Death by Rejected Visa Application

by Waqas Naeem

Death came for Ibne Batuta,
as a bandit first
and then
a shipwreck,
and in a storm again,
and again
as a palace intrigue.
He escaped each time,
until the last,
to die
when no one really cared if he lived anymore,
not even Death,
nor Ibne Batuta.

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

Waqas Naeem is a college teacher, journalist and part-time poet. He currently teaches journalism and communication at the National University of Sciences & Technology in Islamabad, Pakistan. He has previously worked for The Express Tribune as a news reporter, translates news stories for Global Voices Online and his poems have appeared in Papercuts and Asian Reflections. He also works as the volunteer-director of the South Asian literary community, the Desi Writers' Lounge.


By Rhonda C. Poynter on Nov 14, 2015 20:46 (UTC)

I love this! =)

By Natasha Joshi on Nov 20, 2015 04:06 (UTC)

Really lovely.

By ali on Nov 20, 2015 04:39 (UTC)


By Animesh on Nov 20, 2015 05:57 (UTC)

Hey Waqas. This one is just brilliant!

By Waqas on Nov 20, 2015 08:47 (UTC)

Thanks for reading and appreciating, everyone!

By Riz on Nov 20, 2015 09:10 (UTC)

Brilliant Waqas

By Faraz on Nov 20, 2015 13:14 (UTC)

That's pretty good! Bravo

By Victor D. Sandiego on Nov 20, 2015 15:17 (UTC)

Waqas Naeem brings a certain balance to this piece that serves it very well. We start and end with both death and Ibne Batuta. In between, we have a man who – although subject to various threats of bandits and shipwrecks – lives only to avoid the inevitable. Sad, poignant and all to common of a human experience I’m afraid.

By Marsha S. on Apr 08, 2016 19:43 (UTC)

Very moving, very powerful. The spare language keeps the subject matter on course, and the last two lines are a one-two punch summarizing this man's tragedy. Thank you.