CHIROT ZERO ZINE--ANNOUNCING NEW BLOG

Dear Followers, Friends, fellow Workers:

I have just begun a new blog/zine called
Chirot Zero Zine A Heap of Rubble--
Anarkeyology of hand eye ear notations
---
http://chirotzerozine.blogspot.com
the blog is more exusively concerned than this one with presenting essays, reviews (inc. "bad reviews") , Visual Poetry, Sound Poetry, Event Scores, Manifestos, Manifotofestos, rantin' & raving, rock'roll, music all sorts--by myself and others--if you are interested in being a contributor, please feel free to contact me at david.chirot@gmail.com
as with this blog, the arts are investigated as a part of rather than apart from the historical, economic, political actualities of yesterday, today, & tomorrow
as with al my blogs--
contributions in any language are welcome

Free Leonard Peltier

Free Leonard Peltier
The government under pretext of security and progress, liberated us from our land, resources, culture, dignity and future. They violated every treaty they ever made with us. I use the word “liberated” loosely and sarcastically, in the same vein that I view the use of the words “collateral damage” when they kill innocent men, women and children. They describe people defending their homelands as terrorists, savages and hostiles . . . My words reach out to the non-Indian: Look now before it is too late—see what is being done to others in your name and see what destruction you sanction when you say nothing. --Leonard Peltier, Annual Message January 2004 (Leonard Peltier is now serving 31st year as an internationally recognized Political Prisoner of the United States Government)

Injustice Continues: Leonard Peltier Again Denied Parole

# Injustice continues: Leonard Peltier denied parole‎ - By Mahtowin A wave of outrage swept the progressive community worldwide at the news that Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier was denied parole on Aug. ... Workers World - 2 related articles » US denies parole to American Indian activist Leonard Peltier‎ - AFP - 312 related articles » # Free Leonard Peltier 2009 PRISON WRITINGS...My Life Is My Sun Dance Leonard Peltier © 1999. # Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance - by Leonard Peltier, Harvey Arden - 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 272 pages Edited by Harvey Arden, with an Introduction by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, and a Preface by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark. In 1977, Leonard Peltier... books.google.com/books?isbn=0312263805... - # Leonard Peltier, American Indian Activist, Denied Parole And Won't ... Aug 21, 2009 ... BISMARCK, ND — American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, imprisoned since 1977 for the deaths of two FBI agents, has been denied parole ... www.huffingtonpost.com/.../leonard-peltier-american_n_265764.html - Cached - Similar - #

Gaza--War Crime: Collective Punishment of 1.5 Million Persons--Recognized as "The World's Largest Concentration Camp"

Number of Iraquis Killed Since USA 2003 Invasion began

Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator

US & International Personnel losses in Iraq &Afghanistan; Costs of the 2 Wars to US


Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America's War On Iraq: 4,667
icasualties.org/oif/

Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 1,453
http://icasualties.org/oef/


=

Cost of War in Iraq

$691,188,637,164

Cost of War in Afghanistan
$229,137,844,021

The cost in your community

www.nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=182

flickr: DEATH FROM THIS WINDOW/DOORS OF GUANTANAMO--Essays, Links, Video-- US use of Torture

VISUAL POETRY/MAIL ART CALL Cracking World’s Walls & Codes Concrete & Virtual

Cracking World’s Walls & Codes Concrete & Virtual


VISUAL POETRY/MAIL ART CALL
No Sieges, Tortures, Starvation & Surveillance
GAZA-GUANTANAMO-ABU GHRAIB—THE GLOBE
Deadline/Fecha Limite: SinsLimite/ongoing
Size: No limit/Sin Limite
No Limit on Number of Works sent
No Limit on Number of Times New Works Are Sent
Documentation: on my blog
http://davidbaptistechirot.blogspot.com
Addresses: david.chirot@gmail.com
David Baptiste Chirot
740 N 29 #108
Milwaukee, WI 53208
USA

Miss Universe Visits Guantanamo: 'A Loooot Of Fun!'



Miss Universe Visits Guantanamo: 'A Loooot Of Fun!'


The current 'Miss Universe' Dayana Mendoza (formerly Miss Venezuela) and 'Miss America' Crystal Stewart visited US troops stationed in Guantanamo Bay on March 20th, the New York Times reports. Here's Mendoza's account of the visit from her pageant blog last Friday. She says the trip "was a loooot of fun!"

This week, Guantánamo!!! It was an incredible experience...All the guys from the Army were amazing with us. We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting. We took a ride with the Marines around the land to see the division of Gitmo and Cuba while they were informed us with a little bit of history.


