Back Page: July 2003

Jane Smiley

Gwen Glazer cites Robert Birnbaum’s interview with Jane Smiley in a review of Smiley’s latest book.

 

CJRS Radio Montreal

www.cjrsradio.com
Nouveau sur le webb demande special accepte

 

The 19th Floor

Hello Bloggers and Tech Heads:

Through a stint having my readers guest-blog on my blog, I met Mark Siegel and his blog, The 19th Floor. Mark is an attorney working in the area of disability policy, and he’s a blogger who happens to have spinal muscular atrophy. His blogging is simultaneously smart, funny, compelling, and frank. Recently, I encouraged Mark to write a blog post about the relationship between blogging and disability, which he’s posted on his blog today. It’s entitled Making Accessible Minds, and it’s really wonderful. Feel free to check it out, and link to it from your own blog if you’d like.

http://www.the19thfloor.net/archives/000139.html

Susannah Breslin
The Reverse Cowgirl’s Blog

 

Re: Identity Theory Likes Pina Coladas

Matt: adore your site but damn you to hell for sticking The Pina Colada song in my head. I do appreciate a Vonnegut reference as much as the next man, though.

Party on,

B. Oberkirch

 

Angell interview

Thanks for the great interview with Roger Angell, a truly remarkable writer and person. Since I see you are accepting copyediting changes, here are a few more: It’s "Andy" White, not "Eddy"; "Maclean" not "McLean"; "Shaugnessy" not "Shaunessy"; and "Giamatti" not "Giametti."

Ben Yagoda

 

Mannequins on Nerve

Hello All:

If you are interested in reading my short story, Mannequins, which went up today on Nerve, you may do so here: http://nerve.com/Fiction/Breslin/Mannequins/.

The story is about a woman who is in love with a man who is in love with a mannequin.

Thank you for your literary patronage!

Susannah Breslin

 

Oh no, it’s "Oneonta"

Great interview, but your transcriber made an error. I’m confident that Angell was talking about the Oneonta Yankees, not "Oneianda." Oneonta’s minor league team was for many years affiliated with the Yankees. Oneonta is in the Catskills, close to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and is home to the SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College campuses.

Andrew

 

Angell’s minor league Yanks

They were the Oneonta Yankees. Oneianda, wherever that is, ain’t the Catskills.

Regards,

Richard Sacks
Roger Angell’s old fact-checker (1974-1988)

 

Roger Angell

Robert,

Loved the interview with Roger Angell, thank you so much. I went to Phillies-Mets game on Saturday, my first trip to Shea (I’m from D.C. originally and after five years in NYC and dozens of trips to Yankee Stadium, I finally got on the 7 train). Anyway, the weather was beautiful, so an old high school friend and myself bought $10 tickets and sat in the upperdeck watching the game and talking baseball for four hours. Reading the interview with Angell capped off a nice baseball weekend.

Btw, Angell made one mistake… The Yankees team is in Staten Island and the Mets team is in Coney Island. No biggie, just caught my eye.

Cheers,
Ben Silverman

 

Thank You for a most enjoyable Q&A with Mr. Angell on identitytheory.com. I started at the beginning and I could stop. Wish there was more Q&A exchanges this good out there.

Sincerely,
Chris Malcolm
Chicago Tribune/Red Eye

 

The Rough English Equivalent: Atheist’s Dissertation Upon Roast Prig

Novelist Stan Hayes, the author of The Rough English Equivalent, grimaces as he kneads his shoulder. “Of all the times to tear a rotator cuff,” he says, trading the grimace for a wry grin. “The book’s out, I’m hammering on AKA Albatross, the sequel, we’re working on tour dates, and I pick yesterday to go for too damn much weight on the bench.” Extending a long leg, he swivels the hotel desk chair with a push against the foot of the bed, a fresh Heineken in his left hand. He fields the questions he’s heard before. “Yeah, atheist’s the word. No getting around it. I really thought that it’d be sort of a dead issue by now, but that’s usually the first question people ask. And what I say is, ‘If it’s good enough for Epicurus, it’s damn sure good enough for me.’ And the next thing I generally hear is ‘You’re a CONSERVATIVE?’ as if being an atheist defaults you over to the left somewhere, politically. Conservatism, just like atheism, simply makes a very basic kind of sense to me.”

