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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.

Tibet, Activism And Information

Sheng Xue, Prominent Activist For A Free ChinaImage: SFT Canada/Edited @tibettruth

Sheng Xue a respected and renowned activist for human rights and freedom presented recently a poem she composed titled ‘Light Me Up’ dedicated to those brave Tibetans who sacrifice their lives to demand national freedom for Tibet.

I opened my eyes in the morning
The room is dark.
I opened the window to welcome the gentle wind
The sky is dark.
I opened the door to greet the wild wood
The mountain is dark.
My heart opens to embrace freedom,
in a world dark and hard.

I didn’t want much,
to hope the yak in the mountains can freely run.
That the eagle can crown the turqoise sky,
to hear the monks chanting in the temple.
I just want to see His Holiness at least once in my life time.
I keep them as dreams in my heart, I don’t dare to ask.

But there is…

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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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