The water in Guantánamo Bay is soooo beautiful! It was unbelievable, we were able to enjoy it for at least an hour. We went to the glass beach, and realized the name of it comes from the little pieces of broken glass from hundred of years ago. It is pretty to see all the colors shining with the sun. That day we met a beautiful lady named Rebeca who does wonders with the glasses from the beach. She creates jewelry with it and of course I bought a necklace from her that will remind me of Guantánamo Bay :)

I didn't want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Poverty & Poetry--Charlie "Bird"Parker & "Edward Said" poem & links for Mahmoud Darwish





This is a letter to the buffalo poetics list which concerned a discussion re poetry as a means of earning a living.

I realized later that the real question I should have thought of that everyone is ignoring is poetry as career.

This American obsession with fabricating artificial positions in the hierarchies of images, receptions, sales, the desire to be "marginalized" and at the same time to find "marginalization" a "suffering" combined with a sense of "superiority," all convey a tremendous sense of egotistic self absorption which seems immensely arrogant and snobbish. In contrast are the examples here of poets and a musician for whom the world around one is where poetry and music are found, in the humblest things and acts, the cal and responses with these. And in these, the recognition of Others all around one.

div>                In Paul Collins' immensely entertaining and crazily informative "Banvard's Folly  Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn't Change the World," a Chapter entitled  "He being dead Speaketh Not" (after the weirdly eerie  and prophetic-sounding literalness of the words on the subject's headstone) is devoted to Englishman Martin Tupper, at one point in the mid 19th century the best selling most famous poet ever yet to have written in the Enlish language---and this in his own lifetime, to boot.  His works were translated into over thrity languages, including Latin and Ojibway, and set off on some outrageously warmly welcomed tours of the USA. Of course, Francois Villon, reading this would think of a good warning from a poem of his own:  "Warmly welcomed, rebuffed by everyone."

       Tupper, with currency adjustments allowed for, was in fact the first poet ever to earn a million dollars by poetry alone. Tennyson barely managed to edge him out for Poet Laureate. Stranger still, within his own lifetime he also became a poet who could no longer get published, not even republished, the loser of all his fortune and beautiful estate due to poor investements, and finished his days in poverty as the producer of an incredible volume of out-of-print and forgotten or ridiculed verse. 
                  As swiftly as a generation after his greatest triumphs, Tupper's name furnished a new term for the ridicule reserved for and heaped upon first-publication poets.  "A Tupper," was a smear indicating the swiftness with which oblivion's waters would most assuredly be closing over the neophyte's laurel crowned locks.  In his old age Tennyson was horrified to find the epithet bestowed on himself also, and, as Collins writes:   "In fact, so many poets were tarred this way that a new insult,'Tupperian,' entered the language  It  can still be found in the the eternal rest of dead verbiage deep between the covers of the Oxford English Dictionary.
                 Collins notes that in one of the only articles about Tupper written in the 20th Century, in a 1938 issue of the Times Literary Supplement, the Poet's  incredible rise and just as dramatic fall is tentativiely explained by the poetry's massive popularity making it also too  easily tired of within a short time from sheer omnipresent overeposure.  Think the of Mega Monster Music Hit that sells unholy numbers of CDs, and before the year is out no one wil admit they ever liked it,  let alone owned a copy of it.  Trying to unload these once Biggest Sellers of All Time in used stores is the equivalent for the would-be seller of being seen by snickering others as a 'Tupper,' indeed.

            How different this in Arab culture, Ismaelia Al-Sadiq wrote of last week in noting:
"
Yes, poetry is "popular" - ne essential - in the arab culture.  When Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani died, his funeral in Damascus was attended by crowds numbering at least in the 100s of thousands"

        A similar world wide outpouring--including non-Arabs also--attended in the last two weeks the death and funeral of Mahmoud Darwish.


        A friend during the days of mourning for the poet,  forwarded Mahmoud Darwish's "Edward Said," a beautiful "farewell to the poetry of pain"

 which discusses within it at one point this poetry/prose question which is endlessly returning here, and which perhaps is a way of always saying that Poetry is superior to prose, and that a sign of that superiority is that its Truth value is so high that nothing made by such meager things as better selling prose can ever equal it.  The paradox being, that knowing how "priceless " Poetry is compared to prose,   poets continually want to have their cake and eat it too--that is, their work being so much more valuable, and one earning so much less by it, does this not in fact increase its pricelessness, and as well, by making the poet suffer in such regard, make her all the more Noble?

