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Diaspora: Breakfast with Mahmoud Darwish

I. An Invitation for the Fifth of June, 1967


You come back     on your back


Barefoot   skin roughened like burlap, glaring

Six days of war   every year   this same day,

Glaring. Skin, barefoot like burlap, roughened.


More have always died on my side of the line

but what does that matter to a narrative?


II. Sadaam


They were shouting

Muqtada   Muqtada   Muqtada

While he stood   frozen   perched

with us watching   sectarian

mouths watering to the point of pain


The noose tickling his chin  he contemplates

wobbling the legs of the stool he thinks

how might is the last thing   one craves

in the moment before it breaks.


III. Osama




Washed in accordance with tradition.

A body   raised   tipped   eased into the sea.


IV. Cairo


Loose of their chains, who should fear the unfettered?


V. Libya: Bani Walid


Say a student launches a rocket in the wrong direction

you cannot sit on the battlefield    moping

brother, I need you to hold me


somewhere a {golden} fist might be being melted down

to make more of what is needed   somewhere black men

are being gathered   in the quiet aftermath of freedom

on the eve of democracy   a dictator is shot in the street

this is on film for you to see   the others go silently into dawn.


VI. Identity Card


All you can hope is that one day, they

will at least  at last  eat your words.

To sling rocks is tiresome


I want to start a fire.


VII. Mali


War on our borders  death is thinning the edges

between bodies and states  Some deaths go

unaccounted for    to protect the project


to protect the project


to protect the project


I’ll take my imperialism brown

thank you


Sooner or later


we all must choose a side

I want your mouth open

Spill it

Whose child am I?