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Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

“Perhaps like me you have no address” Mahmoud Darwish

 

And we will go, again and again
Down roads unwanted and unmapped.
Thrust out of our past and present,
We go slowly from, but never towards.
Away, it seems, always away.

You, I, our families,
The disconsolate unwanted,
In mournful unison, go
To where the nightingale flies over sky-less lands,
Circling in silent arcs past our
Rainbows of no color, the solemn hues
Matching the smile
We’ve forgotten to show and
The eyes we’ve left behind
Like an empty wine bottle and
An unmentionable promise of return. 

Leaving is now in our bosom,
The uncultivable feed of our soul,
The cold in our summers.
The sense of loss removes our fingerprints
From the al-mahmas and the al-houn.
We express our losses in silence as
Our soul bears its’ grief
Like an olive tree without roots. 

Upon our next inevitable leaving,
I will change my name
To as yet unknown letters
In a non-existent language,
Denying what we leave behind,
Drawing the letters from what we have
On our backs,
Forged from yet
Another star-less sky
And burned into our souls here,
Times own cryptography.
All we were is spilled from the carts that
We draw silently away,
Along the streets with no sun. 

 

 

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Thoughts On Listening To *This Land Is Your Land”

 

I had a dream today, got me thinking,

On the bus on the way home from work,

A dream I’ve had before,

A dream many have probably had

I was on television, talking and singing,

The whole world was a’ watchin’

Woody Guthrie was a’ watchin’

Pete Seeger, he was a ’watchin’

Bruce Springsteen, he was a ’watchin’

And old orange face, Mr. Trump, he was a ’watchin’ too

Kept droppin’ the big TV remote outta his small hands, poor thing,

Anyways, like I said, I was on TV,

Had a guitar in my hands,

Strapped over my favorite flannel shirt,

And my favorite pair of Levis

And my bestest boots. I was a’ wearing all of that

And the song I was gonna sing,

This Land Is Your Land,

Well it weren’t no regular song, sir,

It was, I reckon, one of the most beautiful songs

I ever heard, I was telling people about it,

It was all about this country of ours,

And all its’ natural beauty,

And how it was built for you,

And built for me

And how it was built for him,

And him,

And her

And her

And the preacher

And the doctor

And the lawman

And the bus driver

And the children playing in the schoolyard,

Sir it was built for them too,

It didn’t make no mention of names

Nor what school they went to,

Nor even if they didn’t go to school, well it didn’t mention that neither

Nor what church they go to, who they pray to, iffn they pray at all,

No, sir, not even where they come from,

Not which part of town, not which coast,

Not which country,

Cuz everybody here comes from someplace else in the long run, don’t they?

Iffn ya trace it back far enough, I mean, we all come from immigrants

– Well, almost all of us –

Yes, sir, the song was plain and simple and beautiful, and indeed

This here land was made for you, and me, and him, and him, and her, and her

All to share equally, don’t that sound like a place you wanna live in, sir?

I know I would, if I could find it.

What say we find it together, sir?

 

 

Click the link below to listen to This Land is Your Land – Live by Bruce Springsteen
https://open.spotify.com/track/4MvJlIpDpdZi4sCXvAhrym

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Towards Lhasa

We discussed the smell

Of the monk who set himself on fire,

Shaking our heads in half-disbelief

As our tour guides made dinner.

We camped early along the banks of

The Lhasa River,

The terrain rough-hewed and ragged.

The sunset, intense orange and purple, matching

The orange flames of our campfire matching

Those that ate his flesh.
In Liuwuxiang we waited as our gear dried.

We inquired, with barely a concern,

As to precisely where he burned,

How much further to the spot in Ngawa and

Was the spot worshiped like a shrine?

To forgotten freedom?  Was there

A plaque to commemorate?
No one talked to us about the Why.

Half- hearted questions met with steel eyes.

Such questions are better not asked

Such words carry too much weight

Baggage packed with an official taboo

Burning the tongue before utterance.

 

We discussed the smell of a monk on fire.

His ashes washed away long ago

But the smoke still presents a challenge

The stench of burning flesh

A common pain that may never leave.

 

 

 

Poets note: Most of the self immolation that has occurred in Tibet have been in the Ngawa region, not in Lhasa. Access to Ngawa is forbidden by the Chinese government for most from the west, and internet access has been severely restricted. I chose to use Lhasa in this poem to reinforce these restrictions.

For more information, go to this website; https://www.freetibet.org/about/self-immolation-protests

 

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Absolutely beautiful poem about freedom, hope and the anxiety we all succumb to when our world fails us.

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1.
Where have they gone
The young and the proud?

