Further thoughts on the cultural labor of poetry and art. Not merely "is it good?," but "what has it accomplished?"...reviews of recent poetry collections; selected poems and art dealing with war/peace/social change; reviews of poetry readings; links to political commentary (particularly on conflicts in the Middle East); youtubed performances of music, demos, and other audio-video nuggets dealing with peaceful change, dissent and resistance.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Sand Opera Lenten Journey Day 43: What Have We Done With Us? + Yahia Lababidi and Hayan Charara
Sand Opera Lenten Journey Day 43: What
Have We Done With Us? + Yahia Lababidi and Hayan Charara
Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother’s sons,
because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
From “Homefront/Removes” (Sand Opera)
As if, somehow, I were responsible. Patriotism is a feeling, the student
wrote, that is rotted deep inside every one
of us, and it’s hardto let something
such as your country go to shame. The photos of hijackers in the newspaper
looked like a Warhol of our family album (the women oddly absent), portraits
bleared in displaced layers of ink. Who fed you, who changed you, who memorized
your hands, who breathed you in? The ex-editor of Life lays down the old rule
of thumb in journalism: one person
dead in your paper’s hometown equals five dead the next town over equals fifty
dead in the next state or 5,000 dead in China. The homeland is late blue, and
tastes of metal, like blood in the mouth. My cousins my demons my plotting and foiled
selves, what have you done, what have we done with us?
by Yahia Lababidi
the intricate network of noise
a still more persistent tapestry
of whispers, murmurs and chants
the heaving breath of the very earth
along the prayer of all things:
ants, stones, creeks and mountains, alike
giving silent thanks and remembrance
moment, as a tug on a rosary bead
we hurry past, heedless of the mysteries
yet, every secret wants to be told
shy creature to approach and trust us
we patiently listen, with all our senses.
--Yahia Lababidi, Egyptian-American,
is the author of 6 books of poetry and prose. “Breath” can be found in his
latest collection, Balancing Acts: New
& Selected Poems(1993-2015) available for pre-order here: http://www.press53.com/Yahia_Lababidi.html
“Usage” by Hayan Charara
An assumption, a pejorative,
an honest language,
an honorable death. In grade school, I refused to accept
handshake; he smiled at everyone except
names like mine. I was born here.
I didn’t have
to adopt America, but I adapted to it.
a man must be averse to opinions
that have adverse impacts on whether he lives
“Before taking any advice, know the
of those who
seek to advise you.” Certain words
affected me. Sand nigger, I was called. Camel
What was the effect? While I already muttered
breath, I did so even more. I am not
altogether sure we can all together come. Everything
was not all right. Everything is not all right.
without allusions to Shakespeare,
mythology, the Bible; or allusions
“fanatical,” “extremist,” “Islamic,”