Catfish Cantos II: Where is my Group?

Excuse me, have you seen my group?
Sorry, I need my glasses.
No no, wait!
I am for global justice, you see.
Only, I don’t find my group,
and a monster haunts my nights.

This is not my street,
or is it?
I remember the face there
on the election poster,
and that one, too.
They line the street
like crabs.
But what is this stench?
Is it meat? What is this?
I used to go there, I think,
but I cannot today.

In the river, seven flights below,
barbels lure in darkness,
reaching out,
This way, polliwog, I will show you

Down here
is the realm of the catfish.
There is no one else around.
It can smell you.
You’re away from the herd.
So delicate you are.

Moon sweat on the blanket.
I must remember the name
of my leader. My
adviser. Mon semblable, mon

In the East and in the West,
catfish, catfish, unsuppressed,
old and stout, unseen and wise,
pulls the curtain from your eyes.

Yesterday, when I watched the news,
the colors were so different.
Where have the jaunty words gone,
verbiage and vodka?

It was so easy when
all of us
were guilty,
especially them,
and nobody was

Now there is nothing.
And the catfish says:
your inner voice,”
but it’s a monster. A
beast. Last week it took
a poodle right from the shore.

I don’t know what to do.
They say the catfish is
a terrorist.
So many sought to kill it. They came
with red heat pokers, guns and
articles in the New York Times.

Come back to the herd, dear,
this is not for you. Did you have
a bad dream? I know.
Oh look, your brand
is all worn out.
Let’s go and fix it!

•  Check video of poem here


Anis Hamadeh is a German artist with a MA in Islamic Studies. His writings include Palestine/Israel/Germany. He is the author of Understanding Islam: A Practical Handbook (2013 in German). Anis, who is also a songwriter, does live appearances, studio productions, etc. Read other articles by Anis, or visit Anis's website.