And yet it is said that the one who gaineth the world loses their soul.

In fact, it is this disparity between the value of their works and what they are paid for them that increases the poet's sense of both Superiority and that perquisite of Superiority, being part of a "marginalized group," which is at the same time an elite which can feel that it is suffering because it is Superior, and not given the due that its Station deserves.

There is nothing quite like it after all, being the Unacknowledged Legislators of the Human World! To triumph and suffer at the same time  produces a state of exquisite ecstasy, and is one not to be trifled with.  The "unacknowledgement" assures a fate Non-Tupperian, while the "Legislators" holds out the hope of positions within society from which one may, indeed, legislate.., in quite a wide variety of ways.

"The Green Monster of Jealousy reared its head . . . " for a moment with regards to the better selling prose--but since when have prose writers been found to be the "True" though "Unacknoweldged Legislators" of Humanity. Though they complain of it, and turn it into an insult to their True greatnness,   Poets after all have a Poetry Month--when has anyone heard of such thing as even a National Prose Hour?

"Necessity is the motherfucker of invention," and so out of its "marginalized status" in the Western world which a poet may indeed often identity with, there is created its gigantic double, that Colossus known as the Unacknowledged Legislator and who holds forth on fine days--handing down sentences on the "enemies" and granting Laurel Wreaths to those with whom the Legislators are in sympathy.

 And so one imagines this thoroughly Poetic Being to be not unlike Bunuell's Saint Simon of the Desert--hobnobbing with God and eating the occaisional miraculously appearing air-borne bug. Carried away by his own rhetoric at times, the good Saint wil commence Blessing Everything and indeed Speaking as though He Were Indeed God--but Simon wil catch himself just in time, and laugh at himself and wonder if after al he is just not completely nuts, and the One Who has Led Him to This Postion--a Mad Being  Far Madder than himself, who is after all, just a poor mortal. .

           In a sense, though no one may admit it, to be a Western Poet is quite an enviable position! In a way it does indeed have the "best of both worlds"--the "unackowledgement" and lack of pay which meansone is in deed a "suffering artist," and at the same time that Legislative sense in using the language which unlocks the possibilities of other means of attaining power and influence in some manner.
                          Reading Mahmoud Darwish's poetry, about his life, watching the videos--there emerges a poet and poetry that, the more loved and famous he and it become, disappear into the landscape.  A simplicity and humility are present, as so many many have remarked. 
         This disappearance that "grows deepper" as it nears literally "the end of his life," echoes that of its beginning--the long vanished village where the poet was born.  The disappearance creates a mirage--one moment the vision of water--and then--the water appears to be gone.   Hidden in plain site/sight/cite, these waters wrap themselves in stones and dust, bits of soil and so are overlooked and endure.  In the veins and markings of stones may often be found the direct notations of waters--rains--flash floodings, sudden shocks of enforced diversion of irrigations.  A water "exiled" as it flows, and so carrying with it everywhere this at home/not at home wirting of the ground itself.
--Al-Sadiq wrote of the water that even when stolen away, is found as the water of poetry in rocks which, "appearing to be ruins," camouflage the present which is the past of the  future being made, hidden in plain site/sight/cite.

The question of why make poetry when there is so little pay for the work, the time, the devotion--
may it be perhaps that one is "consumed" by this gift--?
and makes a work as a Thanks--?
 
Paul Celan wrote "poetry no longer imposes itself, it exposes itself." 
 A Hope that in the ruins of imposed poetries, there is "the most beautiful world, a heap   
      of rubble tossed down at random/in confusion," as Heraclitus found this exposed poetry to
       be.
    Afraid of being "exposed," imposed poetries return in new guises, new forms, new rules, regulations, canons, training methods, writing experiments, reading lists, no longer exposures of rubble in which as Petra Backonja writes, in "The Lives They Wish," poems lead lives of their own. (And so they depart, camouflage, "take on other forms,")  New media and institutions arise for the return of the imposing of poems, complete with improved security surveillance, walls, check points, curfews, separations, all of them set up to hide the fact of they're resembling the previous sets of imposed poetries. Thus it is that "today's Gated Community is constructed with a hint of that nostalgia which always makes one feel at home even when enjoying the first fruitsof that future which is today."
          
