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Humanity Will Continue to Live an Inferior Life Than What is Possible Until the Two Halves: All Individuals in Them: That Make It are Absolutely Fundamentally and Jubilantly Equal at Liberty
 

 

Year Gamma: London: Thursday: January 04: 2018
First Published: September 24: 2015

Change: Either Happens or Is Made: When It is Not Made It Happens Regardless in Which We Become Mere Logs and Get Washed Away in and by Utterly Mechanical Forces of Dehumanisation: When Made Change is Created by Our Conscious Choices, Efforts, Initiatives and Works: In the Former We Let Go Off Our Humanity So That Dehumanisation Determines and Dictates the Existence of Our Sheer Physiologies: But in the Later We Claim, Mark and Create Our Humanity as to the Change We Choose to Make and Create It Onto Reality: To Nurture, Foster, Support, Sustain, Maintain, Enhance, Expand, Empower and Enrich the Very Humanity That We Are:  As Individuals, As Families, As Communities and As Societies All of Which Now Exist in the Fabrics of Time-Space of What is Called Civic Society: One That Exists by Natural Justice and Functions by the Rule of Law: Ensuring Liberty and Equality, Along with Purpose and Meaning of Existence, Exist in Each and Every Soul Equally at All Times: The Humanion

 

 

 

 

 

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Poets' Letter Magazine Archives Poetry Pearl

Deema K Shihabi

Featured Poet of December 2004

Deema K. Shehabi is a Palestinian poet, writer, and editor. She grew up in the Arab world and attended college in the United States, where she received an MA in journalism. Her poems have appeared in several anthologies and literary journals including The Atlanta Review, The Poetry of Arab Women, Crab Orchard, Flyway, The Mississippi Review, the Body Eclectic, The Space Between our Footsteps, and Arab-American and Diaspora Literature (forthcoming from Interlink Publishers). She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son and is working on a new collection of poems.

THE CEMETERY AT PETIT SACONNEX
 (for my father)

No earthbound morning is this
when we walk together
past the huge exalted folds of ancient tombstones
through an open wild mist that severs our throat
and a deep green so warm like love
past the Christian and Jewish quarters
to a piece of earth
where we bury our dead.
 
We talk of tombstone colors
in hushed intimate tones
you do not like gray
it does not breathe.
 
I wonder if you think of exile
and how this land now fills our blood
with roots of belonging.
Later I wonder how green tombstones
and red flowers
flow out of the fragrant depths of your mind.
 
We climb a little and approach the spot
where the soil spreads like water
over her body.
We lift our palms to pray,
but all I can think of is you in 1962
a proud man with a wound of some sort
bending to a moon layered with migrant hymns on the Potomac
dreaming of the claylike swell of the Nile
stripped by the warmth in the play of her eyes.
 
I see you resting beneath eucalyptus trees
your head on her lap
your sleep filled with breezy afternoon dreams.
 
 
And through this trembling I swear
I see beautiful floods
just beneath the crescent of my brother’s eyes
waiting, unnamed,
the translucent love bond between mother and son.
 
My mother’s voice rises above the sound of waterfalls,
past a thousand orchards
of love;
she sheds the tread of pain imprisoned in her body
and drops beside you
depositing petals
that glow melancholy in your ear.
And we return
to the parched blossom of time,
wrinkled with long.

Up

 

IN MECCA, WHEN IT RAINS
 
 

In Mecca, when it rains
scarred pilgrims flow softly together.
Their feet,
swollen and bruised with the blessings
of clay,
seek refuge in puddles that turn into rivers.
 
In Mecca, when it rains
every pilgrim is lonely,
and husbands and wives unleash
mountains of tenderness through the night.
 
Years ago, in Mecca
I sat beside my mother and prayed in a gentle rain.
I remember how she lifted her palms
like lushly wounded gifts
towards the sky. Maybe
 
it was God
who received them
when they soared past the earth-ridden,
immovable pilgrims
and the wide open wombs
 
of pain. I was young then
and could not comprehend what was before me:
the immensity of want in this life.
 
In Mecca, when the soaked,
oldest night of vanished moons appears,
mothers and daughters gather in circles,
and with little drizzles in their throats,
they listen to the sound of the rain falling,
leaping with drops of prayers,
the rain,
a universe aching with rain.

Up

 

OF THE FRAGILE HOUR IN BETWEEN

‘And like a great building that breathes under sunlight over dark arches, your body is there…’ Annie Finch
 
Why do you hover here
in this lagoon of skin and bones,
entangled in these veins,
surfacing with no voice
to an insatiable hum of memory?
 
What are these eyebrows,
branched-out and heavy, like yearnings
hovering in the thousand skies
of your forehead?
Your breath is even,
 
while ahead of us
will be my memory of you---
you will be swathed
from head to toe
in weightless white cotton,
 
your body arcing
in altering worship,
your head drifting from shoulder
to shoulder as you greet the playful
angel to your right,
 
then the blue, silence of your left.
You will then lift your heavy
legs off the floor
and proudly show me
your perfect, supple toes;
 
this will put us
in the early part of summer
one war, then two, ripening
in the pleated distance we always
 
leave behind.
This will be before the headlong
hours in a hospital room,
with its windows facing the ending light
where sitting in a wheelchair
 
with eyes dark and excavated with dreams,
my mother would give in to cancer,
and all that would remain of her
are your toes.
Your breath is even;
 
we will drive home,
your face graying in the afternoon sunlight,
your voice beseeching God beyond reason:
Do not let me leave this earth
broken-willed; Do not break my will,
 
and I will wonder how often
can a will be broken
and tethered to several destinies at once?
I want to ask you
how you will endure each rhythm of absence,
 
each child gone to earth,
each sister, each brother.
Please, I ask for your forgiveness
as you move through the sunlit passages;
I can't imagine the sadness of losing a child.
 
