From Tripoli to Cairo
I saw the intifada leftover
After Tunisia and Yemen
Like a dam broken
After it had sucked life from dry sand
Morocco, Kuwait, Djibouti and Oman
I heard birds singing at the cliff
In the rift valley of religion
And water pouring from each sweat
Flood the root of the poisoned tree
Not Phoenix dactylifera
Not if the honey killed the bee.
Some have fallen
Shaken by the protest of the wind
Some stay uneasy
For it is the season of orchestrated discontent
I see nothing to applause
Except that stability
And the availability of corn
Are rare in democracy there.
For culture is soil and climate
That every root begins with
And nothing strange may grow
In a rich soil's barren love.
Heroes there and villains
Have ridden sand forever
They do no swim this mediation well
Spring rain brings flash floods
And then vulture upon vulture
Circling the corner of the eye.
Too bad the spring
Shook the blossoms off in breeze
I smell the empty branches
The resin bleeding in the new night
Hot summer's dead piled up
Against a Syrian wall.
I pray for the autumn worm
And the bones winter white
My sajada is Mecca strewn
And in my head the adhaan
The adhaan, an intoxicated bell
Calls me out of grief.