         For how long can the entropy of an imposed poetry "last?" Is it truly to be a "steady state" of poetry?  "The basis of art is change in the universe, " Basho wrote."One cannot hide from that which never sets," says Heraclitus--
                 In the cracks, fissures, bullet holes, bombed out villages, in the degeneration of walls among the effects of weathering, of the eating away by wind spewed dusts, by minuscule plants taking roots in a pockmarked hole, by the rains and sun and winds and by a poetry of lives it wishes-coming and going as it pleases---poetry is always being exposed, even as more restraints are imposed on thoughts, words, actions, on seeing and hearing-- the leakage of mysterious waters hidden in rocks of poems exposing those confluences of natural forms and chemicals which are "doubly" the origin of sigss, and the signs copied from them--or the natural signs seen due to their being written signs--

 in the devastated landscapes such natural mixtures of dirt with "unnatural chemicals" begin to expose those poetries on the other sides of ever "smarter" deaths--,
and so it is that behind, beneath, below, bent, bowed down, blasted, burned, buried, or--leading lives elsewhere, or "over again," or--enduring as presences of absence in whose absences are drolly secreted their presences--
among these things, a writing endures that invents its own literacies among the "unreadable non writings" seen by the "literate"
unware that in this "blank and ruined landscape" even-
the dead see scrawls--
          
In the poem here by Darwish, Said reminds the poet of a favorite of his, the Greek poet Yannis Ritsos, himself exiled for a long time on the rockiest and most barren of small islands--and that Ritsos wrote of making poems in words which make "the readers immortal."
The readers, not the poet--
 *"On wind he walks, and in wind
he knows himself. There is no ceiling for the wind,
no home for the wind. Wind is the compass
of the stranger's North.
He says: I am from there, I am from here,
but I am neither there nor here.
I have two names which meet and part..."

             A true and apocryphal story--tells one that--a great admirer of the musician Charlie Parker went looking for "Bird" and no one knew where he now lived.  Banned from playing even in the Club named for him, unable to "make a living," though considered a "Genius," and becoming "world famous," what could have become of the "poor, marginalized Artist?"  No one it seemed knew what had happened to him, already know for his habit of vaaishing . . .

The person troubled by these questions finally came across Bird as though by accident--there he was!  A man dressed in clothes found in the trash, eating out of the rubbish the food shared with flies--listening to the music he heard continually  and without a horn to play it on--

"What about identity? I asked.
He said: It's self-defence...
Identity is the child of birth, but
at the end, it's self-invention, and not
an inheritance of the past. I am multiple...
Within me an ever new exterior. And
I belong to the question of the victim. Were I not
from there, I would have trained my heart
to nurture there deers of metaphor..."

                         The seeker was horrified--how can you stand it? How can you live like this? How can you survive on nothing?

The Happy Bird beamed and raising his arms gestured widely, embracing the trash, the shadowed alley shot through with here and there a fragment of glass or metal refocusing and re directing the diffused, amorphous light--the wild sounds of the city bouncing about in the "canyons" of the "Great City"--the rapid chord changes called "dischord"--a dissonance of dissidence--

 
 "So carry your homeland wherever you go, and be
a narcissist if need be/
The outside world is exile,
exile is the world inside."

and said--"Nothing!  What do you mean!!!??--when there is  ALL THIS?"-
                       "My voice goes after/what my eyes can't reach"--
                       Walt Whitman
 
"And what are you between the two?
***
"Myself, I do not know
so that I shall not lose it. I am what I am.
I am my other, a duality
gaining resonance in between speech and gesture.
Were I to write poetry I would have said:
I am two in one,
like the wings of a swallow ,
content with bringing good omen
when spring is late. "


in the poem of Darwish are so many "lines" in which what is not present is that "bottom line" which it is said "demands to be seen," that Americans "think of first."
Edward Said, speaking with Darwish:
    
"The poem,
a consolation, an attribute
of the wind, southern or northern.
Do not describe what the camera can see
of your wounds. And scream that you may hear yourself,
and scream that you may know you're still alive,
and alive, and that life on this earth is
possible. Invent a hope for speech,
invent a direction, a mirage to extend hope.
And sing, for the aesthetic is freedom/"

Some links which each lead to more--

Mahmoud Darwish Web Site
http://www.mahmouddarwish.com/english/index.htm
Poet: Mahmoud Darwish - All poems of Mahmoud Darwish .. poetry ... Search in the poems of Mahmoud Darwish. Click the title of the poem you'd like read. ...
www.poemhunter.com/mahmoud-darwish -

... in the West Bank and Gaza to mark the death of Mahmoud Darwish, the Poet Laureate of the Palestinians. Darwish was ... of Mahmoud Darwish's poems, including ...
www.democracynow.org/2008/8/11/mahmoud_darwish_poet_laureate_of_the -


DARWISH, Mahmoud -- Writer
http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/people/686.shtml

Scenes from Notre musique (Our Music)directed by Jean-Luc Godard.The film reflects on violence, morality, and the representation of violence in film, and touches especially on past colonialism and the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The film's tripartite structure is apparently inspired by the Divine Comedy of Dante; the film's three segments are titled "Realm 1: Hell", "Realm 2: Purgatory", and "Realm 3: Heaven".

