Monthly Archives: March 2013

Mohamed Lamrad is a believer in truth…and long a$$ poems!

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I am looking forward to the next few pieces that Mohamed might share with us. I also saw a short film by him recently, and can avow to the fact that he can be supremely funny. Just not in this poem. Thank you Mohamed for reading with us last year, we hope you write some more and return.

A view from The Middle East

Amongst
Coastal Plains
Desert Expanses
Mountain Ranges
Lie
Power
Religion
Society
Living
Lost Civilizations
Longstanding Regimes
People’s Dreams
This all but a glimpse of the feast
Assembled, on crossroads of West and East

A split in succession
fourteen centuries ago
only after Three, concession
behind the present state of embargo
At the onset of the caliphate
Legitimacy of rule
The topic of debate
The resolve
Fragmentation into sects
Sunni, Shia dialects
Sunnis put Faith in election
Shias in that of divine sanction
But just as soon
Power
Decreed it by assassination
Ironic
fourteen centuries on
each sect’s predilections
Gone
The state representative of each
Practicing against its initial preach
One
An absolute monarchy
Devoid of meritocracy
While autocratically stern
Hypocritically, Pro-Western
Another
Aspects of democracy
Steeped in theocracy
While pursuing policies of self-sufficiency
Unfortunately, only militarily
Side-by-Side
Between them a Gulf
A sectarian divide
They find themselves engulfed.
Though their differences are political
Their similarities, unequivocal
Legislation by clerics
Claiming validation, Islamic
Policies in Contradiction
To that of accepted Islamic Diction
Subversion of half of Society
By professing Women’s inequality
As for the whole
in a plight
at a judge’s discretion
his personal definition
of Human Rights.
Religious Freedom
follows the same Fate
as that of Expressions in Freedom
A Sentencing Date.
As a result
Religion
through its Politicization
from whence God’s and People’s Domain
relegated to Fiction
written by a state’s reign
Fabricated Division
Preached, without relief
Amongst a People practicing
The same set of Beliefs
Disenfranchised Youth
From one of the paths of truth
By the ingrained fallacy
of a State of ‘hypo-cracy’
As for Islam’s face
Interpreted to the World’s Populace
shaped by exercises of Power
by governments we empower
through Our Speeches, long since
consisting solely of . . . .

Yemen
Exemplary of the Strength of Women
Their Weakness
A moot point
Their Actions
Counterpoint
Driving movements of Non-violence
Standing against orders of compliance
Attempting to ascertain
a life Without Chains.
Despite a History of division
United in their position
despite being short
of tangible support
They hold firm
until their views are confirmed.
The first step is down
by a leader of discredit
whose rule is frowned upon
by People embedded
with ability to envision
an improvement in condition
with Voices and Footsteps
entirely in rhythm.

Since the Declaration of Balfour
Irreconcilability has endured
Exasperated by Wars
An endless Settlement of more
In the land of the Holy
Sovereignty is disputed wholly
Borders
Drawn up by Wall
Barriers
Determined to Fall
Precepts of Separation
Stand against Reconciliation
Biased support
Actions do purport
For one’s subsidized life
At another’s strife
Without any Occupation
People lead lives of frustration
Without any Farms
They follow a path to arms
Even against one another
Of their brothers
If only there was Hamas
In order to Fatah
Between them the gridlock
For representation as one bloc.
A renunciation of Violence
For Civil Disobedience
Will serve to Silence
The Drum of Military Ordnance
For Excessive Reactions
Juxtaposed by Non-violent Actions
Will strip justifications
For Launching Operations
The People’s Efforts
Refocused from Stones
Towards
Words
And their Intrinsic Power
To sway
Worlds
Against the Institutionalized Injustice
Perpetrated by Occupation
For the Voice of Justice
Lies grounded in Truths
Veiled by Oppression
Of a People’s Rights
And from a State of Recognition.
Efforts though
For everlasting Peace
Will remain shattered
Segmented to Pieces
So long as focus remains
On what state religion ordains
After all that’s been said and tried
Maybe the solution, after all, may just lie
In middle ground
In theory of great profound
Still awaiting inception
Since birth in the region
Two millennia ago
As Christ conferred
Love thy neighbour.

