November 21, 2008

A very short note to a Black American.


I will reply to your comments, for sure.
Give me time.
I do not possess time,
Time possesses me, for now,
and I bend with it, like a weeping willow...
A weeping willow that no longer weeps.
A black shadow,
hiding behind a curtain,
behind a wall...

The rivers are dry,
and their bed
is brown,
brown black.
As brown and as black as the man,
sitting opposite me.

He says I am from Ohio.
I trade in Oil.
I say -- Our oil ?
He smiles,
his pearly white teeth shine
in the darkness
and my question
is left hanging
with no answer
even though he replied
with Silence...

So -- what, who are you ?
he asks...


I stare into my cup
and search for the signs...
for a name
an ID card
a passport
a nationality
a country...


I pause
and the silence
weighs like a heavy
fog,
a fog from Ohio.


I swallow my name,
clear my throat
where that name is stuck
like a fish bone
dug out
from a dried river.


I say -- Iraq.

He keeps his "cool"
and swallows his beer.

I see a ray of satisfaction
on that dark face.


And what do you do ?
His questions follow me
like some soldier...

I suck on my cigarette
drawing a smokescreen
and puff
the empty smoke
in his face
and mine.


I work.
And work hides
in my sentences...

Who do you work for ?

I work with tortured refugees.

He smiles again
with even more satisfaction...
At least, the Americans gave you a job
he says,

I suck on my cigarette,
and my voice
gets lost
in the noise,
surrounding us
hits against a wall
and falls
back in my cup.

I work for Free,
came out my reply.

I work for Freedom.

The black man from Ohio
wears his black vest
and walks out
into the black night
with his pearly white teeth
shining
in the obscurity...


Painting : Iraqi artist, Mohammed Al-Shammarei, A Mural. 2006