Saturday, January 29, 2005

Why do I write about war?

I wrote this poem in 1999. Prop. 21 and 22 were California laws. The first criminalized youth and the second only recognized marriage between a man and a woman... and Clinton had attacked Iraq in 1998 under pressure from the National Security Council. This is, by the way, Clinton's "Iraq Liberation Act." Sounds eerily familiar today... Replace the "Q" with "N" and ...
I am digressing again. Here is the poem:

why do I write about war
when we all dream of peace
and sugar tastes so sweet
in our morning Coco-puffs
and halva tastes so sweet
in our multi-cultural neighborhood café
congested with
about spiritual matters?
brown chocolate and creamy halva
blended in such harmony
its sweetness sticks your tongue to your palate
leaving you speechless.

why do I write about war
when the freedom to choose
keeps the fire going
yellow and red
like puss and blood
in a green woman’s torch?
and no…
the statute of liberty
doesn’t have to wear a veil
as she watches over the border
in a world you say is “without borders.”

why do I write about war
and why do I not dream of peace
and why do I not sleep?

maybe this is not a dream or a tale of love
maybe this is not a song for meditation
or music to your ears
and no,
bellies stuck to the bone
cannot belly dance.

tell me…
tell me in your dreams
do you see anything
but bombs
in the black eyes of the children
you once captured in snapshots
for your National Geographic?
the children you feel sorry for
and to whom you offer
hunger and death?

and yes..
how beautiful your harmony is
when hatred fills every vein
of your bloodless body

I still write about war and I still yearn to write poems about love
I still yearn to write poems
between your bullets and blood
between detention and welfare cuts
between the sanctions and Props. 21 and 22.

I still yearn to write love poems
I still
beyond your hate
and is that my 3rd strike


The sidebar image is taken from Mahmoud Pakzad's "Old Tehran", Did Publishers, 1994. Thanks to Jahanshah Javid (www.iranian.com) for sharing it.

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