Saturday, July 9, 2011


Try writing a poem
While sitting at your desk,
Headset like a pilot,
No music flows though,
You’re just pretending,

With four guys in the same space,
Gentle guys yet,
You really don’t wanna hear
About what’s her face again,
Or the way she walks in the hallway,
Hips swaying like she means it,
Like she knows they watch:
Hunters by heart, brothers by mind.

Try writing when there’s lunch and gardening and missing
Winters on your mind, stilettos and that Sudanese
Woman, her sobs still pushing against your chest,
Punished with god knows how many slashes, for wearing pants for god’s sake!
Cops ogling like they’re getting off, a microscopic leader
Relentless because this, he says, is religion.

Try writing while surfing the net for jobs because you know
Yours is suddenly temporary, waiting on a king-
Dom’s mood swing or power
Nap. So you surf the net, but instead type
Angelou or Darwish and remember how long it’s been
Since you’ve written anything. So then you try
A poem but you fail, because your love life’s too perfect
A good friend once said, she said, when things are well
Down there it becomes difficult to write,
And she’s right.

Or when you know your co-worker’s mother won’t last,
She has cancer, he said quietly, and shook
His head. Well, not really, but I know he meant to.
When you know he doesn’t believe in god or anything
Beyond what can be felt with the hands what do you say,
In Arabic, about his dying mother?  God is in everything
When your tongue is Arabic.  Insha Allah, God willing, or forbid, or forgive,
May God heal or listen or help or show any sort of illumination.

You wonder about this idea, as old as waiting, and why we need it so much,
And where is it when Libya burns and burns under its own
Sort of god, the right amount of massacres and finger wagging
Qualifying for the title; no white beard necessary for the job.

Where is the merciful, when a mother suffers
Tumors or a nation or a people, he said
His mother is in chemo now, and he doesn’t look you in the eye, he fiddles
With his laptop, so you nod and look serious while your heart
Breaks at the way he tries to work, and by now you
Can almost touch his atheism, hard crystals forming
By the minute.

Try writing when you feel your words are just words, writ and read
For a night of poetry, for a book of poetry, for nods and applause
At this universal nuclear instant- a spiral movement towards loss-
But you’re still in the office,
Looking for words as close to explosive as divinity
And end up with what looks to you
Like god:
A teenage skinhead with pierced tongue, shoulders shrugging,
Legs staggering away.

Link to EDP website

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