He compared interviewers’ difficulty in reconciling his views to that of the people of Bisque (BIS-kew), The Rough English Equivalent’s principal setting. “They’re tootling along in a relatively prosperous post-World War Two middle-Georgia backwater, when all of a sudden this Jewish guy with an unpronounceable name shows up out of the blue, and things start to change; fast. Within a couple of weeks, he’s bought the town’s first-run movie house and a booming old wartime Harley-Davidson sidecar rig, test-riding it with a ‘colored boy’ and a six-pack. Not content with that, he welcomes the attentions of Serena Mason, the town’s romantic fantasy-woman, screws her silly and within a year buys a beer distributorship with her father, a town heavyweight. Whatever the average Bisquite’s impression of a ‘Jew-boy’ was, Moses Kubielski didn’t fit it. He’s a Harvey Keitel, with a good left jab, as opposed to a Phil Silvers, with a good line of shit. They just had the wrong expectations."

The Rough English Equivalent, he’s quick to point out, isn’t just the story of outlander versus provincial small town. It’s equally the story of Jack Mason, Serena’s son, and a decade of his growing up. Serena left his father, a Manhattan Project scientist, in Los Alamos in 1944 when Jack was seven, leaving the boy without a day-to-day male role model. As the passion of his affair with Serena levels off, Moses takes a rapidly increasing interest in Jack’s life, which the boy reciprocates. Over the years, Moses instructs him in disciplines as disparate as boxing, flying and English literature. “This is a kid,” says Hayes, “who has unlimited potential, who’s just being tolerated by his parents, two of the most self-absorbed people you’ll ever meet. They virtually abdicate the most important of their parental responsibilities, leaving them to be carried out by a man who is, fortunately, up to the job. But as the story unfolds, complications arise, and we learn things. What kind of a novel would this be if we didn’t?” The grin turns conspiratorial; “I’ll guarantee my readers one thing for sure: you’ll never look at a Buick in the same way again.”

Hayes’ life up to now has been eventful, but not, he says, to the degree of his protagonists’. “I deferred my last year of college, maybe forever as far as I knew, locked up my Snap-On tool chest and bade my erstwhile employer, a pleasantly alcoholic motorcycle dealer, a fond farewell. I caught the train to Pensacola to cast my lot with Naval Aviation, and saw a nice chunk of the world with the Hurricane Hunters and the Military Air Transport Service. Afterward I caught up on that pesky last year of college, did graduate school and a little corporate striving in New York. I bailed out of the Big Apple about half an hour before my liver morphed into a bookend, trading hyperventilation for deep breathing on the banks of the Chattahoochee and indulging my pent-up passion for tale-telling."

"I follow Epicurus in the pursuit of ataraxia, long-term satisfaction; overrevving my old Suzuki, meeting my vodka martini quota and generally operating at the edge of public tolerance. I may never fly a Grumman biplane fighter, but my readers and I can damn sure follow Moses and Jack through on the controls!” The book’s sequel, AKA Albatross, follows Jack’s and Moses’ fortunes into the turbulence of the sixties. “I’m continuing to investigate the Four Fs,” Hayes says. “How can you go wrong with Fear, Faith, Flying and Fornication?” The Rough English Equivalent is available online at iUniverse.com, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and at selected retailers.

 

DC Poets Against the War

DC Poets Against the War, an anthology containing poetry by Grace Cavalieri, Peter Klappert, Sarah Browning, myself and others is now available. For more information or to purchase a copy, visit www.dcpaw.org. Pre-publication reviews have been awesome so I’m sure you’ll enjoy this collection of some of the finest and bravest voices in the anti-war movement.

Thanks and enjoy,
Mike

 

Wallmart

11. Juli 2003

Dear Matt Borondy,
I just found your site on identiy.
I amworking on Identity.
But I find NOTHING in your site.
So why do you call itidentity theory ?????
It´s just the regular stuff like any you get at Wallmart
Beats me…

Best regards
Dr. Reinhold Muraskowsky


Dr. ‘Sky,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding Identity Theory. You make a good point. Our selection of home furnishing and appliances bears a strong resemblance to that of Wal-Mart, Target, and other large discount chains. And Roger Angell does look like a Wal-Mart greeter.

However, at Identity Theory, we believe the difference is quality customer service. For example, if you go into Wal-Mart with a complaint or a return, the woman at the customer service desk is likely to abrubtly leave on her "break" while no one arrives to replace her. You’ll have to stand there for 20 minutes until she returns from smoking a generic cigarette and spitting on a few babies. This would never happen at Identity Theory, where the customer comes first.

To be sure, our level of customer service far surpasses that of our rivals. Our motto: "We won’t spit on your baby."