Will we say their names again?
Will we sing their praises on Sundays in church?
Will their photographs hang in Willies’ barbershop windows
Alongside the heroes of World War 2,
The Norman Rockwell prints
And his autographed photos of Ted Williams and Rocky Marciano?

Will there be a celebration of their sacrifices in the town square
The mayor making a speech and mounting a plaque?
The mothers and sisters and wives crying inconsolably?

Or will their fathers hide their grief in bottles of moonshine
The bitterness growing with every drop
Their mothers asking themselves in secrecy what they’ve done wrong
Sisters feeling unprotected without big brother
Little brothers lacking a role model, what chance do they have?
Will no one waltz in the street when their names are mentioned
Or will they merely turn their grief away?

Who will lead us into the future?
Who will install that first traffic light?
Their photos in the Sunday paper big smiles all around
Where will our smiles come from without our boys as heroes?

There will be no continuity here
A generation is lost
Our sons have been ripped from their future
Johnny will not come marching home again.

Where have you gone, my heroes my heroes,
Why have you left our lives?
Where have you gone, my heroes my heroes,
And what will become of us?

2.
Where have they gone
The young and proud?

Where is Gus?
He who could run like the wind
Down the field to victory on homecoming night

Where is Eddie with the cannon right arm?
He who threw the winning touchdown pass to Gus?

Where is Lawrence?
He who made his grandmother so proud
Her slave life stories were so vivid in his mind
The first one in the family to finish school

Where are Gunvald and Bengt?
The town’s only immigrant sons,
Those two new Sons of the Town who worked so much harder,
Just to fit in,

Where is Tom?
He who always drove too fast
Son of the local sheriff,
Racing in the streets on Saturday nights?

Will their parents mourn their loss?
Will we notice their absence?

Greg, he whose Diner has already closed down,
Crippled after his hip surgery failed, and now
Gus is not there to take his place
Irene, his wife, she who couldn’t deal with the loss
The towns first civilian casualty
Of a war so far away

The 5 and Dime store won’t last long either,
Mr. Nichols, he who is getting older by the day,
Never stands outside the shop door anymore, greeting everyone,
His health is failing and Eddie isn’t coming back to take over
It’s a matter of time now they say.

Pete he who can’t climb the trees anymore to trim them,
Says he’ll have to sell his orchards and land to pay his mortgage
Gunvald and Bengt will be trimming trees only in Pete’s memories

Where have you gone, my heroes my heroes,
Why have you left our lives,
Where have you gone, my heroes my heroes,
And what will become of us?

 

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These poets released their hearts on the world

The ones we knew and lost,

Those punk poets with ADHD and precious fits of anger,

The ones who tore down the murals on Pine Street

The ones who brought their stolen guitars

13 years old, playing music in the streets until dawn

When the police stole them from their sleeping bags

Handcuffing them into the backseat of their prowlers

The order of a blowjob or a night in jail

Those romantic poets whose hearts were young and full of anticipation

The ones not yet broken down by maryjane dreams in

The back seats of adult theatres

The quick cum meals swallowed fast and cheap for food money

The old men with their eyes closed never cared about a name

Those dying poets who were still so very alive and independent

So much more than you and I ever were

Not haunted by false iconic visions of future fatherly duty and the

Idiom of an autocratic family life without questions

Answers answers answers they never wanted and we never knew

Those spoken word poets who sold their souls on the interstate

Spouting their gospels out loud in honkytonks

From Nashville to Memphis

Living in the back seat of a 55 Ford

The Guardians of Race beating them in fits of fear and hate

Those crazed poets who raced down the riverbanks without shoes

Hair flying in the breeze, eyes bulging out of their skulls

Blanked out on crack screaming at the universe about

Eternal damnation and all the

Virgins they’d never live to fuck

Those anaemic Goth poets who couldn’t get out of bed before 6pm

Puking in the hallway, blood surrounding the toilets

Building supervisors looking the other way in disgust but

Knowing they’d pay their rent at the end of the month

When they dropped their jeans

Those interstellar poets who flew to Europe with daddies’ money

The ones who blew it all in a casino without windows

Losing it on broken promises and

A thousand and one forgotten explanations

Those intellectual poets who fell to their knees in philosophical orgasms

Espousing a faith to the almighty Kafka. Trotsky or Camus in

Coffeehouses filled with clove smoke thick as lies

Clueless fools awaiting verbal ejaculations

Still debating just what the fuck they meant

 

Does it fucking matter at all?

 

These poets released their hearts on the world

The ones no one knew

Those hipster poets their pockets filled with Hegel

The ones who argued that life is a fucked up poem of its own

“Ecstasy is the natural form of live” tattooed across their foreheads as they killed themselves

In taxis sneaking their poems out of East Berlin in the 1970s

The last stanzas of the Internationale and top secret words,

Words of revolution slipping out of their consciousness.

