The Loss of Mental Metamorphosis & Other Poems (Satis Shroff)

The Loss of Mental Metamorphosis (Satis Shroff)

Eight Indians on the run,

Fifty Neonazis behind them.

'Deutschland den Deutschen,

Ausländer raus! Hier regiert der nationale Widerstand!'

Roars from the throats of the Neos,

Beer in their blood,

Defiance in their sanguine eyes.

The puls races,

Adrenalin surges in the veins:

Fight or flight.

Naked angst.



No one helps,

They just look on,

Like Bertold Brecht would say.

As the Jews were beated and transported,

To Auschwitz, Gürs or alsewhere.

The Indians run as fast

As their legs can carry them.

'Jaldi bhago! Zindagi bachau!

The bald headed, overfed, pink Neos

Overrun the scared Indians.

What follows is the bashing

Of the underdogs in the German society.

Of migrants who love Deutschland.

Their only crime,

The colour of their complexion.

The police of Saxony's Mügeln come,

But are hesistant about the xenophobia

That was always there,

Even when the Stasi were in command.

Xenophobia that has broken out.

The rightists agitate conspiratively,

Said the Verfassungsschutz in 2006.

In Mügeln akin to Hoyerswerda and Mölln.

The ethnic Germans peer and look away

At the brutality and intolerance

Unfurling before their very eyes.

The teuro, the joblessness in the East

Has made them indifferent and complacent.

Give us more money to integrate the Neos,

In families, schools, communities,

Say some politicians.

Federalism and democracy is not inaction,

Where intolerance and racism rears its ugly head.

It happens from Mügeln to Mainz.

Anti-discrimination laws alone

Help neither the Wessies nor the Ossies.

A mental metamorphosis is in demand.

Have we Germans learned from history?

Haben wir, die Bürger, aus der Geschichte gelernt?

Alas, we've become complacent again.

Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Are striving for an European cultural identity,

Where foreign traditions and culture

Are the quintessence of togetherness,

Of Miteinander.

The enclaves of intolerance should remain

Ghosts of the past.

Liberalism, democracy, civilisation and society

Should be the order of the day.

Mental changes in our thinking processes,

Not mental molotovs,

Should be the cry of the day.


Art by satisshroff 2007


When Hoyerswerda burns

They discuss about the asylum-seekers.

Peaceful, righteous Germans go In the streets with candles.

When a house burns in Mölln

They discuss about bringing back

Soldiers from the dangers of Somalia.

At the Turkish funeral in Solingen

The Chancellor keeps away

And avoids thus

Rotten eggs and tomatoes

That might come his way.

When the trial comes

The former skinhead neonazi

Has a lot of hair.

He wears a two-piece suit,

Ties a tie around his neck

And looks oh-so-respectable.

He peers into the cameras

With clear blue eyes and says:

"I'm innocent and a victim

Of the modern industrial society."

And withdraws his earlier statement.

The judges are lenient,

And the neo gets off on bail,

Gestures with his middle finger

And quips: "Leck mich am Arsch!"

As he speeds away in a car

Only to reappear with a Molotov

Like the Sphinx again.

"Ausländer Raus! Deutschland den Deutschen!"

These are the slogans

Still making the rounds in 2006.

The old black and white flag

From the Third Reich

Raises no eyebrows

At soccer stadiums, streets and pubs.

It's fashionable again

To throw mental Molotovs

At blacks, browns, yellows,

And all non-Teutonics

At cocktails, chats

Stammtisch and in the streets

Against anything alien.

‘I don't like foreigners I'll kill you,’

Says a drunk In broad daylight at the local Bahnhof.

Bharati Mukerjee a New Yorker writer

Once asked me in Freiburg:

'How does it feel

To be a non-Teutonic In Germany?'



Midnight at Bertold's Brunen,

I boarded the last tram to Littenweiler.

Tired young people, school-kids

Disco, tavern, cinema and theatre visitors.

I sat opposite a blond German

And read Hanif Kureshi's "London Kills Me".

A short African, a Bantu in jeans

Came, stood and turned his back.

An elderly, thick-set German skin-head

Covered with a cap and walkman,

Walked in with a sardonic laughter

Boisterous, obnoxious and high on alcohol.

The world was his stage.

He glared with his stone-blue eyes

At the African in the corner and said:

"This Boy is in the wrong place here.

Finish him off with a Kalashnikov Rat-tat-a-tat!