As for why we call ourselves "Identity Theory," it’s actually from a quote by the 21st Secretary of Defense of the United States, Donald Rumsfeld: "We know where [the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

You’re from Germany, eh? I didn’t know they had Wal-Marts in Old Europe.

Best Regards,
Matt


Dear Matt!
Thank you so very much for your kind answer. I hope, I did not hurt your feelings. The whoile world will be wallmatted down, so why not we ourselves. Give uzp your identtiy and trade for somethimng with moneyback garantee and 5 year protection plan. Go save. Sell your soul the devil with 20 % interest.
I am so seriou about identity, something we know nothing about. So I am so disappointed, that you use that term identity and offer cheap stuff in return. Beats me.
Perhaps as a german I am more allergic than you. Hitler had no identity himself and created a pathologic superficial synthetic one. Waht is real and waht is synthetoic. That is the primary question. Bush is a big cheater and liar! Kennedy had a lot of identity. Reagan strangely too, but no brains…

All conflicts and problems are based on confusion about identity. I am a Biochemist, Biologist and natuaral philosopher. A rattle snak has a clear cut simple identity. It says, stay away from me. All creatures understand that message. Identity confusion leeds to illusions.Seeing tzhings, that are not there. And misinterpreting reality. Einstein fooled us a lot. H created via mathematics a new synthetic reality. Nobody questions thi, because his mathematics may be convincning. So he invented a nw reality. Which may be phantasy…
Stay away from people with identity confusion. Wirth that simple
message, Bush should be thrown out of office. He creates only confusion, because he is confused himself. And many confused people blieve in him, because they have nothing to believe in. People believe in Benny Hinn and his miracle crusades, which produce a profound miracle for Benny Hinn…
It is amazig, what you find out, when you look for identity confusion.
>From Zig Ziegler I learned:
Good things are seldom cheap.
And cheap things are seldom good…
Identity is the most precious value on earth. Never trade it in. There
is nothingf better or more precious. Nothing.

Wallmart societite offer you a lot for little money. But there is no
value in it. It is junk.
Identity is the core of your personality and your soul. When you know, who you are, you do the things you want to do. You are successful, whne you know what you want. It is so simple. You do not need any Gurus for that like Anthony Robbins and so on. The wisdom is in yourself.
That i identity to me.
I a m working on a publication I call:
Identity
experience who you are.
It should make significant contributions – or I´ll better junk it…

there is no shadow in my light
my heart is unbroken
and my soul untroubled

endogenous happiness…

Best wishes to someone, who could be a friend!
Reinhold

Dear 1305-629!

I disagree with your premise that Wal-mart has no value and is junk. While their customer service is no match for Identity Theory’s, they do offer a lot of practical items for affordable prices. And their interest rates are much better than that of the devil’s.

Perhaps as a German you are, indeed, more "allergic" than me. Unlike my sister, I’ve never had a problem with allergies, and I’m sure it’s because I shop at Wal-mart and she shops at the Gap. Strangely, I’ve been getting bitten by a lot of bugs lately though. My legs are all red. I could definitely use a trip to Wal-mart for some bug spray.

As an American, I am appalled that you would criticize George W Bush as having "no identity" and wish someone like Kennedy or Reagan were in office. For one, I don’t want a president who’s just gonna spend his mornings getting shot all over the place. Secondly, George W Bush is one of the greatest Presidents in American history. Think about it. Has any American President ever killed more innocent Arabs under fraudulent pretexts? I don’t think so. That’s the yardstick I use to measure my Presidents:

#1: They don’t get shot like a damn pussy.
#2: They kill a lot of Arabs for no reason.

I am very happy that we have a president who manages to convince the people of his country that killing thousands of people is the right thing to do. I wish he would kill more people because I know the more people he kills the better it is for Identity Theory’s stock price, and also the more people he kills the more likely he is to get re-elected and if he gets re-elected he can kill more people! That would be so sweet! Especially if they’re innocent Arabs who were never a threat to anyone!

I love Benny Hinn! OMG! He lives right down the street from me! And you’re right. Einstein was a dumbass. It’s really a shame about that whole "quantum theory" thing because if they hadn’t gone and thought that up, we would have never developed nuclear weapons, and Hitler would have probably taken over the world.

In summary, Deutschland uber alles, my nigga!

Your pal,
Matt

Dear Matt!
I am totally confused wirth your mail.
Can not understand, what is serious what is joke.
Why would that be great killing thousands of innocent people?
Would you love to be killed innocently?

