'The fear (unfinished)' by Omar Musa | States of Poetry ACT - Series One

They said,
'be afraid.'

And the people became afraid.

I stood,
              a dwarf in a petrified forest,
              watching them dance the ancient dance —
              there seemed joy in their terror,
              & laughter, too.

People baked bullets into their bread.
They chopped up newspapers
              & fried them
              with sliced onions & sizzling steaks.
They stroked surveillance cameras
              between their legs.
They treated TV screens like wells,
              dipping buckets into them,
              filling teacups
              & offering them to neighbours.

At times it held the shape of mirrors & men,
but mostly,
the fear spread across the waking earth
              as if it were gas

              & gas expands to fill
              whatever vessel
              it is put in.

A man would not serve me at the supermarket.
A woman crossed the street to avoid me.
An anonymous email wished death upon me.

I, too,
became afraid.


Omar Musa

Omar Musa

Omar Musa

Omar Musa is a Malaysian-Australian author, rapper, and poet from Queanbeyan. He is the former winner of the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. He has released three hip hop albums, two poetry books (including Parang), and has appeared on ABC TV's Q&A and at TEDx Sydney at the Sydney Opera House. His début novel Here Come the Dogs, was published by Penguin Australia in 2014 and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Omar Musa was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Young Novelists of the Year in 2015. He is currently working on a new album and a novel.