Syria
Hysteria
A relic of the past
A world outcast
Stalwart of Arab Politics
Practices in Rhetoric
Carrots on Sticks

Suspended Constitution
Emergency Law Institution
Freedom of Expression
Basis of Dissension
Grounds for Detention.
Stifling of Opposition
In favor of the Proposition
The People’s Representation
The Heart of Corruption.
Skewed Income Distribution
The People’s Situation
Unworthy of Contemplation
Distract from Deprivations
With Fears of Impending Invasions
Our Only Salvation
Patriotism in the Nation
Not Love of One’s Country
Lest there be Confusion
Rather Hatred of Another.

For all its Enthusiasm
All it left behind, a Schism
Rooted in Despotism
Political Arab Nationalism.

I-raq
A wreck
Never has something so right
Been done so wrong
But to allow that blight
To define for long
Is to forget what lies dormant
In the recesses of mind
On Plains of Fertile Crescent
The human capacity to find
From unrelenting will
A persistent drill
For the sake of extraction
A Cradle’s worth of Civilization.

Capabilities proven
Not once
But twice
Abilities
Hopefully moving
With aims of thrice

Bahrain
Revolution
Contained
De-Evolution
Sustained
Discrimination
Maintained
Division
Feigned
Counter-Revolution
Unrestrained
Condemnations
Constrained
Resolutions
Refrained
Relations
Retained
Nation
Strained

So here we find
In the Middle East
Attempts to bind
From Medieval Beasts
People’s hands and feet
Weapons of Modern Feat
Arresting, Pulse and Beat
For what’s truly on the line
Are Ideas of the Mind
For from the African North
Lately much has been put forth
For the progress of the region
If we carry on believing
That the Rights of Man
Are as crucial as his Hands
In building up this place
And tearing down what stands
In place of Just commonplace.
It was a Man on Fire
That sparked the desire
He left all behind
Sacrificed all to remind
That a government’s laws
Every article and clause
Should be written with the spirit
Of nothing but..
The People’s Benefit.

Freedom though
While rightfully attained
Could just as easily go
If status quo is maintained
Centuries of results
May be a cause of one man
“Strong”
But now
only We would be at fault
If now
We are not to undo wrongs

A fair, impartial Constitution
Empowering Our Institutions
To wrest Power from one
Bestowed upon all, bar none
Illiteracy
Led to complicity
Universal Education
Enlighten People and Nation
Rote Education
Led to Stagnation
A regional revampment
To achieve advancement
Economies
Based on Commodities
Their shortcomings to be Acknowledged
For a renewed focus and basis in Knowledge
Equitable Income Distribution
To push for the restitution
Of People’s Motivation
In bettering their situations
Our Wealth
Invested in Institutions of Universal Health
For a Higher Expectancy
Of a better Life Mortality
The Sanctity
Of Our Society
Will only be safeguarded through Equality
Amongst the Gender Varieties
Society’s Purview
A Plurality of Views
Their Acceptance, Just
If decided through…The People’s Trust.

And when it comes down to it
When we seek to learn from all of it
For the sake of Our Dreams of a Better Future
We should place Our Power in the better aspects of Our Human Nature
In that which no level of repression can extinguish
That which conquers and casts aside any anguish
Which, time and again, has been proven to never languish…
Human Love,
Hope,
Faith,
and Forgiveness.

Mohamed Lamrad
©2012

Poem that woke me up today.

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I was awakened today, rather roughly I must admit, by a poem that just bludgeoned its way into my brain. The first line popped up, and the rest followed, with zero effort from my end. I sighed, got out of bed, thought emails and social media would distract me and the poem would vanish, but no. It kept circling. So I wrote it down. It is rather sad, specially on mother’s day. But thats ok. Sad is what I write. Been a beautiful loving day, otherwise. Dubai’s windy streets welcomed me, and a kind brown eyed man made me laugh, and together we created a bit of art. Here is the poem I wrote, fresh out of the oven, as it were, and probably in need of editing.

Today, a poem woke me up.
Dubai, 21st of March, 2013.

Nothing stops when your beloved dies,
not the breath hurtling through your body, even if your
fingers would no longer move.
Not the crescent moon in the silent sky,
smiling its cheesy grin,
poking a silver arrow at your sorrow.
Not even the sun, whom
you think should black out the day, wear a shade of night to
honor departure, a darkness to cradle pensive dreams,
for even rainbow dream-rays of daylight
do not stop.
Nothing stops.