Your breath is even;
we are here in your room
with the ashen, filmy
prescience of angels---what can I do
but listen for them in the sunken air---

their long-held promises at once blissful
            and undeliverable.
 

Copyrights @ Deema K Shihabi

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THE GLISTENING


There are mountains
that savor the sun at the end of day,
a sun drawn from the blurred bludgeoned
belly of the East,
spilling bleeding streaks of exile
across the rocks.
 
There are mountains
that breathe the white light of autumn
into hospitals
where the comfort of swollen strangers
is a reunion with love.
 
In the dark, worn-out night,
mountains drip secret layers of perfumed mist
into the cheeks of young girls
and the moon is a solitary man
who waits in anguish
for the unveiling of violet courtyards
hidden just beneath the mountain tops.
 
Restless breathing mountains of the East,
enclosed in swells of desert light
tumble down, like moving hymns
into the waiting lips of prayer-filled people
creating the giant hush
of an earthen resistance.
 
Bountiful mountains of the West
hum softly into blue slumber
and rise past the valleys strewn
with the roots of wide-eyed children
creating the deep gnawing of love,
a love which makes you want to leave your skin behind.
 
And where is that mountain
the prophet prayed for
to separate Mecca from its enemies,
that yellow mountain, face of black,
meteor of heaven?
I want to find that mountain
that will fold us inward slowly, that infinitely laboring
bald, beautiful mountain,
enemy of melancholy, ally of life
glistening darkly
in silence.

Up

 

BREATH

You come to me from the oldest wound of wind
travelling like a long breath across the globe
through the full July moon of a hundred sleepless nights
and centuries of dew.
 
You come to me from mountains
bathed by powerful musky angels
through the scarred throat of fog
and archways drizzled with twilight.
 
You come to me from minarets
rising smoothly from sky to sky
through voices of muezzins
and parched pilgrims.
 
You come to me
from rows and rows of orange trees
rows and rows of olive trees
rows and rows of lemon trees
 
from the call to prayer at 5 a.m.
from spreading my fingers over the scars of apple trees
from the smell of sleepy earth in my love's hair
from hummingbirds that race into the buds of fuchsia.
 
Not so long ago,
you showed me how the air grows soft
when the sun crawls from rock to cloud.
Not so long ago,
you showed me the stillness of death.
 
And I would pray to everything sacred
and I would bow and stare deeply at the earth
and walk through old cemeteries to find the dead softly gazing.
 
Sometimes I see the beautiful broken fighter
and his lonely mother
and I see you breathe red poppies
over the hills in Palestine.
And I see girls with orchards of almond trees in their eyes
and old men strolling silently among fallen villages.
 
And I can't say how I love my people
and I can't tell my love how to leave our land without weeping
and I can't always love this land.
 
People who sit by the sea find you through the rough waters.
Others see you in the faraway crescent moon
only to find you breakfasting at their table.
Some yearn for years
and suddenly catch you in the deepest edges of their children's eyes.

Up

 

GROWING

after Pablo Neruda’s “Walking Around”

It so happens I am happy to be a daughter
and it happens that I dance into dinner parties
and Arabic concerts,
dressed-up, polished like a pearl
in the tender hands of diver
sliding on my path in a garden of olive trees and jasmine.
 
The scent of my mother sends me to a green orchard.
My only wish is to grow like seeds or trees.
My only wish is to see no more death, no poverty,
no more maimed, no drunks, no drugs.
 
It so happens I am delighted
by my father’s victories and his pride
and his brown eyes and his bald head.
It so happens he is happy to be my father.
 
And I’d feel lucky
it I attended my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary
or conceived a child with dark curly hair.
It would be wonderful to free my country with honest talk
planting orange trees until I died of happiness.
 
I want to go on following the moon---
bright, silvery, secure with the light
casting jasmine into the bloody streets of Jerusalem,
blossoming every day.
 
I don’t want to fall in a grave,
restless underneath the weight, a martyr for nothing,
dried-up, battling against the lies.
 
That’s why my mother when she greets me
with her outstretched arms gives me the moon,
and she runs through the arching streets of Gaza,
and stops to stare at the white minarets of the mosques,
planting seeds of green fruit.
 
And my father leads me to the Golden Dome of the Rock
into debates about survival
into gatherings where friends speak of the good past
into houses that remind me of home
into a sunny shelter distanced from the pale mirage
of bones surrounding my homeland.
 
There are starving children, and homeless people
hovering in the polluted air that I hate.
There are malignant cysts
that should disappear from bodies and skin.
There are soldiers all over, and machine guns, and tear gas.
 
I climb slowly with my moon, my roots, my dome,
remembering my parents,
I hike up through the sloping hills and green orchards
and gardens of olive trees smelling of jasmine
in which little white petals are growing.

 

Copyrights @ Deema K Shihabi

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