Poem

Omar Sakr
[Y]our people [Y]our problems

I have never had a country

willing to claim me as its own.

 

Sit with me as I sit with that.

Hold my hand. Our knees can touch

 

across the loneliness, which, at least

and at last, wants nothing of us.

 

I heard a man and a woman have a public

spat. Both saying the same thing:

 

Your people, your problems. Conditions

of a birth marking conditions of a life

 

much like the colony itself, or is it the other

way around? Isn’t it perverse how we are

 

never taught to love. Colony only sees problems.

Colony disposes, dispossesses, destroys.

 

Colony is nobody’s friend. Sit with me

as I sit with that: O vast empty, I’m trying

 

to see you true. Colony cruels the world

and the world, sca[r]red, heaves into rack.

 

Fellow flotsam, what makes a person a

person? The animals are asking.

 

Friends, what makes a citizen a

citizen? The people are barking.

 

Fiends, what makes a nation a

nation? The massacred know

 

imagined borders conjure murders.

I consider this from within my box.

 

Schrödinger’s poet, dead and alive,

a sweet, stupid rhetorical device:

 

the box is brimming full of ghosts

and the splendour of seedless soil.

 

Isn’t potential grand? Like a mother

who is yet to [b]eat her child,

 

a language yet to be [for]gotten,

or a body never [dis]placed. Sit—

 

[w]here? Where can we sit without

being moved, without being monstered?

 

What is a song worth singing here?

The silenced are listening.

 

What is a life worth living?

The caged want to know—and I, I confess

 

though free, desire to be freer.

Sit with me as I sit with that, the [g]all.

 

What is an hour well houred? I abhor

both leisure and labour when I learn

 

everything carries a cost, every minute

must be accounted for, and extracted

 

from a pound of flesh. Despite this

my knees buckle for a fresh [car]rot,

 

the wet crunch of it & my muscles long

to ache, to grow, to slow, to age—

 

I want to say near a mountain or a river,

somewhere flagless, uncountried

 

where I can say I am a hue, a being

a living breathing sea, immovable

 

& uncrossable, water calling to water,

a body still, host to a kin[der] universe—

 

you know, a sweet lie, something close

to true, but history has proven

 

I will do anything for a hunk of hard cheese

going green, even writing verses

 

for people who want to remember

how good they are, or were, or could be

 

as the[ir] country disposes of others.

Sit with me, please, in the rising waters

 

as I sit with that.

Omar Sakr
is a poet and writer. He is the author of the collections These Wild Houses and The Lost Arabs, as well as the forthcoming novel White Flu.

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