Not the trees gorging on air,
leaves unfurling in mystery to screech echoes
of life, life, life.
Not even the bark chips, or the flowers wilt, or the birds
shut up to admire your pain.
A small “Ha!” in your face, a defiance remains
to taunt the pumping matter that
carefully folds in on itself, inside your body,
and chokes.
Nothing. Everything natural continues to blossom,
as if to spite the burgeoning hole in your lungs.

Nothing stops when your beloved dies,
not the capitalist money systems, not the sweat on backs of women in the fields,
not the budgets of bankers,
not piercing cries of the oppressed,
nor the songs of dismal angels over seas we yearn to cross.
Not the twinkle in the eyes of strangers, nor
the trains that speed them away.
The arms of your lover continue to be warm, and
old pictures continue to encapsulate
light, glow.

Not the civil war slithering around your father’s old house,
nor the decay of lush plants your mother loved on a balcony,
now abandoned.

Nothing stops for a minute to say, I am sorry,
I am so sorry for your loss.

Nothing stops when your beloved dies,
and worst of all,
the very worst of it all,

not even the love.

Simon Armitage- Love and Fear in Dubai

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Simon Armitage is here at the Literature Festival in Dubai. I am honored to be performing alongside him tomorrow at an event.
I have loved many of his pieces in the past few years but recently stumbled across this fantastic poem. It felt like he was speaking to me and the man I used to love.
Funny, how poets know these things, they just know. Love in Dubai.
Now, fear in Dubai, as I plan what to read tomorrow in front of him. Love and loss, and death and despair in Syria perhaps.
Shake the placid Dubai ennui a bit.

Enjoy!

To his lost lover

by Simon Armitage

Now they are no longer
any trouble to each other

he can turn things over, get down to that list
of things that never happened, all of the lost

unfinishable business.
For instance… for instance,

how he never clipped and kept her hair, or drew a hairbrush
through that style of hers, and never knew how not to blush

at the fall of her name in close company.
How they never slept like buried cutlery –

two spoons or forks cupped perfectly together,
or made the most of some heavy weather –

walked out into hard rain under sheet lightning,
or did the gears while the other was driving.

How he never raised his fingertips
to stop the segments of her lips

from breaking the news,
or tasted the fruit

or picked for himself the pear of her heart,
or lifted her hand to where his own heart

was a small, dark, terrified bird
in her grip. Where it hurt.

Or said the right thing,
or put it in writing.

And never fled the black mile back to his house
before midnight, or coaxed another button of her blouse,

then another,
or knew her

favourite colour,
her taste, her flavour,

and never ran a bath or held a towel for her,
or soft-soaped her, or whipped her hair

into an ice-cream cornet or a beehive
of lather, or acted out of turn, or misbehaved

when he might have, or worked a comb
where no comb had been, or walked back home

through a black mile hugging a punctured heart,
where it hurt, where it hurt, or helped her hand

to his butterfly heart
in its two blue halves.

And never almost cried,
and never once described

an attack of the heart,
or under a silk shirt

nursed in his hand her breast,
her left, like a tear of flesh

wept by the heart,
where it hurts,

or brushed with his thumb the nut of her nipple,
or drank intoxicating liquors from her navel.

Or christened the Pole Star in her name,
or shielded the mask of her face like a flame,

a pilot light,
or stayed the night,

or steered her back to that house of his,
or said “Don’t ask me how it is

I like you.
I just might do.”

How he never figured out a fireproof plan,
or unravelled her hand, as if her hand

were a solid ball
of silver foil

and discovered a lifeline hiding inside it,
and measured the trace of his own alongside it.

But said some things and never meant them –
sweet nothings anybody could have mentioned.

And left unsaid some things he should have spoken,
about the heart, where it hurt exactly, and how often.

Poems to make the face crinkle in smiles.

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Love love love my poet friends.

THE DEBT OF MY FEELINGS

Love is about forgiveness-
So I forgive you for being you, for being
beautiful and wonderful (all over) and laughing
and giving birth to poems; for being a friend
that makes me howl whenever I dream
about your nakedness- which is so often
I no longer have words for love – only tears.
Yes, crying is the river I walk near when I
think of you.

– E. Ethelbert Miller