Issue #2: Rant is a word I’ve learned, Shana Bulhan Haydock

Rant is a word I’ve Learned


on the scale of -13 to 640,
how sure are you of your safety?

i would like to tell you this came to me naturally.
all of it. the glitter and dreams, words and sounds,
cuts and pills. that it wasn’t premeditated and chosen,
that this psychosis was not a learned art.

but i am not answerable to your lined colours
and flaring tempers. how arrogant,
but i only wish to be the stillness.

it’s all arts. the brown the queer the deaf the crazy the
girl– seeped into me. she ridiculed gods and chose
a science religious enough to vomit, she whispered
prose, rhythm– boundless in framework but for
“show me you care” on repeat,
erasure, ensure me a legacy to discard.
i refuse to choose your genetic truth,
such scientifically sage survival instinct:
i have always wanted to be a god.


my father wrote to me today: “where are the trees?
the sky?” calling on nikki giovanni, all i’m seeing
is smile-puke and melting groceries.

a friend told me that i could fill out india’s trashwiki
page for dumpster diving. i laughed— no.
the feriwallahs take the trash, as you say.
the cows eat it. poorer people take some.
but if you’re middle class in india, you stay so.
and you, internet user, are middle class, and you
don’t go “dumpster diving” … funny but
trash in amerika is clean
& trash in india is dirtiest or dirty.
another friend says at least she isn’t in pakistan.
distant news i heard through distant flippancy, as always
these floods. “donate money! donate money! donate money!”
people saying don’t trust those big charities…

we are at war with each other even if we’re all brown.


desiShana Bulhan Haydock is a young, South Asian, trans*/non-binary and queer writer, artist and activist. They currently reside in Massachusetts, USA, though they grew up mostly in India. They work with The Freedom Center, a radical mental health collective that hopes to provide sanctuary for psychiatric survivors. Shana’s work has appeared or will appear in such publications as The Outrider Review, (parenthetical) zine, aaduna literary magazine, and theEveryday Abolition project.


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