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Volume 11

Prequel - January 2013


Written by
Osman Khalid Butt

Osman Khalid Butt is a twenty-seven year old actor, director, choreographer, writer and video-blogger based in Islamabad, and is also a self-professed struggling-artist stereotype. A journalism graduate, he is the co-founder of Desi Writers’ Lounge, as well as poetry editor and creative consultant for Papercuts. He has also remained a freelance writer for Instep, The News, as well as the Editor of the web-zine Text Teen, and wrote his first screenplay for the indie-horror movie ‘Siyaah’, which released nationwide in 2013. Though he has dabbled in television, TVCs and film, theatre remains his first love; he has directed four productions under the banner of his company, ‘The Living Picture Productions’, one of which he wrote himself. He has also collaborated with the Lahore Grammar School, Islamabad, directing three plays with its student body, and regularly gives theatre workshops across the country. He says he juggles all of this by drinking too much Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster for his own good.


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we were there once.

boymen playing games we’d outgrown

a stitch in our sides as we shouted curses

we saw condensed into angry fogs on a january afternoon

just because.


we stopped counting losses on the tips of our fingers

before we downed our espressos alone on a two-seater

and made notes for conversation

we’d use later to stay relevant

on the pages we’d do our crosswords on


we lost our friends to convenience

or white-bread apathy

and our pen-drawn Neverland


into fourth-grade politics

before we

made ourselves up each morning

carefully covering ourselves in white masks we thought

would stand out in four-walled alabaster

before our poetry and prose and words

became the herbal tea of flavors

and we turned a certain but indistinguishable

shade of plastic

before when I could speak in nominative

singular pronoun

and sip chai as I wrote of love and loss

with unabashed strokes of pen

as I restrained liquid poetry and it trickled

down my throat instead

before when I saw and felt and thought and wrote

and wrote and wrote once more

I was there once.

hidden behind the bushes, pulse racing as I waited

wondering whether I’d be caught and it’d be my turn

on a familiar but forgotten ground of green

and hope.



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