Friday, November 27, 2009

Beirut Journal Day #20: Important People


It is Eid Al-Adha today, a muslim holiday that fits nicely into the US 'Thanksgiving' tradition (in practice, not in historical context). It's a day where families come together, some slaughter a goat, eat, share in each other's company, and pray. I went for a walk this morning and the mosque near my place had to bring numerous mats out onto the sidewalk to accomodate all the people!

I spent the day alone, mostly, reading & thinking. Most of my thoughts ended with me feeling so thankful for the people i have in my life. People who have brought me so much joy; people who have taught me how to love. I couldn't be here without you all. And though I am here by myself, I am definitely not alone.

Now, apoem!

by Abd al-Aziz al-Maqilih

Between grief on my knees & death on my feet
I choose death:
b/w a safe silence & a voice that's bloodied
I choose the voice:
b/w a slap & a bullet
I choose the bullet:
b/w the sword & the whip
I choose the sword:
This is my destiny & my glory
this is the longing of man.

Once God was love, a plentiful cloud,
daylight at night,
a song extended
over the hills of grief,
a heaven that washed with green rain
the furrows of the earth.
Where did the ship of God go? Where the song of man's rebellion?

Now God is ashes, silence,
a terror in the executioners' hands,
an earth swelling w/ oil,
a field where rosaries and turbans grow.

B/w God the song of revolution
& the god coming from Hollywood
on tapes, in stacks of dollar bills:
I choose God the song, I choose God the revolution.

Love was a springtime for all seasons,
a lovely girl whose supple feet
rested on the sea, whose palms
touche the sun.
Her braids spread over the green hills of poetry,
she had bread for her lovers,
the wine of luscious dreams wa on her lips.

Now love's tree has grown old,
love's eyes are dull,
the leaves of poetry have been torched,
all seasons are winter,
love has become banknotes & the hearts of men
have turned to ice.

Between love the deal & love the poetry:
I choose love, I choose poetry.

*Abd al-Aziz al-Maqalih is a Yemeni poet. Considering the recent Saudi assault on Yemen, I thought it appropriate to share this poem.

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