Poem: Zoonotic Spillover

A pandemic poem from Malaysia, after reading Andreas Malm. Translated into Bahasa Melayu by Jack Malik.

Poem: Zoonotic Spillover
Digital collage by Liy Yusof. A virus is served on a plate. Inside it is a group in hazmat suits from the 1998 Nipah outbreak. A bat has a cup of tea in the company of Andreas Malm's 2020 book Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency. In the background is a series of maps: The rapid deforestation of Borneo from 1950 to 2020.

Zoonotic Spillover

Poem and collage by Liy Yusof

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"Corona can be an effect of climate; not the other way around. More importantly, the two are interlaced aspects, on different scales of time and space, of what is now one chronic emergency." - Andreas Malm

If my oldest home: the immunity system
Of one of earth’s oldest mammals
is now weak and tired

If a quarter of the world’s bats fly feverish
Through chainsaw bulldozer Southeast Asia
Chronically stressed, blamed and slaughtered

If my host flew to Malaysia to escape
El Niño’s drought in 1997
Only to be interrupted by 1998’s
Commercial pig farms

If capital is a patron of parasites and forests
If climate change is the war and COVID-19 a bullet
If the richer one is, the more likely they
Gobble up the space of species at a distance

If the tropical equator is where I am richest
And you shake the trees where I live
Shake the bats, shake the wild

Of course I would jump
Habis tu aku nak pergi mana

A global sickening
for the global heating


Zoonotic Spillover

Oleh Liy Yusof. Diterjemahkan oleh Jack Malik

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“Boleh jadi Korona adalah kesan iklim, bukan sebaliknya. Lebih penting lagi, kedua- duanya adalah aspek berjalinan, pada skala ruang dan masa berbeza, yang mana kini merupakan salah sebuah kecemasan kronik.” - Andreas Malm

Kalau tempat asal-usul azali aku: sistem imuniti
bagi salah satu mamalia tertua di bumi
kini lemah dan lelah

Kalau sesuku kelawar sedunia terbang gerah
melalui mesin gergaji jentolak Asia Tenggara
tertekan, dituduh dan disembelih secara kronik

Kalau hos aku terbang ke Malaysia untuk lari
daripada kemarau El Niño 1997
hanya disampuk oleh ladang babi
komersial pada 1998

Kalau modal adalah penaung parasit dan hutan rimba
Kalau perubahan iklim itu peperangan dan COVID-19 pula peluru
Kalau seseorang lebih kaya, besar kemungkinan mereka
melahap ruang spesis dari jarak yang jauh

Kalau khatulistiwa tropikal tempat paling aku makmur
Dan kau goncang pepohon rumah aku
Goncang kelawar, goncang belantara

Memanglah aku akan melambung
Habis tu aku nak pergi mana

Sepenyakit kesakitan sedunia
buat pemanasan sedunia


First published in Almost Darurat, a Malaysian pandemic zine by Mahsuri Press. habis tu aku nak pergi mana = "where the hell else would I go"  


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