I have no problems wirh arabs at all.
I would rather say, we have a problem with mental software.
We have no choice, which software we have.
It is very hard to work on that.
I am doing it and it is painful.
To develop your own software based IDENTY.
I wathced Benny Hinn many times on TV and I coulkd not find one true thing in him or his messages. He seems to me a very selfish person.
I have nothiong at all against wallmart, as I have very little money
myself and I am forced to shop economically. But thoise megastores put the small owners out of business, who can give you a better service.
That is my experience.
Anyway, I still do not understand your point on identity.
Are we talking on completely different subjects and misunderstand
ourselves totally?
I am not for Germany, Deutschland über alles. That brought a lot of evil into the world. I am much more a Fan of the French Albert Schweitzer, who brought a lot of goodness to poor people!

best wishes
Reinhold


Hello again 1305-629!

Sorry for the confusion. Why yes, there is nothing I would love more than to be "killed innocently," as you put it. I often spend hours daydreaming about being killed innocently. In fact, I have requested to Donald Rumsfeld that when they decide to kill me innocently, that they play the Bon Jovi song "Blaze of Glory" while killing me innocently. "Shot doooooooooooown in the blaze of gloooooooooryyy!!!" That’s how I want to go. Boy, I can’t wait. It’s going to be so damn innocent!

As for your comment about Wal-mart’s taking over small businesses, I only have one thing to say about small businesses: Fuck ’em! They’re usually run by smelly Arabs anyway. I don’t like people who smell. That’s why God invented cruise missiles.

Did you ever see that movie "Reality Bites"? It’s pretty good, I was just watching the copy I bought at Wal-mart for 7 bucks. Every time Winona Ryder goes to a job interview, they ask her to define irony, and she can’t do it, then she asks Ethan Hawke (love that guy) about it and he explains what it is and she’s like "I thought you were just some slacker who bangs out a lot of ugly girls and sings in the band Hey That’s My Bike and smokes pot out of Coke cans." I don’t know if Janeane Garafalo was in that scene or not. In
fact I don’t even know if that’s how you spell Janeane Garafolo.

As far as working on your "mental software," I just received an e mail about updating your software. I have attached that for your benefit. Hopefully it will help you get everything squared away upstairs.

Viva La France!

Your friend in Christ,
Matt

 

Demand the Truth–Pass it On

Dear Constituent,

In light of late-breaking events, I thought it was important that I write to you today.

It is now clear that there are those in this administration who misled the nation and misled the world in making the case for pre-emptive war.

They know who they are. And they should resign today.

Please join me in demanding that those responsible for misleading the American people resign by clicking on the link below:

http://www.deanforamerica.com/truth

In his State of the Union address, President Bush claimed that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium in Africa for the production of nuclear weapons. We know now that the documents he relied upon to make that claim were forged.

Yesterday, in testimony before the Senate, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made the stunning announcement that it was only "within recent days" (since the press had begun reporting it) that he learned about the forgery. Yet Secretary of State Colin Powell, in February, had enough reservations about the validity of the documents that he did not cite them in his presentation to the UN.

The American people must know the truth.

There will be investigations, and the truth will come out, and those in this administration must be held accountable for their failure to give us the truth before we went to war.

But we do not need to wait for the investigations to rid these people from our government — they can resign on their own today. Call on those who misled the American people to resign today by clicking on the link below:

http://www.deanforamerica.com/truth

I am now convinced more than ever that it was a mistake to have given this administration a blank check to engage in this war — as too many in Congress did when they supported the Iraqi war resolution.

Please forward this message on to everyone in your email list. Ask them to join us. We all must stand up and demand the facts from our government in Washington.

Howard Dean

Contribute to Dean for America: http://www.deanforamerica.com/contribute

 

Identities: How Governed, Who Pays? (2001)

<http://www.ukans.edu/~ibetext/texts/paksoy-7/>

To read this new book, kindly click on the above URL

Simultaneous print and e-version release. (no-cost)

Perhaps you would like to link to your pages

Thank you

 

Monday, 9:55 a.m.
Motivation

From where will my motivation come? As with any other day, this is about the time I finish the last drink of my latte. Peering into the hole of the lid (just to be sure), I accept the finality. This vessel has no more to offer and I know it is time to begin my work in earnest.

