled budget school systems grabbing at crumbs
education for all but only a good one for some
hate crimes, stop and frisk, random passenger checks
call for justice? the reply: would you mind holding a sec?

left waiting on the line listening to a harsh melody
rat-a-tat gunfire medicine for obscure enemies
of white phosphorous fired by camouflaged knights
missing the dragon but burning princesses on sight
of innocent men who are detained for tens of years
of prisoners tortured while guards’ smiles reach their ears
of gunshot wounds of a mother and her child unborn
taken a life upon life, now which ones should we mourn?

the little boys in the shadows of tanks throwing stones?
the little girls falling asleep to the buzzing of drones?
the cry for peace goes unheeded by bulldozer’s wheels
martyrdom dismissed as folly even after many appeals
cause the court favors Goliath, David it ignores
calls the man the oppressor, and the giant the savior

gavels freeing the guilty don’t jolt us from sleep
we lay lost in the comfort of a slumber so deep
blood as red as ours runs through the streets like rain
it trickles through the our roofs and drips down the drain
it seeps into our floorboards and dyes their color
soaks into our sheets and our fancy bed covers
the thinness of our mouths now rules us complicit
sleep, our silence, condemns with each passing minute


I dreamed of a dream, I dreamt dreams just to dream
but now I know that dreams may not be what they seem
I was too caught up in dreaming, I let the nightmares flee
let them bother someone else instead of bothering me
let them loose into the night and turned the other way
took the darkness for light, and so my vision decayed
they tried to hinder me from seeing what was really there
Close your eyes to the sun or you’ll be blinded by glare!
but I refused them, opened my eyes, and with that choice
I saw the lock on my people, but found the key in my voice

ghosts of gas camps and trails of tears linger in my gaze
whisper, “We are gone but not gone is the barbed wire maze
remember: those who killed us were not wrong in our time
only after we’d been buried were shouts of alarm cried
genocides once screamed, but they are now taught to whisper
know that religion’s irrelevant when it’s a child that whimpers
oppressors in the past wronged, but in graves they now lay
don’t be fooled into your own by oppressors of today”
we must wake up, grip the hands of those suffering alone
mix our blood with theirs, declare their pain as our own
be a waking dream for another instead of just for ourselves:
one can’t dream of heaven when two are living in hell