Sultana Morayma: the Last Queen of Al Andalus

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi At the end of the story, in its final pages, is a queen. Not the pious despot Isabella of Castille who is about to command the Inquisition, or the embittered, vengeful Sultana Aixa la Horra who is inciting war within the house of Nasrid, but the queen who is obscured from…

Walking Home

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi When home comes back to you as a calamity, its name appearing with death tolls and gut-wrenching photos of its youngest population, it feels as if the place itself, its memory, is lodged inside you like a bullet. The wound, inflicted by the War-terrorism binary, is a complicated wound, worsening with…

“Her hands full of earth, she kneels, in red suede high heels:” Planting a New Language in Diaspo/Renga

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi This past summer, news of the Gaza massacres came most revealingly in images and videos taken with cell phones— the devices originally intended to connect us through voice, chronicling instead the horrors befalling Palestinians in real time, horrors that defy conventional language, and will not be chronicled with fidelity by the…

Shade

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi Allahu Akbar or God is Great, the anthem stolen by the wicked terrorist, whose attack is aimed at life, what holds life together for me— the zikr: Allahu Akbar, God is Greater, greater than prayer, greater than the spectacularly leaping science, the elegance of logic, the morality police, the lust of…

Bouquet of Nerves

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi Starry night, a large starry night with infinite trees, is the background of what seems to be an architectural form— a balcony, bridge, courtyard with pillars? In the foreground, a sphere with a curve draped over it like an arm. This drawing has the expansiveness that suggests eternity (or waiting for…