You'll see it soon

Wir werden es euch zeigen!"

The proud German in Bermudas

Laughed like a madman.

Our Teutonic Hero was not in the psychiatric ward

But in a crowded public strassenbahn.

A so-called civilized German

Grown angry, wild and inhuman.

What had he poor African done?

He'd asked perhaps for asylum

Or was perhaps a scholarship-holder

At the invitation of the German government.

The tram was full

But not a sound of protest was heard.

A silence that appeared like death.

Silence was consent.

Or was it angst?

The tram reached the Stadthalle

And the German became nastier.

Where was the civil courage of the Freiburger?

What was the use of wearing buttons:

‘Jeder ist ein Ausländer?’

What were silent protest marches

Worth the next day?

Why light candles to mourn a dead alien?

Silent, passive witnesses to new, never-ending tragedies,

Akin to the horrid infernos

Of Hoyerswerda, Mölln and Solingen.

Every time I hold a fork and knife

At breakfast, lunch and dinner

I'm reminded of the shame of Solingen.

The loud-mouthed skinhead identified himself

With a wrong pride, pomp and glory.

A glory that cost 40 million lives

A spirit of plunder and murder

On helpless, disabled, gypsies and Jews.

The Jews have left for safer shores

And now the new-Jews are the foreigners.

As the tram reached the Lassberg Terminal

The bald-headed German swayed

And uttered loud and clearly:


Not once, but thrice.

He went reeling to a waiting bus

With his Vaterland's repertoire.

A country where the dead have fear

Where the alien's agony and angst abides

Quo vadis, Deutschland? _____________________________________________________

Sketch by satisshroff 2007

THE AGONY OF WAR (Satis Shroff)

Once upon a time there was a seventeen year old boy

Who lived in the Polish city of Danzig.

He was ordered to join the Waffen-SS,

Hitler’s elite division.

Oh, what an honour for a seventeen year old,

Almost a privilege to join the Waffen-SS.

The boy said,

“Wir wurden von früh bis spät Geschliffen

und sollten Zur Sau gemacht werden.”

A Russian grenade shrapnel brought his role

In the war to an abrupt end.

That was on April 20, 1945.

In the same evening,

He was brought to Meissen,

Where he came to know about his Vaterland’s defeat.

The war was lost long ago.

He realised how an ordinary soldier

Became helpless after being used as a tool in the war,

Following orders that didn’t demand heroism

In the brutal reality of war.

It was a streak of luck,

And his inability to ride a bicycle,

That saved his skin

At the Russian-held village of Niederlausitz.

His comrades rode the bicycle,

And he was obliged to give them fire-support

With a maschine-gun.

His seven comrades and the officer

Were slain by the Russians.

The only survivor was a boy

Of seventeen.

He abandoned his light maschine-gun,

And left the house of the bicycle-seller,

Through the backyard garden

With its creaky gate.

What were the chances in the days of the Third Reich

For a 17 year old boy named Günter Grass

To understand the world?

The BBC was a feindliche radio,

And Goebbels’ propaganda maschinery

Was in full swing.

There was no time to reflect in those days.

Fürcht und Elend im Dritten Reich,

Wrote Bertold Brecht later.

Why did he wait till he was almost eighty?

Why did he torment his soul all these years?

Why didn’t he tell the bitter truth,

About his tragi-comical role in the war

With the Waffen-SS?

He was a Hitlerjunge,

A young Nazi.

Faithful till the end.

A boy who was seduced by the Waffen-SS.

His excuse: „Ich habe mich verführen lassen.“

The reality of the war brought

Endless death and suffering.

He felt the fear in his bones,

His eyes were opened at last.

Günter Grass is a figure,

You think you know well.

Yet he’s aloof and wary,

And you hardly know him,

This literary titan.

He breathes literature

And political engagement.

In his new book: Beim Häuten der Zwiebeln

He confides he has lived from page to page,

And from book to book.

Is he a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Doctor Faustus and Mephistopheles,

In the same breast?

Grass belongs to us,

For he has spent the time with us,

In these contemporary times.

It was his personal weakness

Not to tell earlier.

He’s a playwright, director and actor

Of his own creativeness and accord,

And tells his own tale.

His characters Oskar and Mahlke weren’t holy Joes.

It was his way of indirectly showing

What went inside him.

Ach, his true confession took time.

It was like peeling an onion with tears,

One layer after the other.

Better late than never.

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