Today, however, my surroundings are different. It is Labor Day. Instead of being perched on my burgundy office chair, peering at the computer screen for some sign of motivation, I am lounging in the backyard gathering up the gumption to walk away from this perfect day and begin painting my daughter’s room in earnest. The word lounging is used loosely, for there are no lounge chairs…thankfully. It would be too difficult to turn away. My lounging apparatus is composed of two rubbermaid lawnchairs facing each other.

I sit in one. My feet, cast-aside sweatshirt, pile of kleenex (I am allergic) and a sad, empty latte cup rest on the other. My big, yellow lab is fully relaxed (no lounge chairs needed for her) laying belly-up in the sun, legs splayed in seemingly impossible directions, not a care in the world.

The warmth of the sun is countered by a slight breeze, gusty enough to cool at appropriate times. The sky is clear and that beautiful blue you remember from wonderful vacations, but forget that they also happen in Michigan. Wind chimes deliver their musical accompaniment to the willow branches as their tips caress the blades of grass. A few crickets unwittingly chirp along…do they know these are the days of their last hurrays?

How can Ithink of moving from this spot of heaven to enter the house and smell the fumes of paint instead of summer and fall passing each other? From where will my motivation come? Amazingly it comes in the form of my dog. With a snort, Bailey rolls and heaves herself up from the cool grass that cushioned her. She slowly saunters sideways (her hindquarters listing from one side or another) up her little worn path in the grass and enters the garage. As I gather my things and resolve to begin my painting, I brush away the nagging knowledge that Bailey has only gone to find another place to lay and enjoy the warmth of the sun…

My name is Amy Kohrman. I live and work in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Jotting down thoughts occurs randomly and most often when I should be doing something important (like paying bills or painting a room for my daughter in this case). I enjoy gardening, photography, my family and my dog.

 

This is not your everyday hemp oil. There is no life experience that could possibly prepare you for what KAYA can give you. As of today you are able to purchase the first and only legal Cannabis Fragrance. That’s right, we said Cannabis Fragrance. KAYA represents the new frontier of hemp products in the United States. A scent so similar to the Cannabis plant that if blindfolded, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish between the real plant and the KAYA All Natural Cannabis Fragrance. Wear it, burn it, sizzle it, steam it, smell it, indulge it and enjoy it. There are endless ways to use this natural Cannabis plant oil extract. All ways that will leave you and your friends astounded at the amazing scent. Visit us at www.smellkaya.com to find out more about this revolutionary hemp product. You will not be disappointed.

Management,
Smellkaya.com

 

Dear Constituent,

I cannot thank you enough for your incredible support at a critical moment in our campaign. Because of your efforts, we have transformed this race. (Now that the second quarter is over, my campaign will return to sending you only the occasional email– on average, one per week.)

Today, you stand with over 180,000 people, determined to restore the American community and our nation’s traditional role as an idealistic moral force in world affairs.

Our tremendous achievement now gives us the opportunity to build our campaign even further. Much remains to be done for us to win the Democratic nomination and to prepare ourselves for the fight against George W. Bush in 2004.

If we are to defeat this President in the general election, we must continue building the largest grassroots campaign in the history of presidential politics. Building that grassroots effort now is what our campaign is about. We cannot wait until after the primaries are over and the nominee decided to enlist people in our cause, because only a grassroots campaign of one to two million Americans will have the power to defeat the special interests that are filling the coffers of George W. Bush’s campaign.

To help grow our campaign, I need you to take a simple action today. Please join others in forwarding this email on to at least 3 of your friends, family members, or colleagues. Tell them about our successes, and about your commitment to taking our country back from the ideologues in Washington. Let them know why you support our campaign, and ask them to join us. They can sign up simply by clicking here:

http://www.deanforamerica.com/signup

Thousands have demonstrated that our individual actions, when united in common cause with the actions of thousands of others, have the power to change this country. In the last nine days of the second quarter, 59,000 people came together to help raise a total of $7.5 million for our campaign. We surpassed everyone’s expectations, and last Monday we made history, raising over $803,000 on the Internet in a single day.

If you were unable to give last quarter, please consider making a contribution today:

http://www.deanforamerica.com/contribute

We have come a long way in a short period. We are where we are today because you have given so much of your time and resources to make it all happen. Thank you for all you’ve done. Let’s grow the movement, and together, with thousands more beside us, we will win the White House in 2004.

