September 4, 2006

The Corner/Al Zawiya - A poem

This poem was written on a table napkin in a small Iraqi restaurant called "Al Zawiya" in January 2005 .

The Corner/Al Zawiya

Stuck in a Corner
our backs to the Wall
fighting off
Memories and Ghosts
that erupt
to haunt us .

Barricaded in a Corner
of our minds
A battle is waged
armed with arrows
of pictures , snapshots
in black and white
scented with perfumes
of musk and amber
cardomom and honeyed tobacco.
Images swaying
to the sound of the Nay
dancing in ecstasy
to the beat of ancient drums .

Stuck in a Corner
our backs to the Wall
Spirits from Sumer and Babel
emerge from under
the smoky tables
tugging us
to the vivid blue
of the Euphrates .

Stuck in a Corner
our smoke unites
with the smoke
of my grandmother's wooden stove
mingled with the smell of fresh bread
and tea .

Stuck in a Corner
our backs to the Wall
sounds and visions
creep through the cracks
of our minds
oblivious to our shields
catching us by surprise
covering us
like the morning dew
that deflowers
the orange blossom trees
in the old aged garden
of Babylon .

Stuck in a Corner
against the cold Walls
of Exile ,
Ishraq streams in so gently
with the grace of a long
forgotten Queen
pulls a chair
sits besides me
and drinks from my Cup .