I no longer feel your pangs

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In a single year

You chose many, severally

Quietly I watched you as you swept by

Striking our patriarch with a cowardly force

‘He’d lived his time,’ I said,

Mocking your futile act

My uncle you lined up next in your path

Extinguishing his sunlight before the moon was up

‘Another ripe fruit,’ I said

Ignoring your choice of the frail

I let your shameless act of valor fade with the darkness

Menacingly, you returned, and struck in quick succession

My cousin’s life you wrung out of his frame

And before the sun was up again,

You seized the air out of my brother’s son

A mere child –

Just to prove you can sting!

And too soon, you’ve returned

Before the moon is full

To take my late brother’s widow

Leaving emptiness in your calamitous trail

But too soon, and too soon again

You’ve numbed me, I feel not your pangs

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Homs

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A mother clutches her child, bloodied, and frozen

Another lies beside her, numb and lifeless

Around them, rubble from wracked shelter

Blown to bits by bunker busting bombs

Unleashed by bloodthirsty purveyors of horror

Their sustenance is, perchance

Nourished by the ghastly sight

Of maimed limbs, skulls, and blood

And the appeal of scattered debris –

The shameless testimony

Of their insatiable penchant for power

And the heartlessness that’s clung to its trappings!

Consumed by their twisted sense of might

That resides in their bombs and guns

A veil of darkness shrouds their eyes

They see not what we see

Nor do they hear the cries

Of the dying and the fleeing

Of Homs without homes

Of a man-made apocalypse

Shall I sing you a little birthday song

Shall I sing you a little birthday song

If I won’t get my lyrical notes so wrong

Or would you rather, I didn’t sing at all

And made you a cake instead that towers tall

Like the immeasurable height of your own appeal

That in me causes silliness and happiness I can’t conceal

Or like Tennyson’s monument on the Isle of Wight

At whose foot we stood and smiled so bright?

To sing or bake, have I not the skill

Yet, these little lines did I plan to spill

To sing happy birthday this way I sound strong

On your special day that’s been another year long

I will write this poem without rhyme

I’ll write no lines in lyrical rhyme

I’ll seek no words, and waste no time

I’ll write these lines in record haste

Or maybe I’ll simply copy and paste

The texts of the tales writ before me

By folks that first struggled to be

Those who walked and lived in shame

Or were made to feel they were to blame:

For the resilience and dark hue of their skin

For being born with vaginas, not penises

For loving differently from what’s the norm

For discovering their assigned gender was but a lie

For the faith of their kin and the names they carry

For the geographical placement of their ancestors

 

I’ll write no lines in lyrical rhyme

I’ll waste no time, I’ll write in haste

I’ll simply paste the lines I’ll copy

From the texts of records of your shameful acts

I’ll invade your little mind with a wealth of information

That’s been flashing its light before your shrouded eyes

I’ll school you in the realm of equality and rights

I’ll exorcise the fear that resides in your ignorant skull

I’ll write it straight, and waste no metaphors

I’ll seek no metric rhythm and waste no time,

I’ll leave you no time to commit more crime

Your phobia revolts me, I’m out of time

I’ll soothe you no more with lyrical rhyme

 

 

Strange Heroes

You gaze with glee at the glamorous medal

That drapes the walls of your wondrous mansion

You earned it, you were told, for liberating your country

A reward for the skulls you left littering villages-

The bones of men and women,

And children you dragged to your perverted war!

You kiss and admire your hero’s medal

And hope no one will ever question

The strange and phoney sense of patriotism

Derived from the killing of your country folk!

Heroes, we’re told, sprout from felling foreign foes,

Your medal, sir, is a trophy of shame!

 

Balcony night flights

One, two, and many planes flew past last night

With each flight, a flickering cautionary light

To LaGuardia and out, I watched them fly by

As my eyes journeyed from the river to the floodlit sky

Of the sleepless city where the news found me

On a horrible morn, that wrecked my glee!

Last night, ma, I sat on the balcony

Reliving that morning in biting agony

I longed to fly again like I did this day, but a day before

So I could be with you for a moment more

Like the planes, a year on wings has thus flown past

Since this day when you breathed your last

Nay, it wasn’t your last; in your love, your breath does last

Panda gari, in English

They said they came to stop the blatant theft

Of voices of citizens once their foes had left

They said they came to end a dominion

So you and I could have an opinion

They said they sought to end political prisons

But made our homes prisons for ridiculous reasons

They said they came to stop the wanton killing

But now do it on camera and find it thrilling

They said they bore arms to free us all

But took our freedom and made us small

With laws that gag and guns that scare

They’ve forced the helpless to turn to prayer

They shoot to kill and, rarely, to maim

And hope that fear will make us tame

They said they came to stop the cars

That took folks away and left us scars

The infamous panda gari, they promised to banish

But now shout, “get in the car!” ere they vanish!

                                                                                                                          In Celebration of World Poetry Day

If I could sing

If I could sing

I would sing of a jewel

Whose dazzling splendour

Is the lovely melody that carries that song

I would

Of a wave of joy and nervousness

That swept through my veins

With every smile, with every blink of your eye

I would sing of that force

Like a rumbling quake

That upended my self-assuredness

Unspeaking me!

I would sing

Of that jumbled up ramble

That formed my speech

And of my staggered brain

That absconded its duty

When called upon to impress

 

If only I could sing

I would sing of the immense beauty in your heart

Radiant and simple

As you smiled through it all, reassuring me

If I could write and let it ring

I would write and have me sing

A better song than this little wish

A song of precious moments to relish

A song of exuberance, a coo of a joyful dove

A melody of a sprouting within, a song of love

If only I could sing

I would sound this lovely jingle

Of that boyish experience in the jungle