Howard Dean

PS. Please stay in touch with our campaign by reading our campaign weblog at: http://www.blogforamerica.com

Contribute to Dean for America: http://www.deanforamerica.com/contribute

 

Deadly Pollen

Stephen Oliver makes a turn in language in his latest release, Deadly Pollen, a collection of new and recently published poems full of both original and mystical references. Conversation, myth, image, symbol – all are mined for their poetic point, all wrung out to dry.

Perhaps the most approachable book of Oliver’s to date, Deadly Pollen is full of poems that are complete in and of themselves, yet woven together with spirituality, a sense of the magic of science.

The author says his book "represents an ongoing exploration of damage to our larger cultural environment" and uses his work to "pay homage to historical memory." If, as Auden suggests, "poems make nothing happen," then Oliver’s poetry is vital, classic, the literary equivalent of Dorothea Lange’s photography. Oliver calls poetry “an exercise of loss and preservation." In Deadly Pollen, he submits his evidence to the world.

 

I think I pissed myself

I really think I pissed myself. Just go and do this!

Type in the following exactly as shown in google (www.google.com) and hit the I’m feeling lucky button. Read the "error screen" that follows!

"weapons of mass destruction"

Chris

 

email to Italy

We are an artists’ management company that works with Classical Musicians and we bring several Italian performers and some a few American artists go to Italy to perform.

Since March 2003, we have been unable to communicate with the Quartetto Bernini; Emanuele Segre (guitar); Maurizio Bulli, conductor….

Our email is blacklisted BUT only in Italy. We communicate with Great Britain, France, Germany, Korea, etc. Several years ago, we had a computer which was an "open relay" but that was changed and we no longer have the open relay.

Please delete: Joanne Rile Artists’ Management, Inc. from your list of blacklisted. This is interfering with our ability to do our work. Thank you.

Please contact me or John Rile if you need more information. Our web site is www.rile.com in case you wish to see that. Thank you.

Joanne Rile, President
Joanne Rile Artists’ Management, Inc.
801 Old York Road
Suite 212
Jenkintown, PA 1046
Tel: 215 885 6400
Fax: 215 885 9929
email: joanne@rilearts.com

 

DIRGE
by
Mike Maggio

once we could look at the sky–
birds would flutter from roof to bough
their tiny voices the clicking of cool pearls
plush clouds would roll by
on ambling afternoons
sometimes
like floats on parade
and when we least expected
the rain would come
a sudden celebration
a swell of slick black nylon
dripping plump silver raindrops
like joyful tears
when the bride and groom first kissed
amid a shower of white rice and cascading confetti–

once we could look at the cool blue sky

* * * * * *

The best measure
is to have the proper protective clothing
and gas mask.
If these are not available
you should move as quickly as possible
into a building.
Seal windows and doors
reduce ventilation, turn off A/C.
Stay in the room with the lowest air flow.
Breath through a dense towel
or better yet
use towel wrapped around a dry piece of charcoal.
Impervious clothing
such as raincoat and tight goggles
can help.
Head and body hair should be covered.
DO NOT leave the building
or open any doors to the outside.
Chemicals should disperse in one to two hours.

After the chemicals have dissipated
quickly leave the area of contamination.
DO NOT pick up items from the outside.

* * * * * *

I remember the Kurds–
there’s a picture in Time magazine
faces frozen
like porcelain dolls
carelessly laid
unknown, forgotten folk
sleeping now
peacefully at last

what had they done to deserve such immortality

their villages I hear were once filled with song–
the flute and the tambourine
children dancing at the wedding celebration
clean bright costumes whirling
around their unsuspecting lives

do you remember the Kurds
their national song silenced
cottages flattened
bodies strewn like matchsticks along the roadside
that strange imposed sleep

all that’s left

* * * * * *

One day the soldiers came.
It was fajr1
or just before
so much has happened I can’t remember.
But what we heard was not the azzan
   what we saw was not the sunrise

(birds dropping from trees
yellow clouds blistering in the sky
cats, dogs, people choking
where do I run
where are the children)

When the shooting was over
when the radio station went off the air
when days maybe weeks had passed
and our food supplies ran thin
we got in our cars
shot straight for the desert.

An old bedouin guided us to the border.
He knew every dune, every wadi
like the wife he had loved since his sixteenth year.

It was his way of serving, he said.
Would do so till they shot him.
May God protect his gentle soul.

* * * * * *

we sit and wait

  (will the sun rise tomorrow
   will the birds sing their song)

despair, hope, wonder

  (so many stories to be told
  so many yet to be born
  so many never to be known)

will anyone hear

will anyone ever really hear


From the chapbook Oranges From Palestine (and other poems).

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