Those fashionista poets with the berets,

Dizzy and Bird and Mingus, oh bop kabala, oh piano riffs of Monk

Twisting the head around until it falls into the Hudson

Only to be born again in these lines

.

I too want to be born again in these lines. Oh holy oh holy

Oh Mother of Invention and Creationism dead and dying.

Lying in a supermarket aisle with the scars of unfaithful husbands

Cocks swallowed whole in hasty retreats

Notes in pockets of winter coats left behind hastily and forever regretted

Let me cum on your breasts.

Let me fill your vessels in three quarter time.

Frantic frantic these words cannot give me peace that’s not their intent

These are the poets’ cries, the ones no one hears

Bulldozers running 24/7, poetic cities of metal built and rebuilt on the same stones

Stoned poets running in the Bowery,

Running in Harlem,

Running in Seattle and San Francisco bath houses

Running from gin joint to bop united strip joints to gay bars with big screen tvs

Blasting Eurovision and Berlusconis porn for the masses, but I digress

 

These poets released their hearts on the world

Those shy poets tripping over cobblestones in 60s Stockholm coffeehouses

Out of focus permanently in every night daydreams of a better world

Daydreams daydreams life is but a daydream

Palmes murder ended a countries’ dream but now it’s all life as you want it

If you want it here it is come and get it

Swim from the city to the archipelago drown in the icy water all alone

Your poetic dreams washed up on shores of fascist nations

Those awkward poets hiding in the public library salons built like hospital wards

Leaving notes in Martian, this I’ve seen, that no one can decipher on the large tables while flashing gorgeous legs to the staff

Security guards keeping a vulture close watch on their every curve

Rhymes from ancient poets calling, pushing their insanity further and further

Their poems lost for all time with a jolt of electricity or the push of a needle.

Those poets who burned themselves with ink and notes and bong hits to Mars

Screeching their poems across the Reed College radio wavelengths

To scholastic pulpits with drug infested dirges raining down on their      consciousness

Until Eric has to scream “No more, No more” across the rooftops of hell

Campus security hoping he takes the leap

His poetry left behind on the stones of campus forever like a scar to the truth.

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This is more of what I suspect will be my version of Leaves Of Grass in that it may never come to a final version,, I’m very open to critique and suggestion on this.. Hope you like it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A brilliant poem by Margaret Walker, a work of beauty, frustration, grace, sympathy, anger, pain, empowerment, and hope. I recommend everyone read this poem, and then share it with those you love.

 

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/11053

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35311709

Hundreds of writers are taking part in readings in support of the Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, who has been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia.

More than 120 events are being held in 44 countries on Thursday as part of a campaign organised by the International Literature Festival Berlin.

It is calling on the US and UK governments to intervene on behalf of Mr Fayadh, who is accused of apostasy.

He denies the charges and claims that another man made false accusations.

Human rights activists also say Mr Fayadh was denied access to a lawyer throughout his detention and trial, in clear violation of Saudi and international law.

‘Unjust and morally repellent’

Mr Fayadh, a 35-year-old poet and art curator who was born in Saudi Arabia to Palestinian refugee parents, has been a key figure in taking Saudi contemporary art to a global audience, according to the International Literature Festival Berlin.

Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern gallery in London and a friend of the poet, has described him as “someone who is outspoken and daring”.

Mr Fayadh was arrested in August 2013 following a complaint by a Saudi citizen, who alleged that he was promoting atheism and spreading blasphemous ideas, according to Amnesty International.

He was released the next day, but was rearrested in January 2014 and charged with apostasy because of his supposed questioning of religion and spreading atheist thought through his collection of poetry, Instructions Within, published in 2008.

He was also charged with violating the country’s anti-cyber crime law by taking and storing photos of women on his mobile phone.

In April 2014, the General Court in the city of Abha sentenced Mr Fayadh to four years in prison and 800 lashes for violating the anti-cyber crime law. But it found his repentance in relation to the charge of apostasy to be satisfactory and not requiring further punishment.

However, an appeals court overturned his original sentence and sent the case back to the General Court, which sentenced him to death for apostasy on 17 November.

Mr Fayadh has asserted that the poems are “just about me being [a] Palestinian refugee… about cultural and philosophical issues. But the religious extremists explained it as destructive ideas against God.”

Irvine Welsh, who will read at the Two Hearted Queen coffee shop in Chicago on Thursday, said he hoped the worldwide reading campaign would put “pressure on governments who espouse democracy and freedom to consider their actions in dealing with [Saudi Arabia]”, according to the Guardian newspaper.

