Monday, May 3, 2010

C is for Close

(vb) to stop or obstruct entrances, apertures, gaps;
to refuse access to or passage across; to bring together
the parts of; join; unite
(Stock Exchange) to be worth at the end of a trading period
(adj) shut; shut tight; not open; enclosed; confined, narrow;
lacking fresh or freely circulating air; practising secrecy, 
reticent; near, together in space, time or relation; not deviating 
from a model or original
(n) the end or conclusion; a cul-de-sac

Prelude: "All these earthquakes,
disasters: is it really end days?"

On Location: For some
those end days have
already come.

Whole cities staggering
like drunks, rusted war machines
like giant chunks of sculpture
you wish it was
it isn't, it's an aftermath
these wars are biblical
in proportion, all out of
proportion. Is anyone, ever,
going to stop the action, ask:
hey guys, what are we doing
this dirty work for?

Other Questions:
How many people occupy
The Underground?
How many are buried alive?
If you teach a six-year-old
to shoot and hate, is it
your intention he kill
his mother, his humanity?

"As a woman I have no country."
Virginia Woolf

There's no country where
home is holy, unquestioned, as is prison
the sight of a woman sickens
guns are turned casually like a camera
your shoes can make too much noise
and you are beaten
the men are highly-strung, hysterical,
cold, closed, wild and crazed
there are no doctors on the streets
to cure them

have no country
no place
no home
It's worse than that

Women are traded
across borders
as commodity
It's worse than that

Women don't exist
because girls
are aborted
It's worse than that

Women have no place
when what you say
must be whispered underground
you wear clothes to hide identity
in the streets where the dead lie
and your throat is closed
against terror's blade.

After the Event
A lovely large darkness.
Driving home one hundred
kilometres, fast, a woman
alone. Driving between
walls of healthy trees, tall
and glorious, painted
on the black sky. Beyond,
pastures I know to be green
by day. I face the night
without fear

remember Wajia the refugee
returning to Kabul, hopeful
in the mini bus, and the view
we all get of pristine white
mountains, a low crumble
of clay, a desert. "But,"
she cries, "Where are the trees?
This parkland was full
of trees, beautiful flowers."

She returns to Pakistan
to the camp where young children
push over mud walls of
unoccupied houses.

I'm driving and listening
to new Polish Jewish music
modern, youthful, discordant
exuberant. The long-limbed
trees usher me home.


  1. Oh, this is a mighty poem! I love it (not, of course, all that it describes, but the way it is all said) and wonder at it. It contains so many threads, so well-woven.

    Yes, we are fortunate by accident of birth and location.

  2. What a wonderful adjective: mighty! Thanks for it, I carry it proudly in my heart.