The life of the Arab world's most celebrated poet is over. We ask: How will all those touched by the work of Mahmoud Darwish remember him? In this day and age, Can the pen mobilize the conscious of the masses to pick up the sword? Mahmoud Darwish was, after all, a poet not a politician.

Remembering Darwish:

Related Links



HERE IS THE POEM IN ITS ENTIRETY:



> Edward Said

In
a poem published in Arabic last month, Mahmoud Darwish bids Edward
Said farewell

New York/ November/ Fifth Avenue
The sun a plate of shredded metal
I asked myself, estranged in the shadow:
Is it Babel or Sodom?
***
There, on the doorstep of an electric abyss,
high as the sky, I met Edward,
thirty years ago,
time was less wild then...
We both said:
If the past is only an experience,
make of the future a meaning and a vision.
Let us go,
Let us go into tomorrow trusting
the candor of imagination and the miracle of grass/
***I don't recall going together to the cinema
in the evening. Still I heard Ancient
Indians calling: Trust
neither horse, nor modernity
***
No. Victims do not ask their executioner:
Am I you? Had my sword been
bigger than my rose, would you
have asked
if I would have acted like you?
***
A question like that entices the curiosity
of a novelist,
sitting in a glass office, overlooking
lilies in the garden, where
the hand
of a hypothesis is as clear as
the conscience
of a novelist set to settle accounts
with
human instinct... There is no tomorrow
in yesterday, so let us advance/
***
Advancing could be a bridge
leading back
to Barbarism.../
***
New York. Edward wakes up to
a lazy dawn. He plays
Mozart.
Runs round the university's tennis
court.
Thinks of the journey of ideas across
borders,
and over barriers. He reads the New York Times.
Writes out his furious comments. Curses an Orientalist
guiding the General to the weak point
inside the heart of an Oriental woman. He showers. Chooses
his elegant suit. Drinks
his white coffee. Shouts at the dawn:
Do not loiter.
***
On wind he walks, and in wind
he knows himself. There is no ceiling for the wind,
no home for the wind. Wind is the compass
of the stranger's North.
He says: I am from there, I am from here,
but I am neither there nor here.
I have two names which meet and part...
I have two languages, but I have long forgotten
which is the language of my dreams.
I have an English language, for writing,
with yielding phrases,
and a language in which Heaven and
Jerusalem converse, with a silver cadence,
but it does not yield to my imagination.
***
What about identity? I asked.
He said: It's self-defence...
Identity is the child of birth, but
at the end, it's self-invention, and not
an inheritance of the past. I am multiple...
Within me an ever new exterior. And
I belong to the question of the victim. Were I not
from there, I would have trained my heart
to nurture there deers of metaphor...
So carry your homeland wherever you go, and be
a narcissist if need be/
The outside world is exile,
exile is the world inside.
And what are you between the two?
***
Myself, I do not know
so that I shall not lose it. I am what I am.
I am my other, a duality
gaining resonance in between speech and gesture.
Were I to write poetry I would have said:
I am two in one,
like the wings of a swallow ,
content with bringing good omen
when spring is late.
***
He loves a country and he leaves.
[Is the impossible far off?]
He loves leaving to things unknown.
By traveling freely across cultures
those in search of the human essence
may find a space for all to sit...
Here a margin advances. Or a centre
retreats. Where East is not strictly east,
and West is not strictly west,
where identity is open onto plurality,
not a fort or a trench/
***
Metonymy was sleeping on the river's bank;
had it not been for the pollution
it could have embraced the other bank.
***
- Have you written any novels?
ï I tried... I tried to retrieve
my image from mirrors of distant women.
But they scampered off into their guarded night.
Saying: Our world is independent of any text.
A man cannot write a woman who is both enigma and dream.
A woman cannot write a man who is both symbol and star.
There are no two loves alike. No two nights
alike. So let us enumerate men's qualities
and laugh.
- And what did you do?
ï I laughed at my nonsense
and threw the novel
into the wastepaper basket/
***
The intellectual harnesses what the novelist can tell
and the philosopher interprets the bard's roses/
***
He loves a country and he leaves:
I am what I am and shall be.
I shall choose my place by myself,
and choose my exile. My exile, the backdrop
to an epic scene. I defend
the poet's need for memories and tomorrow,