A L Kennedy, who will be attending a reading organised by PEN England at the Mosaic Rooms in west London, said Mr Fayadh’s persecution was “very obviously unjust and morally repellent”.

The Saudi government has not commented publicly on Mr Fayadh’s case.

 

This is a sample of his beautiful, moving poetry, translated by Mona Kareem,

http://monakareem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/ashraf-fayadhs-disputed-poems-in.html

Ashraf Fayadh’s “Disputed” Poems, in English Translation

1
petroleum is harmless, except for the trace of poverty it leaves behind
on that day, when the faces of those who discover another oil well go dark,
when life is blown into your heart to extract more oil off your soul
for public use..
That.. is.. the promise of oil, a true promise.
the end..
2
it was said: settle there..
but some of you are enemies for all
so leave it now
look up to yourselves from the bottom of the river;
those of you on top should provide some pity for those underneath..
the displaced is helpless,
like blood that no one wants to buy in the oil market!
3
pardon me, forgive me
for not being able to pump more tears for you
for not mumbling your name in nostalgia.
I directed my face at the warmth of your arms
I got no love but you, you alone, and am the first of your seekers.
4
night,
you are inexperienced with Time
lacking rain drops
that could wash away all the remains of your past
and liberate you of what you had called piety..
of that heart.. capable of love,
of play,
and of intersecting with your obscene withdrawal from that flabby religion
from that fake Tanzeel
from gods that had lost their pride..
5
you burp, more than you used to..
as the bars bless their visitors
with recitations and seductive dancers..
accompanied with the DJ
you recite your hallucinations
and speak your praise for these bodies swinging to the verses of exile.
6
he’s got no right to walk however
or to swing however or to cry however.
he’s got no right to open the window of his soul,
to renew his air, his waste, and his tears..
you too tend to forget that you are
a piece of bread
7
on the day of banishment, they stand naked,
while you swim in the rusty pipes of sewage, barefoot..
this could be healthy for the feet
 but not for earth
8
prophets have retired
so do not wait for yours to come to you
and for you,
for you the monitors bring their daily reports
and get their high salaries..
how important money is
for a life of dignity
9
my grandfather stands naked everyday,
without banishment, without divine creation..
I have already been resuscitated without a godly blow in my image.
I am the experience of hell on earth..
earth
is the hell prepared for refugees.
10
your mute blood will not speak up
as long as you pride yourself in death
as long as you keep announcing -secretly- that you have put your soul
at the hands of those who do not know much..
losing your soul will cost time,
much longer than what it takes to calm
your eyes that have cried tears of oil
* These poems appeared in Fayadh’s poetry collection Instructions Within which was published by the Beirut-based Dar al-Farabi in 2008 and later banned from distribution in Saudi Arabia.
Translated by: Mona Kareem

For information on what you can do to help with his release, go to Amnesty International at this address..

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/free-ashraf-fayadh-saudi-arabia-palestinian-poetry-apostasy-execution

 

I highly recommend reading this gifted poet, and of course, signing Amnesty’s petition for his release.

 

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Source: He Groused About The Meek

He groused about the meek
“They inherit nothing,
Not the wind,
Not the grain,
Not the shirts on their backs.”

I was five years old.
My brothers coat, five button holes, three buttons
Shoe laces broken
Tied in many places to hold them together,
The streets were my playground,
Fire hydrants were bears,
Passersby were Indians,
We shot at them with imaginary guns,

Turning and walking away,
Leading me by hand, without a word
Down streets of jailhouses
Prisons of thought,
Of carelessness
Of lives abandoned

My father teaches me of the rich
Of the bitterness of long sleepless nights
The way of life of the working stiffs

Merrily the children run down the shaded lane
Trees meeting in the middle
Branches kissing each other in the sun
While under their splendour
Life prepares the sinkholes

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Your men are cascading,
Oh widows of war,
Cascading away from you and
Out of your arms and your lives

They are left alone drowning in the streets
With the blood of our sins on their hands
Your sons and brothers,
Are merely the dead without names
Soulless wanderers through our memories minefields

We write now not of our loves but our flaws
Our losses our pain
Our unfulfillable longing our fears
We write of the wars we will never win

We write for the days when
There’s nothing we can do
But watch our sons die in fields we’ve never seen
We write as the sadness overwhelms us with
A deadly grip on our convictions

We write of words that have no meaning
Of leaders with no sense of truth
We write of the best of men
and the worst of lies

We write of the cascade of lives
The constant avoidable mixing of our morality
into the cesspool of inhumanity
Your men are cascading,
Oh widows of war
We write because we can no longer
Suffer your sorrows in silence.

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