Death by Saffron Ink

For every word of truth that’s written,
I know there’s a bullet out there
being loaded into a gun’s barrel,
and if keeping the fourth pillar
of my country standing means
I’ll fall one day,
then I’d rather have a hole
in the head or heart
than my conscience.

They want the truth
to be coloured saffron
but I’ve known it to be
black and white my whole life.

I was taught how to write the truth,
I paid the education system to guide me
but the real world showed me
that news is now just a wrong building
erected on the right foundation
and I am getting money and the license to live
as long as I keep building.

They say the truth is painful and inconvenient
but now I can say it’s the siren signalling danger,
for it silences the owner of the same mouth
it’s uttered from.

They also say ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’
but when I see a splash of blood for
every word of ink,
I realize that the sword is mightier
because of the pen.

I’ve been told to seal my lips,
print the paper and
flash the screen with dictatorial lies,

and every time a word of truth
‘accidentally’ drips from my lips,
a threat covered by well-meaning concern
lifts my job and buckles it back into the seat.

The saffron is hot and overflowing
searing my existence from time to time,
because I tell them that it’s being dished out
onto words and burning the truth to ashes.

It’s being thrown over the ones who dare to
stand tall against the rain of the saffron heat.
In hushed whispers,
from dawn to dusk,
with my eyes wide open or tightly shut,
I’m told to use the saffron ink to pen the truth
or I’ll die a saffron death.

Featured Image credit: Reuters