I defend country and exile
in tree-clad birds,
and a moon, generous enough
to allow the writing of a love poem;
I defend an idea shattered by the frailty
of its partisans
and defend a country hijacked by myths/
***
- Will you be able to return to anything?
ï My ahead pulls what's behind and hastens...
There is no time left in my watch for me to scribble lines
on the sand. I can, however, visit yesterday
as strangers do when they listen
on a sad evening to a Pastorale:
"A girl by the spring filling her jar
"With clouds' tears,
"Weeping and laughing as a bee
"Stings her heart...
"Is it love that makes the water ache
"Or some sickness in the mist..."
[until the end of the song].
***
- So, nostalgia can hit you?
ï Nostalgia for a higher, more distant tomorrow,
far more distant. My dream leads my steps.
And my vision places my dream
on my knees
like a pet cat. It's the imaginary
real,
the child of will: We can
change the inevitability of the abyss.
***
- And nostalgia for yesterday?
ï A sentiment not fit for an intellectual, unless
it is used to spell out the stranger's fervour
for that which negates him.
My nostalgia is a struggle
over a present which has tomorrow
by the balls.
***
- Did you not sneak into yesterday when
you went to that house, your house
in Talbiya, in Jerusalem?
ï I prepared myself to sleep
in my mother's bed, like a child
who's scared of his father. I tried
to recall my birth, and
to watch the Milky Way from the roof of my old
house. I tried to stroke the skin
of absence and the smell of summer
in the garden's jasmine. But the hyena that is truth
drove me away from a thief-like
nostalgia.
- Were you afraid? What frightened you?
ï I could not meet loss face
to face. I stood by the door like a beggar.
How could I ask permission from strangers sleeping
in my own bed... Ask them if I could visit myself
for five minutes? Should I bow in respect
to the residents of my childish dream? Would they ask:
Who is that prying foreign visitor? And how
could I talk about war and peace
among the victims and the victims' victims,
without additions, without an interjection?
And would they tell me: There is no place for two dreams
in one bedroom?
***
It is neither me nor him
who asks; it is a reader asking:
What can poetry say in a time of catastrophe?
***
Blood
and blood,
blood
in your country,
in my name and in yours, in
the almond flower, in the banana skin,
in the baby's milk, in light and shadow,
in the grain of wheat, in salt/
***
Adept snipers, hitting their target
with maximum proficiency.
Blood
and blood
and blood.
This land is smaller than the blood of its children
standing on the threshold of doomsday like
sacrificial offerings. Is this land truly
blessed, or is it baptised
in blood
and blood
and blood
which neither prayer, nor sand can dry.
There is not enough justice in the Sacred Book
to make martyrs rejoice in their freedom
to walk on cloud. Blood in daylight,
blood in darkness. Blood in speech.
***
He says: The poem could host
loss, a thread of light shining
at the heart of a guitar; or a Christ
on a horse pierced through with beautiful metaphors. For
the aesthetic is but the presence of the real
in form/
In a world without a sky, the earth
becomes an abyss. The poem,
a consolation, an attribute
of the wind, southern or northern.
Do not describe what the camera can see
of your wounds. And scream that you may hear yourself,
and scream that you may know you're still alive,
and alive, and that life on this earth is
possible. Invent a hope for speech,
invent a direction, a mirage to extend hope.
And sing, for the aesthetic is freedom/
***
I say: The life which cannot be defined
except by death is not a life.
***
He says: We shall live.
So let us be masters of words which
make their readers immortal -- as your friend
Ritsos said.
***
He also said: If I die before you,
my will is the impossible.
I asked: Is the impossible far off?
He said: A generation away.
I asked: And if I die before you?
He said: I shall pay my condolences to Mount Galilee,
and write, "The aesthetic is to reach
poise." And now, don't forget:
If I die before you, my will is the impossible.
***
When I last visited him in New Sodom,
in the year Two Thousand and Two, he was battling off
the war of Sodom on the people of Babel...
and cancer. He was like the last epic hero
defending the right of Troy
to share the narrative.
***
An eagle soaring higher and higher
bidding farewell to his height,
for dwelling on Olympus
and over heights
is tiresome.
***
Farewell,
farewell poetry of pain.

by Mahmoud Darwish
Translated by Mona Anis

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