Submissions by Maldivian poets for our poetry segment
Malé City never sleeps, and smokes a lot of cigarettes. The roads ache. For a place glowing with so many lights, this city has a darkness that doesn’t recoil, not even with the sunrise. The roads ache. They keep digging to bury power lines, and the dead. They keep digging and we have run out of dirt and there will be no space for me here by the time I take my last breath.
Malé City shoots up heroin on bad nights, shows up to knife fights with bruised fists, never sleeps, but smokes a lot of cigarettes, weeps too softly, forces laughter through its teeth, never stops, but is always so, so tired.
The roads ache. The roads know too much, the roads hate the taste of blood, the roads lead nowhere.
Malé City rises every morning, screaming from sleep paralysis. The roads are a constant rollercoaster of highs and lows, trips and falls, you’ll be lucky if you don’t fall over the world’s edge. This city overthinks everything, works too hard, and forgets to eat until evening. This city needs a break, has needed a break for the past 15 years, but that’s never happening.
This city takes everything — hearts, souls, families and hopes and dreams. This city takes everything and one third of a whole country is still not enough.one-third
The walls are too thin to drown out the noise. The roads ache. The sky seems so out of sight, and even more out of reach. Nothing is okay. Malé City sometimes dissociates and commits all the crimes under the sun but can never be held accountable. Malé City so easily forgets every cruel thing it has ever done.
There is no choice but to swallow the pride and move on.
The roads ache. Every footstep hurts, and the concrete screams so loudly, you can’t hear it. The concrete has so many cracks it’s a miracle it hasn’t fallen apart yet.
Malé City never sleeps, and smokes a lot of cigarettes, thinks too much but never far ahead, shouts so loud but never about something that matters. The walls are too thin to contain feelings within personal spaces.
The roads eventually lead to the sea, and so many can’t swim.
Malé City hates itself, hates what it’s become, hates its uneven pavements and towering ruins and streetlamps and crowded headspace. Somewhere within the mess, I hope a heart still throbs — and if it does, I hope I find it someday.
— [Where I call home], s.m.