Catfish Cantos III: The Dissident

Now, this is the chair
of freedom. In it sat
the elected one.
The pioneer, the
chosen one.
You can take a little flag
on your way out,
as a souvenir.

In our country we have
no dissidents. We have bonus cards and
democracy. We have
God. When the battle started,
the chosen one cried:
“God, help us
disembowel the enemy
and flay his daughter’s skin!
We praise you much.“
And there was peace.
So don’t spoil it!

You are not going to eat this colossal
fish alone, are you?
Hey guys, come on over,
here’s a treat. No no no,
not you! You’re this whistleblower guy,
ain’t-cha? The traitor. Where is your
flag? God, this is to die for!

In the desert I sit, the dissident.
Oh, we have no desert,
they would say,
we have democracy.
It must be something
in your head. A
crack or …
No, it’s this overstretch again.
Does anyone have an aspirin?

Now, which Roman emperor
created those magnificent baths
that were free for all?
Yes, Emily?

In the silence of the night
the catfish goes unseen,
untouched. It grows
in the rivers, it grows
in the lakes. Wrapped in

So will you follow now
or what?
We haven’t got all day.
What are you staring at?

The moon is so big tonight, look!
So white.
We need a home, everybody
does. I’m talkin’ ’bout peace now.
OK, so you laugh, but
when we all have a home,
what could there be other than …

The catfish turns its head,
stirs up the ground, and now,
all mouth,
it sings: “Hatch, half a million,
in the cold,
brave little darlings,
two days old.“

So what was this thing again
about the moon? We put a flag there,
you know.

• See video of Cantos 1 here:  II here; and III 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.